Poverty sucks. It didn’t take me too long to determine that. Bet you don’t disagree either, even if you’ve never touched it, tasted it, or smelled it for yourself. As I walked the streets of Las Delicious, a small shanty-town community in La Ceiba, Honduras, the reality of what I knew existed was literally all around me. It’s almost as if my brain instinctively compartmentalized, packaging up the things it could process and eliminating the pieces it didn’t know what to do with. No one should live like this…dirt floors, cardboard box walls, scraping for food, families of six all sleeping in a room smaller than my master bedroom closet. But it wasn’t the lack of money or resources that bothered me most.
Hope had left the building. There was none. Nowhere to be seen. When these little kids…kids with names and faces and eyes I could stare deeply into…when they look into their future, they see nothing. Nothing. There is no vision of better circumstances, of greater opportunity. There’s no encouragement to discover the fullness of the “Imago Deo,” or image of God that is imprinted into their very being. Creativity is smothered by lack of vision, and the untapped creative potential in these little faces was the hardest thing for me to digest. They live in the slums, they are the slums, and they will always be the slums. That is a recipe for hopelessness. And that, my friends, is the worst of injustices.
How do we make that right? I guess that’s the million dollar question. I think it starts somewhere inside of me, with the realization that I actually have something of value to offer. Money? Sure. Resources are imperative to solving this crisis. But perhaps the single greatest thing we can offer another human being is hope. That obviously starts with Jesus Christ. But encapsulated in that is an opportunity and responsibility for me to help someone else look into their future and see what God originally intended. To pull back the weeds, clear a pathway, remove the rubble that keeps them from seeing God’s vision for their lives. I can do that in Honduras. And we will. But I can also do that in the lives of those I encounter every single day. Will we?