Sunday, February 24, 2008

Pity & Love

My thoughts continue to be drawn towards my response to the marginalized.

I have had so many encounters that I could write about. I think that what I really struggle with is the concept of pity.

it seems that...

In pity we look down at someone and remain in our position,
In love we go to them and look into their eyes.

I do not want to just give people money, walk away or have them walk away, and then forget them or have them believe I will forget them. I want to hear their "voice." I desire for them to know that I care about their life.

I am still learning how I can love the poor.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Walking From Affluence To Solidarity

The other day we (the servant team and I) were walking up some stairs from under the road and I saw a man sitting on the side with a sign around his neck begging.  I don't know what the sign said because I averted my eyes not knowing what else to do.  I didn't feel that I had the option to talk with him partially because I didn't know how to speak Spanish that well and I didn't want to slow down the group, so the only thing I felt I could do was to just walk past him and avert my eyes.

We sat down to write about our surroundings about one hundred feet from him, though we couldn't see him anymore.  Rachel was sitting by me and mentioned that she was thinking about getting him a muffin and bringing it to him.  To be honest, I wasn't really comfortable with that.  I guess I felt like it would be better if we could at least talk with him or something, not just give him a muffin and leave, but build a relationship.  But since we couldn't really do that, I thought, 'why do it then?'  It's such a small thing, but I didn't know when the last time he ate was.

Rachel went and got a muffin while I kept writing, and then we both went back to the man.  As we walked up a police officer was making him move further down the stairs to kind of hide him more so that he couldn't be seen so much.  We then walked up to him.  Rachel handed him the muffin explaining what it was.  As I looked at his face I noticed that he was blind.  I took his hand for a moment and said "Dios te bendiga" (God bless you).  I wish there was more we could do.

There is so much poverty here.  And I feel that I don't just want to walk around giving people muffins and saying "God bless you."  I mean it with all my heart and find joy in giving and fulfilling immediate needs, but I want to do more than that.  I don't know what to do.  

I guess that's why I was opposed to getting the guy a muffin when Rachel suggested it.  I want to help him find the opportunity for a job so he can get his own muffins.  He is more than a beggar.  I understand that immediate needs are important too, but I want to do sustainable development.  When I see a beggar, I want to be able to create a program that will educate and train beggars (disabled or not) so that they can find sustainable work or for those who can't work to have a place/center where they can be loved and cared for within a supportive community.  Then I can offer something more than a moment of satisfaction.  More than hunger met, but also a relationship where they can trust and/or a job where they can support themselves.  I want to restore their dignity in the eyes of the world.

I have yet so much to learn.

Friday, February 15, 2008

El Primero Seis Horas (The First Six Hours)

(written on Feb 11th at 2am...when I arrived in Lima)

Well, I´m here. I live in a yellow room on the second floor facing the street. Light pours through the window. The air is hot, but there is a cool breeze that occasionally finds its way into the room. Ben, my team mate, is sleeping. I can hear him lightly snoring. There is an occasional car that swishes by or a moped buzzing or trucks rattling. The streets are so empty. It smells like...Lima, I guess. I am in prayer for the team, Word Made Flesh staff, and my family and friends at home. This will be my first night. May God be glorified. May He shine.


I woke up to a clear, sunny day bouncing off the yellow walls and the sound of dozens of different horns going off sporatically....nearly every other second (I don't know if I'll need an alarm clock :)

The birds sing a different song in Peru, when you can hear them.

five days later = today.....

I am in limbo...waiting for what God has planned while I am here in Lima. i don't feel like i have culture shock. I love my host family. They are fairly poor, doing whatever they can to make the money they need to pay for daily living, and are so generous. Sarah has a juice stand connected to the apartment-house-thingy where she sells juice, bread, and other yummy things (she also does other various things to get money). Eduardo does a variety of jobs. Carlos is maybe fourteen (i forgot what age he was), but school starts for him in March (it's summer here right now :-)

They speak very little english, so it's been great getting to know them and tell them about my life in Spanish/little English and hear about theirs. I have really enjoyed our conversations. Last night I helped Sarah and Eduardo put together clothing tags for brand-name clothes (Tommy Hilfigure...) and we talked about random things and laughed and whatnot. It was a great time. I love their simplicity. I really really do.