Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Post Mission Thoughts

We were wondering the other day, what did our 13 year old daughter get from the trip? 

If you were to ask her, she might get a little self conscious, wondering what kind of answer you expect and not wanting to be 'wrong'. Her real answers come during chats in the car or from under a fitting room door as we shop for back-to-school clothes. She explains that she doesn't want to waste her chances and opportunities, she looks at the future of some and then at her own, and she realized how much she has ahead of her. Doesn't want to miss a chance that God puts before her.

I have also been asking myself the same question. I was already very aware and compassionate about the poverty in the world. I have a bleeding heart for the unfortunate, and an anger for the corruption, and though I believe that much of life is what you make of it, there are many victims in the world who just don't have the ability, strength, vision or know-how to change anything.

I questioned how some things never change. Modern methods taught - faster, cheaper, easier - yet people resort back to what they know. In a country where 90% of the population don't have get beyond 4th grade education, is it surprising that the toll of poverty makes people seek comfort in their old ways?

What vision is there for 1,800 people who live in a garbage dump? Not just visit the dump, but live there. What do they know of outside and the potential opportunities that await them? What do they know other than the dream of being the garbage truck driver - the best option they see in life, instead of being in one of the gangs that run the place? That is, if they live to see adulthood.

A crippling law in Honduras is that it is almost impossible to own land, even if you 'buy' it. It all belongs to the government. You can own a house but not the land it is on. El Sembardor (a school and farm) was set up in the 1940s and grew to be a 2,000 acre farm that has educated thousands of children that would have otherwise had no education. For decades, they struggled with the fact that they couldn't have full rights of the land. They frequently battled squatters that would try to take hundreds of acres at a time.
It took about 50 years to be granted full domain rights by the government. The most shocking thing about this is that when the government changes, those rights are taken away again and the application process (and money!) begins again. This is so for everyone in the country, rich or poor.

These are the kinds of things that gave me a greater understanding of how difficult it is to succeed in a country like that, even if they wanted to. A better grasp on why they cannot always help themselves.

Before I went I was already aware of my blessings and how fortunate I am. But what it did was make me aware that I don't make the most of them. I am not always a good steward of what I have. My time, energy, health, opportunities allow me to do much more than I actually do. Only my focus, attitude and priorities stand in my way.

I feel God's nudge frequently. It's that voice that tells me, why aren't you helping? Or, go over and talk to that lonely person. Or, I gave you a blessing, why aren't you using it?

Sometimes our fear of man strangles our fear of God. We become more afraid of what someone will think of us instead of what God thinks of us. More afraid of being told no than thanks. More afraid of our friends questioning us with what are you doing? I have been guilty of that more than once. I repent of my fear of what the world thinks, and promise to try to only fear what God thinks of my actions and my outreach. 

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