t’s hard to predict what discoveries a pilgrim will make during a weekend. It was after one of the Jamaican weekends that one of the men told me his life story. He had never known his mother or father, and a woman he called Miss Myrtle raised him. As a boy, he wanted presents at birthdays and Christmas, like all the other boys. “I never got any,” he told me, “but it was okay, because Miss Myrtle, she hadn’t hardly enough to feed me.” Then, after a long pause, he sheepishly looked up with a smile and said, “You all came and cared for me these three days and you surprised me with whole heaps of presents.
You say it’s something about giving me a lift from the Holy Spirt called ‘palanca’—enough to cover my 34 years.” After some tears, he added, “Now I know that God never forgets about me. And I have a little boy. He don’t know me, but I know about him. And I’m going to look him up and tell him that I will never forget about him either, and do what I can to make up for what he has been missing all this time. I’ll do it with God’s help.” Then, after some silence, he pointed up with a gleam in his eyes and proclaimed, “What does Jesus mean to me now? He is my faithful father.”