Friday, August 01, 2008
Third World trip puts things in perspective...
|It’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the news being reported in today’s volatile economy. Picking up a newspaper, tuning into a TV newscast or clicking on my favorite website for news is constant reinforcement that people are suffering throughout the country.
Yet everything needs to be put in perspective. And sometimes, putting on a new pair of glasses can make all the difference. I am preparing to travel to Peru as part of a humanitarian trip with my church. Peru is one of several Third World countries in Latin America with 60 percent of the population living in poverty and over 20 percent living in what is classified as extreme poverty. It is hard for me to imagine this type of deprivation from where I sit. My initial thought was to take my children on a trip to broaden their horizons and deepen their perspectives, but I have a feeling I may be the one walking away with a transformed point of view.
We will be distributing wheelchairs to the physically disabled, and working in medical clinics, orphanages and shelters for abused women. Although I may only catch a glimpse of the daily struggles the Peruvian people face, I welcome the opportunity to put even just a toe in their shoes. I want to be enlightened on their struggle, engaged in their understanding of the world and witness the spirit that enables them to not only persevere but to celebrate life in the midst of their circumstances.
Yes, times are challenging for us in the present state of our economy, but it is important for us to keep our situation in perspective. We don’t want to minimize our experiences but realize the resources we have, and often take for granted. I’m as guilty of this as much as anybody, but I recognize that having the opportunity to be a part of a humanitarian mission trip is a gift. And one that not everyone can afford. But perhaps there are things we can do right here in our own backyard that can positively impact our lives and change our frame of mind. In the meantime, I look forward to sharing my experiences with you so we can all glean some insight from stepping outside of our current situation.