This evening as I try to process everything I have seen and done in Guatemala, I am struck at the lies we tell ourselves as it relates to poverty.
Here are a few I am wrestling with:
1. True poverty only exists in Africa. A few months ago when Shaun asked me to participate in the Compassion trip to Guatemala, I quickly agreed. Then for just a moment I hesitated. I wanted to see true poverty and feared I would not see it in Guatemala.
As you scan through the pictures of children who need sponsors, you might be tempted to make the same mistake. You might convince yourself that the need is not great enough in Guatemala. You take one look at their Puma shirts and blue jeans and decide to make an investment in a child somewhere where it would have a greater impact.
Hear me when I say this. Your sponsorship matters here.
Your financial and spiritual investment in the children of Guatemala will save lives and transform families. Without the help of Compassion and generous people like you, these kids most basic needs will not be met.
2. Financial wealth brings peace and joy. Take one look at Werner. The boy lights up a room.
Happy as a lark, that kid. But as we cautiously entered his home it became obvious that his joy has nothing to do with his financial wealth or security. Because truth be known, everything Werner “owns” is tucked neatly into a small room tucked on the side of a hill that he shares with his mother and his big brothers. A small room that was just rebuilt with the help of Compassion after an all-too-common-in-these-parts mudslide.
3. Global poverty is not our problem. Sometimes I catch myself thinking surely there is someone more qualified, better equipped, or more passionate than me to step in and save these children.
But we need to stop being deceived. As Christians, poverty is our problem.
Because really how do you argue with this?
If a person owns the kinds of things we need to make it in the world but refuses to share with those in need, is it even possible that God’s love lives in him? Once God’s love takes hold of a person, it is impossible for him to close his heart to his brothers and sisters in God’s family. My little children, don’t just talk about love as an idea or theory. Make it your true way of life, and live in the pattern of gracious love. 1 John 3:17-19 (The Voice)