It’s a paralyzing sensation – this coming back to first-world comforts and reality. Where does one start to share the overwhelming experiences of another life of which we know so little? We see even the third-world through our own tinted lenses and struggle to make sense of it all. So I say that to say this – it’s not going to get easier to talk about by letting it simmer any longer.
I have more questions than ever after seeing the way people live and work in what we would call less-than-ideal situations. My big question coming back was and is this – how is it that some parts of the world have progressed so little over thousands of years and other parts (yes, the US of A especially) have become a world power in a relatively short amount of time? That’s one of my big questions right off the top, under which fall many, many other questions, not the least of which is “What is then our responsibility as believers and followers of Jesus?”
I remember being in South Asia in the fall of 2008 and literally standing stock-still in the street surrounded by a swirling mass of humanity and thinking to myself “Where would you even start?!” I also remember the thought that was made real to me a bit later and one that has been reiterated by God in my life in so many ways since then and it is this – “Be faithful in serving those I have put in front of you right here, right now.” I know that no one person can ever meet all the needs made known to them, but as we seek God He will help us to know when, where and how.
The responsibility I feel as a witness to the needs on the other side of the world also motivates me to share here some ways that you can come alongside the work across the world and to bring HOPE to those who have so little.
And HOPE there is, as we saw both in Bangladesh and in Myanmar. It did my heart good to see glimmers of the silver lining of what could be and indeed what is, and progress in teeny tiny pockets of these beautiful places full of beautiful people who know nothing different than what we saw there every day.
We saw HOPE in a tiny house church in Myanmar, living out the Gospel in real and tangible ways, showing Christ to their neighborhood by the way they care for each other.
We saw HOPE in a place where women have been rescued from a life of prostitution, where they have been given jobs, they have been taught how to cook and clean and how to care for their children and where they have had dignity restored to their lives.
We saw HOPE in a place where women who have physical disabilities have found purpose and fulfillment in weaving the most beautiful rugs in a part of the world where disabilities make one much less valuable than others.
We pray that all of these people could see the HOPE of Christ in us as we visited there and as we tried to encourage them in their work (and I did the unthinkable – I made a promise that I would tell their stories!). My prayer is that they will all come to know the True HOPE that is Jesus and through that there could be change and progress even in this place of harsh realities.
Here are some things YOU can do here, today.
YOU can pray! That God would bless and guide the work of those who have there for years and years, who have made an impact in the lives of many and through whom there can be a change of mind especially toward those who have but little recourse. Pray that the work would be successful and that many would come to know Truth.
YOU can give! There are many organizations who are doing this type of work around the world. Educate yourself about their work and find one that you can get behind. Several that I would recommend are World Vision, Compassion International and Samaritan’s Purse.
YOU can serve! Start with those around you, right in front of you, today.