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The Poverty of ME

Last week, I was in Mexico. On a sponsor tour. And I saw the deepest, darkest poverty of my life.

But I didn’t have to travel to ME, the abbreviation we use when referring to Mexico, to see it. I only had to look at me.

I was in Mexico for the wrong reason. I didn’t go for the children, to become a stronger, more passionate voice for them. To serve them better. To serve you better. I went because I like to travel. I went for me.

There certainly are solid business reasons for me to have gone on the trip, but I didn’t get out of my own way long enough to realize them. I hate that.

How do I redeem the opportunity God gave me and that I squandered?

I dunno. Analyze? Internalize? Theorize?.

Take a look at the poverty wheel. The hub represents absolute poverty – living on less than $2 a day. The rim represents the opposite of poverty [3] – enough. And the spokes represent the different needs of those in poverty.

But what is poverty [4]?

Compassion exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.

Poverty is spiritual. Poverty is economic. Poverty is social and physical. It’s not limited to the developing world. And this is nothing new to you. Right?

You know that the emotional disconnection [5] we in the developed world struggle with is a form of poverty, right?

But why is it, with this enlightened consciousness, many of us still struggle with these chains? Why is it that with “enough” opportunity to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults, most of us don’t act like Jesus and aren’t fulfilled?

Yeah. I know. We’re fallen. But for me, that isn’t acceptable! I despise that answer. It feels like an excuse. I want a better answer. I want to overcome that answer.

Hmm. Where’s God in that last statement?

HEY! Watch out! Fallen soul coming through fast.

I went on a house visit last Tuesday. The child’s family had nice wood furniture. It wasn’t just nice for their circumstances, you would’ve wanted it. The family also had electricity. A television. A DVD player. A refrigerator. A stove.

They aren’t poor like the poor I saw in Kenya. Dirt floors. Tin roofs. A 5’ x 5’ house that sleeps five. Raw sewage outside the door. And I thought, “Do they really need our help?” Just like many sponsors think when they see a child photo for the first time, that child doesn’t “look poor.”

The families I saw in Mexico were indeed poor in the things of this world. But in that moment, I was poor in the things of the Lord. I was full-on fallen. Self-absorbed and judging. Ugh!

But this post isn’t about me inviting you into my confession, and it’s not about me laying a guilt trip on you. Those may be outcomes :-) … but they’re not why I’m writing this.

This post isn’t about saying how “evil” we in the developed world are or anything other than:

Last week, I was in Mexico. On a sponsor tour. And I saw the deepest, darkest poverty of my life. It wasn’t the first time though, and it probably won’t be the last.

It’s about the only message that I could pull out of the poison, Satan laced his flaming arrows [6] in, before shooting them in my heart.

That was my trip to Mexico.

I’m not sure how this post squares with “doing my best to make you feel like you’re in Mexico with me [7],” because it doesn’t tell you anything about sponsor fun day, when the sponsors on the trip met their children for the first time.

And it doesn’t tell you about our shopping and boat ride experiences, or how easy the customs declaration form [8] was to fill out on the return flight home. But maybe you can get all that from the photos I uploaded to Flickr [9] the other night; the whole trip is there now.

I should have some brief and very simple video for you to watch some time next week too.

¡Dios te bendiga! May God bless you.