Tell me which place you’d rather be. That’s right, the top one. As it turns out, these two places have more in common than meets the eye.
The top photo was taken in Lajas, Puerto Rico, off the village of La Parguera. The bottom one was taken on my church’s worksite in Ponce, Puerto Rico, nearly a month ago.
Lajas is home to a bioluminescent bay, or BioBay, so named because it is filled with micro-organisms called dinoflagellates. The dinoflagellates produce spurts of light in response to movement. Having visited the BioBay for myself, I can testify that the experience is like no other. The lights are most visible when it is pitch black outside, and the faster you move, the brighter they become. Your body literally sparkles with hundreds of tiny lights. The only negative is that it is nearly impossible to capture this effect in a photograph.
What does the BioBay have to do with the demolished fence in that lot? Figuratively speaking, Ponce is enveloped in darkness—poverty, desperation and broken families. During the week we spent there, we picked up bags and bags of garbage, pulled hundreds of weeds, knocked down the old fence in that lot (which was nothing but a few pieces of plywood nailed together), and began to rebuild a stronger, more beautiful fence in its place. We also hosted Vacation Bible School for the local children, where we chased the little rascals around for 8 hours at a time. Did I mention there was a language barrier? One day, we walked around a neighborhood, offering rice, beans and prayers to anyone who would accept them. Needless to say, there was a lot of movement going on.
The more we moved in Ponce, the brighter our light shone in the darkness. The homeowners offered us fresh empanadas out of gratitude. Children giggled with us as we kicked the soccer ball and sang Spanish songs. Locals smiled at the realization that someone cared enough to pray for them and make sure they had enough to eat.
"In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:16).