Monday, July 14, 2014

Dear fellow first-world Christian

Three beautiful weeks...



In a breathtakingly beautiful country, the land of hubby's and my births, our beloved Philippines... a country that is utterly full of brokenness at the same time. Brokenness that I believe our God will take and make something beautiful out of. Darkness that I believe our God will bring light into.


Because He is good, always good like that.

As I type out these thoughts of mine, our family is on an airplane, our eleventh and last flight in three weeks, flying back to the first-world which we call home. Somehow, a part of me doesn't want to go back home.

These three weeks, the Philippines and its beauty and its brokenness have together captured my heart anew in a way that I am having a hard time explaining or fully understanding.

God breaking my heart all the more for the things that break His.

This is Jamson. A Compassion child from Love and Share Children Center.
He is our friends' sponsor child! They sponsored him after reading this blog post written by my girl.

Jamson and John. John is our newest sponsor son from Compassion! He is so adorable. We are in love with him!

John playing in his neighbourhood.

John and his cousin, Lester. Lester is also a Compassion child. This is the path to their homes.

Family photo with John and his parents, Dondie and Michelle.

And I don't want to go back home to being a safe and apathetic first-world Christian all over again.

Because being surrounded by the comforts of the first world makes one forget. It makes one selfish. It makes one not care as much. Out of sight, out of mind.

Don't get me wrong, friends... safe and apathetic first world Christians aren't only sheltered in Canada like me. We are actually all over the world. We are even right there... in the Philippines, living right beside the extreme poor.

I am not talking, therefore, about where we live or which country we are citizens of... but about our economic status as compared to our brothers and sisters who live without the bare necessities of life and our posture towards them and their plight.

Those who live on less than $1.25 a day.

I believe that it is time for us first-world Christians to wake up. Those of us who live on waayyy more than $1.25 a day. Atrociously more... and mostly for ourselves.

Because...
When you have worshiped God alongside brothers and sisters who, even though they have barely nothing in terms of material wealth, sing their hearts out with arms high and hearts abandoned... you realize that your worship is anemic and you need to wake up.

{Please pause the playlist on the sidebar of this blog as you watch this video.}


When you hear about a seriously ill child who has no choice but to face death, unless a miracle happens, because the life-long medication he needs is not feasible financially for his family who barely has their daily meals figured out... you realize that you take the provision of your daily bread and healthcare as entitlement and you need to wake up.


When you meet families who've lost everything, whose homes were washed away by Typhoon Haiyan, who are thankful for a few sheets of plywood and galvanized iron to repair their shanty... you realize how vain it is to think about renovating your bathroom and that you need to wake up.


When your girl sits to pray with a group of third-world teenagers and their prayer request is for the opportunity to continue their education... you come face-to-face with the reality that getting an education is not a given and you realize that you need to wake up.


When you hear atrocious stories about minors being forced into modern-day slavery, into prostitution, because their parents have no other choice but to "sell" them because they are so poor... you realize how much evil is in this world and that you need to wake up.


When you see a family so grateful for the now-paved cement floor on which they can sleep on because it is a vast improvement from their previous dirt floor bed... you realize that the reason you have a queen-sized bed to sleep on, in a house that is infinitely bigger and infinitely more luxurious than that one-room shanty you set foot on is all because of grace and you need to wake up.


When, for Sunday worship, you sit in a world-class facility which cost an equivalent of $65M in Philippine pesos to build and you contrast it to the church you just visited in a poverty-ridden community, with intermittent electricity and without running water, who can not afford to purchase 200 Bibles and you lose it emotionally, bawling your eyes out during the entire worship service... you realize there is much disparity in this world and that you need to wake up.



When someone from the affluent church happily sends 200 Bibles to the church-in-need... you realize beautiful things can happen when you take the time to tell stories and bridge the disparity gap and that you need to wake up.

Dear fellow first-world Christian...
It is truly time for us to wake up and walk alongside our poverty-ridden brothers and sisters and make something beautiful out of the brokenness.

Because... together, we can eliminate extreme poverty. 

Yes, the Bible says that the poor will always be with us. That's why God commands us to love them... it is not a verse to get us off the hook!

Poverty will always exist, yes... but extreme poverty doesn't always have to exist. Did you know that it is projected to be eliminated by the Year 2030? We, both individually and as the church, the Body of Christ, can help to vastly improve the situation of the world's poorest, both physically and spiritually. Perhaps, extreme poverty can even be history before the Year 2030! 

By living with just enough so we can give sacrificially and generously, living simply so others can simply live. 

Starting with our daily living and indulgences that we so often take for granted, and extending out to those bigger ticket expenses that we so often think we deserve or are entitled to.

Starting with how we spend our time and how we apportion our resources that we so often think are rightfully ours.
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. ~ Luke 12:48, NIV.
By being light in the darkness. By being Jesus' hands and feet. By being love in action.

Because...

When the worlds of poverty and wealth collide, the resulting powerful fusion can change the world.
~ Shane Claiborne.
This is my prayer. 

That my world will continually collide with that of the world's poor.

Will that be your prayer too, my friend... my fellow first-world Christian?
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. ~ 1 John 3:16-18, NIV.
As an act of worship to our King. An endless hallelujah! Because of His great love for us.

:: :: ::

Here are some starting points: 
~ Free slaves with International Justice Mission via Freedom Creations' Just Act campaign.
~ Build a Core House for Typhoon Haiyan victims with Habitat for Humanity.
~ A must-read from Ann Voskamp... Why You Really Need to be Done with Living Safe: Being a Dangerous Disciple of the Unsafe God.


Compassion is a command, an act of worship, a song of thanks to Him.
Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God!

3 comments:

  1. I love reading this .... loved all your pics on IG and your girl's pics..... to be honest it seems I am so busy (ugh I hate that word) that I my world is not colliding as I would like.... oh I am still writing each month but ..... I miss it. Not sure how to do it differently right now. Not as able to get online like I use too.... hopefully by next month.

    Thank you for always challenging your readers to make a difference. I am so very thankful for our compassion children.... Erik, Neema, Ucok, Betlehem, Jazzy, Regita, Rachel. They have truly changed our life. Talking about them always warms my heart.

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    1. Hey Teena... I am blogging less these days too. Life is busy for us as well... and blogging takes a back seat when that happens. Thanks for dropping by!

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  2. Thank you for sharing this. Beautiful. Tears....

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