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Helping one person at a time is inefficient

Ashley Higgins went on the World Race and is currently apprenticing with the marketing team. She was in Dublin and wrote this blog post about an experience there.   we had an afternoon free so andrea and i decided to explore the city a bit.  we had both been to dublin since our sq…
By Seth Barnes
Ashley Higgins went on the World Race and is currently apprenticing with the marketing team. She was in Dublin and wrote this blog post about an experience there.
 
we had an afternoon free so andrea
and i decided to explore the city a bit.  we had both been to dublin
since our squad launched there just over a year ago.  we were wandering
around town without much of an agenda.  we prayed, rather flippantly,
that the Lord would give us a divine appointment.

be careful what you ask for.

as we meandered the temple
bar area i noticed a young woman who was wandering aimlessly.  she
looked lost, confused, tired, needy.  i struck up a conversation with
her and offered to buy her some food.  we walked to a nearby cafe where
all she wanted was a smoothie.  i tried to get her to eat a muffin or
something more substantial, but she insisted that a small drink was
plenty.  we sat and talked with her as she told us her story.

jackie
lives on the streets of dublin.  she goes from shelter to shelter every
night looking for a place to sleep.   she was violently raped ten years
ago in an murky alley where she was trying to rest.  as a result of
this atrocity, jackie refuses to sleep outside.  she hadn’t slept in
four days when we met her last week.  she could hardly keep her eyes
open she was so exhausted.  it was only terror that willed her small,
fragile self to stay awake.  we tried walking her to a hostel but she
could hardly stand up straight, let alone walk the many blocks it would
have taken to get her there.  as people walked by gawking, jackie began
to cry.  “why do they look at me like that,” she asked as tears streamed
down her face.  “i would never hurt anyone and i am just as good as
they are.”  “i’m a person, too.”  i had no words to offer.  any
christianeese answer i could have mustered up would have done me no
good, anyways.  there are no answers. 

we
finally stopped.  we sat in the doorway of some hoity-toity business
with suited money-makers coming in and out.  they didn’t have to say
anything for their disapproval to speak volumes.  we sat with her and
prayed.  it was a simple prayer.  a prayer of protection, hope, and
comfort.  i gave her all of the cash i had, just ten euro.

and then we walked away. 
we walked away and made our way to quaint little irish coffee shop where
we sipped on our caffeinated beverages of choice.  we asked questions
and said the ‘it’s too bad’s.”  we fed ourselves justifications and
rationale as we devoured our banana-caramel dessert.  we made our way
back to the conference and we worshipped our hearts out.

and then normal life just
kind of carried on.  and we rode a bus and hopped on a plane.  and now
i’m sitting back in my comfortable bed in my nice, american apartment. 
i’m in need of nothing, really.  i’m surrounded by dozens of
jesus-loving people.  i have food in my pantry, clean clothes in my
closet and money in my wallet.  i feel well taken care of.  i have a
supportive family and network of friends all around the world.  i feel
safe and secure.  i won’t lose sleep tonight from fear of being abused.
  

but somewhere on a dark, irish street corner jackie is sitting.  

alone.  cold.  hungry.  tired.  terrified.  hopeless.  depressed.  rejected.

and it’s just not okay
with me. it’s not okay with me at all.  but i have no answers.  i don’t
know how to fix it.  there is no remedy.  and i don’t want nice
christian answers about how i did everything i could and now i just have
to trust that the lord will take care of her.  there is truth in that,
absolutely.  but i don’t find comfort in those justifications.  it’s not
good enough for me, anymore.  i’m not looking for solace or
commiseration.  i don’t want well-intentioned condolences anymore.

because there are millions of jackies in our world.  millions.

millions of orphans.  millions of women being sold into sexual slavery.  

millions of people living in inhumane conditions because of poverty.

and, i know.  i have to
believe that what i am doing is helping.  that licking stamps and
stuffing envelopes; reading blogs and projecting numbers is actually
changing the world.  but today, it’s hard to believe that.  it’s hard
and it doesn’t seem like enough to sit behind my desk.  because i want
things to be different.  i don’t want to feed one hungry person, i want
to end hunger.  i don’t want to bring comfort to just one woman who has
be dejected and abused.  i want to abolish modern-day slavery and start a
jesus revolution beginning with the pimps and sleazy men who prey on
the helpless women and children.  i don’t want to hold one orphan in
africa.  i don’t want there to be orphans in my world at all.  

call it idealism.  call it
naivety.  call it impractical, unrealistic, stupid, ridiculous,
foolish, crazy, or  a waste of time.  call if whatever you want.

i’m going to call it kingdom.  and i’m going to fight to make it happen.

as
much as i hate it most of the time, i’m going to keep loving the one in
front of me.  i’ll keep buying the jackie in my life a smoothie.  i’ll
pray my simple prayers.  and i will keep searching and crying and
fighting my guts out and asking questions…until the earth looks just
like heaven.

because jackie is somewhere in ireland, sleep deprived and void of hope.  

and i refuse for that to ever be okay. 

 

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