Thursday, February 11, 2010

God is in the Slums

I spent last night in tears at my desk as I continue to educate myself on poverty. So many precious ones left my heart throbbing. Will you please pray for them? Pray for the ones with skeleton-like bodies, the seven year old who weighs only 20 lbs, the boy who bathes in the urine of a cow, the child with polio dragging himself through the dirt, the little boy not aloud to sleep at home unless he comes back from a day of begging with money, the young girl who mothers orphaned children, the child who digs for food at the local dump, all children who are slowly dying. Can you see the face of your very own on one of the precious little bodies?

Did you know more than 1 billion (one in five) people live on less than $1 a day. Approximately 143 million children in the developing world (one in 13) are orphans. More than 10 million children under the age of five die each year; two thirds of these deaths - more than 6 million deaths each year - are preventable - most are starving to death. Pray the we determine ourselves to make a difference.

In my daily routine I am becoming more aware of what we would call simple things - but are in fact luxuries - and they show me how blessed I am. This morning I walked into my closet and was saddened, look at all the clothes I have while they have nothing. I'm brushing my teeth and my eyes are fixed on this fresh, cool, and clean water spilling out of my sink, yet I know that at this very moment a child is walking to a polluted water source with her yellow jug to collect drinking water for the day. I'm reminded that approximately 1.8 million children die each year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This is around 5,000 deaths a day. Today another 5,000 and tomorrow 5,000 more. Will you please pray for them?

I have a kitchen - with food a plenty! I can eat whenever I want. I can chose what I want to eat. One person in seven battles hunger every day. Lord, thank you for not letting me go hungry and please show me how to help those who are.

As I take my kids to pre-school, I think of the millions of children who don't have access to education because the family can't afford school. Home-schooling is not an option, not only is there a lack of books or even a curriculum, but the mothers themselves have never been to school. An estimated 130 million of the world's 15- to 24- year-olds cannot read or write. Kids in poverty are needed at home to work or are sent to beg for food and money. Will you pray for them?

Those in poverty are just trying to survive. They live in mud huts, sleep 3 to a mattress which is just laid over a stick bed. If they are lucky, their beds will be covered with a mosquito net which protects them from the bites of malaria-ridden bugs. And here I am, with a sturdy house and sleeping in a king size bed. I have never been without and I know I take the comforts in my life for granted. Lord, show me new ways to help those in need.

I don't understand why I get to live like this and they don't. We who are rich have the power to help - Lord, show me what to do! Luke 3:11 says "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." I have done this, kind of, when an opportunity came about I would always give to the needy but I am surrounded by people living in wealth; I don't know anyone without a tunic or without food. For years, the poor have had my deepest sympathy and sadly, that's all they got from me. I didn't know where to go or how to make a difference.

Mother Teresa once said "It's the greatest poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." Proverbs 21:13 warns us "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." Ask God to open your ears! The opportunity to answer the cry is here. Princess Diana said "You can't comfort the afflicted without afflicting the comfortable." Are you comfortable?
Compassion International has provided one avenue to DO something. I encourage you to visit the Compassion website at

"Let us be the ones who say we do not accept that a child dies every three seconds simply because he does not have the drugs you and I have. Let us be the ones to say we are not satisfied that your place of birth determines your right to life. Let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold." - Brad Pitt

"God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them." - Bono (U2)

There are children who live in absolute filth and lack the barest necessities.
They have no clothes for their naked bodies.
They have no shoes for their bare feet.
They may have one small meal a day, some days they go without.
The have no books, no toys for their little hands.
Many are orphans. Alone.
Will you help them?

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