The World Vision bloggers returned home from Guatemala a week ago, having witnessed firsthand how World Vision’s work helps transform the lives of children, families, and communities through child sponsorship. Matthew Paul Turner writes about his prayer during the trip to be able to feel and witness the experience. The post below originally appeared on Matthew’s blog.
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Today I woke up in Guatemala. As I walked out of my hotel room toward the bus that would drive us to our first stop, I prayed … God, help me to feel this day. Sometimes poverty is difficult to feel. Maybes that’s just me. But I suspect it’s true for many of us, especially those of us who have spent any time around poverty or have worked on any level to remedy its symptoms. Five years ago, poverty was sexy. Poverty lured our imaginations and pursued our creative spirits. It aroused our hopes, our dreams, our senses. Poverty gave our souls something to believe in, a cause to rally against, a grandiose distraction that offered us—many of us—some kind of solidarity. But over the last few years, poverty has lost a great deal of its sex appeal, its ability to erect our consciences toward feeling something, toward joining a movement, toward imagining that our voices, our donations, our child sponsorships could possibly make any difference. Instead, when we hear the word poverty or read about the thousand or more consequences of poverty, our hearts and minds shut down. We grow cynical. We turn skeptical. We’re bored. Or at least that’s me. Maybe I’m the only one who has often grown bored with poverty. Which is why I prayed.
Because I didn’t want to miss hearing Maria talk to us about the epidemic that is chronic malnutrition … what it looks like and how it helps fester the wounds of poverty. Because I didn’t want to miss seeing the burden that weighed down Andrea’s eyes, the girl whose struggles seemed intent on stealing away her light. Because I didn’t want to miss how many times I heard the names of God or Jesus being uttered in praise by those who seemed to have no reason at all to sing aloud, let alone praise God. I didn’t want to miss out on feeling poverty, the effects of poverty, the pains of poverty, the Hell of poverty … and I didn’t want to miss out on my role, the part I get to play in helping to resolve poverty in the life of another. Our World Vision tour guide—a jolly soul named Francisco— told us this morning that a little boy, while talking about his child sponsor, said, “They are the only proof of God I’ve ever known.” I’m grateful I didn’t miss that. I’m grateful I heard that. I’m grateful I felt that. Thirty-thousand children in Guatemala are praying for sponsors. They are praying for light to shine down on their lives, their families’ lives, their communities’ lives. Thirty-thousand kids are looking for somebody who will offer them some tangible proof that God exists. And perhaps you might be the proof that one child in Guatemala is looking for… the proof that God is real, the proof that God loves them and cares for them, the proof that God is amid the details of their circumstances… Maybe? That journey begins here.
We had the opportunity to visit World Vision’s “Tinamit” community in Guatemala, and we’re bringing you the opportunity to help these children directly. Hundreds of children in Tinamit alone and thousands across Guatemala still need sponsors! Consider sponsoring a child in Tinamit today. See what some of our other bloggers have written recently about the trip: Shelby Zacharias: "Guide Mothers" Jamie Wright: "Fighting Poverty is like so 2012" Zack Hunt: "Visions of Guatemala" Jessica Shyba: "To Guatemala with Love" Roo Ciambriello: "Here But There" Caleb Wilde: "Saving the Laughter of Children" Micha Boyett: "Because this matters" See all of ours posts about Guatemala here.