Many, many moons ago, I visited Monterrey, Mexico, and surrounding areas on a mission trip with some of my fellow seminarians. One afternoon, our group drove up into the hills nearby so that we could offer our help to a pastor who ministers to the people surviving there. When the pastor’s old van could take us no further, we walked up the path and into their community of shacks.
At that time in my life, I was living in Dallas and pursuing a master’s degree. I thought I was financially strapped. I thought I had struggles. I thought I “got” so much about life. But that was before I went into those shacks.
I had seen poverty before, although I had never experienced it myself. Poverty and suffering were at my fingertips that day, and I had no idea what to do about it.
To be honest, I have very few memories of that particular day or even the trip in general. There is one memory, however, I hope my brain will never let loose of. Standing on the side of a mountain, I watched as barefooted children ran and played in raw sewage. And I…was changed.
All I could think of was how God must grieve when his children suffer. I wasn’t even a mother, and yet I grieved for those children that day.
In the ensuing months, I was introduced to Compassion International and my sponsored child, Erika Marisol. Journeying with her the last decade has been my small way of remembering children trapped by poverty; it has been a step beyond simply being changed.
Several years later, I heard Sarah Groves’ song I Saw What I Saw about her own personal experience in Rwanda. She put into words exactly what I had felt that day in Mexico, capturing what it means to live changed.
So watch, listen and wonder: whose pain is changing you today? And better yet, what are you doing about it?