Tuesday 13 October 2015

So Much Need, So Easy to Be a Light

No matter where you look.... on facebook, on instagram, on the news.... you see that the world is a hurting place.

You see things about war, school shootings and mudslides that killed hundreds in Guatamala. You hear about abuse, the war on drugs and gang fights.

 I know that it can be overwhelming to think about all the needs and how limited our time is.

The thing is, you don't even have to turn on your computer or look at your phone to see the hurt around you.

Nearly every city in the world deals with homelessness, hunger, drugs, alcohol and abuse. And I can guarantee if you start talking to people you find deeper issues as to why that is happening. People typically assume that it is the fault of the homeless women (lazy) or man that drinks uncontrollably (selfish), and the prostitute (her choice), and while sometimes it probably is true. I am going to say that NORMALLY there is a story. There is a story behind every person and the struggles that they face daily.

Here in Ixtapaluca we are being forced to see the need.

The spiritual need is a huge one. People are worshipping so many idols and in desperate need of a Savior. They are bound to strongholds that only God can break. We are here in Ixtapaluca to share be a much needed light, right? To share the Love of God with people. Yes! We are all called to make disciples, it IS in the Bible!

But, besides the spiritual need, there are physical needs. Sometimes that looks like giving food to a family out of work, or giving a ride to a doctors apt, or just sitting and hanging out with someone that is hurting. Sometimes these people we are helping are believers, but a lot of times, they are not. We, the church, are to be an agent of the kingdom. More often then not, you need to meet a physical need of someone before you meet the spiritual need. If you ask a starving person if they want food or Jesus-- they are probably going to say food! But, building a relationship with that person, helping them fulfill the need for food, or a job, or whatever... that gives you the avenue to share the Gospel.

Recently, in the last six months (ish) we have been made aware of even more needs in Ixtapaluca. We probably had an idea that they existed, but until you experience "the need" you can ignore it, or not know how to help or whatever. The first one is a shelter for elderly people who have been abandoned and/or abused. Spending time with them, doing simple crafts, helping them shower, changing diapers and clothing, giving them a warm meal... those seem like simple things but mean the world to these people. These people don't have a lot, and don't want a lot. And we can help them by meeting basic needs.

The second is an orphanage (well, kinda two orphanages) we never knew existed just a few months ago. These kids, often just dropped off by their parents for one reason or another, have found themselves without a ton of stability and a lot of issues. The family that runs it, does what they can to make the life for these kids the best it can be. But, with 45 kids and 4 people helping, what they lack is help (at the place) and the ability to give the kids the attention that they desperately need. How do we help them? Spend time with them, usually twice a week. Just hanging out, playing, giving hugs, listening to them, picking them up when they fall, helping with homework, teaching english, giving birthday parties, donating food. Anything we can do to make them feel like the special gifts from God they are!

We are so far from perfect here on earth. But we (speaking for all Christians in this world) can be a light in a very dark world. We can share the Love of God. You don't have to live in a foreign country to change the world. Just look outside. It doesn't take a lot of time to make someone feel special or make a meal for a family who needs it or read the Bible to an elderly neighbor. And you never know, it may change a life (or hundreds of lives) for eternity.

I will leave you with this thought...Christians are to go into the world as a witness to the kingdom (Acts 1:6-8). But to spread the kingdom of God is more than simply winning  people to Christ. It is also working for the healing of people, families and nations. It is doing deeds of compassion and seeking justice.

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