Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: NEIGHBOR (06/01/17)
TITLE: Next Door to Poverty
By Rachel Rudd
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Opening the door a wave of heat greeted her, but Anna popped over to the air
conditioner and began to breathe in the welcome air. She thought about the long day traveling through the desert-like area with only sultry wind to temper the heat through the open windows. What a relief to get cooled off!
The bed invited her to an afternoon nap, and she laid down to let sleep consume her. Her dreams were of sweet, dark faces that smiled as she explained their lessons. On their foreheads they proudly bore the paper masks made in class.
Anna stretched her sore muscles after waking and ambled over to the window. As she opened the curtains, the majestic lake forced itself upon her. Islands dotted the water like turtles unable to share their existence with others. Mountains molded with the glassy surface while hinting at barrenness and torridness.
As she tore her eyes from the majestic scene in the distance, she was drawn to the movement much closer. Just across the fence, a petite lady was carrying a sizable container down to the edge of the lake. Here she dipped it into the water, and then began to haul her family's supply for the day back to their lodgings. Beside her, children washed off the dust that stuck to one's skin. The water seemed to be a place they knew very well.
Anna drifted into the bathroom and allowed the water to run.
Recently I traveled to Kenya for the first time. The country is an overwhelming mix of beauty, heat, hard work, poverty, and happiness. The contrasts struck me from the moment of my arrival. Driving down the highway I saw a slum clinging to the outskirts of Nairobi. Then, not more than a mile up the road, modern houses diversified the landscape. At first these contradictions were a part of the process of getting to know the country, but then I began to consider the differences between what I had in my own home to what I was seeing. These inconsistencies pricked at my conscience. Throughout my time there, I cried out to God that it wasn't fair that some had so much less than what I was privileged to have.
Some might say that you can't save everybody. I don't think that it is God's intention for everybody to save everybody, unless you are as rich as Solomon! But it says in Isiaah 1:17:
Seek justice and encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.
During the time of Isaiah, Israel was sorely lacking in this area. They were more interested in gaining riches and bowing down to idols, of their own making, than in taking care of those who needed assistance. God wanted them to protect those without protection and to petition on behalf of those who had little voice.
God wants us to do what He gives us the grace to do. Jesus gave an account of the Samaritan assisting his sworn enemy. This man had the means to help heal a wounded man and cover the cost of his care, consequently that is what he did.
He asks no less of us today, but the good news is that he enables us financially, spiritually, physically and emotionally to restore and relieve. Maybe not in all these ways at once, but if we ask he will show us his plans. Your neighbor might be near at hand, or on a distant continent, but God will enable you to love like he does.
Anna heaved three bottles of water to her hip and marched outside into the heat. She snuck through the fence surrounding the hotel and deposited the water outside the nearest shack.
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