When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.
I am always blown away by the characteristics of Jesus. He knows all things. Is all things. Sovereign. Supreme. Almighty. And yet, He was the most humble of us all. He doesn't possess ugly pride or feel that he is owed anything.
I wanted to teach my girls a lesson that was uncomfortable and necessary. Many times in cultures where extreme poverty is prominent, people think they can only do what is needed to survive. I know, easy for me to say. I don't live in extreme poverty. But I see it everyday. I breathe it everyday. I ache over it everyday. And God is teaching me very intentionally of not selling people short of His will for them just because of their circumstances. They are still capable of serving and loving others. In fact, God calls them too.
I read them the passage above, in fact, I read the whole story of Jesus washing His disciples feet. In Spanish. If nothing more than to be vulnerable with them. To show them how imperfect I am but still willing to do what was necessary. Teach them about serving others.
They were uncomfortable, and rightly so. In a place where most people just wear flipflops, people's feet are the most dirty of any part of the body. But it was the same in Jesus' time. That's one of the reason the disciples were so uncomfortable with the King of Kings washing their dirtiest parts. But that is why Jesus did it. It is the lowest one can get, doing the dirtiest job one can do.
I'll admit. It was fun for me to watch the girls wiggle and squirm. Some of these girls act like they are the Queen of Queens but without the humility that Jesus possesses. It was awesome seeing something that they were so awkward about in the beginning and pushing through and doing joyfully towards the end. I watched some of them transform into servants right before my eyes. The kind, I hope, one day all of them can be.
To bring in the "girly" aspect of serving, we then painted our freshly cleaned nails. No one was allowed to paint their own nails, they had to "serve" someone else in this way. All the while, the other women and I answered questions some of them had. It ranged anywhere from "How does someone learn to be humble?" to "How do I know when I'm in love?" It felt like we were in a real Dominican salon, talking about life and giving out advice!
I was super glad my friend, Brenda, showed up towards the end of our class. She jokingly calls me her Mom and the grandmother of her two children. I've been looking for a way that I can serve her and let her just be a teenager. So I painted her nails.
I never know if anything I say or anything I tell them about my past experiences is making a difference to them. If anything is sinking in. In fact, I've been praying, asking God to give me a little bit of encouragement to just know that what I'm doing is what He needs me to do there. My encouragement came.
While everyone was painting their nails and jabbering about this or that, one of my pregnant girls came into our class. She sat on a bench just watching and listening and talking to the other teachers. All of a sudden and without being asked, my 10-year old, Iveth, got up from getting her nails painted, knelt down and began washing Carolina's feet. I grabbed my camera (if nothing else so the girls didn't see me tearing up) and felt God just saying, "I will make a way."
It has been such a joy learning about these girls. It has been hard too, just knowing some of things they've gone through and are going through. But I've never been more sure of what God has called me to. Being a servant and teaching others to be one too.