They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the Lord is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.- Psalm 92:14-15
She was just visiting. It was her first time in Brazil and she did not speak any Portuguese. I don’t know what her home town looks like but I am sure that it is not anything like São Paulo. This city is unique. Sights that were common to us might have have seen strange to her. At our usual meeting place, there were a bunch of dubious looking men trading stolen goods. There were homeless adults literally sprawled all over the place; some were drunk and some were talking to themselves and others were just passed out. There were businessmen dressed in Armani suits walking around and skateboarders taking advantage of the smooth surface of the square to practice their stunts. Our children and teens were in the midst all these. Despite this odd scene, she appeared to be calm.. She did stand out among the team. She was in her mid-fifties and she had this grandmotherly aura about her. This was really the reason that brought her to this country. Her daughter is a missionary and having her first child. The baby was due in a week’s time. She was with us because her daughter and her husband are involved in this ministry.
It was interesting to see the reaction of the children to our visitor. They noticed her but they did not ask any questions about her. Usually they are very curious whenever we have a foreign visitor. They knew she was new and yet they treated her as if she was a regular. Mary brought some materials for manicure and some of the teenage girls wanted their nails done. Our visitor sat next to Mary and started doing the girls’ nails. Then the boys started gathering around. One of them who is usually little aggressive and disruptive asked if she would cut his nails. After she was done, he wanted the full manicure treatment. The others boys started requesting it as well. There were happy to just sit close to her. The lady interacted with them without any words and the girls and boys responded well to her presence. They did not say much but it was apparent that they just liked being near an older person. They liked the presence of a grandmother. Words were not necessary.
We have brought many volunteers to the streets but this was the first time that we saw a volunteer being accepted without any questions. The children and teens found comfort in her presence. She, on her part, decided that she was going to be who she is, a loving grandmother who travelled thousands of miles to be with her daughter. This is something most people would do for their children and grandchildren. It was nothing out of the ordinary. The only extraordinary thing was that she was sitting on the dirty floor of a city square being a grandmother to homeless orphans.
She did not come here to be a missionary to the homeless children or adults. This is not her vocation. However, there are people who are grandfathers and grandmothers who might feel the call in their hearts to serve the homeless. Some people have shared that they wished that they were younger so that they could join us in this work. Maybe the fact is that you are the perfect age to serve as a missionary and may not realize it. Certain ministries need grandfathers and grandmothers and some require sons and daughters. God has not put an age restriction on vocations. In our ministry specifically, the children and teens are looking for people who would love them unconditionally. They want people who would be consistently present in their lives. They want people to show them that their lives are special. You don’t have to be a young person to be these things to the children and teens.
Our grandmotherly visitor was a calm and flexible person. She did not allow the language barrier to hinder from doing what is important. She was not distracted by the chaotic environment around her. She was focused on one thing. She was going to be herself in the streets. On this day, the children and teens had a grandmother.
The perfect age for a missionary is the age when he or she is comfortable and secure enough to allow God’s love to flow through them. The Holy Spirit is not limited by our age. We should not limit ourselves because we are older. If we open ourselves to God, He will use us regardless of our age and limitations to become His vessel of Grace to these little ones.