This is what I don’t want: to artfully arrange a bunch of persuasive words in an attempt to evoke emotion, yank heartstrings, and suck you all into the guilt vortex of think-of-the-poor-people-and-how-many-meals-they-could-eat-for-the-price-of-your-frappuccino!
Except I guess I kind of do want that.
One of the most frustrating parts of my not-very-difficult life is feeling something or other very, very deeply and not knowing how to adequately convey it to those around me. And so a lot of times I just forget it all together. Except this time I can’t. So I won’t.
But it won’t be effortless and fluent like I’d like.
It will be choppy and messy and involve a lot of praying that God will just connect my heart with your heart and that my dumb words won’t get in the way.
Here goes nothing!
So on our 2nd day in Cambodia we took the kids from “our” orphanage on their first boat ride. If you’ve been following along, you know that they were WAY excited about this little adventure. Here they are piling out of their van (all 26 of them–no, I’m not kidding) where we were eagerly waiting for them.
We all headed down to the river as giddy as all get out.
And may I just interject here that one of my favorite thing about Asian culture is taking off my shoes everywhere I go? I. Hate. Shoes.
p.s. Those are not my hairy (but attractive) feet in the picture.
I’ve never been on a cruise, but I’ll say this: if I never step foot on a cruise ship. I couldn’t care less. But if I never go on a boat ride with these beautiful kiddos again, I think my heart might break.
But I’ll tell you what’s really heartbreaking: our view from the boat at several points on our “cruise.” Views like this:
And like this:
And like this:
I can’t help but wonder what this family thought as they sat in their log-raft home…
And watched a boat full of happy, squealing people (who could afford a $30 boat ride when the log-raft-home family probably lives on $1 or $2 a day).
And what did these beautiful, happy children think when their boat sailed alongside such stark poverty? Did it remind them of their own lives just a couple short years ago?
And the only thing worse than being a sweet, innocent little child and not having enough to eat each day? Is being a sweet, innocent little child whose family sells you as a sex slave so that your parents and siblings have a chance to survive.
This is the horrifying, gut-wrenching fate of little ones just like Sopheak. Every. Single. Day. In Cambodia.
I’m reading this amazing, incredible book called Radical (for the 2nd time in as many weeks), and I’m seeing these images from the boat ride (and the tuk-tuk rides, and the van rides, and the walks through “neighborhoods”) as I read words like these:
“Anyone wanting to proclaim the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth must consider not only how to declare the gospel verbally but also how to declare the gospel visibly in a world where so many are urgently hungry (109).”
And these: “Caring for the poor is one natural outflow and a necessary evidence of the presence of Christ in our hearts. If there is no sign of caring for the poor in our lives, then there is reason to at least question whether Christ is in our hearts (110).”
And these: “Our perspective on our possessions radically changes when we open our eyes to the needs of the world around us. When we have the courage to look in the faces of brothers and sisters whose bodies are malnourished and whose brains are deformed because they have no food, Christ will change our desires, and we will long to sacrifice our resources for the glory of his name among them (127).”
I’m there. I’m in. I long to sacrifice my resources for the glory of his name among these beautiful children of God.
I don’t have it all figured out, and my heart has a looooong way to stretch and grow before it’s where I know God wants it, but…
I’ll tell you what I don’t want.To live any kind of life that doesn’t involve great sacrifice for the glory of my Father’s name.
I’m in. God, just tell me what to do.