The luminous dial on my watch was the only visible light in the room. At that, in total darkness, it was a beacon without projection. I pulled the mosquito netting away from my cot and stood up. Simply, by memory, I located my shoes. A noise or something outside the room had obviously awakened me; however, my companion slept through the whole thing. I remembered the table in the small room and found it easily in two steps. The shutters on the window darkened the room and belied the early morning haze and any movement in the village.
I thought about waking my companion; but the least stirring in our room seemed a better virtue. My mind began to focus at the same time as my bladder. I peeked out the door and past the desk where, only a few hours before, we had crossed into the group of rooms, one of which was our sleeping quarters. I saw nobody, and only a small lantern burned near the front of the inn. I exited the room and quietly eased my way down the hall toward a back door, not so labeled, but my best guess.
My finger tracked down the oily-slick hallway wall until I came to what I believed was the exit. I pushed on the door; I felt no knob. Though the door swung easily, the darkness only continued. But, I heard whispers in the room, so I hastily closed the door. However to my left, I felt another door and I could feel air moving through the casing. I pushed trough it and entered a small courtyard. Enough morning light was filling the tiny corner that everything appeared to have an eerie blue color. I staggered my way onto a path and up a few steps to the tree line. From there I could see the back of the inn.
I had only been there but a short while when a tiny lantern snaked across the courtyard and into the same door by which I had found the outside. I remained on the path for several minutes, growing more curious as the seconds passed. A hint of sunlight crossed the courtyard like a sword. Its advent was so sudden as to startle me.
Then out of the darkness and across the sphere of light two people crossed. One was my earlier guide and new friend, Juan. I did not know the woman with him. I ran down the path as they approached the door. “Juan,” I whispered loudly.
He turned his head quickly and was frozen in his steps. Perhaps he was expecting someone else, someone to fear. I stumbled into the light. “Que pasa?” My cryptic Spanish probably amused him.
A smile erupted from his face. “Senor, venga.” He waved and told me to come along and motioned for me to re-enter the building. His female companion smiled at me and stepped in the doorway ahead of Juan.
“Momento.” I held up one finger.
Juan nodded and stepped through the doorway and into the darkened room I had visited earlier. I quickly moved up the hallway to my room where my companion still dozed peacefully. I picked up my backpack and returned to the area at the end of the hall. I pushed open the first door and the whispering began again.
Juan tugged on my arm. “Aqui.”
My eyes finally adjusted in the darkness. Seated around on the floor were a dozen or more people. “Juan.” I turned to him.
He nodded at the group. “Han venido a orar.”
I squatted. I had pushed my Spanish language training to its limit and must have looked confused.
The woman with Juan leaned across him and whispered. “We here pray.” I understood her broken English perfectly.
Juan patted me on the back. “Domingo amigo.”
I pulled my backpack around to my lap and pulled out a handful of small Spanish New Testament Bibles.
The lady with Juan took one and touched my hand. “Thank you.”
My ego was bursting. I whispered. “You’re welcome.”
She continued her touch on my hand. “You kind,” I noticed a tear in her eyes. She looked over her shoulder then gestured at the group. “No school, no read.”
I sat back. “Dear Jesus, in this darkness You have opened my eyes to see what I am here to do.”
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