Tuesday, October 09, 2007

HOPE in Santiago

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. Psalm 82:3-4

But he answered, "You give them something to eat." Mark 6:37

God's heart has been and will always be a heart of compassion, sympathy and mercy towards those who are in need. Jesus himself demonstrated this when he fed the 5,000.

Within the church here in Santiago, we have a small ministry of HOPE. The group is made up of disciples who have deep desire to help the poor and needy. Right now the ministry has two projects that happen every weekend. On Saturday mornings, a group goes out to the central market to give food to the many homeless people who gather there. Another group goes on Sunday afternoons to a home for orphans to spend time with the children there.

I've started going on Saturday mornings and it is has been an incredible experience for me. Many of the disciples wake up before 7 am on Saturday to make it to the location by 8 am so that we can prepare the sandwiches and coffee for the people who are waiting. Although at first it seemed like a sacrifice to wake up early and go out in the cold, it has become one of my favorite times of the week.

Each week I get to spend an hour talking with and listening to people who have very different lives than mine, but who's souls are in need of the very same things: love, encouragement and hope. Sometimes I can share a scripture with them, sometimes I just listen. But every time I walk away amazed by God's grace and the hope that we can find in Him.

On September 15th to celebrate the "Fiestas Patrias", we brought empanadas and music. Also, some disciples who dance the tradional "Cueca" came and performed. It was inspiring to see the transformation that occured with a little music and dancing. The men and women who usually appear discouraged and sad about life, became joyful and alive. I realized then how a small amount of love and thought could really make a positive impact. If you want to see more photos of that day, click here to see the photo album.

I've decided that every saturday that I am able, I will go to serve those who are in need. I know that it will help my heart to be more like Christ and to be more grateful for all that God has done in my life. I pray and believe that at the same time God will bring hope to those who are hurting here in Santiago and everywhere in the world.

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