Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the touch of an an­gel

Vol­un­teers in Mex­ico have an un­ex­plained en­counter with An­gel­ica

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - Visit www.chick­en­soup.com.

Do you be­lieve in an­gels? Jim Solomon does. While vol­un­teer­ing with chil­dren in an im­pov­er­ished Mex­i­can vil­lage, Jim and his wife en­coun­tered a mys­te­ri­ous young girl who helped them to see the vil­lagers and their harsh liv­ing con­di­tions in a dif­fer­ent light. Jim shares his story, “An­gel­ica,” in our book about peo­ple whose lives have been “touched” by an an­gel. Here’s what he had to say about his ex­pe­ri­ence:

When my wife, Anne, and I were dat­ing and work­ing in Bos­ton’s fi­nan­cial district, my older sis­ter, El­iz­a­beth, a med­i­cal re­lief worker, in­vited us to join her and a man named Andy Ortega on a short-term ser­vice trip.

The trip was hosted by the Mex­i­can Med­i­cal Min­istries — an or­ga­ni­za­tion that Andy served at the time. We were part of a vol­un­teer team from the United States, made up of peo­ple from Cal­i­for­nia, Mas­sachusetts, Min­nesota and Rhode Is­land. Our role was to en­ter­tain the chil­dren of a re­mote vil­lage on Mex­ico’s Baja penin­sula while a house was built for the vil­lage doc­tor.

At first, we were over­whelmed by the poor san­i­tary con­di­tions and the im­pov­er­ished lives in this mi­grant-farmer vil­lage. Some fam­i­lies lived with as many as 10 chil­dren in one­room, mud-brick huts.

Yet as the days passed, we were touched by how rich they were in what we felt mat­tered most — faith, fam­ily, fun and a sense of com­mu­nity — de­spite how poor they were in what per­haps mat­tered too much to us.

Hav­ing been so dis­tressed and dis­tracted by the con­di­tions, Anne silently asked God to help her see th­ese chil­dren how He sees them — beau­ti­ful and pure re­gard­less of how filthy and di­sheveled they looked.

Oth­er­wise, she didn’t know how she would get through the week.

Just min­utes af­ter Anne’s silent prayer, a girl who was about four years old came run­ning up to us, in­tro­duc­ing her­self in bro­ken Span­ish as “An­gel­ica.” She grabbed Anne’s hand and begged her to sing to her and play with her. Anne, who is tone deaf, claims to this day that she can’t sing. Yet, how could she say no to this sweet lit­tle girl whose in­no­cent love brought Anne im­me­di­ate joy? So Anne sang and played and sang!

The two of them spent lots of time to­gether that week. At the close of each day, when Anne would ask to walk An­gel­ica home, An­gel­ica would in­sist that she could walk her­self home, fol­low­ing her brother.

Anne would watch her fol­low that lit­tle boy into their house un­til the door shut be­hind them each night.

Sooner than we wished, the time came for us to say good­bye to our new friends. We could not wait to fi­nally meet and thank An­gel­ica’s par­ents and sib­lings for al­low­ing her to spend so much time with us. We wanted them to know how spe­cial An­gel­ica had be­come to us.

Yet that Fri­day, as we pre­pared to go back to the United States, An­gel­ica was nowhere to be found. We called out her name re­peat­edly as we walked through the small vil­lage.

Fi­nally, we spot­ted the lit­tle boy who was An­gel­ica’s brother. But when we asked him where his sis­ter was, he sim­ply re­sponded in Span­ish, “I do not have a sis­ter, only brothers.”

We then went to his house. The par­ents told us they not only did not have a daugh­ter, but also knew of no girls in the en­tire vil­lage named An­gel­ica. We checked with the vil­lage doc­tor. Sure enough, no­body by that name lived in the vil­lage.

Who was An­gel­ica? We’ll never know, but that lit­tle com­mu­nity sure seemed to be blessed, so we have our sus­pi­cions.

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