Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I Never Want To Become Numb

I’m feeling a bit nostalgic.

Exactly one year ago, I was on a massive adventure.

7 countries, 14 families, 3 weeks. With Compassion. Visiting homes, schools, Compassion Projects, churches. I’m just reliving it.

What I saw, heard and experienced wrecked my heart in so many ways. The reality of many people’s situations is mind-boggling and unthinkable. The depth of evil and the soul-destroying effects of poverty in the world sometimes seem boundless. However, I also found out that through Compassion, God gives them Hope.

This trip was necessary preparation for what is to come. I have been sheltered, prosperous, blessed, wealthy, self-sufficient, and I needed my eyes opened and my heart broken so God can use me properly in the Philippines over the next X years.

I am convinced that caring for children is the role God has created me for.
It may be why He made me short (a long shot, I know) and popped me somewhere in between simple and intellectual, to help me relate to them and understand them better.
It’s why He made me patient, gentle and affectionate.
It’s why He gave me the ability and desire to play, laugh and show joy.
As hard as this is to say being male, it’s why He gave me a soft heart. 
Note: The following has been “borrowed” from blogger Patricia Jones when she was on a Compassion trip to Ecuador. It captures my heart so well, I just had to adapt it.

I never want to become numb to this.

It would be easy to turn off the emotions after being on multiple trips with 
Compassion over the years. After all, I have seen poverty before…. many times, all over the world.

However, the day that I can look at a child who lives in poverty, and not feel emotion, is the day I don’t recognize Jesus in them.

It’s the day that I forget that those little hands and feet, those beautiful eyes, the little toes that squeeze through the holes of the worn out shoes, is a creation of God. It’s the day I forget that whatever you do to the least of these you do unto Jesus.

So many needs.

There was Yeymi from Guatemala. She and her three sisters sleep in the same bed despite having a spare bedroom because they “don’t want to be alone.” Every second week they are just looked after by their elderly grandmother. All they own is a box of clothes each, because her mother’s uncle came and stole everything they had, even the kitchen sink, and tried to take the door off the hinges.

There was Josefa from Guatemala. She and her brother have to work six hours a day making shoes, as well as go to school because of the lifestyle choice of their father.

There was Olga from Mexico. One of nine children, they have no access to running water and two and a half walls on her house.

There was Julissa from Nicaragua. Her father was gravely ill, but as the only breadwinner in the family he continued making coffins regardless. (I understand he’s doing better now)

There was 8 year old Antonio from Nicaragua. His mother is 23 with an equally young husband and a brand new baby. They live in a brick box and her loneliness and brokenness were palpable as she was overwhelmed by her circumstances. In a holy moment I was able to hold her and lift her up to God

There was Ana Cristina from Brazil. Her family has spent two years on the run because of incidents involving drugs, murder and revenge. Eleven people share a one bedroom house. The fence is laced with broken bottle edges. It is not safe to go out after 7pm. There is marshland out the back that floods when it rains. Her 20 year old brother had a baby with a 14 year old.

There was Cashofia from the Philippines. She has not seen her father for three years. He is in hiding because he was accused of a horrific crime against one of his employees.

After seeing these things, I could not just shut my eyes to it, as much as I wanted to. Because God loves them, and He entrusted them to me. To use what He has given me to help them, and show them His love. Each family I visited, my heart was full of love for them, and I was thankful to feel this love, to feel the pain of their poverty, and the desire to make their life better. I wasn’t numb.

If I stop shedding tears for the poor, I stop seeing them like Jesus.
I never want to become numb when one of my kids gives me a long hug goodbye, as if to say thank you, and then I see her wiping away her tears. She sees my tears too…and she knows that today, she was loved. A hard heart is not for me.

I never want to become numb for those things that God holds so close to His heart. These are His children.

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