I went for a run tonight.
Oh, yes, friends in North America. A run. In shorts and a t-shirt. In the warm Carribbean air.
I've been oh-so jealous of the autumn weather you've been enjoying, but now it's getting a little winterish, right? You can feel the sharpness of the cold mornings telling you winter is right there knocking at the door. Maybe you've even had the first snow already?
Not here. It was 81 degrees and gloriously sunny today with a perfect breeze.
And I went for a late afternoon run.
Ahhhh. Just me and that dirt road, with Jason Aldean singing to me through my headphones.
Well, me and the cows, roosters, and goats. Maybe a stray motorbike or two.
Here's the Running Road.
It winds around through trees and pastures and has a fairly steep hill that gives the course a little extra challenge. When you get to the top of the hill, you're rewarded with a beautiful view of the mountains.
And today I noticed the gate. Off on the right side of the road at the top of the hill--there it was.
A wooden gate to nowhere. It was charming.
Just after I took this photo of the gate, I headed back down the hill and toward home as some dark clouds began to roll in. I had my music playing softly because on the roads here, one must be alert to motorbikes that approach, because a) they don't exactly take a lot of care to avoid hitting pedestrians and b) they tend to drive erratically from one side of the road to the other, depending on the potholes. So, I noticed right away when I heard foot steps on the road with me.
Not one set of foot steps. Not two. Five. And they were keeping up with my stride. A quick glance over my shoulder put me at ease--it was children. Smiling, happy, curious children. They ran with me for a while, and then asked me to slow down.
They spoke to me in Creole. What is your name? Where do you live? Are you married? They wanted to examine my watch...my headphones...my phone. One boy told me my hair was pretty as he touched it. I answered all their questions and asked a few of my own (in Creole!): What are your names? What is in your bag? Are you all in the same family?
Yes, they were siblings. I can't remember all their names now, but one was Johnson Joseph. They had bread in their bag and they were headed home.
They let me take their photograph and they laughed when I showed it to them.
I told them I would pray for God to bless them.
Then, instead of asking me for food or money, THEY started giving ME gifts.
First, they gave me a small bag of rolls. Then, as we continued on down the road, one boy asked me if I like mangoes. When I said yes, he told me to wait and he promptly shimmied up and then down a nearby tree and brought enough fresh mangos for each of his siblings and a few for me.
We reached the main road and they motioned that they were going to the right. I was headed to the left. "Ovwa!" they said, with smiles and waves. And off they went.
Aren't they precious?
I had set out hoping for some time alone, but reached home thankful for my newfound running buddies. They blessed me with much more than bread and mangoes!
Hebrews 12:1 "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."