Monday, February 21, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss

While we were debriefing from the day, someone made the statement that "Ignorance is bliss" and they couldn't have been more right. If I hadn't seen the faces of the children, smelled what poverty smells like, or walked through sewage, I could be ignorant of the need.

Now that I have begun to take it all in, there's no denying the responsibility I have.

It was easy to forget about needs elsewhere, or to even forget to write my sponsored child before my eyes were opened.

I count it a privilege to be a voice for these children. They can't all get on a plane to come to your doorstep so you can see what poverty looks like. Even if I posted videos from everything we have seen, you still wouldn't completely understand. I thought I understood until I walked through the Mathare Valley slum on Saturday and visited the home of one of the sponsored children there. Ann walked us for at least 10 minutes through the slum to get to her house... and by house, I mean her mud hut. It was no bigger than 10x10 and the walls were made entirely of mud. While we walked through the streets, there was raw sewage flowing right where we were walking, and children were playing all in the area. The smell alone was almost too much to handle, but the sight was the hardest part.

I just had no idea.

Even after spending last summer with my friend Maureen (a Compassion Leadership Development Program graduate), I still didn't understand until I saw it for myself.


Our trip leader, Keith Bordeaux, took this picture as we walked to Ann's house.

This experience has been incredibly eye-opening to my role when it comes to taking care of those in need. A verse that the Lord continues to bring to mind says this:

"Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." James 1:27 (ESV)

We not only have a social responsibility to take care of these children, but it's a command from the Lord.

"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves... Defend the rights of the poor and needy." Proverbs 31:8-9

children at the Mathare Valley slum project

It's my job. I want to be a loud voice for these children who are unable to speak for themselves.

4 comments:

Kristen said...

I totally identify with the statement. I'm not ignorant any longer...but I know a deeper bliss than ever before :)

Mary Margaret said...

exactly! I'm so grateful.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you have had this opportunity! So glad your heart is moved with 'compassion' and that you are able to experience true poverty. I know it will change your heart for the rest of your life!

Praying for you...
Aunt Ann

bb said...

Just as Sara Groves says, "Now that I have seen....I am responsible."