Sunday, March 11, 2012


Amigos:  Caballos (horses) y garcetas (egrets)
I first noticed it in the field across the street.  A white bird hanging out with a horse.  Aw, they’re friends.  How cute, I thought.  During the next weeks, I saw a lot more of these ‘friendships’.  In fact, it seemed that most of the time when I saw a horse – or cow – I’d see the bird, too.

Hitching a ride with a friend
I asked Maria what the white birds are called.  Garcetas.   In English, they’re Egrets.  They are bright white, with graceful wings.  They feed on the insects attracted to the bigger animals.  The horses and cows even allow them to catch a ride on their backs!
A few months back, I was running, and feeling pretty low.  Lonely, overwhelmed, just plain blah.  As I ran, I watched a garceta fly down and land near a horse in a nearby field.  It brought to mind the Holy Spirit descending on Jesus, on us. 

I praised God, humbled at this gift.  I was not alone at all.  Of course, when we keep our heads down, never glancing up, we can completely miss the evidence of His presence all around us.

Since that realization, I’ve noticed the garcetas showing up several times.  It seems that when I particularly need a reminder of the Holy Spirit’s presence, I see one of these birds.  
One day last month, I was walking back home from buying fruit.  I was sweaty and grumpy, replaying a less-than-great lesson with our difficult Pre-teens.  I had been all alone at the Site, nothing had gone well, and I was tired of it all. 

As I slid into a pity-party, I saw a horse with a garceta nearby.  Oh, wow, Father, forgive me.   I got so busy, focused soley on my task, I forgot that You are with me.  But, You are.  You are!
Where two or three are gathered...
Last week, as I stepped out for another full day, I saw two horses together with a garceta close by.  Immediately Jesus’ words jumped to mind, “Where two or three gather in My name, there I am with them.” (Matthew 18:20) 

At times it feels like we’re all alone in El Callejon.  But, Jesus is with us.  His Holy Spirit has come and made His home in us.  What a promise!  What reassurance!  Once again, I praised God for His gift.  For reminding me of His presence. 
And so, I’ve decided to ‘claim’ the garceta as a symbol of God’s work in me and through me here in the D.R. 

Thank you, Father, for this tangible, visible reminder of Your presence.  As I eagerly look for garcetas, I pray I continue to eagerly look for Your Holy Spirit, too.  Jesus, thank you that in You, I am never alone.  May I share this amazing truth with those who are in darkness, far from Your great love. 

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