The very first time we saw the land of Hope in 2017, conditions were hard. Oscar, the pastor at the land of Hope, was doing his very best to meet the needs of a large and desperate population with very limited resource. The needs didn’t take long to see. People were in poor physical health, malnutrition was rampant, there was a garbage dump 100 yards away from the medical clinic, and it was on fire.
Fast forward three and one half years. The medical clinic is being expanded to include a long term nutrition stabilization center for chronically malnourished families. There is a baby formula distribution program for mothers with young children. There is a birthing center, so babies are no longer being born in un-sanitary conditions, but rather, are being delivered by a midwife in a sterile environment. There is a church now, and today, there was a church service for both adults, and for children. The children running around and playing seem healthier now, we don’t see the same level of malnourishment that we initially did. We see mothers, and children, carrying Bibles. And we meet people who are excited to tell us about Jesus, and the impact that loving Him is having in their lives.
All this is so beautiful. Yet, right outside the gate, there is still a garbage dump. It’s very active, dump trucks are driving by all day long, and people have set up shelters in the trash so they have a place to stay when they are not working. There are families living there, finding anything that can be used, sold, or eaten in the trash. They compete for these resources with pigs, birds, fire, and even each other.
It is so quickly apparent that while the impact at the land of Hope is significant, the problem and the poverty are orders of magnitude larger than anything a single ministry can touch. However, it is both humbling and encouraging to witness the positive growth of a ministry with evangelism based leadership. To see the fruits of men and women who serve sacrificially as a calling from God. To see that a difference can be made by just a few, obediently making a decision to serve.
What follows in our conversations as we recap the day becomes so clear. The question is not how the problem can be solved. The question is, how is God asking you to serve, and, are you obedient to his call?