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Published: December 29th 2011
In the morning, I did Vacation Bible School with some of my fellow MSNers (Elizabeth M., Tamara, Pato), and we told the kids the story of Noah (thanks to a Spanish kids Bible). We painted the kids’ faces with animals (I consider myself artistic, but when a kid asks for canguro
, what are you supposed to do, really?) and had them act out the story in the little community center where we were working. The kids were adorable and did a great job—I wish I could say my face painting was just as good as their acting and storytelling! Then, the kids colored and made rainbows as well.
In the afternoon, I was one of the first to take part in the food distribution program with Pastora Esther. And then soccer with some of the locals from the churches where we’ve been working and the construction site, too (most of whom are also at the churches where we’ve been).
...Words are failing me. I don’t know why. I can’t get my heart into my mouth and the words in the right language.
El Salvador has been beautiful so far. Beautiful moments with friends and the body of Christ. Being welcomed by the open arms of the church—one family in Christ, regardless of language, nationality, past, present, future...
To feel that welcome. To feel God’s radical hospitality in others’....
And yet, today, I feel lost. Why? I don’t know.
I think of the ridiculous amount of plenty we have with each meal. While our neighbors potentially go without. Here and in our own hometowns.
How can hunger continue and Christians exist?
I will go home, and all this will be a memory. Like other trips before. I will live my life, be a professor, or writer...
And my words just failed me today. We were visiting these homes—ten of them—where the church was distributing small sacks of food. I said a few words of Spanish—about being one in Christ, etc.
They were okay—some mistakes, but meaning intact—but I feel...
There was so much more I wanted to say, to give, to learn. And yet, I was stilted. I wanted to thank them for opening their homes and lives to us. Their hands and hearts.
To apologize. For not loving enough. For living our gluttonous lives in the U.S. Our thoughtlessness as a people. The “other” America.
Because this visit is nothing. Just another mission group of gringos.
And yet, I know that’s not completely true. Even our very diversity as a group means something to me. Hermanos y hermanas en Cristo—de los todos nacionalidades, culturas, origenes, familias, paises
this. I see this here and am blessed by it.
I don’t know how to give. How to love. Because it’s not enough.
How do you overcome privelege? In daily life. When traveling to other cultures. When talking, reading, understanding.
My white Americanness precedes me, and I don’t know how to distance myself from it or overcome it.
I can’t handle all of this. It’s beautiful and amazing—a blessing, each moment. But my brain and heart can’t handle it.
It’s not about you. This life.
So what of my life?
Alexis, can’t you just be
But be with this heavy heart? This burden of all I cannot do or have failed to do? This burden of my own lack of faithfulness, my own taking for granted God’s many blessings? Each day I’m awake? Each day with food on the table? ¿Es posible? ¿El cambio? Quiero cambiar. Es posible el cambio. Cambiando... Pero, cada día... Cada día... ¿Cómo vives en cada día? ¿Por cada día? Estoy aquí. Estoy viviendo aquí. Ahora.
But how do I go on with those people now in my heart—brothers and sisters, whom in Christ I love—but there is such need.
But what if my job is not to save but to love, to receive, to open my hands and heart, to drop this heavy burden, to accept love, to hold and to console, to be present, to learn... How do I do this? How do I move from this desire to save everyone,
to change the architecture, to a new mindset, where presence could be enough?
But presence isn’t enough. The injustices are too great worldwide... And here I am in my ivory tower. Cada día...
How to live, to love. As You would have me....
For now, just be. Please just be....
Why does one life matter more than another? Why does one cost more than another? Why is so much based on economics, gender, race, country of origin, etc.? The injustices abound, and here the church is doing its good work—really, beautifully... La familia de Dios
One solution. But not a full solution. Can a full solution come?
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