Barbara's Random Thoughts

Monday, June 12, 2006

Needs and action

I've been experiencing a lot of convergence lately. Things I was already thinking about keep showing up in many, many different places, from totally different sources. I keep having these "get out of my head!" moments. Which is actually pretty cool. This is kind of one of those. I've been slowly reading through blog postings I missed while I was out of the country, and when I came across this on Dave's blog, it made me pause. I'm quoting you, Dave, if I may:

Jesus made it a point to reach out to people who were shunned by society because of their circumstances and behaviors. People who lived promiscuous lifestyles, people who suffered from deadly, incurable disease, people who were considered low-class and no-account. These were the people He loved. These were the people He went to and told that God was offering the kingdom to them.

They all mattered to Him. The blind beggars, the adulterers, the lepers, the demon-possessed, the sick, the shamed, the scorned, and the scared. He loved each of them fully and freely, accepting all of them to his table just as they were, and sharing with them the news of God's mad love for them.

As much as I believe in the above, I realize that I've never put it into action.

Before I left for South Africa, Elise asked me: "You've been on many missions trips before...what do you think will be most different about this trip compared to the others?" My answer was: "I think what will be most different about this trip is being somewhere that the needs are so overwhelming."

I don't think it sunk in at the time that I have never gotten directly, hands-on involved with any overwhelming needs. I've never sought out the broken, the shunned, the ignored. But these are the very people I met in and around Pretoria.

-Guys who are homeless because there's no work for them in their own communities, and they have few options besides living on the streets and sending money home to their families, thousands of kilometers away.
-Kids in an orphanage because their parents have died of AIDS; kids who were born with AIDS.
-Girls in a state-run boarding school that doubles as detention center--there because their parents aren't fit to raise them.
-Kids in Kliptown with dirty, ragged clothes, living in poverty; where the running water they have is one tap shared with 40-50 other families.

And of each of these I only caught a glimpse. That doesn't even begin to scratch the surface. I don't really know what to say about all of the above; I'm still figuring out what these experiences are going to mean for what I'm doing, where I am, and where I will be. In the meantime, I've been challenged to seek out some needs right here, across the freeway in East Palo Alto. I've thought about this before, but have never done anything to get involved. It's high time I did.


| posted by Barbara | 9:53 PM