Today, June 27, 2014, marks 7 days since I returned home from Honduras. I wanted to write a Facebook status sharing my thoughts on the trip, and the adjustment back to America, but a Facebook status isn’t long enough to comprise all my thoughts.
I returned home at about 10 PM last Friday night, and had to quickly leave for band camp early Sunday morning, so I did not much have time to think about and process the week I had just experienced. At band camp we had packed schedules, and opportunity to talk about what I had just experienced rarely came around. Despite this, I was internally slowly adjusting to life back in America.
My first night at band camp I brought my Nalgene to the bathroom to brush my teeth, and even though I remembered I could safely use the facet water, it still felt weird and “too easy.” I was usually cold in the air conditioned dorms, and wasn’t used to feeling cold inside. At meal times the sensation of ice hitting my face still alarmed me, and for a brief moment I wondered if I had my Cipro pills with me, just in case.
I tried confiding in one of my friends about how it still felt weird not having to worry about clean water, and I tried explaining to him that in Honduras you had to shower with your eyes and mouth closed and he told me “Kim, you’re just a germaphobe.”
Actually, I’m not a germaphobe. Actually, he just didn’t get it. He had no clue that in a many countries if you get the water in your eyes or mouth you can be out sick for days, and in some cases dead.
This is exactly the problem.
The problem isn’t that one high school boy can’t wrap his mind around the living conditions of the people of La Union. The problem is a majority of people living in affluent societies can’t wrap their minds around the idea of 783 million people not having access to clean water, and 2.5 billion people not having access to adequate sanitation. THAT’S ALMOST HALF OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION.
Many, if not most, people live in a little bubble of comfort and they don’t realize how truly comfortable they are. Living in America we enjoy luxuries every day that we don’t even recognize as luxuries. For example…
1. Tiled/carpeted floors in homes
2. Paved roads
3. Paved roads without potholes every 100 feet
4. Air conditioning in almost every building/ home
5. 3 meals a day. Even if you’re homeless in America, there are shelters and soup kitchens everywhere
8. Clean ice in our drinks
9. Washing your hands with water clean enough to drink
I could go on forever
Someone on my mission team told me that some people get to live at the top of their wants, and some have to live at the bottom of their needs. (If you’re reading this, hi Cratchet!!) If you are able to, I don’t think there is anything wrong with living at the top of your wants. Let’s face it, most of us in America get a lot of what we want and our material possessions far surpass our needs. I do, however, think it is biblically and morally wrong to not recognize the people who live below or at the bottom of their needs. Proverbs 14:31 says “Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God.” I whole heartedly believe that it is our responsibility to help those who have no opportunity without help. It is our responsibility to recognize the fact that we live at the top and we need to give back to those who don’t.
1 John 3:17 reminds us, “But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him?” Even if you don’t consider yourself rich, most americans have expendable money. We spend enormous amounts on fancy coffee drinks, pedicures, fast food, etc. With the money we waste on small indulgences we could change the world. There are so many worthy organizations that we could be investing our money into. I can’t change the world by myself, and neither can you, but if we come to gather as one body of christ, as one nation, as humanity, we can make a global difference.
If this post compelled you to make a difference I’ll post some links to organizations that are making a difference. A program I feel very strongly about is child sponsorship through compassion international or world vision. Personally, I have been sponsoring a girl from Lesotho Africa for 4 years and God has ALWAYS provided the money. In La Union, Honduras (the place where I went) Compassion International built a school for the kids and many children were sponsored through compassion. A lot of the families who had a sponsored child lived solely off the 35 dollar/month sponsorship. The long term difference Compassion International was making was very evident in La Union. If you have any more questions about any of the organizations, please message me on Facebook.