As I taught the simple rhythm game, dozens of pairs of dark brown eyes danced with glee. Huge smiles covered the faces of the beautiful children sitting on the floor with me in this church in the poorest section of Matamoros, Mexico. In spite of the language barriers—the children spoke no English, and I spoke only a little Spanish—we communicated. As we clapped, snapped, sang, and did crafts together, their eyes sparkled. Later in the day, whenever I glanced up from my work preparing for the next day’s Bible school, one or more small brown faces peeked through the church windows. When I smiled and waved, their hands waved furiously, smiles broke out, and brown eyes danced with glee. Pure joy shone out of those huge, dark brown eyes.
Sophia often sat, watched, and listened. Sophia, who spoke no English, loved to be near us. Part of the day she stayed at her tiny home a block and a half away. There, she watched the men in our group saw boards, pound nails, and paint turquoise walls. Her eyes watched as the new edition to her home, a 10 foot by 20 foot room, doubled the size of her tiny house. Sophia, mother of ten, one deceased, watched her house grow. Sophia, quietly sitting in a folding chair at the church, watched the children laugh, play, and learn at Bible school. Sophia, active member of her church, sang praise songs at the top of her voice and knelt on the hard tile floor to silently pray. In her eyes I saw tremendous gratitude. In those big brown eyes I saw amazing peace.
Seventeen of us traveled to Matamoros, Mexico in two rented vans. For six days we worked in Mexico, joining God in the work he was already accomplishing there. I looked into the eyes of my 16 companions. Some eyes glowed the same dark brown as those of the residents of Matamoros. Others shone bright blue or green. At first glance what I saw in those eyes was fatigue. They worked all day in the heat—110 degrees plus heat index—and slept at night together on the roof, praying for a breeze, scattering when it rained. All this produced deep fatigue. Looking past the fatigue, however, I saw more. In those eyes was resolve: pound one more nail, paint one more board, help one more child, serve one more meal. In these eyes I saw true servanthood. In spite of the unbearable heat and the extreme tiredness, I saw the eyes of the eager servants wishing to do God’s will.
The eyes…the eyes are what I remember most. Whether the brown eyes of the locals or the multi-hued eyes of their guests, I saw something special shining in all those eyes. Through the eyes, as clear as a cloudless sky, I saw the love of Christ shining through.