Written by Angie Parris-Raney
There have just been too many coincidences in these past couple of projects that I just have to talk about Divine timing. I’m not particularly religious, but I do believe we are spiritual beings and there is a Divine energy we dwell in and co-create with in our human experience. I believe we have the power of free will and choice and it is our own free will if we choose to act on upon opportunities that present themselves. There are signs all around us. We just have to be paying attention and choose to engage.
Let me also say that whenever I’m working a project with my friend Saul, the experience teaches me about surrender. As the foreigner, I have to surrender to the experience and let go. I put my faith and trust into my friend who has the tools of language and persuasion, a knowledge of his surroundings, and an equal passion to help. And I put my faith into a Higher Power that whatever we need, whomever we are supposed to help, it will unfold before us. Here are two stories that convince me of this.
The North Coast of Peru
We are a small operation and could only bring our sunshine to a smaller community, but our driver knew exactly the place for us to go—Pedregal Chico. When we arrived, I could hardly believe that people remained living here for every home was rebuilt upon sand. As I learned, the river nearby is much more shallow than rivers in the Sacred Valley. So when heavy rains come, the river swells and spills over more readily. This particular community was under 5 feet of water, as indicated with the leftover water line on the community building! They’ve tried to dredge the river deep as best they can and have prepared with sand walls. But it is a constant battle against the heavy rains.
As we entered this community, we stumbled upon a friendly young woman who directed us to the center where children were having a Christmas gathering. We waited patiently for nearly an hour and then were led to the school where local teachers were gathered. Here was our best opportunity to share our purpose, our gifts of solar lights and water filters, and tools for future learning activities for the children. We couldn’t have been led to more gracious people. They understood immediately what we were trying to achieve and couldn’t have been more appreciative. They would make sure the tools we were leaving behind would be appropriately utilized.
As we left, we found another community with a small gathering of children—the perfect place to distribute the toys we had brought. As we know from past experience, children suddenly come from nowhere to eagerly receive a gift. It was the perfect timing to distribute exactly what we had with us.
When I look back on that whole experience, how could we have known that this whole story were to unfold before us, just by a chance meeting on the corner of a street? The man on the corner was precisely the person we needed to meet in that moment to help the very people we reached.
When they arrived to Bella Union Town, it appeared to be a ghost town. No lights. No cars. Homes were completely broken down. They felt a lump at the bottom of their throat and questioned, “Did we travel this far just to find out everyone has left?” It was nightfall and at this point, there was no turning back. They searched and found the only hostel in town. Upon checking in, they were told to not fall asleep too deeply because they are still experiencing smaller earthquakes—two to three time per day. It was necessary to be ready at any moment.
The next morning after breakfast, Saul decided to step outside to take a few photos of the town. He noticed a young woman across the street, the only soul who was out and about in what appeared to be a vacant town. He crossed over and asked for her help to see if she might know who had been the most affected by the earthquake and who could use a little help. As serendipity would have it, she knew precisely who needed help as she knows just about every family in this community. She agreed to help our cause. There were no cars, no drivers to be seen. Thankfully, she had a friend and called them, arriving with a 4 x 4 truck. When the whole group went to the local store to buy water, there were hardly any supplies left. Once again, this young woman announced she had a friend about 30 minutes away who owns a store with many more supplies. Saul and company bought as much as they could fit into the truck and off they went to visit home by home, families who needed help, nearly 60 families in total.
This young woman was essential to our project and had Saul stepped outside only 30 seconds later, she might not have been there. I am convinced there are angels all around us and working through us. Once again, I am reminded that when you let go and surrender and allow life to unfold before you, magic happens. What you need exactly in the moment will present itself to you. But you have to engage and choose it. As Saul says, "God is Big." And indeed He (She) is.
We couldn’t be filled with more humble gratitude to everyone who supports us along our journey. Thank you so much for being a part of the mission and for spreading your sunshine with us!