Denis and Cornelia
Cornelia on the Phone
"Would I kid you??"
My friend Dennis was telling me about a strange experience
he'd had at the local supermarket.
And, yes, of course he would kid me. He does it all the time.
"You actually saw this?"
Tell you what: I'll
And with that, we were off to La Colonia supermarket in Managua's Plaza España. And there she was, just as Dennis said she would be. She is a "pordiosera," a beggar. She sits on a plastic chair next to the entrance of the supermarket and routinely collects spare change from shoppers as they go in and out of La Colonia.
With a one córdoba coin worth about a nickel, it takes a lot of change to survive, even with Managua's relatively low cost of living. But Doña Cornelia gets by.
We learn Cornelia's name because my friend Dennis is, within
a few seconds of meeting them, everyone's friend. His booming voice, radiant smile and
engaging personality combine to draw people in, effortlessly. (Nice trait to have if you want to put
your orthopedic patients at ease, as Dennis does each day.)
So, of course Cornelia is happy to meet us, too. Of course it's a beautiful day. Of course she'd love to have her picture taken. Of course... and then it happened. Just as Dennis said it would.
"'Scuse me a sec.
I need to take this."
Cornelia is on her cell phone.
What kind of world is this? Beggars taking cell phone calls?
"I don't just take calls, I make 'em, too!"
Cornelia grins as she slips the phone back in her pocket. This is more significant than you might think. It is a small phone. Cornelia is 104 years old. When I think of the challenge Cathy & I face when reading the screens and punching the little buttons on our phones, I wonder if I'll be able to grin and punch like Cornelia in 50 years!
What a character!
I'm sure I would be drawn to this spunky lady anyway. But then it hits me. We have a lot in common.
The slang expression, "pordiosera" comes from the classic beggar's appeal, "Por el amor de Dios" ("For the love of God"). This usually gets shortened to "Por Dios." So, a pordiosero is a "For-God-er." Oh my.
I too, invite people to give, "for the love of
God." I too, have a cell
phone. (And a laptop. And a passport. And a fistful of plane tickets... and,
unlike Cornelia, all my teeth!)
For the love of God--and for the sake of God's love for all the people of the earth--please give to the World Mission Offering. Your support today is vital to the work God is doing through all of us at International Ministries. Thank you for making it possible for me to meet smiling Cornelia, and to work with hundreds of church leaders in Nicaragua this month!
p.s. My friend "Dennis" is Dr. Denis Cuellar, an orthopedic surgeon at Managua's Baptist Hospital whose powerful voice can be heard singing in the choir at Managua's First Baptist Church. I'm very grateful to Denis for introducing me to Cornelia this week!
p.p.s. With my Missionary Partnership Team (MPT), I am continuing to look for individuals and churches that God is leading to make a regular commitment to the financial support of this ministry. If you are one of those people, please let me know. Thanks!