I have felt so broken lately for those who are broken. My heart aches for the children discarded in Uganda, the babies dropped off like unwanted garments in The Philippines and Mozambique, and the young daughters who are trafficked in Haiti and Thailand. I feel such sadness for the hidden poor and discarded in this country. The young, the elderly, the fractured in mind and soul. The needs seem endless and overwhelming. How do we make a difference?
Today Ann Voskamp, over at A Holy Experience , is writing once again about their family's experiences in Haiti where they have gone to offer what help they can. Through her eyes we are viewing a world that we do not see outside our windows. Today she talked about how, out of radical grace and love, out of knowing how blessed we are, we in turn help others. They are trying to make a difference. They are making a difference.
Today I also read a post by Linny over at A Place Called Simplicity that brings to mind the suffering of children and the need so many little ones have for radical love. If you want to get a good dose of radical and laid down love, visit her cyber home and meet her family and hear about their non profit for the orphans. Your hearts will break for the things that break God's.
Recently I watched Heidi Baker speak about her and her husband's 30 plus years of missionary work in Mozambique and other countries. Their ministry cares for over 10.000 children, besides the needs of adults too. They have started thousands of churches and now have a staff of hundreds. They refuse no child. The broken, beaten, starving, suffering and angry are welcome. They open their arms, and make a difference. God told Heidi to "stop for the one".....every single one and she is.
There was a time we did see poverty, sex trafficking, hunger, and emptiness outside our windows on nearly a daily basis. In 1974-76' we lived in Angeles City, The Philippines. Joel was a meteorologist in the Air Force stationed at Clark Air Force Base. The Vietnam Nam war was at its peak, and our family of then four flew 18 hours across land and sea to live in a "third world country". The two years we spent on the island of Luzon changed our lives forever. We met and became friend with many Filipino people. We also became aware of the heartbreaking needs of others on a up close and personal basis.. We watched young children dig through our garbage and eat what scraps we threw away. We saw other children discarded like garbage or parents willing to sell their children to give them a better life. We saw young women selling their bodies to soldiers so they could live. We did what we could to help. We built three houses for three families. We fed the those we knew with hundred pound bags of rice, and we supplied others with daily needs at times. I am not patting our backs for a job well done. We helped, but we could have done more. We can always do more.
We do not have to go to far aways lands to find the hungry. When I was going to school to be an Interpreter for the Deaf, I volunteered at a high rise nursing home in Minneapolis, MN. to visit with a woman who was both blind and deaf. On Christmas Day our family of 7 and my mom went down to attend church and visit other family members. We stopped at this nursing home first and came away in tears because of the attention our family drew. People were so happy to have visitors on Christmas Day...so few did. So few were getting their souls fed.
Reading these stories and remembering our own experiences today has made me realize how complacent I have become....how self absorbed.......how stuffed.......no overstuffed with food, things, and comfort. Over the years I have breathed in and out with my deep desire to help others through missions, but today my heart has opened wide again to the suffering of others.
The needs of the broken are so many. Some visible, like in Haiti or Uganda.......some hidden behind the smiles of our neighbors, in nursing homes, or those who sit next to us in church. It can be overwhelming, if we think we must embrace the whole world. But what if we concentrate on just the one we see. What if we let God break our hearts with what breaks His?! All of us can do something! What if with grateful hearts, we listen to God's voice and just stop for the one. Whether in Target, our church, the internet, or the streets of Haiti. Just stop and help the one he brings to you. One at a time....stop for the one.