Nick and Danielle are back from South America!
Here are some quick sketches from the mountain villages of Ecuador:
There was an 8 year old boy who received medical care from the clinic after school. They wanted to give him medication to help with his fever, but the medicine would make him drowsy and he needed to walk two hours in order to get home. He walks two hours to school and two hours back daily. They go to school from seven to one so the school won’t have to feed them lunch.
Nick saw a five year old boy take his toddler sister in for medical care. No one knew where the mom was.
Danielle loved playing with the children. She played many of the games we loved as kids--Red Rover, Duck, Duck Goose, and piggy back riding. One mother came to get her daughter and she thanked Danielle for playing with her. She said she had never seen her daughter smile before that day. The little girl was about three.
Nick said the adults never smile. Their lives are hard. Most people are hungry. Nick said they live in pain daily and struggle to survive.
After hearing stories like those, it sure makes this American life I live look pretty good. It was convicting to me because the last two years of my life have seemed hard to me. I don’t like it that I hurt most days and often have a hard time getting out of bed. These stories remind me that I live a life those people would never dream about.
I love the Lord SO MUCH. I was talking to Him about all of this and of course expected some great chastisement. But this is what I felt like I heard: Pain is pain. He looks down on the pain in the world and He cares. He cares about it all. He cares deeply. He cares about the pain the villagers feel and he cares about the pain I feel. He’s never going to stop caring. It’s good to be grateful for all I have and realize that I have it much better than most of the world. But that doesn’t mean God doesn’t care about me. He doesn’t belittle any of our struggles. Whatever you are going through.....God cares about you. He wants to meet us all in our need and touch our hearts. He wants to be there for us and show us his love.
It was delightful to hear about the large number of people who gave their lives to Christ during this mission trip and who will receive follow-up from local pastors. In the midst of such difficulty, Jesus can be their comfort and the answer in the midst of their desperate need. He is my hero.