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Life in a garbage dump – what if it was you?

Jeannette Wheeler is in Nicaragua and just posted this great blog. We need to identify with the poor . We need to put ourselves in their shoes (if they have any) and walk around a bit. This blog helps you do that for a moment. For a wonderful series on this place, read Stephanie Fisk’s blogs fr…
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Jeannette Wheeler is in Nicaragua and just posted this great blog. We need to identify with the poor . We need to put ourselves in their shoes (if they have any) and walk around a bit. This blog helps you do that for a moment. For a wonderful series on this place, read Stephanie Fisk’s blogs from last year. Or watch her video.
 
We may be wealthy in America, but we need to see our own poverty of spirit. Identifying with the poor is not only part of the faith that Jesus gave to us; it is a sacramental part of our sanctification. In other words, walking with Jesus requires walking with the poor. So, walk with me today through a dump in Diriamba…

Imagine…

This is your backyard
Your home
Your child’s playground
Your work environment
Your livelihood
In order to get food, clothing, or money for the day you have to search among acres of garbage
working in trash, alongside cows…

…Working from dawn till dusk, rain or shine

The smells and toxic elements inhaled

Reality Is…

This is the neighborhood for over 300 people: men, woman, and children

This is the home and backyard of our friend Michelle, her husband and twin daughters
…Precious, beautiful princesses do not belong here…where is the castle and pink dresses?
There is no vacation; young boys work to help their families
The widows and elderly don’t retire
A”day on the job” is a treasure hunt to search for things of “worth”
At the end of the day, the scales determine your wage…did you find enough?
A downpour doesn’t stop the progress… you need to eat today
Your surroundings are dangerous: gangs and thieves, and what is hiding in the haystack today?
i have been blown away, changed, convicted and blessed by those who are said to have “nothing”

TRUTH Is…

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon us

…Because he has appointed us to bring good news to the poor. He has sent us to comfort the broken hearted
He has sent us to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come
 
To all who mourn, He will give beauty for ashes

 
Joy instead of mourning

Praise instead of despair … For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks

For His glory!

Henri Nouwen says:

Communities as well as individuals suffer. All over the world there are large groups of people who are persecuted, mistreated, abused, and made victims of horrendous crimes. There are suffering families, suffering circles of friends, suffering religious communities, suffering ethnic groups, and suffering nations. In these suffering bodies of people we must be able to recognize the suffering Christ. They too are chosen, blessed, broken and given to the world.

As we call one another to respond to the cries of these people and work together for justice and peace, we are caring for Christ, who suffered and died for the salvation of our world.

Comments (5)

  • The people of Afghanistan have nothing, but yet I have never seen a people smile more. They may have “nothing” but there are no pretenses and no facades. They are grateful for everything and take joy in everything. Everything has meaning and importance, and I think they are much closer to understanding God and their place in this world than most of us.

    I think that’s what Jesus meant by blessed are the poor, blessed are the poor because they won’t have so many things that get in the way between me and them, blessed are the poor because they will recognize it when i act and do great things for them

    It’s very easy to look at all of these pictures and feel sorry for the strangers in them. But I kind of envy them in some ways. The curse of the good life is that with every comfort and convenience we are one step further removed from God. And it’s like a bit of a prison cell, because even as I write this I couldn’t imagine giving it all up.

  • steve (WR Jan 08)

    i love this blog, reminds me of some of the ministry that we have been doing on this trip so far. I was just thinking about this today. I got somewhat frustrated because I wanted to go play basketball, but I had other committments and I wouldn’t be able to get out before dark. Then I looked at my nice basketball shoes and was kind of convicted.

  • I have been around a lot of poor people, and seen its affects. However, in the poverty-stricken places I have visited, I have seen many people who truly know Jesus, and therefore they have been glorious places.

    A much more hideous place for me would be to see a comfortable town or neighborhood, where the people had everything that they needed in regards to food and shelter, but nobody cared to know anything about Christ.

    Where in the impoverished place, the momentary suffering was swalled up by an eternal hope of glory, the ‘comfortable’ place is void of any hope and seems already to be teetering on the precipice of Hell.

    Where you prefer God to have placed you?

  • Spelling: swallowed
    Missed word: Where (would) you prefer God to have placed you?

    Also, sorry to kind of change the subject, but what Bible verse was Nouwen referring to in the following quote?

    “In these suffering bodies of people we must be able to recognize the suffering Christ. They too are chosen, blessed, broken and given to the world.”

    I understand Matthew 25 and how we are, in a way, “doing it unto Christ” when we help those in need.

    But for Nouwen to even hint that those hungry, or thirsty, or naked, or imprisoned people are also “chosen, blessed, broken and given to the world” sounds blasphemous to me.

    Those words are spoken in scripture only in regards to the Lord Jesus Christ (on whom the wrath of God fell for our sins), not ANY human being, no matter how intense his suffering.

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.



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