I have lived in Mexico City. Hiked up a mountain where there was no road to a village. I’ve used mosquito nets in the jungle to prevent against malaria. I’ve seen the destruction of war standing in the ruins that surrounding me. Drove to Sarajevo and saw it’s remains. I’ve spoken to the war torn survivors and driven through the dumps in Mexico City. That is something that I can describe to my kids, but I want them to SEE it. I want them to see the realness of it and hurt for the people who live on less then a dollar a day. I don’t want them to think, “Wow, I’m so grateful for what I have. Sure glad I don’t live there!” And walk away. I want the burden to be on their hearts to help. To serve. To love.
On Friday, Mike and I had an opportunity to take Josiah to the Real. Life. Exhibit at Medical Teams International’s (MTI) headquarters. They have one here in Redmond. When we got into the car as we were leaving Josiah said, “I have a lot to think about.” That’s exactly what we were hoping for. MTI, sends doctors and nurses to disaster areas like the typhoon in the Philippians or the tsunami in Sri Lanka. They also send doctors and nurses to refugee locations, like Uganda for the refugees coming out of the Congo. The Real. Life. exhibit is something that was put together by folks who had been to those disaster areas or refugee camps who wanted to put together something that people could see from their experience. So, many times (and I remember this well) people would ask me how my trips were, or how I was impacted by them, and the question was just a polite one, and not one of interest in knowing the nitty-gritty of what I had experienced. The people of MTI decided to put this exhibit together to answer people’s questions. To help them visually see what they experienced. It was excellent.
At one point, Josiah and I were standing in front of woman, who had been through the earthquake in Haiti. There was a little quote from her. She said that she had experienced the earthquake. Her husband had died, her house had been destroyed and her son was sick. She said that MTI had helped her with medicine for her son and had saved his life. At the end, she said, “I am grateful.” Josiah looked at me and said, “Would you be grateful, Mom?” His question took me my surprise. I thought a moment. I said, “I’d be grateful that these people gave my son medicine and saved his life.”
I started thinking about that conversation this week. Would I be grateful? Yes, I’d be grateful. It’d be hard, but I’d be grateful. Grateful for my son’s life and grateful for life. Grateful for grief. Grief is hard, but grief-suffering well is good. If Josiah had asked me that question years ago, I don’t think my answer would’ve been a positive one. More of a musing of how someone could be grateful.
I was reminded on Friday about how much Jesus uses people to show His love. In the midst of pain. In suffering. In tragedy He shows His love and grace in marvelous, hard ways. How these amazing, gracious, people-loving people showed up to care for the hurting. To counsel, to love, to help mend wounds and broken hearts. Jesus sent them. Jesus sent them compassion. I loved this because it was ACTIONS. Like Jesus was ACTION. He showed His amazing love by actions.
If you can, please look into MTI and see how you can help. They are an amazing organization. Can you give a Hope Kit? Are you a dentist who can serve in their mobile dental clinic on the weekends? Can you help organize medical supplies? Can you donate tarps or medical supplies?
Think about it. Pray about it. Go see the exhibit. It’s free and eye opening.