Saturday, November 17, 2012

"Why do I have so much and they have nothing?"

A couple weeks ago I talked with a family from my mission on the phone. Teaching them and getting to know them was one of the biggest life changing experiences of my time in Romania, if not my entire life. Here is a "preface" of sorts so that you can understand their situation. Here's what I wrote in my journal the day after one of our lessons with them:

"It's not fair that today I was worrying about what kind of bag I should buy, and I buy a 120 lei bag-that's not necessary. It's not fair that we live in a nice apartment and have all the food we need, and then this family of four with two small children don't have food to put on the table. It's not fair and I feel guilty. Let me suffer and give them what I have. Why do I have so much and they have nothing? How is it fair?"

Here we are with their kids in their one room apartment


When I talked with them on the phone a couple weeks ago, just hearing their voices made me so happy. But then we started to talk about life, and how it is still so difficult, I got that lump in my stomach again. Almost two years after I wrote that journal entry they are still suffering, they are still struggling to put food on the table. It's not because they are lazy, it's not because they are addicted to drugs, it's because they are stuck in poverty and they don't know how to get out. They are amazing people, dedicated to serving Christ, but they struggle to provide the basic necessities to live. 

This morning me and my roommates were watching College Gameday on ESPN and there was a 5 year old who was a guest on the show because he knew so much about college football. He was praised by the announcers and everyone else because of his "great knowledge" of college sports. I couldn't help but think how almost sickening it is that so much money, time, resources, praise, and talents are being funneled into college football and this little kid when halfway across the world this amazing family of four is starving. It's not just this one family either, it's millions of people all around the world, even in our own communities, that are suffering. Again, many of these people are not suffering because they make stupid decisions, but because they are born into it and can't find a way out. 

I hope it doesn't come across that I am condemning college sports, because I'm not. All I'm saying is that we cannot just sit by and pretend like nothing is happening. It is not ok to keep ourselves from thinking about these kind of things because we don't see it. The fact is that there are people all around us suffering and we need to ask ourselves-what am I going to do about it?

I wish I had a perfect answer for this question, I wish I had a way to make it all fair, I wish I knew a clear path to make it all right...but I don't. However, I do know that I can try. I do know that I can go out and try to make a difference. It's not enough to just think about it, I have to go out and actively search to make this world better for those around me. Here's what I wrote in my journal right after I wrote that first part:

"It means I have a great responsibility to share that which I have with others. God blessed me with so much so that I can share it with others. I have a great responsiblity-becasue I have been given much I too must give...It's more than just praying for them-it's more than just trying-it is giving everything you have, everything you have been given to help them. That is what the Lord expects from us. That is what makes it fair. That and the atonement of Jesus Christ." 


I'm not trying to be on a soapbox preaching about how the world is in flames, because it's not. There is so much good in the world and so many amazing people that are making a difference. I just think it's important to remember that there are people all around us who need our help, our talents, and our listening ear, and we need to make it a priority to be there for them. 



http://www.benetech.org/
A Nonprofit dedicated to helping Romanian Orphans
http://www.bridgeofloveromania.com/


A program that helps people to lift themselves out of poverty
http://www.creatingenterprise.com/home0.aspx