Just the other day I was complaining because I don’t have a garbage disposal. Due to the fact we live on land outside the city, we have a septic tank and our builder discouraged installing a disposal for risk of clogging up the tank. But, while I was fishing out pieces of half-eaten food from the drain that my kids accidentally put in the kitchen sink, I told my husband that was it. I had it. I’m purchasing a disposal despite the warning. My thought process and words went something like, “This is barbaric and I refuse to live with out this modern common kitchen appliance.” In other words, the inconvenience was unacceptable. It was time my kitchen had a disposal!
Fast forward a few weeks. A team of more than 20 volunteers from my church community, Cross Point, has spent the past week in the Dominican Republic assisting in building a worship and feeding center. Each year, the volunteers arrive in a small village on the Island just outside Santiago to work in the blistering heat day after day, hour after hour, cement bucket after cement bucket, digging trenches, pouring concrete and laying block. When each day’s work is done, they make their way over to the barrio of “Heja Del Ciamito” – a dorm that doesn’t always have water or electricity, I imagine exhausted yet fulfilled to say the least. We’ve been praying for this team and, fortunately, during this trip can keep up with their ventures via the mission blog. I’ve been blown away while reading the updates written by Anne Jackson. Most of you know Anne and her amazing and inspiring posts. She’s an incredible gifted and published writer, a down-to-earth communicator, and has an unwavering heart for missions. Anne is also the newest addition to our church staff family. I have had the privilege of getting to know her over the past few weeks. (Anne has one of the top blogs in Christian Leadership – so check her out here and you’ll be blessed as a result). Here are some of Anne’s observations while in the DR:
“i never can seem to translate what is in my head after visiting a slum. a true third-world slum. the sights and smells and naked babies and starved dogs and sweat and raw sewage and shacks and the most impacting thing. hope.”
Then, Anne posed this question:
“How can we consistently show those in developed, consumer-driven countries that places like this exist? That, although, these places need clean water, sanitation, food and medical care, we need their hope, simplicity, community, and generosity.”
How did I feel after reading her profound observations poignantly worded? My mixed emotions included hope, despair, sadness, joy, helplessness, thankfulness, encouragement, discouragement, but more than anything, I realized how UNGRATEFUL I can be. This reminder of how most of the world lives, suffers, and fights to simply stay alive with unyielding hope and faith, is yet another awakening for this unthankful, unappreciative consumer. It’s a privilege to serve in a mission-focused church and an absolute honor to serve along side volunteers whose goal is to reach those outside of Christ and to serve those outside living in the slums of the earth. I vow never to complain about the lack of a kitchen luxury again. I will be eternally thankful each time I reach my hand down the drain and fetch those nasty, stinky, leftovers. Rather than complaining, I promise to give thanks to God and give thanks for people, like our servants in the mission field, who venture out of their comfort zone and risk everything but in the process gain EVERYTHING!