I ended my first blog post with vigor and enthusiasm about the upcoming month. I wrote, "towards that promise, that hope, we hit the ground running."

Reality is: I hit the ground, ran three steps, then fell flat on my face.

Reality is: I might as well have chicken pox with the amount of mosquito bites I have, my feet are cracked, desert grounds, my back aches from sleeping on uneven wooden planks, my nostrils are painfully adapting to the constant smell of swampy, sewage water, and I have been introduced to more types of gecko-like-things in this week than in a lifetime of zoo and Animal Kingdom visits.

Reality is: Incarnation isn't easy.

We're a week into living with our host families and serving at our ministry sites. For those at the Ruth Center, we're living in pairs with grandpas and grandmas who live along in slum communities, helping, loving, and caring for them as they bless us with their wrinkled, smiling eyes, spicy meals, and generous hearts.

As I adjust to their reality, I'm confronted with the brutal stripping away of my regular comforts. They physical reality of dissonance and displacement is painfully real as I try to remember what a dry bottom feels like (toilet paper is such a luxury!). I'm challenged by my own hidden idols of comfort, and I'm learning to worship and adore God when I'm sweaty, itchy, and tired.

Days with grandma, Ya'Noi, are explosions of the every day - cooking simple meals, washing clothes, sweeping, chatting with neighbors, and helping her do errands. She calls us her babies and we call her Mami Noi - an embodiment of God's family stretching from Bangkok to Chicago, from 80 to 22 years old, and from "sawa-dee" to "hello." Her toothless smile and trembling hands are delicate and beautiful, and Jayshree (the fellow Trekker I'm living with) and I strive to serve her with genuine smiles independent of her ant-filled house and chicken liver dinner.

When I left America with my heart burning for Christ's mission, I had no idea I would be so gripped by my own depravity while here. With rats (or something bigger) scurrying around my head at night, I see it: my pride, my self-righteousness, my love of control, my complaints, my desire to know, my lack of trust in Christ, my circumstantial joy. I don't understand why God wants me here - maybe I should have stayed in Chicago this summer playing with my non-rabid dog.

As uncomfortable as my current reality is, the true reality is I will go home in a month to AC, an incredible family, a stocked fridge, and a suburban home with plumbing. Yet Mami Noi's reality will not change. Millions of families intractable poverty have a reality that will not change. Can this world ever change? Granted, there is healing forcing its way in with organizations like the Ruth Center. Despite that, on some days the brokenness seems infinite.

Reality is incarnation isn't supposed to be easy: the Christian truth is Jesus still did it. His love went deep enough to be born in an animal pen and to be beaten, humiliated, and left naked. Clinging onto the truth, that love, I move forward. This time I'm not running, simply walking.

My body feels like a glass doll, cracked and dirty. I'm not sure why I chose into this, and I'm struggling to believe redemption is promised and hope is possible. This world is a glass orb, cracked and dirty. There is only so much I can do to heal myself. There is only so much the world can do to heal itself.I'm realizing I am in desperate need of a Savior. The world is in desperate need of a Savior.

"We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved." ~Romans 8:22-24

- Cia Mathew