I feel the need to share something with you. Something that almost seems too dark to even write, but it's in my heart and it has to come out. I almost wish I didn't know, but now I do. I have to do something with it, even if it's only sharing with you.
My first mission trip opened my eyes to poverty, so I thought. I came home rejoicing from my second trip after seeing old friends and what God had done in the months in between our visit. My third opened my eyes to real missions... think 2 days of travel to just get to the location with roads so bad they purposefully hand out anti-nausea tea and then later feed you goat with the hair still on it. We had a very evangelistic mission with hundreds committing their lives to Christ, even while the threat of the Catholic church hung over us like a cloud. It seemed whole towns wanted to know Jesus!
The last day, hours before we left the country, we learned about a heart-wrenching situation. A child TJ had counseled on one of his previous missions was in dire circumstances. Pulled from school because of finances and sold regularly as a prostitute she literally did not have a shirt to put on her body. We considered all options including foreign exchange, adoption, and kidnapping. The second two being illegal! We opted to help with her school fees so she could be loved on in the day, taught about Jesus, and be fed. Unfortunately, our story had a hard twist. Our child was later pulled from school so that she could help support her family more. As we were driving down the road we happened to see her on our last day! We were able to hug her and tell her we love her because God does. Then, we drove away...leaving her there to go home, to face the night again.
(There is more to this story than I am willing to write.)
On my last trip we learned is that there are hundreds more like our precious little one in this slum. Children live alone in cardboard houses. They wander on the streets and scavenge for food. Some might live with an aunt or a cousin. Some were abandoned at birth. Many are physically abused. Others have to peddle candy or trinkets on the streets. And as unfortunate as it is, many themselves are a commodity. You can see it in their faces or by the way they cringe when you hug them. We met one child, only one who had a mother and a father.
|A family home in Comas slum.|
|IEP Larry Cochran|