Enjoy this post by our guest author, and recent volunteer, Halie Clark.
Earlier this month, I had the privilege to serve in Bolivia for 9 days. To say that I was impacted would be an understatement. My time in Bolivia was rich in serving the poor, loving the lonely, and walking with those that Jesus would have walked with. One of my most favorite days was the park day that we had on Saturday. Once a month, the HOPE team hosts a park day for vulnerable families to come play, eat and fellowship together. It is a special time together as these families travel quite a ways from intense home lives to enjoy an afternoon at the park.
During our four hour park time, we played with kids on the playground, jumped rope, played with bubbles (which are a BIG HIT!) and spent time together. Speaking Spanish gave me the ability to talk with several of the mothers who were seated around the park with younger children. As I sat down during lunch with one of the “Mamis”, she shared with me her gratitude for HOPE. She told me how the HOPE team checks up on her and her kids regularly, how they give a helping hand, how they’re providing her with the medicine she needs, and the difference HOPE is making in her life. “WOW!” I thought to myself. In my first world mind, HOPE is a program that we hear about and support, and we are always encouraged when we hear about their work. But to this Bolivian momma, HOPE saved her life, and she sat in front of me at a loss for words for their help and encouragement. I sat there under the shade of the trees in the park and let that sink in. With tears in her eyes she could barely form the words of gratitude she had for all that HOPE meant to her and her family.
I saw HOPE in action that day. I saw real life disciples being the hands and feet of Jesus- loving the less fortunate, playing the same games for hours, listening to and keeping company with the poor, feeding the hungry, and healing the sick. This is what being a disciple is supposed to look like – simply loving people without hesitation or reservation. That Saturday in the park I learned something about myself. I do not walk as Jesus did; I do not keep company often enough with those that he did; I do not love those he came to love…and by that I am convicted and challenged. HOPE is helping to change lives in Bolivia by being the hands and feet of Jesus.
So as I sit here in my air conditioned living room, I am reminded to take time to sit with the hungry, and listen to the cries of the poor, for they have much to teach me if I should grant them a moment or two of my time and heart.
“True compassion means not only feeling another’s pain but also being moved to help relieve it.” Daniel Goleman