As I sit in this airport on the way home, I can’t help but ask the question: If the simple life in America means we live with less—what does it mean for them?
Living with less where we have been for a week means something different then living with less elsewhere. For example, the two young boys in this picture wanted nothing more than to shake my hand and walk around the compound with me, showing me classrooms, teachers and friends.
They practiced their broken English, and held on to me, filled with laughter and energy. They couldn’t stop smiling, even though the food you see in the photo is all they would eat that day. And they were thankful for it. But the food in their little pots didn’t get filled every day, just five days a week, but that was five days they could eat.
I’m not trying to break your heart. I’m trying to show you two young boys who are excited about life because, in the midst of extreme poverty, they know Jesus. And they know Jesus because someone told them.
Someone stepped out of their comfort zone and took the Gospel to where it had never been. We call it the Great Commission and shroud it in the cloak of sacrifice, as if we are giving up everything to be obedient to it.
They call it food, and clothing, and eternal life. For people who have nothing to call their own—nothing at all, they call it love.
These little guys were typical of the children we saw that day. They were thankful for the food and clothing, shelter and schooling. But more than anything, they were thankful that we came and held their hands. They couldn’t believe that we would come just to visit.
This week I was privileged once again to spend time with young professionals willing to show up and get totally out of their comfort zones, use up precious vacation time, and risk it all because it’s worth it. It meant that some of them got sick. That happens all the time and it doesn’t stop these young women and men with whom I am blessed to work. They don’t accompany me on the front lines to support me–we work alongside each other to make it all happen.
There are always compromising situations and we see displaced people who have seen terror that no one should ever be acquainted. But still, their faith is either strong, or they are searching. That’s why we go. That’s why we are there. Don’t look at us as suffering for God. Look at those who have lost loved ones to bombings and torture and rape as suffering for God. I am not worthy to be compared to what they have endured.
What a humbling experience to have a poor child end your visit with them by offering you some of their food in the midst of their hunger.
Pray for them, and then go. Go with us or with someone else who is going, but go if you’re able. God doesn’t call some to make a difference. He calls everyone to make a difference. You’ll know what that looks like if you seek His will. Do it.