Wednesday, April 7, 2010

latin adventures: part 2

Hey there!

I promised to share some of the things that God taught me while I was down there ... so this morning we're going to have a little heart - to - heart. 

I am going to take this straight out of one of my journal entries while I was down there. 

A little background ... I journaled these things at night before getting into bed. However, that same morning a couple team members and I visited a slum neighborhood. We went there to pick up kids for a feeding ministry that the church does. Each Sunday morning, the church picks up these children and feeds them breakfast while they teach the word of God. 

I have never seen anything like this neighborhood. I am sure that things are even worse in places like India or Africa, but this was the worst that I have seen. The homes were located right off of this dirt road that went STRAIGHT UP HILL. When I say home, I am talking about a room smaller than E and I's bedroom. Also, all of the homes where entirely made of sheet metal and tires. There was no indoor plumbing, and only a few houses had electricity.

Although these children lived in these conditions, they were so full of JOY.
It was amazing, but everyone that I encountered on the trip was full of JOY.


That same night while we were having our debriefing time one man shared something that stuck with me. 

He said, 
"I always thought being poor meant that you were miserable ... but these people are not miserable."

Those words stuck with me and I thought about my life here in the States compared to their lives in Costa Rica.

In Costa Rica the average yearly income is equivalent to $6,000 US dollars. 

That night I wrote this ...

James 2:5
Listen, my dear brothers: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised to those who love him?

"One question I am taking from this week: What is wealth and what is poverty? This week they have been redefined. Are the Costa Rican's poor? Or, is it the American's who are truly poor? Is our wealth in America really a blessing - or is it a curse?"


I know that with wealth, you can do a lot of amazing things. However, this trip truly opened my eyes to how distracting money is. The people in Costa Rica were forced to live closer to one another because of lack of money. Once I witnessed the community that they shared, God opened my eyes to see that it really wasn't a bad thing. 
 Costa Rican's are not nearly as busy as we are here in America. I also think that has a lot to do with the pursuit of wealth. 

 To those who are poor, God promises richness in faith. 

During this trip, I realized that my ideas of wealth and poverty were a little off. 

I now believe that, being rich or poor has very little to do with how much money you possess. 


Courtney said...

What a great post. I'm so glad the Lord is working through you to help the people down there...and He's also helping you grow in your walk as well. I struggle with the money issue from time to time it more importance than it deserves. I hope God continues to bless your time there.

Anne said...

I have been thinking about this a lot lately too. I have been reading a lot of blogs about people's mission trips and when I see how joyful the people are who are so poor, it has really redefined my perceptions of wealth and poverty. I could go on and on about this, but I think what you are saying is so true. We really do have it all backwards.

Michael & Joe Joe said...

Excellent reflection Rachel. Thanks for sharing how God revealed himself to you through your trip. I love hearing the stories like those, especially how God reveals himself through missions. I've heard some people say that sometimes the mission trip is more for the people going than the people they are ministering to. I dont know about that, but I am so thankful God blesses the obedience of those who go.
I can also really relate to what you are saying. We sometimes really struggled. We went because we wanted to help the poor and needy. While we were there they were still poor and needy, but God showed us that if we just helped the physical need we've still left them poor because we didn't share with them the richness of eternal life. Then we returned to the states and saw perhaps that they needed that same message just as much because they think there are riches to be found on this earth.
Sorry for the long comment, thanks for sharing your beautiful heart.