It's Christmas break. I've spent the last few days on the couch with a nasty cold. But also spent the last few days doing a lot of reading. Some friends of mine have been reading the book The Hole in Our Gospel, by Richard Stearns and mentioned how much it had challenged them. Coincidently, Richard is the current president of World Vision. So I picked it up and so far have been captivated by his stories and his questions of What does God expect of us? and What does it mean for God's kingdom to come?
To quote Stearns from a chapter I read today, "If we are honest with ourselves, we must simply admit that we have less empathy for people of other cultures living in faraway countries that we do for Americans. Our compassion for others seems to be directly related to whether people are close to us socially, economically, culturally, ethnically, emotionally, and geographically. But why do we distinguish the value of one human life from another? Why is it so easy to shut out the cries of these dying foreign children from our ears?"
These are somebody else's kids.
Bob Pierce, founder of World Vision, prayed, "Let my heart my broken by the things that break the heart of God." In other words, may we care as God cares and love as God loves.
Reading this book brings me back to the Dominican Republic.
Living in the Dominican Republic changed how I viewed myself, the church body, and the world. I saw how large the body of Christ is and how beautiful it is to worship in another language/culture. I developed a better understanding of selflessness and the importance of enjoying people. I also was awakened to the reality of poverty and the injustice of the large gaps between the rich and the poor around the world.
Some of my favorite memories of the DR were visiting orphanages, bringing toys to kids in the barrio with my friend Bielka, delivering food to Haitian bateyes with local missionaries at Christmas time, and doing kids clubs with other teachers on the weekends. There were so many needs, so many kids and all many of them wanted was a little love and a hug.
These were somebody else's kids.
Now I come back to Santiaguito. I think he has a beautiful smile as all Dominican kids do! Santiaguito lives with his mother, 2 brothers, and 3 sisters. His mother is a housewife and struggles to provide for the family. They live in an area southwest of Santiago, the city were I lived. Their community has been affected by HIV and AIDS. Money that comes to support Santiaguito will meet his needs and also help with prevention and care programs in his community.
Santiaguito is someone else's kid.
There are lots of "somebody else's kids" out there.
"And if anyone gives a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward."
If you are looking for a good read, pick up the book---A Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns.
At the end of the book, it gives lots of suggestions of ways to help World Vision or to serve and reach out to the poor around the world.