The Joys & The Sorrows

La Mosquitia is a third-world culture.   When people think of Honduras, they do not think of La Mosquitia at all.  It is called the "Land of the Forgotten People" for a reason.  There is this look on the faces of Hondurans when we tell them we are headed to La Mosquitia - it is a predictable response, a look of utter surprise and veiled revulsion.   Most Hondurans seem to consider the people of this region to be illiterate, lazy and without hope.   It makes us crazy.

Yes, this area is very much a third-world situation... where poverty looms large and consumes families, consumes marriages, consumes babies.    Yes, there is inadequate education, inadequate nutrition... by any standard, US or otherwise.

Yes, there are some odd medical practices and there is fear about gringo ways.    Yes, there are little girls having babies way before they are ready.  Yes, there is every abuse that you can imagine on every level and in every type of relationship that you can imagine.

But, if my God is the God of this city, these people, then He sees something redeemable in their eyes.  He sees something in them that should cause the rest of us to shout out with celebration. There are no accidents in God's economy;  only inadequate human solutions; or humans who are willing to turn a blind eye.

There are days when I wish I didn't know about this place ...  I promise, it is true.  But I do know, for whatever reason.   Because I know, I write.  I just have to write some of it down.   I contemplated writing a funny post about what 'I Spy' this week.   But there is truly nothing funny about any of this.

A 2 year old who was so severely malnourished that he is the size of a 6 month old with white hair and oozing, painful scabs on his entire body.   He may not even be alive today after his Mom ran from the hospital.  She was staying here over the weekend.  When the baby got worse, the Mom was forced to the hospital.  She was scared and ran.   I pray for God's mercy on this baby and this Mom.     Or what about the new child here who was given de-worming medicine and vomited an intestinal worm up in the middle of church.  Or, what about 2 new children who have lost 2 siblings to hepatitis and have 2 other siblings in the hospital right now.   Preventable disease... immunizations available and yet not.

While this may sound odd to US ears and consciences, it is a common affair here.   The diseases that have been all but eradicated in the US remain gigantic here... consuming all in their wake.

And so, I sit today attempting to celebrate the little things while allowing the heavy things to work their way into my soul. May I never again take a healthy child for granted.    And as my wrinkles grow deeper and my hair much grayer, may I never underestimate the need for just 2 hands and 2 feet.   That is all that is needed, you know.   Just 2 hands.

I have no special training for this assignment;  I have no knowledge of the psychology of poverty.   But I work for a God who gives freely to those who ask.   He is generous, He is ever-present, He is aware of my inadequacy and, most importantly, He is aware of each precious life that has to end too soon.   I want to be as aware and as sensitive!

Comments

Mrs. Edwards said…
Laura,
We are still praying for you in our family prayer time, along with so many of your "real life" friends. If only we could all have the reality check about our real status before God that you are having there in La Mosquitia. I recently spoke with a minister of a Spanish-speaking congregation here in my city who is here after spending most of his life as a missionary in Mexico. To hear his fresh observations of the materialism in our culture and how deeply it has permeated the Church in America was startling. I often convince myself that I haven't bought into it, but surely I have. With so much, few people really understand their spiritual destitution. Sometimes those with little have a much clearer view.

Blessings,
Amy
Holly (me.) said…
To see what you see, is to be unable to turn away. I love you, my Sister and friend.
Laurie said…
I've never been to La Mosquitia but I try to remind friends that it's the most underdeveloped and underserved part of Honduras. Mostly I get blank stares. Lately I am praying Jeremiah 29:11 for Teguz. I live in the nice part of town but I daily talk to people who are malnourished, sick, or think my ways are strange, too. God wants our regions and cities that we are called to prosper. Thy kingdom come, Lord, to all of Honduras.

It's not funny is it to see poverty like that. Or try to patiently explain to someone that their "Honduran diet" is causing their little girl to be anemic. Or talk to a little girl who is afraid to talk to anyone, and she is very poor and very hungry most of the time. It's never funny to see all of that.

God sees our tears, and He weeps with us I think. Be encouraged.

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