Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm NOT Poor

Wow. I just read a story by Tim Hughes on They have a Bible Study page, normally written by the songwriter of the week, and generally based on one of the highlighted songs. So, this is part of the story I read:

In June 2005, my wife Rachel and I (Tim Hughes) headed off to Tanzania, to spend a week working with Tearfund, a charity based in England. Whilst there we met an amazing lady called Joyce. We visited her home in Uhambingeto, met with her family and heard her story. With no clean accessible water in the village, leaving each night at midnight with an empty container, Joyce would walk for over ten hours until she returned home at around 10am the following morning exhausted.

It has been estimated that Joyce has walked the equivalent of three times around the world in the pursuit of water. The injustice of this is overwhelming. . How could that still be possible in a world today where so many of us have so much?

I (me, Rebecca!) tend to think of myself as "poor". We've made the choice for me to stay home with the girls until they are in full time school, and our income is now low enough that we could not make it we weren't living with my mom... I would have to find a job somehow, which is just stupid, 'cuz then almost all of my income would go into providing daycare for the girls... Anyway, compared to the average family in the U.S. we're not doing so hot.

However, I was reminded by Hughes' story that compared to the VAST majority of the world's families, we are doing amazingly well. We have enough food, even if it's not always what we'd prefer; plenty of easily accessible water to drink and ourselves, our clothes and dishes; attractive and comfortable clothing; a safe place to live, play and sleep; time to play and pursue hobbies; Jake has two guitars & I have a djembe; we have access to books, the time to read them and the ability to teach the girls to read...

A missionary was at church this last Sunday talking about the Karen people in Burma. Children are being raped and murdered there simply because of their ethnicity. (Background: Unofficially/Secretly, Burma is trying to remove all of the Karen people from their country, either by causing them to flee for their lives, or by killing them. Most of the Karen people are determined to stay in their ancestral home, which is a really weird concept for those of us in the U.S., since most of us are here because our ancestors chose to leave whatever was going on in our ancestral home...) Half of the workers/missionaries/chaplains he had pictures of were now dead because they'd been shot by the Burmese army. All of the little girls in the pictures he showed had seen a family member murdered, had been raped, or had themselves been shot. They live in fear of being taken and enslaved in a child pornography ring. Burma is one of the biggest suppliers of little girls for sex-slavers.

My two biggest concern for my daughters right now are: 1) Deborah is driving me CRAZY! She's SO ready to go back to pre-school, and she's bored, bored, bored. She's pushing my buttons constantly, and always requesting 'Do something with me!' 2) Abigail's birthday is on the 31st, in two weeks. I'm trying to decide what gifts to purchase, avoid all the lead paint in all the items I'd thought of buying, and figure out what is reasonable for a 2 year old.

I'm not daily terrified about not having enough food to feed them. I'm not worried about traveling an obscene distance to bring water for them to drink. I am not constantly consumed with the fear of them being stolen to be sold into slavery.

I so easily forget how blessed I am in this country. I get busy doing my day-to-day routine and worrying about groceries, dinner, and my beads. I tend to compare myself with the other families around us and thinking that we have less (which tends to be true right now, but won't always be). Even though it's tough for us right now, it's NOTHING compared to what most of the world is dealing with on a day to day basis.

God, help me get my head out of the sand and focused on YOUR Kingdom. I want to have Your heart, and be focused on what's important to You. I want to be about Your business, and see others the way that You do. I don't know what the plan is for us right now, but You are in control. You do have a good plan, and You are guiding our footsteps. Help me remember that we are NOT poor, and that, in fact, we are immeasurably rich. We have Your blessing upon our lives, and Your presence dwelling in our lives. We have good food, plenty of clean water, the blessing of time and safety, choices and education.

Oh, God, how my heart hurts when I think of the children in Burma... How Your heart must burn. I want you to bring an end to this world! How evil and sick we are- How can You let us go on? Bring Your love, truth and justice to this situation. Only You know the answer, the solution. Save those children. Place Your protection over them.

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