Saturday, March 24, 2012
Home sweet home!
There's no place like home were the words spoken to me from the taxi driver as he drove me home early in the morning today. It was good to be home, to see Paula, to be in her presence and to hug and play with Phoebe. I hadn't seen them in a week and I was missing them. Mid-week, what struck me was the sight of kids Phoebe's age running through the streets, in the midst of vehicles, dogs and it broke my heart.
This trip broke my heart in many ways. When my brother and I were debriefing, I shared that it was definitely a trip that I will never forget and hope to do again.
For those who don't know, I went to cook for a group 45 people...who were going down to build two homes in Puerto Penasco Mexico. It was a group of Grade 11 students (and leaders) from Calvin Christian School. We went with an organization called Amor Ministries. The students and leaders built two homes while we were down there.
My brother and I cooked for the group. So we mainly stayed at the camp site...which was basically an open desert. We had outhouses for banios and shower bags to shower in (if you had a chance to do that which we didn't), and no running waters, so it was hauling water, boiling it, sterilizing it. Lots of work to do to feed the crew. Getting up at 5 am and warming up...getting breakfast on by 715 so the kids could get out to build. Then cleaning up and getting lunches going (refried bean wraps) and then delivering them to the sites. That was our time to see the progress and see the area. By the second day, I just wept. I think the first day, I was just in shock. With an unemployment rate of 65% or higher, it means a lot of despair and apathy. Adults work where ever they can find work...and they work long hours. Kids running around because most of them can't afford to go to school (you pay for schooling). It was heart breaking.
But we saw hope in the midst of this. One day a leader and I stood watching as my brother clowned and made balloon animals for the kids. We wept as the kids laughed. We gave extra food to those adults standing around, and we wept as they thanked us over and over again! They didn't expect this. I haven't cried that much in a long time.
When the houses were built...and let me just say...I wondered what they would be like...and they were mansions in comparison to homes in the area (the new homes with two rooms, the size of our living room, which would house at least 4 people). During the house dedication when we dedicated the homes to the Glory of God we sang the doxology...and I actually couldn't sing, as the single mother of 3 hid her face in her hands...tears rolled down most of our faces...and I just couldn't sing! The emotions flooded over me. Here in this small two room dwelling, with no furniture, no "western luxuries" was a home. Not just a house but a home were a mother could have some hope for a future. She knew Jesus and thanked each one of us with a tight hug. We then gave her two large boxes of food, that was purchases through the donations of the group. These were very large boxes of groceries. (my brother and I got to purchase the food...and I was responsible for this home) I prayed as I picked up the food, asking the Holy Spirit to feed this family with deep wisdom and understanding. That the holy spirit would raise up this family in their community. It was an experience that I will NEVER forget.
I don't know if you can ever be the same again. My heart is heavy...especially as it pertains to things of relativity. My brother and I talked about that to some degree as we debriefed on our way to Phoenix. Our poverty is so different in many respects. What my thought was...is how do we help those around us in need? Be that emotional, spiritual and or physical? I really sensed Papa speaking to my heart about my own life...and those I work with...those who often carry a deep hurt or poverty in their hearts about their worth and the fact they are loved. At one point I was sharing my story with one of the leaders and we had just seen a row of run down shacks and right ahead of us was rows of high end resorts and condos. I shared that for many people they feel like the derelict rows of houses...run down, on the peripheral of those who are "perfect" in the church. Those who's lives appear to be all together, like those high end condos and resorts, yet are they? Where do those who live in the shacks fit in? Do they fit in my church, your church?
I'm not even sure what more to write about? I can look at our need...and say there is some desperation in our need...yet in retrospect...there are others in far worse situations that us. Yet, I know our need! Does that make sense? I know our need for a new roof...when their are leaks in the ceiling. I know our need for some foundation work when there are leaks in the basement. But what does one do? My decision after this trip is no less solidified. But one thing is for sure, is that I pray. I pray and seek God to supply all our needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. I pray and serve those who are less fortunate than myself, especially those who feel like they are on the margins of the Church. Those who really don't feel they belong. I want them to know Jesus loves them with abandon. I want them to experience Jesus in the way Jesus wants to meet them. I need to examine my life...and see how to cut corners, how to do without some of the things that I think I need or want when in reality, they aren't that important anyways. It will be a challenge but after seeing what I saw in Mexico, how can I not? Lord have your way in my heart!
Above all, my hope someday is that we realize that every decision that we make has impact. Every decision no matter how big or small makes a difference in someones life. I want to begin to see that in my own life in new and greater ways.