Monday, September 22, 2014

Exodus 15:2

The LORD is my strength and my song: He has become my salvation.  He is my God and I will praise Him, my father's God, and I will exalt Him.

From 1990 to 1994, my husband and I had the privilege of serving with Habitat for Humanity International in La Paz, Bolivia.  Our two young children were also part of the adventure.  The Habitat for Humanity project was a "project on paper."  That meant it was brand squeaky new and we were brand squeaky new International Partners, sent to Bolivia to get the project organized and up and going.

We soon learned that anxious landowners are eager, ready and raring to build.  But first, materials need to be purchased, experienced local house-builders need to be found, local landowners need to be organized into groups to work on each other's homes and local families that qualify for Habitat materials need to be selected.  This requires a local purchasing committee, a local money managing committee, and a local family selection committee, at the very least.

It took about a year to get all the committees organized and the materials bought.  We organized qualified families into groups of four.  The families worked on building each other's houses.

Towards the end of our time in Bolivia, the committees decided to celebrate the progress made by having a picnic for the committee members.  The houses we built were in the area known as El Alto.  El Alto is at 14,000 feet; barren, brown and cold.  It is where the poor live.  The better off Bolivians lived an hour down the mountain where there was grass, palm trees and balmy weather.  It was a real treat to go down the mountain and there is where the celebratory picnic would be held.

The barbecue grill was actually 1/2 of an oil barrel.  The park was unremarkable.  There was a fenced off area to play soccer and relax.  The picnic included barbecued chicken, local bread and pop.

I had picked my chicken bones pretty bare and was searching about for a trash can.  As I was searching, I was enjoying the feelings of belonging, of accomplishing so much together, of making a difference.

I had no luck finding a trash can and decided to look for a deserving dog for my scraps.  A member of one of the Habitat committees saw me searching about and said, "Why don't you give your scraps to that little girl over there by the fence?"

I know the pain the Grinch felt when his heart "grew two sizes."  I had not even seen the girl, much less thought of giving her my scraps.  I gave them to her.  She eagerly accepted them.  I felt like weeping for my bounty and my blindness.

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