It has been a while since I have written and a lot has happened so this is going to be a long one. Honestly I am not really even sure how to get it all on paper in an organized way. The past couple of weeks have been an absolute blur with much cause for celebration and also for sadness.
I will start with some good news. The newest member of The Field’s Edge family, Titus O’Daniel Echols was born on September 30th at 8lbs 13oz and 20.5 inches. He and mom are doing great and Truma is already doing a wonderful job stepping into the big sister role. Our friend and documentarian captured a beautiful video of that day and we will definitely treasure that forever.
While we were in the hospital, I found out that our new tiny home, the one that we will live in, was going to be delivered the following day. We had been staying at my parents’ house for a couple of weeks since Briana got sick, and had not had a chance to move our RV out of the way. A few hours after Titus was born, I had to leave the hospital to go take the trailer off the jacks, unhook the septic, and pack everything up. My Dad came to help me and thankfully he is a trailer-backing wizard. Of course it started pouring rain as we were driving to get that all done, so we got soaked but took care of business anyways. I showered at my parents’ house to get all the mud off and headed back to the hospital. I had barely had a chance to hold Titus so I really wanted to be with them.
As I was driving back, my mom called and said that my grandmother, Eddie Juan Echols, had passed away. My Mamie had a lengthy battle with diabetes and dementia and recently had been doing very poorly. It was not a surprise, but still very sad. Mamie loved with her whole self. She clearly exhibited the joy of the Lord and shared it with everyone she met. She and Papa were the salt of the earth and they are greatly missed by many. It is hard to imagine a world without her but knowing without a doubt that she is with Jesus gives us great peace.
I stopped at Subway to get us some food and walked in to that hospital room experiencing all of the emotions at once. I told Briana that I didn’t know how to feel because on one hand I was so happy that Titus had been born, yet so sad that my Mamie had passed. As Briana was comforting me as only she can, we looked out the window and saw a rainbow, a timely reminder of God’s love. We fell asleep during the Alabama vs. Ole Miss game, and fortunately we didn’t miss much (66-3 Roll Tide!)
We came home to my parents’ house because our new tiny house was not quite ready yet. We were waiting on the propane to be hooked up and our refrigerator to be delivered. I had some lovely people step in to handle the breakfast truck runs for the whole week, leaving me time to finish the house and be with my family.
On Tuesday I had a meeting with the landowner who is generously going to donate the land for the village. I was running a little ahead of schedule so I stopped by the Texaco for a Topo Chico and some gas. As I approached I noticed my friend Lois, a beautiful soul who has been on the streets of Midland for far too long. She was standing outside enjoying a cigarette. We exchanged hellos and I told her about the baby. She has always loved Briana and Truma so she was excited for us. I went on my way having no idea that this would be the last time I would see her alive.
The meeting with the landowner went well and we came up with a game plan to start moving forward with all of the permitting that needs to be done. I left there and went back out to our new house to keep moving things in, installing tvs, carrying mattresses that were way too heavy, and trying to make a home for my family. We got some more wonderful news that our niece Hannah Joy and her family were coming home. We went to see them, held each other and cried for joy of what the Lord had done. The next morning I was in Target buying some household things and got a text from a friend. “Did you know that Lois passed away?” I could barely keep my composure as I walked around the store, forgetting why I had come in the first place.
Lois was someone I always dreamed would be one of our first neighbors at the village. I met her when I first got involved with Church Under the Bridge back in 2011. We first developed a relationship during the wintertime when we would bring her coffee in the freezing cold. She had been staying in a tent in the same spot for several years. One surprising thing I found out about her is that she played piano at a small church every Sunday. She even worked for Gulf Oil as a secretary for many years. She had children and grandchildren and loved to talk about them. One winter she called Briana early in the morning to tell her that her tent had collapsed under the weight of the snow. She said, “Tell Marco to come over and set up my new tent.” Until recently, she could never get my name right. She’d call me all kinds of things including “that other lawyer” (I’m not even close to a lawyer). One night I found her at the Which Wich Christmas party having a ball with the employees. She was a hoot.
Since we started the breakfast truck, I saw her nearly every day. She had her good days and her bad days. Sometimes she was reserved, and other times she would come running out of her tent, hug me, hold my hands, tell me how much God loves me, and ask how Briana and Truma were doing. Recently she wrote a thank you note to Breaking Bread and then about a week ago, she wrote one directly to us. She was an incredibly thoughtful lady. It is had to make out the words but I could understand the important things. She knew the Lord and the Lord knew her. Her principles stemmed from her deep faith and she knew it was important to love others. Even in the horrid conditions she lived in, she knew the joy of the Lord and nothing could ever take that away from her.
It saddens me to think that she died alone. We wanted so badly for her to be part of our community and to come home with us for good. It gives me even more of a sense of urgency to get things moving forward. Just this morning we fed several elderly people who I am very concerned will not make it through the winter. I keep asking the Lord why everything is taking so long. How come there is such a lengthy process to finalize the land? Why hasn’t a huge check for millions of dollars landed in our lap? Where is the miracle right now? Doesn’t He see that people are dying, homeless and alone?
My emotions get the best of me sometimes and I forget that God has a far larger scope of vision than I do. He knows the suffering of my friends on the streets in an even deeper way than I ever can. He experienced it on the cross for us and His love is unfathomable. He chose Lois from before the foundation of the world and He loved her so much that He sent His son to die for her. I won’t ever fully understand why there is so much pain in the world, but I can assure you that I will do everything in my power to put an end to it for the glory of God. We are the hands and feet of Christ it is our responsibility and privilege to give ourselves for those who are suffering. Father let your kingdom come!
I pray that God will stir each of us up to give ourselves away. We were created with a specific purpose in mind and we will never find peace until our will aligns with the Lord’s. Pray, seek it out, ask God to show you who He made you to be. Believe in Christ and follow Him! The gift of your life is meant to change the world. Don’t waste it!
Our prayers can be summed up in a song that was released this week. Listen to it all the way to the end. Hear our cry Lord. Establish the work of our hands!
Teach us to number the length of our days
Pour out Your power, we'll pour out Your praise
Teach us to run, to finish the race
For only what's done in love will remain
Let the favor of the Lord rest upon us…
O Lord, establish the work of our hands
O Lord, establish the work of our hands