Easter is God's love story for humankind. Amor is a reflection of that love story lived out these past 35 years by hundreds of thousands of people coming from all over the globe to work alongside families building homes. As we segue from this anniversary month of celebration to the risen Lord we share with you Jordan's love letter to Amor and the impact that those who have passed through our doors have made on his life.
Over the past month, we have challenged you to think about your role in stopping the traffic, living a life of integrity because your past can catch up with you, and realizing that even though you may never go to Burkina Faso you have built a school there. And now we ask you to consider a gift to the ministry in honor of these past 35 years, but more importantly as an investment in the future of Amor!
You were 6 years old when I was born.
I’m not sure if you were excited to have me in the family. Maybe you had some mixed emotions – our parents were going to have to share their attention with the two of us. Looking back now, they did a pretty amazing job, huh? Caring for you and me at the same time. It’s amazing really, what parents do when they love all of their children equally, and maybe that’s why we’ve both become who we are today.
Whatever your initial feelings were, you welcomed me into the family and quickly took on the most important job of an older sibling – a role model. I wonder if you knew that I was always watching you, always learning from you. Whether you did or you didn’t, you amazed me as I watched you grow and as any younger sibling would do, I tried to be like you.
Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed.
What helped me the most was when I would fail, you still welcomed me home every time with open arms, gently whispering in my ear as tears rolled down my face, “It’s ok. I love you. Get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.”
You showed me grace and mercy and forgiveness that I did not deserve, and you even celebrated me every time I came home from venturing off. In fact, you were always celebrating. It’s what you do. You live in the joyful abundance of God. Even when times were hard and the weight on your shoulders was heavy, joy remained because success was never your goal – simply serving faithfully in all that you did was enough and brought you great pleasure.
I remember when times were the hardest for you and you wondered if it was time for you to change, possibly even time for you to move on. I remember seeing the confusion in your eyes and your prayers of lament. I remember your perseverance and in particular your integrity as you continued to do the right thing all of the time, even when the odds were against you.You also taught me to love the church, this diverse community of broken humans that tears each other down as much as it builds each other up, that often lives for the glory of itself rather than the glory of God. And when I most wanted to leave and give up on it, you reminded me of its love for the world, of its message of hope to the poor and the blind and the lame and the lost, of its calling to be co-laborers with Christ in the renewing of the whole of creation, and the local impact each church community can have when they look out to serve those around them.
You demonstrated to me what it meant to live in this diverse family with many opinions. You showed me how to love the liberal and the conservative, the Baptist and the Episcopalian, the Catholic and the Lutheran, the Pentecostal and the Presbyterian, the believer and the atheist because they were all within you and you helped me to see how they were all a part of me.
You instructed me on how to see genuine family. Family is not just biological parents, cousins, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles. If I am open to it, the possibility of family is in every person I meet – a homeless man on the street corner, a young woman that needs a stable home, a group of guys at school, a young man from Oregon, families in New Jersey, a guy from Seminary, a church in Cancun. Certainly there is something special about that with whom I am biologically connected, but you embrace family as any person that comes your way. I have learned this from you.
You proved the Bible to be true, that God desires worship that comes from the heart and is as much action as anything else. I remember hearing and reading in Isaiah that God desires worship that is justice-oriented. It is not just a time at a service when we sing together. It is not just when I am on top of a mountain or at the beach taking in the immensity of God’s creation and giving thanks for it. Worship is in the moments when I spend hours mixing cement for a family’s house. It is in the moment that I think of another’s needs over and above my own. It is in the type of life that I strive to live – one of action, one of love, one that seeks to create justice in God’s world that is full of injustice.
In all of this, you taught me to follow Jesus.
You do justice. You love kindness. And you walk humbly with God.
You seek to create justice where it seems injustice is winning. You are kind to all – even those that seek to harm you. And your humility is infectious to all people that know you.
You exemplified to me the way of faith, hope, and love.
Faith that God is in control and God’s plans will come to fruition in the world. Hope that people and situations, even those that seem furthest from God, have the potential for redemption and the good that God desires for them.
Your very name means love and it is, more than anything else, what seeps from your very being.
You share love in every place that you go – inner-city San Diego and Fullerton, Tijuana, Rosarito, Tecate, Juarez, Puerto Peñasco, Cancun and Puerto Morelos, San Carlos, Botleng and Delmas, Dallas, London, Guildford, Australia, Burkina Faso, Burundi.
You have lived to see that all people know that God is love and that God’s love is for all of creation, and that this love is not bound to certain people or certain things, but is truly for each and every person.
We’ve lived together now for 28 years and I couldn’t be more proud of you.
Your younger brother, Jordan
P.S. I hope I make you proud too.