First of all, I know, It’s been close to a year since I’ve blogged anything. If you haven’t gotten bored enough to unsubscribe from my blog already, thank you… and I bet it was a surprise to see that email pop up about a new post from Britt!
This past Sunday, after a particularly lazy post-church afternoon including NASCAR, NCIS Season DVD’s and napping, Shaner and I realized that the hour had gotten late and we hadn’t had dinner. We also didn’t feel like spending much money on a quick meal, so the combination of late and cheap led us to the drive thru of everyone’s favorite fast-food, taco-burrito-chalupa serving establishment. As we turned in off the highway, we both groaned and sighed as we immediately hit the brakes and were stopped in a long line of cars waiting to order. We teased each other with comments like, “who’s idea was this?” and “nice pick, honey… hope they serve breakfast!”
Out of curiosity I set the stopwatch on my watch to see just how long this would take. Twenty-six minutes, fifty three seconds. It took nearly 27 minutes for us to drive about 50 yards, pick up our chalupas and nachos and be on our way. I know what you’re thinking: we could have gone inside, ordered, eaten, gotten a desert, and written this blog post in that time. Needless to say, when we got home we thought we were “starving” and dove into our food.
But as sit here and think about it today, I wondered if I was really even hungry. Could I even call what I experienced hunger? Sure, it had been a little while longer since my last meal than I would normally wait, and I did want something to eat, but is simply wanting food hunger?
My thoughts turn to memories of my trip to Kenya in 2006. It was such an awesome, life-changing, eye-opening blessing of a trip where I got the incredible experience of not only sponsoring a child through Compassion International, but I got to meet her! I got to hold her in my lap and I got to give her a grocery bag full of cheap toys and gifts which she treated like treasure. Her name is Naiponoi and now she’s almost 15 years old. I got to go to the market and stack up bags of grain, and rice, and corn to send to her family who lived in the plains, miles from any city or town. It was such a great feeling.
As we spent the day together, visiting other Compassion sites with our group, I remember carrying her as we walked up the garbage-lined roads of the slums, with deep trenches dug by the wash of rain and sewage. As I carried her, observing what was all around us, I realized I was seeing hunger. I was seeing shack after tin-roofed shack, where families lived in a single dirt-floored room, wondering where their next meal would come from. I remember fighting the tears as I thanked God that Naiponoi lived out in the plains, and not in the slums like these. I saw hunger. I saw children being sent to heaping piles of garbage to look for anything edible. I saw barefoot children playing in the streets lined with sewage and trash. I saw orphans begging for money to buy a scrap to eat, or if no food could be found, to buy an 0ld glue bottle to sniff and get high to dull the growls of their stomachs. I saw hunger.
It’s weird how nearly 6 years later, after day-to-day life in America, one can almost become detached from such an experience. But it only takes one little thought for it to all rush back. The sights. The sounds. The smells. It’s all as vivid this morning as if it happened yesterday. I know that trip may have very well been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, but I pray that God will not let me forget it for the rest of my days. I feel as though I was given that chance, and shown those sights for a reason. At the time, perhaps the reason was simply for me to sponsor a child, so that she may have hope and an escape from such an existence. If you’ve ever considered the possibility of sponsoring a child, I strongly encourage you to do so, and I strongly recommend Compassion. I’ve seen their work firsthand. I’ve seen the results of sponsorship. It would be the best $38/month you could ever spend.
But as for now, I pray that the Lord will give me more opportunities. More chances to do something. Hunger is a huge monster to tackle, but maybe I can start with not complaining when it takes 26 minutes to get my chalupa.