I had the opportunity to live in a third world country for three years. During my time in the Philippines, I learned so many things about the condition of my spirit and the condition of others around me. I was crushed to see children begging in the streets and sometimes resorting to picking pockets. After all, I had never been out the small town in which I was raised. It was all a bit of a culture shock to me. Most of the time these children weren't even able to reap the benefits of their labors, because they were working for adults. As they skipped up and down dirt padded, pot hole ridden streets in worn flip flops and often barefoot; you could tell they still retained the innocence of their youth. When you looked at their faces, you didn't see desperation; but faith, hope and dignity. The same facets of humanity that will and can serve to elevate those wilted by poverty.
My ex husband and I befriended a local teenage girl while we were there. She invited us to her house for dinner. We met in town and she proceeded to lead us down a dimly lit street until we came to a small building in a dilapidated section of town that served as her house. She invited us in and introduced us to her three sisters. I don't know where her parents were, I didn't ask. We sat down at the table as the one bowl of rice with a pig knuckle perched atop was placed on the table. A single bowl of rice capable of serving two was stretched to feed six. One of her sisters pushed the bowl toward me and with a luminous smile plastered on her face said, "eat." As I ignorantly searched for non existent silverware my ex husband leaned over and whispered in my ear, "Don't embarrass me, eat it with your fingers," and so I did.
I learned a life lesson in that moment. The girl and her sisters had demonstrated a Christ-like love in their sacrificial gift. Things could have been worse, they could have had nothing to give. The had very little, but you see they gave me so much.
The presence of dignity doesn't mean there is an absence of poverty. We are all of the same cloth. We are flesh and bone and beating heart, stitched with faith, love and dignity.
Unfortunately, poverty is not relegated to third world countries. Here in the United States 1out of 5 children struggle with hunger and 62% of teacher say they see kids come to school hungry on a regular basis.*
Demonstrate your love by sponsoring a child through Compassion International today.
*No Kid Hungry.org