Activist Faith

Activist Faith


Experiencing the Pain of Others

posted by Dillon Burroughs

Mother Teresa has said, “Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” My friend Dan King experienced this during a recent trip to Haiti. His reflections are shared for you below. Definitely worth your time.

+++

I’ve never seen such extreme hunger.

It was a hot day. A really hot day. Our team just spent
about two hours packed into a school bus to get here, and then boarded
the rickety wooden boats to cross Lake Azuei to get to this village. It
was isolated from civilization in more ways than one.

Our host pastor had been visiting and working with these people for
several months, and our visit with them was intended to bring a glimmer
of hope in support of the ministry that was already happening.

We
were fortunate enough to have a great deal of corporate support that
allowed us to purchase about 1,500 pounds of food items to deliver to
these people. We had rice, beans, oil, and noodles. Our host pastor
informed us that many of these people hadn’t eaten in about three weeks,
and the food we brought would last them approximately 2-3 months.

Oh, and then there was the clothing. Judging from the naked children
walking around, it’s obvious that this was needed just as badly as the
food that we brought.

If I’m honest with myself, then I’d have to say that I’ll never truly understand what their lives must be like.

I can’t.

Especially considering the short time we were there.

Sure, I could see that the land was dry and rocky. It must be
impossible to support any substantial livestock, let alone farm the
land.

The only transportation that I saw were the boats that brought us
across the lake. So getting to any ‘nearby’ work would have required a
great deal of effort and expense.

There was no electricity. No running water. No phone lines. And I know it’s hard to believe, but there was also no cable TV.

They were literally disconnected from civilization.

After
being there for a little while, I easily understood their hunger for
food. As we distributed the food, people would regularly send their
children back to cut in line and get more of one item or another. It was
difficult turning them away so that we could guarantee that there would
be enough for everyone.

Then we brought out the clothing. You’d think that it would be okay
to open a suitcase and expect people to remain calm and orderly. But we
didn’t (or couldn’t) understand what it’s like to need (anything) that
bad.

Chaos is the only word to describe what happened as the people mobbed
those who were trying to distribute shoes and clothing. It was so
chaotic that the police officers that traveled with us literally went
into riot-control mode.

It was (and still is) difficult for much of our team to understand
why many of these people would act so uncivilized. Many of us judged
them for it.

But that’s because we failed to understand their hunger. And not a
hunger just for food, but for any of the bare necessities that many of
us take for granted.

It’s hard for any of us to imagine why someone would go crazy for a $3 pair of flip-flops.

That is unless you’ve walked on that hot, rocky dirt in your bare feet for most of your life.

I know that when I get really hungry, and choose to ignore it long
enough, then my blood sugar will start to drop. As a result I get
fidgety and agitated. I do and say things that I normally wouldn’t do. I
loose my ability to think straight, especially as it relates to food. I
think that this must be a small glimpse into what their entire lives are like.

This experience and realization helped me learn how important it is
to not judge without fully understanding what motivates one’s behavior.
It made my heart break with compassion for these people.

Their poverty is so extreme.

Their hunger is so deep.

Their need for someone to save them is so great.

 

Lord, I pray for the people in that village on Lake
Azuei. May the food and clothing that we delivered be a great blessing
to them. And may they see that it was the Love of a Savior that brought
us to them. I pray that You continue to provide and pour out Heavenly
Love on these people that they may be drawn to You and realize salvation
in You. And may You heal their land. In Jesus name, amen.

 

Dan King is a blogger at BibleDude.net and cofounder of the Activist Faith movement (coming soon) at ActivistFaith.org.

+++

DILLON
BURROUGHS is an author, activist, and cofounder of Activist Faith.
Dillon served in Haiti following the epic 2010 earthquake and has
investigated modern slavery in the US and internationally. His books
include “Undefending Christianity,” “Not in My Town” (with Charles J.
Powell), and “Thirst No More” (October 2011). Discover more at
DillonBurroughs.org.

 



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