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Yesterday was Memorial Day so we went to Hanging Rock State Park with our kids and grandkids to have a hotdog cookout. We packed Cokes and pasta salad and mustard and relish and salt and vinegar chips, and string cheese, and watermelon and paper plates and napkins and charcoal. But we forgot two important things: lighter fluid and matches. We were stuck. We had no way of getting our fire started. But the Lord sent help. Guatemalans saved us.

In the adjacent picnic area to us there was a family celebrating the day, grilling meat, filling the whole area with the aroma of heaven. But there we were, scratching our heads, wondering how we were going to find a way to light our charcoal. Somehow though, our Spanish speaking neighbors became aware that we were not able to get our fire going. One of the men from their party came over and introduced himself and his mother, he with a lighter and she with a bag of matchlight charcoal. They asked if we needed help and then proceeded to build a pyramid of charcoal in our grill and then, wielding a long blue lighter, they set the charcoal ablaze. Because our neighbors were neighborly, we could finally cook our hot dogs.

We rejoiced and said “thank you” over and over, profoundly grateful as recipients of this simple kindness. They went back to their party only to return right away. The man came up to me and said to me, “My mother wants you to have this.” He removed tin foil to reveal a large plate of perfectly grilled beef ribs, a mountain of rice, salsa and corn tortillas. He explained that this was a Guatemalan specialty and they wanted to share their lunch with us.

Recently I was scammed by a thief who stole thousands of dollars from me and I felt a helplessness during that experience where all I wanted was revenge, and for the sake of my future security I felt that my only option was to write off all of humanity. The devil is certainly roaming around devouring people. Of that there is no doubt. But what I experienced at the hands of these beautiful central American immigrants made me realize that the devil doesn’t stand a chance. Their kindness and food was salvation in our time of need, new creation bursting forth.

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