Monday, May 7, 2012

It rained today. 
I mean, it RAINED.
The streets were flooded to the point where there were small waves crashing against the cars and motor bikes. No one seemed to mind though. People still had places to be, people to see, so they just carried on. Just drove right on through it. Or walked when their bike engines flooded out. To my Western eyes there are no traffic rules here. People just go. I mean, if they want to go against the flow of traffic, no biggie. Stop signs? Who needs them. There's just hoards of people trying to get where they're going. It is crazy and chaotic, but somehow it works.

I can't imagine the obstacles in working in a culture like this. Everything in America is so structured and ordered and rules centered. I think our structure can suck the life out of people sometimes, but at least it's dependable. It makes so many parts of life easy. In turn, we find plenty of other frivolous things to complicate our lives though. Life is so easy, yet no one ever has any time. We get busy to the point of missing out on time with those we love. For what?

We met people today who are doing the hard, laborious work of trafficking prevention. Let's be honest; we all want to set the captives free. We all want a world where children are not made into a commodity. There are those that want it though, and those that actually work to ensure it doesn't happen. There is a ten year study being conducted that follows the lives of a hundred and twenty something survivors who have been involved with various aftercare programs, to develop the best programs possible to get people the care they need, the care that won't just be a band-aid on a gaping wound. It's tedious and long, hard work and there's nothing sexy about it. There's a lot of work like that here. Work that won't give you a slap on the back or a high five. It's hard to measure, which can be discouraging for our result driven culture. How can you prove that you stopped something from happening? There's the curriculum for going into schools to teach students how to protect themselves, and programs to change the culture of men who see nothing wrong with visiting prostitutes. There are people standing in the gaps for the little boys that no one mentions are getting abused and love for the transgender people who don't fit anywhere. There are programs that are changing the course of a village's history, where people are given educational opportunities that bring them out of a cycle of despair. What's particularly interesting is the fact that so many in this culture have a fatalistic view of life where they were born into this life as a result of a past life and so now must accept where they are. 

There's little hope.
But there is hope. 

There's the beauty of a God that cares about all our needs, our present, very real physical needs alongside the needs we have because we're not just matter passing through. We are hungry. In so many ways, we are hungry. And there's One that satisfies and cares for all these needs. It's funny because whether or not people agree with faith-based organizations, they are the bulk of people doing the work. There's an incredible network of people here working together to meet the needs of people in a way that many secular organizations just can't match. They trust each other. They're not worried about being the best; they're worried about doing what's best for people. It's a beautiful example of what the church should be to the world. 

I think of the people I met today doing this work who are just a different breed. They don't seem to care about the stupid things I'm wrapped up in. Sure, they have fears. Maybe even self-doubt. But it's different than mine. Their's is a fear of not being able to be or do enough for those around them. Mine is that people won't like what they see in me- or I'll be misunderstood- or won't be loved. 
So dumb. 
I am already perfectly loved. 

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