Like many people do, I did some traveling during this summer. I went back to my home country, the Dominican Republic, and preached at a ordination to the diaconate with Bishop Mariann as the presider. The day after the ordination, Bishop Mariann and I embarked on an 18-hour trip to the north of the country, visiting several missions and an Episcopal school. We also visited a group of students from a Jesuit school in Seattle that was up in the mountains building houses for poor people.
After dropping the Bishop at the airport and, of course, after getting some rest and spending some time with my family, I left the main capital and went back to the mountains to spend two weeks with another group from the same Jesuit school building houses.
Franco Bido, the town where we were supposed to start building the first house, is a small community of approximately 78 families. There we met Mario, a very active man and one of the leaders of community. It was a rainy day so we couldn't build a house that day. Instead, he took us for a tour of the coffee field. For the last three years, coffee producers have experienced great loss because of an insect that kills the grain from the inside. Mario showed us new baby plants that were growing already affected by the infestation. One of the members of the group asked Mario what then will happen to him, his family and so many other people who depend on the production of coffee if they don't find a solution to the problem. Mario took a deep breath and a long look at the mountains surrounding us, like he was waiting for an answer from someone, from somewhere.
"If this is the case,” he replied, “God will show us another way to provide for us and for our families." His voice sounded as firm as the mountain; I could not see a bit of doubt in his eyes.
Simon Bautista is the Canon for Latino Ministries for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington.