It started this morning when Mike and I took a drive to "the other side of town". It's pretty easy to accomplish all our daily tasks and go to school and never even remember that the OTHER SIDE is even there but today God reminded me in a clear and convicting way that they are ALL still there. We drove past all the clean streets and thriving businesses and got into what you would call the shanty. The streets seem to always be your first "tell-tell" sign that you're not in familiar places. Broken glass and debris begins to cover the street. Unfortunately, my first worry is always that we'll get a flat tire right in the middle of the places that I sometimes fear the most and not be able to return back to my safety net.
As we pass children that are roaming the streets holding the hands of babies roaming the streets, I can't help but wonder what their days look like. Where do they play? Who calls for them to come back home? Who gives them their dinner? Do they even have a home or someone to feed them dinner? I'm told not to shake their hands but only hug them so they can't feel the softness of my skin. Someone with hands that soft can't possibly have a hard lot in life.
In a store on the "other side of town", I put my money on the counter to pay for my purchases. A gray-haired lady quickly came in from the street and starting talking to me. She was holding a flattened coke can with her frail little hand. She kept offering it to me and speaking in Portuguese. I had no idea what she was saying so I just kept telling her that I was sorry but that I didn't understand her. She looked so frustrated with me. Finally the lady behind the counter took out some change and gave it to the woman. Realizing how truly STUPID I was, I gave her a small amount of money for her aluminum can which she threw on the ground in frustration. I felt ridiculous. She KNEW I COULD MEET the needs that she had and yet because of my limited language skills I was useless. Truth was I didn't understand. I didn't understand what she was saying and I couldn't possibly EVER understand the hard life she has had to endure.
I look into the eyes of so many people on the streets and all I see is hopelessness. It's the same hopelessness I see in the eyes of the people in my neighborhood and in my apartment building. It's a common factor in both those that know where their next meal is coming from and from those that have no clue where they'll find their next meal. They are looking for something so much more than even food. They are looking for a Savior.
Please, please pray for us as we learn this language. We are absolutely INEFFECTIVE without it. Pray we never let people's needs go unmet and most of all pray that we can meet their most important need! Pray that we will understand these people and that our hands will not be so "soft"! Pray that we'll not fear the "OTHER SIDE OF TOWN" but that we'll see everything through the eyes of Christ!
Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for
orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you.