Our bus made its way down the mountain and a lot of us were quiet. Some knew what we were heading into, others had no idea what was about to awaken them. The drive was beautiful, lush, and green. Women walked on the side of the road with firewood on their heads. Children played in the streets. The buildings and homes were dilapidated. Trash was strewn on the side of the road and filled the rivers. As we made our approach into the Land of Hope, it was interesting to hear someone from the back of the bus say, “Hey does anyone have trash that we can collect?” Light bursts of laughter rolled from the back of the bus as we had just stepped into irony. In one hundred yards we would be working in a trash dump, ministering to and serving the people in this dump community.
We all had our jobs to do; some played with the children, others made crafts, some chopped onions, carrots, and garlic to serve up soup. Some taught bible study, and several helped with medical and dental, and those chosen, helped everywhere. It was moving to see His people, the hands and feet of Christ, so beautifully working in tandem. However, it was not easy. The stories of the people in the dump are nothing short of tragedy. Death, disease, malnourishment, pain, suffering, and poverty beyond belief is what marks them. Make no mistake, it doesn’t define them. They are happy people, and many are coming to know the Lord. Two of the women had just given their hearts to the Lord in the past few months.
As we worked, some had to leave because it was too difficult. One such case was a 14 year old with diabetes who is blind and has been given about one year to live. Several cases of malnourishment were challenging. At times we felt helpless. And we all had our own mantra on how we got through. We prayed that God would restore this place, and tackle the hearts of His people. We prayed for sustenance and peace.
We finished our day, exhausted but elated. We climbed aboard our bus which was air conditioned and soft seated and no one said it, but we all thought it. Our worlds, though far apart and vastly different, came crashing together in the name of serving and it has changed us.
Being able to go on a missions trip is something that few people get to experience. It is challenging to organize, details are critical and the leadership is essential. We would like to sincerely thank Chad Larson, Jake Mundt, Ashley Dees, and Sue Fischer for everything. Their spiritual guidance, leadership and friendship have blessed us all!