July 20, 2015 - Mexico
During my first week with my host family, I saw an ugly part of myself that I did not like. The living conditions of my host family were different than how I lived in the United States, and I felt tremendous discomfort. I wasn’t used to brushing my teeth without a running faucet, nor was I used to squatting over the toilet bowl and using a bucket of rainwater to flush it. When I bathed, I disliked how I would freeze while I shampooed my hair and soaped my body because I had to use a bucket of warm water to bathe instead of a shower. Many other aspects made me feel uncomfortable, and I thought I cared about these things to such a great extent that it would prevent me from caring about the people of the community. I just couldn’t see past my discomfort, and I began losing hope for myself this summer.
However, even in spite of my discomfort, God began to break my heart for the people of the community, especially the children. They’re filled with such life and energy, and they absolutely captivated my heart. I find great joy in playing with all six children of my host family (and, sometimes, even the neighbors’ kids as well)! It amazes me how, even though they’re surrounded by scrappy-looking dogs with fleas and broken glass bottles, they use their imagination and play with what they have. The kids like to pretend that the large tree is either an obstacle course or a boat, and they treat the stray puppies as if they were their own babies. I feel honored whenever they invite me to play with them. They’ve only known me for a couple of weeks, and yet, they treat me as their older sister. Likewise, I began to love and care for them as if they were my own little brothers and sisters.
At first, I was convinced that the society that I grew up in did too good of a job of grooming me to care about what they thought was important in life – financial security, upward mobility, and comfortability – and I lost hope for myself. There was no way I would care about anyone else. However, although I lost hope, God didn’t. Through interactions with the children and other people of the community, God continued the process of breaking my heart for what breaks His, and I found myself caring for the community around me.
Because God doesn’t just care about my personal brokenness and salvation, I realized that there is also hope for this broken world that we live in. Sometimes, I thought the world was too corrupt to be saved – that, like me, people are too selfish, greedy, and caught up in their own lives to care for anyone or anything else. However, even in this broken world, where systems of oppression are rampant, this is where God’s hope through Jesus Christ shines most brilliantly. In all of mankind’s sin, our need for a savior becomes ever so apparent. So, whenever I’m tempted to give into hopelessness, I hope in the cross and God’s plan to restore the Earth to what he intended it to be – Shalom.
Written by Jasmine