It is always difficult to fully express the brokeness and the guilt we face working in Zambia. I mean, it isn't always so dark. We have fun days and go on safari's and laugh around the table. We try to keep on with life as usual. But, most days, it feels a bit like being put through a meat tenderizer. We are refined through the heat of poverty. It is like all things. The process hurts but the result is beautiful. I am not sure when or if we will ever get to the beautiful part, but we are learning to endure the painful part and let it change us and mold us. I read my intern's blog the other day and it made me smile. I am not sick, I promise. I smiled because I realized that I am not alone and that his blog lends credibility to my emotions. I also smile because though I asked him to come over and help us with computers and blogs and help with admin (and he has done a great job), this broken heart for the poor was what I really wanted him to have. I told him early on that you don't come to change Africa, but Africa changes you. And this blog is exactly what I meant. So I include it here so you can read and gain insight into our lives with the pastors.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
One of the pastors, Alfred, who I have gotten to know a bit more than the others, shared the challenges he faces. He talked about how tough it is trying to reach out to the community and share the gospel with people here when they are starving, homeless and jobless. He said "but at the end of the day, they are physical beings, they need food to eat, but due to financial constraints we are unable to meet their physical needs." As he was talking I could see the pain in his eyes about not being able to help the people in his community. It was as if he felt he was failing as a pastor for not being able to help those in need.
I felt the pain he had. I watched as his normally happy face fill with sadness and despair and it tore me apart.
It is in moments like these that I feel guilty for living the life I have had.
Guilty for have never gone to bed hungry when people around me are starving.
Guilty for spending more money on things that people here couldn't even begin to comprehend why I'd spend money on.
Guilty for having a wonderful family while kids here get abandoned everyday.
Guilty for having the means to walk away from this place while pretty much everyone here is trapped in poverty.
Guilty for never knowing how hard life really is.
Guilty for being me.