A Grateful Heart

Before our departure to Peru, we had to state what we hoped to get out from our trip to Peru. Of course, everyone had said they wanted a deeper relationship with God and see what he was able to do through our missionaries. I was not exempt from these desires.

However, there was something else I wanted differently from others. I truly wanted to see how the other people in third world countries were living. I thought it would make me more grateful for what I have and have a generous heart. Still, there was nothing that could prepare me for what I saw.

Within the 3 day VBS that we had the blessing to help with, I was able to interact with over 150 kids a day. I saw multiple little kids with eczema on their face, but their parents had no means of a way to treat it. I saw kids with dirt on their clothes, the same clothes that they wore yesterday, and were probably going to wear tomorrow too. I saw children having to live in a place where piles of trash were sitting on every corner with no future of being cleaned up.

However, the thing that broke me the most was not seeing the way these poverty stricken people lived, but the way they were happy with what they had. These children had probably never seen real grass and were breathing in the farthest thing from clean air, yet they were happy. They were happy with playing with deflated, worn out soccer balls. They were happy with a swing set covered in rust and shaky boards. They were happy living in houses with dirt floors and tarp ceilings. In the end, these kids truly made me feel like an ungrateful brat.

These feelings were eventually overtaken by the excitement of being able to tour the rich part of Peru. As our last “fun day” we visited a mall in Peru that was frankly nicer than Augusta’s Mall. Without even thinking, I started to feel indignant when I saw how lavishly and carefree the other half lived in Peru. I thought: “How could these people not be doing anything about the other Peruvians living such a hard life? How can they live so untroubled when they could be helping?” But a hard reality hit me: my irate feelings were unjustified.

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In Augusta, I live a carefree and untroubled life when there are my brothers and sisters in Christ who live only 20 minutes way who are in a similar situation to the poverty stricken families in Peru. Although their conditions are not as severe, I have never even lifted a finger to try to help these other families living in the projects. Even though I felt a wave of feeling unappreciative in my heart after thinking this, I knew God had showed me that I need to be more giving and caring to everyone. Most importantly, God had showed me how blessed I truly am. Even before our feet had left Peru, I was already complaining about how I do not want to go back to the scorching heat of Georgia. Such thoughtless complaints made me realize that I have everything. From the constant air conditioning to clean clothes, I would have nothing without the Grace of God.