Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So Many

“I have so many clothes.  I have a suitcase this big, and even more!  I want to give some of them away to hobos and poor people.  I don’t want to have too many clothes because I don’t want to be like ‘I’m better than you because I have so many.’” 

Amy (age 9) was talking with us at dinner last night.  She’s in a school where she’s learning English and she loves practicing.  It was amazing to hear her use the word, ‘hobo’!  What was more amazing was what she was saying.  When she talked about her ‘big’ suitcase, she used her hands to show us just how big it was.  How big?  Carry-on size.
We sat there speechless.  None of us here has nearly as many clothes as we had when we lived in the US, but we still have far, far more than would fill Amy’s suitcase. 

We were sitting in her home with her family, dad Daniel, mom Yajaira, little brother (4) Daren and a friend, Lily (8).  “We” was me and one of the SI families, Ron and Carol, three of their children, Lynn (visiting from Chicago), Anna and Sarah.
The night before at Ron and Carol’s, Daniel and Yajaira had asked me to be a part of their family.  That included an invitation to dinner!  Platanos maduros, habichuelas, arroz, pollo frito, ensalada, and more of that amazing jengibre tea!  Oh, my, how we swooned!!

Daniel and Yajaira came to know Jesus three years ago.  They worship at La Vid, (the church I go to, too) and have become a part of the SI family.  Yajaira cooks lunch each day for Genesis, our Special Education site.  And, wow, how fortunate the students and staff are to eat her amazing food!!
The family also houses Bethel Semester Students.  Daniel took his flashlight and proudly showed us an addition completed just in time for this year’s students.  Concrete steps lead up to a half floor made of concrete and blocks, with two more bedrooms (one still unfinished) and a simple bathroom with toilet and shower. 

Before this, the kids moved into their parents’ bedroom.  Oh, yeah, the students stay from September to mid-December.  That was three-and-a-half-months sharing a room!
Amy (far left) and some of my new family-in-Christ
(the power came back on as we were leaving
so we could snap a couple of pictures.)
By ‘first world’ standards, their family is poor.  A small home (the main floor, which includes kitchen, eating area, bathroom and two bedrooms, is smaller than my apartment), power that comes and goes (we ate dinner by candlelight), no car (only a motorcycle), a suitcase of clothes each. 

But, friends, sitting there listening to this little sister in Christ, I felt like I was the poor one.  Poor because I whine about missing some of my stuff.  Gripe about my muddy road, Check Engine light, and the limited variety of foods I can buy.  I show my poverty when I act as if my education, citizenship, knowledge, somehow makes me ‘better’ than others. 
Oh, Father, I want to be rich like Amy and her family.  Rich in love and fellowship.  Rich in the knowledge that You have saved, and are transforming, me.  Rich in generosity and a hunger to share the love and hope of God-with-us. 
Holy Spirit, give me the courage to get rid of anything I have (or am!) which makes me a poor reflection of Him.  Thank you, Father, that in You, my blessings truly are 'so many'!

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