Monday, August 23, 2010

Limited Reflections on My Trip

Because of the nature of the internet and the dominant religion of the country, I am somewhat limited in what I can say here. I just spent 10 days in a South Asian Country visiting various ministry sites and churches. We also helped to build some houses in a new village for widows and orphans.
I have visited more than 20 countries, almost all in association with the Church of the Nazarene, and I have never been more impressed with the Church of the Nazarene. What we are doing there is what we should be doing everywhere.
Almost every church building is also a ministry center. Usually, they are Child Development Centers (the gathering place for children in sponsorship programs), and maybe several other things as well. The idea of using a church building only for worship services and "Christian education" is obsolete, and we in the developed world can learn a huge lesson from our utilitarian brothers and sisters in the developing world.
Furthermore, in this nation, the Church of the Nazarene is consistently serving the poorest of the poor. And there, the poorest make less than $1 a day. If you make more than $2 a day, you are squarely in the upper class! The Church of the Nazarene operates with integrity, compassion, and intelligence, and therefore enjoys support from a wide range of funding partners.
Through child sponsorship, community development programs, digging wells, building latrines, microfinance, small business support groups, environmental planning, schools, and a wide range of other creative and effective methods, the Church of the Nazarene is making a significant difference among people who are struggling simply to survive.
Our church has established a long term partnership with a Nazarene project to build a village for widows and orphans in a rural community. During our trip, we were able to dig some foundations, lay some bricks, play with kids, and interview some of the widows.
The widows' stories were heart breaking and eye opening. Many of the widows did not know their own age or how long they had been married, but they all knew the exact date and year that their husbands had died. Their lives were forever changed in that moment. Some died of "normal" diseases like heart attacks, strokes, or TB. Others died of unbelievably simple illnesses like diarrhea. When a person is already malnourished, and no medicine is available, the simplest stomach illness can be deadly. Our team was flabergasted that people still die today because of lack of Pepto Bismal.
We dreamed and prayed and talked constantly about the possibilities for the future of our partnership. I hope to write more about all of this, but for now, I want to post this brief update while the ideas and memories are still fresh.
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