Monday, March 18, 2013

It Is Not Always Easy

Reading Ann Voskamp's posts on their family mission trip to Haiti has touched me deeply.  Seeing the photos of Haiti and those that live there brought me back immediately to the two years we lived in The Philippines.  We were in the Air Force, but resided most of our tour off the base where we lived up close and personal with third world poverty.  Watching young children dig through our garbage and chew on pork chop bones is etched in my mind like a sharp knife. Seeing the garbage collectors build a small fire on top of the garbage in the truck, dig around in the heaping pile of rich American waste, and then cook over an open fire that which we discarded cannot be forgotten.  Everywhere we looked we were confronted with how truly rich we were and how truly needy so much of the world was and is to this day.  There are so many of God's children in need of having their bodies and souls fed.

Last night during our home Bible study on James, twenty of us discussed the commands given in God's Word to feed the poor and take care of orphans and widows.  It is easier to see the poverty in places like Haiti and The Philippines, and lend a helping hand.   If we cannot take mission trips ourselves, we are able to reach out to others with donations to places like Lutheran World Relief or International Voice of the Orphan and know that those offerings will reach their destination.

What about here in our own backyards?  Unless you live in a big city, you, like me, are most likely unaware of all the hidden poor that live around us. If we are aware, we don't have to look at in on a daily basis. And yet God tells us to feed the poor and take care of orphans and widows. Do we?  Do we feed the bodies and the souls of God's needy children?  We need only stop for the one......doing what we can....doing what God asks, whether that be in Haiti or our own backyard.

Our discussion last night turned to whether we are to feed the poor with the Gospel first or with food for their bellies.  The concensus was that we need to do both.  We talked about seeing the children in Africa who know Jesus, and yet are still praying for their next meal.  The smiles on their faces that lit up their eyes could not be denied.  They know of the love of God and are happy even when their bellies are hungry.  It is something to ponder.

I was blessed to see Ann's posts on Haiti.  It took me back to The Philippines and was an important  reminder to my heart. When we are aware of what poverty looks like and when we read God's commands, we cannot look away.  People need God's love, and that love comes through us. It is not always easy.  But it is necessary.  And it is not only a command, it is a privilege.  Today as I link up with Ann over at A Holy Experience I am so grateful for Ann opening my eyes once again.  For reminding me of the need to help others and look beyond myself.  I am grateful for a full fridge and the money to keep it that way. I am grateful to have God's love within and experience it without.  I am grateful for the privilege to stop for the one. 



Sharon said...

Renee, a wonderful post, full of such good truth. Our church just announced yesterday several projects that they are undertaking in the next couple of months to help the needy in our community. It's a small town, and the economy has suffered in the last few years.

I think you're right about feeding the bellies and feeding the souls. It's what Jesus did - and what better example could we have?


Kim said...

It's hard for us as Americans to think about how rich we are in comparison, I think. I know that even as someone who tries to live my life for Jesus there's so much more I can do. We do cross paths with many homeless people in one day in NYC. And over the years God's opened my eyes to their presence. Our church gives us tickets that we can hand out to them to a local mission that will feed, house, and help them get on their feet. But I know even the poor I see here are wealthy by comparison to the poor overseas. Have you read K.P. Yohannon's "Revolution in World Missions"? That book really inspired me and changed the way I think. Thank you as always, Renee, for this beautiful ministry here.