Even though today we have spent the entire day inside the church doing workshops, today has been probably the heaviest day yet. And sitting in bed, it is hitting me just how exhausted I am. I know that the exhaustion will continue, especially as we travel to London, but I am trying to process some of the things that happened today, so please give me some grace. (And thank you in advance for the grace. You may not know it, but it means a lot.)
Last night during our family group (a time when we get together with a mix of people from other teams and share and debrief for the day), we shared a high and low for the day. Part of my high was the amazing dinner we had. Seriously, we had the absolute best dinner rolls I have ever had in my entire life. They were so amazing; I wish I could mail you some. Turns out they were just these frozen dinner rolls that all you do is take out of a bag and bake, but still. That is so not the point.
We have actually had really great meals this entire time (including lunch, where we had tamales and guacamole—need I say more?), but tonight’s supper was different. We were told that we had to walk down to the dining room/fellowship hall together. We reached the doorway and we were only allowed to enter one at a time. We received a number written on a small white piece of paper and instructed to sit in the designated area that matched our number.
I got three. I looked at the ground. One was a nice looking table with a tablecloth, fancy water goblets, the works. Two was a regular table with chairs, nothing fancy, but there were cheese slices and ketchup bottles on the table. Three was a sectioned off piece of the floor with nothing inside it but sand. I got three, so I went to sit down.
When we were all seated in our designed areas, we started to receive food. As you can probably guess, the fancy table got fancier food, multiple courses. The second table got hamburgers and chips and pasta salad. We were given one bowl of rice and one glass of water for all of us. I can bet you could have told where this was going. Before receiving our food, we were shown a PowerPoint with a lot of statistics about poverty.
I’ve always known that the world is filled with poverty. And even this simple illustration does not even give me a glimpse into the true difficulty on living with very little, if anything at all. I mean, I was fortunate to be given two meals already—a nice breakfast of baked oatmeal with blueberries and strawberries and a great lunch (hello, guac). As I sat in the sectioned off dirt patch with the others, we passed around the bowl of rice, and knew that we’d be eating breakfast again in the morning. I have so many luxuries. I know I am extremely fortunate.
The responses of the fellow Youth in Mission-ers were interesting. There isn’t really a “correct” response to that kind of experience. People at the first table cried, and tried to eat their dinner with their hands. People at the second table wanted to give us food. But then, when the people at the other tables ate and were finished, all the leftover food was thrown away. My stomach ached.
Even now, I don’t know how to respond. As I was sitting there, I could feel the response to want to escape come over me. I wanted food. It’s not like I hadn’t eaten plenty for lunch today, but I was angry that all the other food was getting wasted.
During the discussion we had afterward, we talked about how the people with food not eating it didn’t help. We talked about how we cannot save the world, but we also need to find a way to respond somehow. God calls us to respond. God calls us to love people in the world, and I don’t know how you are loving people if you are letting them go hungry. So I don’t know the correct response, but I do know that we are called to something bigger than us. As we saw the statistics of the amount of money Americans spend on pop alone, I felt guilty. But feeling guilt doesn’t feed anyone.
I am praying the prayer that God breaks my heart for what breaks His.
After the dinner, we went straight into our worship service. The opening song was “Hungry.” So, I sang the words, and they hit me straight into my heart.
Hungry, I come to You, for I know You satisfy.
I don’t know what this trip to London will bring, but I know that God is using these experiences to shape me. To break my heart for what breaks His. I am thankful. I am open.