the world as we know it

July 16, 2009

This week my mother and I have been working as an “Ambassador Team” for our church. This is the week of Work Camp, during which about 400 high school students from all over the country are staying here at a local school and doing home repair work for houses in the area. Our job has involved going to our assigned sites to get to know the home residents, take photos of the work, and check up on the workers. When the pastor emailed us to give some further information, he asked us to update him as to our experiences. Here is what I wrote, as it occurred to me that it may make for an interesting blog post for you all out in blog-land:
Dear Pastor D,
As you requested feedback, I couldn’t help sharing one snippet from the rounds Mom and I made today.  I don’t know if you were familiar with the devotional they did today, but it was about opening our eyes to poverty, and to the different ways it manifests itself in our world.  At one site, we were listening in and, after the time of minute-long reflections on each of the 5 facts about poverty, the question was raised as to how we reacted personally to them.  Most were the expected sorts of replies concerning how strange it seems that life reality for many involves spending great deals of time and energy expended for things that we take for granted [drinking water, food, not risking malaria with each mosquito bite, etc].
But then one young man, in the most strikingly matter-of-fact manner, said that the AIDS statistics made him think of his mother.  After a brief moment, he continued, saying that she had died of the disease in 2002 . . .
How fittingly stark of a reminder, it seemed to me, that we need not search for long for “poverty” and “sickness,” as in its various forms it is as close to us as our next-door-neighbor.
Here is a photo to go with this event, as it is of 2 of the group members reflecting, right after the other had shared his perspective.

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