I was reading another blog ( //www.incourage.me/2011/09/how-not-to-get-lost-in-translation.html#comment-101122 ) about the release of a new album by Shawn Groves, called Third World Symphony. This asked for comments about the question in the title of this post. So, I also ask you all to comment on this. I don't get a lot of comments so it would be nice to see a few anyway :). My comment is below (with a little bit added here), but I hope you will also comment here and there if you like! If you comment there, you have a chance to win that album. It isn't why I commented. The question just got me thinking. So, here goes:
I see poverty around me every day in the African town where I live. I see joy around me as well in the faces of children who know that life is hard and yet that they are loved. I've seen laughter and joy in the eyes of a child as he plays with that little "car" made from trash and kicks the soccer ball made from balled up plastic bags. I've seen great happiness in the eyes of adults as they learn to read their own language for the first time. Their smiles light up their whole faces!
For fifteen years I have lived in N.W. Kenya among the poorest of the poor and yet they are so generous with their praise to God. Life is so hard for them and some people are so very hungry, but they praise God for the little they have. I have learned to be thankful for all that I used to take for granted. I have learned that physical poverty is not poverty of the soul. I have learned that we are all people and we all need Jesus. When we do not have him, we are worse off than any of the poorest of the poor who do have him. I have learned that all our things do not make a difference in the end. What we do with our lives and how we love are what make a difference. Whether we have a "filipino kitchen," an american kitchen or an open fire for our pot, if we aren't serving up God's love and grace with the food we cook, then no matter how much food there is, people will go away hungry.
I don't know how long I will be here, but I know that this place - this "third world" place that God called me to - has changed my life forever. It has captured my heart and changed me in so many ways that I cannot count or even try to come up with words for. I pray for the blooming of this place; blooming of God's grace and mercies poured out on the people so that their lives are not so hard. I pray for the literal blooming of this dry and dusty land, but more for the Spiritual blooming of Christ in the hearts of his people here. I am thankful that He sees fit to use me to help even a little bit. I'm also so very thankful that he understands Turkana because I only catch about 3/4 (if that much) of what is said. Even so, I know he is praised as I see my friends singing and dancing in church and praising the God of all the earth! This "third world" place has become my home. These "third world" people have captured a part of my heart and they are no longer "third world" people they are just friends. They are brother's and sister's with me on the journey to finding our true home - where there will be no poverty physically or spiritually because our true home is in Christ Jesus!