Saturday, July 21, 2012


A few weeks ago I was visiting with one of my families and as we were talking the little girl's dad came walking down the street with his bicycle. His wife said, he's drunk. That's what he does when he's drunk and he knows it.
As he got to the entrance of the house where we were standing he told us he was drunk because his wife is about to have a baby and they don't have any money saved for it.
I asked him why he spent his money buying beer to get drunk if he was worried about not having money saved?
They gave it to me. My pals always give it to me.
Could you not take it and ask them for the money for it instead?
they gave it to me, they always do, because honestly when you're poor - we get drunk when he don't have any money. That's what we do.
And he looked at the guy who was there visiting with me and said - you'd get drunk if you were poor.
No, he replied, I don't know how to get drunk.
You've never been drunk? If you've never gotten drunk and don't get drunk, I'll go to church for the rest of my life.
I think you should start going to church then.

and this story is a little bit funny - or at least he was funny, but he was being really honest. And honestly so many of my friends are in hard places right now. Some of them have been in hard places for as long as I've known them.

I have a friend with 4 kids. Her husband has been sick for a long time.  They don't have the money to go to the doctor to see what's wrong with him, so he stays sick and cannot really work while she worries because he is sick, because they have not had money to buy enough food this month,  because their electric has been turned off and now her 13 year old daughter doesn't want to go to school anymore because she is worried about her family - and probably hungry. Mom cannot work though because her youngest is only 3 months old.

10 or so families have been told that sometime in the near future they will have to move. The city wants to develop the land they are squatting on, on that side of the road, so it will no longer be available for them to use. They can move around the corner but they still will not be given actual land deeds in case the city wants that land in the future. Several families have been living here for 10-15 years already in permanent style houses, but they still cannot own the land. They are on a little dirt road between a huge government orphanage and a rehabilitation center, so there is not much likelihood of anything ever being placed there - and there is no need of anything ever being placed there.

These are families who work hard to have food for their children to eat and clothes for their children to wear. They have no idea how they'll pay for building a new home, but taking their old homes apart and moving them will not really work either. When moving day comes though they will have no choice. It will be move on. The old houses will be burned down.

It is hard for these families. My heart breaks for them, but honestly, they get it. I have learned so much from them because they have realized life is not about stuff. Life is about Jesus and each other and loving one another well. They have taught me so much about community. When I head down to visit them any number of children will run up to me and say hello. The adults all greet me and we talk about whatever has happened recently. There is family there. Older kids carrying babies around and moms telling their neighbor's children to behave. They love each other and serve each other. They understand each other.

And so honestly, my prayer for them and for me is that we would walk in the hope of who Jesus is for us and would really see his kingdom come in our lives today. that just as we've often been able to rejoice together and mourn together that we would stand together in these struggles with our eyes kept on Jesus. He is our joy. He is our hope. He is our life.

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