Ever notice how good we have it here in America?
I know we as church kids here this all the time, but have you ever seriously thought about it? Recently I've been seriously thinking about taking a missions trip to Mexico City. I went a couple years ago to Mexico City to visit some friends, and the level of poverty there is heart-breaking. People living under pieces of aluminum, people passed out in the streets. It really hits me hard as an American, 'cuz I typically don't see that kind of thing here.
In case you haven't seen the news recently, horrible stuff happens in the world. Poverty, wars, Paris Hilton getting thrown in jail. However, a lot of the time our wealth and our security here in the land of the free and the home of the brave insulates us from this fact. We tend to see these things as more of a cause that we give money to on Sundays, rather than harsh reality.
The truth is, the abscence of the wealth and the consumer culture we have here often breeds a higher dependence on God. When I went to Mexico City a couple years back, I visited a house church up in the mountains that my friends were leading. I'll never forget it.
These people, about forty of them, were meeting in an abandoned shell of a house several miles from civilization. They hardly needed the few lanterns they had, because sunlight streamed in through numerous large gaps in the ceiling. There was no insulation, no plumbing, no electricity. Rebar showed through everywhere you looked. Try to imagine a cement basement, completely unfurnished and stripped down to the bare minimum, and you'll have some idea of what it was like.
Though these people were dirt poor, with little more than the clothes on their backs, when they heard we Americans were coming, they pooled what little money they had and put togehter a buffet of sorts. Their hospitality almost moved me tears, as I thought about how many times my selfishness and greed had gotten in the way of showing generosity like this. They offered my Mom some food with peanut butter in it, and she refused, because she had a near-deadly allergy to peanut butter. So, instead of just geting her something else, they gathered around and prayed for her, and she was healed of the peanut allergy (we didn't find out until we got home...the peolople we stayed with thought we had better be safe than sorry, since there was no hospital for miles around. Oh us of little faith! ;-)-
These people were also totally unashamed to worship God. I mean, they were throwing themselves down in the dirt, thanking Him for their lives. It was a very moving experience, not just because of the emotion involved, but because of the obviousness of their total, daily dependence upon God to supply all their needs.
We in Amercia oftentimes have a much smaller view of God then this, and yet we have all the freedom we could ever want to worship Him. And just think; in other countries people are tortured for their belief in God, and yet the Gospel manifests itself there in ways that America has yet to see!!!
I mean, honestly, the closest thing we have to torture here in America is country music. And while listening to Toby Keith drawl on about losing his girlfriend, his pickup truck, and his new jean jacket may induce almost unbearable pain and suffering, we still have the option of changing the station (thank you God!!!).
Seriously, spend some time today thinking about how you can impact your Christian brothers and sisters around the world, be it through an offering or through a missions trip. If you ever get the chance, I would heartily encourage you to go visit a foreign country someday. To me, a kid who's lived on a three-acre farm nearly his whole life, the sights, smells, and sounds of one of the largest cities in the world certainly was eye-opening. The bst part by far, though, was being deeply inspired by visiting these brothers and sisters in the faith, who forever changed my perception on what it truly means to give your all to God. God Bless.