“Mommmmmmy… why can’t we be rich?” the kids whine after I once again veto a request for the latest gadget “because I won’t spend that kind of money.”
“Kids, look around you. Look where you are sitting.”
They look down. “It’s the floor, mom.”
“Yes, a floor. We have wood and we have carpet, not dirt. Look up.”
They look up. “At the ceiling?”
“Right. We have a ceiling that keeps the rain out… it doesn’t leak. Where do you sleep?”
“In my bed.”
“You have your own bed on a mattress. Now, do you see a stove or a toilet in here?”
They look at me like I’m crazy. “No!”
“In our home, we have a separate rooms, like a kitchen and bathroom. And water comes out of pipes into our sinks and showers – water we can drink. We have lights and we have air conditioning and our house is warm in the winter. Many people in the world live without any of that. We are rich.”
We have this conversation often. I tell them because I want them to know and appreciate. I also tell them because I need to remember. I forget so often; I fail to appreciate. I too whine (in my mind), “But I want it! Why can’t we be rich so I can have what I want right now?”
I wage war so poorly against my desire to hoard and collect and consume that I feel guilty even using the phrase “wage war.” The needs of others and the excess that I take for granted are abstract and easy to forget in the midst of daily life and the deluge of the New! Improved! Must have! My resolutions to be sacrificial in living disintegrate in the acid of my craving for an iPad or new kitchen counters or that fleeting moment when I’ve just said “yes” to the kids and they haven’t tired of it yet. I make excuses to postpone giving; I spend my time tinkering with my gadgets instead of serving at the local mission.
I am miserable, caught between the desire of my body to gorge on new things and desire of my heart to be an active part of the Body of Christ, living as his hands and feet for those who need Him. I can’t do both — I can’t go buy a bunch of crap at Target one day and still have the money to support homeless ministry the next.
I’ve been praying and look for the way to once and for all overcome that craving for more so that I can really give (and I’ve been looking for ways to avoid that, at the same time).
I’m an experiential person. Seeing, smelling, tasting, feeling something changes me in ways that sterile facts and numbers do not. If I can see and hear and smell and taste the truth behind the numbers, that experience will finally kill my self-serving insatiable consumerism. Then there will be hope for God-serving insatiable sacrificial compassion for the needs of others to thrive in its place.
Compassion with feet.
But how? This isn’t something I’m able to muster up on my own — I’m too good at weaseling out. God has to do this for me.
Then, two weeks ago, it happened. I received an email while on vacation. A representative from World Vision had a crazy proposal: join a team of bloggers traveling with World Vision to Bolivia to observe first-hand what the organization does and write about it.
The crazy part? Well, lots of it, like how on earth they came to invite me — I’ve never contacted anyone from World Vision — but mostly the timing. If I said yes, I had to complete a two-page checklist of requirements in the next 14 days, a list that other team members had been working on for at least a month.
I had no time to hesitate or get scared. My husband agreed immediately and I knew that I had to say yes. In a strange sort of way, as unexpected as this is, I’m not surprised — I knew God would do something soon, I have been waiting for it.
The checklist is complete, with not a moment to spare, so it’s official: I’m on the team! We will fly to Bolivia on July 30, watch and listen and learn as much as we can, and blog daily about it in various places. I’ll be writing here on my personal blog and some days also on the Deeper Story blog. We return home on August 7.
We’re in a five-week lull right now… plenty of time for jitters, but also time to pull details together and pray for those we will meet and for what God wants us to do there… and after.
Will you help?
- Pray for the remaining paperwork and travel arrangements to fall into place, particularly for approval and processing of our travel visas.
- Pray for each member of the team from now through the end of the trip, for protection, physical health and strength, eyes to see what God wants to show us, and words to express what He wants to show you.
- Pray about sponsoring one or more children.
- Read and share the posts from members of our team (see below)
The Bloggers for Bolivia:
Jana Melpolder, blogging for BeliefNet
Lindsey, blogging for World Vision
Me, blogging here and for Deeper Story