You see these people, these women and children! You see them, know them, love them and have a story for each of them.
You see them like you see me.
Trying to dig through this life’s garbage for scraps of things that earth finds value in.
I see myself in them.
This week a team of students, families, mentors, and couples from Fellowship Memphis have spent their days sharing life and love with the least of these around the city of Tegucigalpa. Alongside their teammates they have served meals in homeless shelters, built roofs for widows, painted with orphans, prayed over prostitutes, and worshipped amongst Honduran believers. Here are a few of their stories—
Last night was a restless one. My mind ran at a steady pace, passing through all the things I had seen 24 hours before “sleeping,” a pace with which even a renewed heart beat could not contend.
The last 24 hours have been an emotional marathon. Recalling everything seen and heard, gathering the necessary words to describe what has been witnessed cannot be expressed to the degree of the actual experience… But sitting alone with Father this morning, I am left with only thisto process through for the rest of my life and heed the call of a servant’s responsibility…
We saw Jesus hungry as those with long-awaited hunger crammed in line for rice.
We saw him thirsty when the constant stream of hands reached for water provided at Tegucigalpa’s city dump.
We saw Him, the stranger… The outcast along the dark streets, pursuing them with the invitation to join a moment’s prayerful company.
We saw him shoe-less, in need of clothes, sick and destitute in vacant parks and in orphanages.
We saw him in prison even, where cockroaches painted the walls and joy coupled with deepest sorrow tugged on heart strings of various chords.
And all in 24 hours.
In only a day- we’ve witnessed the most overwhelming picture of poverty with arrows of questioning “what-must-I-do’s”… The most profound picture of the least.
Today has been a whirlwind so far- we started this morning going to a government run special needs orphanage…and it was amazing. We made paintings with these kids.. I’m convinced kids that don’t speak or walk or see, and are abandoned on the streets are really angels.
Later this afternoon we talked about how, if Jesus were crucified in Honduras, it’d have been at the city dump. That Golgotha was a city dump on a mountain. A foul place to be.
I teared up as we drove zig zags up the mountainside – I could see huge black birds circling the top. We pulled in and people everywhere started running to us.. And these people were black from head to toe. The garbage… Oh the mountains of garbage- some fresh mounds, some old and picked through. Watched as a truck drove up, lifted it’s gate and dumped it’s load- 30 people immediately start digging. I asked a lady what they’re digging after, “plastico” water bottles that an be recycled for money. There were hundreds of emaciated cows and dogs amongst men, women, and children. My stomach turned at the smell.
I sit here with silent tears on my face because my need for a savior is so great. I watched a man attempt to wash his fingers with a bag of water we gave him- a futile effort in washing the black filth from his hands before handling his food, but only proving his humanity is much like mine. It would take an extraordinary effort for his hands to be cleaned. He could dig up that whole dump and never find enough soap or clean water to do it. My heart breaks for that..
I could dig through this whole earth and never find enough to rid my heart of the filth it’s accumulated.
But Jesus did.
And he did it in a dump.
“It is good that you guys know the faith and are so young, I am so old…we have to pray without ceasing and be humble and open and pray with expectancy.”
These are not words preached from some North American pulpit, but rather from a gray-haired Honduran widow who encountered Jesus 6 years ago through a local POI pastor after her daughter died.
This sweet ladies’ name is Catalina.
She attends the POI church in Crucitas, Honduras and has two grandkids in the POI orphanage. I met her after we delivered water to our volunteers who were building her a new roof. She blessed my heart because I saw Jesus.
Like our student ministries pastor said tonight…“I have seen Jesus in two ways, in the least of these and in the ones who come to meet their needs.”
This has been one of the best and hardest weeks of my life. During our devotion teachings we are learning from the book of James in the Bible that as an overflow of our obedience and love for Christ there should be an automatic response ” to visit (care for, look after, examine in order to meet a need) the orphans and widows of this world (James 1:27).
This week we have been very much inundated with the orphans and widows of Honduras and now my heart is completely overwhelmed—overwhelmed with compassion, love and helplessness.
Jesus said, “the sick and poor will always be among you” and yet he also commands us to care for them. “How, Lord?!” is the present cry of my heart. I know that I am only responsible for the specific part of the whole picture he entrust to me but it’s hard not wanting to save and care for all the needs I see.
My present task is to allow my heart cries to be calmed enough to hear Christ’s still small voice and accept His response to my cries. Honduras is not merely a place of poverty and death; but there is also much JOY!
Friday, my heart was full after spending time in one of POI’s schools, teaching bible stories, delivering mattresses to widows, meeting me and my husband’s sponsor child, meeting a faithful widow named Catalina and just beholding the mountains of Honduras.
Saturday, we visited and spent time with the the children of a special needs orphanage. Now, despite mental, physical and medical disabilities; these were some of the most joyful and loving children I have ever met in my life. My heart was completely full with contentment as I played with these kids.
All together, Honduras has officially captured my heart. I am simply now praying as to what happens next…what is the burden Christ entrust me and my husband with and how do we follow through on that calling.
We can’t merely look upon this place and forget, it is now etched in our hearts.
-Amber Rose King