Desiring more than just me
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Monday, January 14, 2013 18:01
I dreaded returning to school this semester.
I spent a month and a half in Kenya this summer, and when I returned to the states, I collided with culture shock.
I thought maybe it would go away, but I realize now that I do not belong here, nor do I want to belong.
While in Kenya, two friends and I happened upon a tiny building that houses 20 orphans.
Each child has a bed with a reeking mattress, which has lost its foam.
The orphanage struggles to provide enough food, and each morning the kids are forced to fetch water a mile away with the help of a donkey.
There is no electricity, so they use kerosene.
They walk to school each day and to church on Sunday.
At 5 a.m. the children awake for a two-hour Bible study.
Life is never easy, yet no one complains.
In fact, they find joy in their difficulties.
They have nothing, but yet, they have everything.
The children at this orphanage have not always known love and kindness.
Their pasts threaten to destroy them.
Some are burdened with HIV.
Others remember the horrors of abuse and neglect.
Still others wake from nightmares of the day their parents died from malaria or of the dark nights of forced prostitution just to survive.
The oldest orphan cannot yet be fourteen.
The shame, the oppression, the destruction and poverty are foreign to so many of us.
Charles, the founder of this orphanage, shared with us that he struggles to provide food and water for the children and that much construction needs to be done.
They need another plot of land to grow their own food and some chickens would be nice, too.
He worries how the orphanage will be able to send the children to receive an education.
And, of course, there is always a need financially.
To care for twenty children each month is roughly $600.
How are we spending our money?
And at what cost?
Another set of clothes, as if we don’t have them in abundance.
A set of fake nails that will chip and break in a month’s time.
More decorations for the wall because the house looks a bit bare.
Rims for the tires.
Music that we will hate in a few weeks.
A trip to the theater to see what’s usually worthless.
A new phone that will break.
Are we really so blind, so lost, so corrupt and full of greed that we are willing to throw our money down the drain for selfish and temporary desires?
What will it take to wake this country from its constant slumber and for us to see anyone but ourselves?
Regardless of whether I am walking to class or I am surrounded by crowds in big cities, people overwhelm me with their selfishness and their godlessness.
I don’t fit in, and I rejoice.
However, I am convicted by my own selfish desires and am constantly reminded that I am in no place to point an accusing finger.
I do not understand why I am so blessed.
I do not understand why I was born in America into a Christian family.
I do not understand why I have always had a roof over my head, enough to eat, and enough money to live in luxury.
I do not understand why disease has never affected me, why abuse and neglect have never haunted me, or why alcohol and drugs have never controlled my life.
But the thing I do not understand the most is this: I do not understand why I am so blessed, but these kids I was surrounded by have endured sorrow, heartache, torture and abuse. Thankfully, the Lord has picked up the oppressed and lifted up the poor.
Thankfully, these children are now cherished and loved.
But how is it, when I have so much, they are still so generous and kind despite having nothing?
I travelled to Africa to minister to others,
to bless others. Instead, a poverty and disease-stricken third-world country and its precious people blessed me.