Considering my situation, I should not have laughed. I couldn’t help myself. The waves were tossing me around as if I were a rag doll.
All my husband Dave had to do was release his grip on my arm and I would be carried away, never to be seen again. But he didn’t, his grasp kept me safe next to him.
I was up to my shoulders in the Caribbean Sea. Those that know me best understand I have a deep respect for water. Unable to swim, I limit my use to drinking it, showers, dishes and laundry.
We were part of a group on a short-term mission by Won By One, in Jamaica. Paradise, had we not been thrust into Harmons, among the poorest of the poor. Yet they were happy.
How can that be?
Two of us women were in charge of sorting the clothes that had been donated. Mens, ladies, girls and boys, including shoes. Many of the residents were barefoot.
One Jamaican woman sticks in my mind. She and her two children took a taxi to our mission. I met her at the door asking how we could help her. “Anything you have to sell us would be much appreciated.”
It was the practice of the mission to sell the donated goods. While you might think that wrong to do, it was explained to me. “By selling our donations, these people gain self-respect. Instead of promoting dependance, it gives them pride to know they have provided for their family.” At the time the cost was minimal, clothing could run as much as one cent per item.
Having deposited his charge to our Mission establishment, I noted the taxi left. Whatever the mother bought, she would have to carry as she walked home.
That day we went to the Caribbean was a little recess from what we came to do. Build a home, the size of a bedroom. The land some of them owned were minute and far from where tourists visit. The less fortunate are not allowed there, it would not make for good PR.
Jamaicans are a friendly lot, smiles abound. My guess is they lack medical care, I know they lack dentists.
Yet they are happy.
How can happiness thrive in abject poverty?
Because they know no other way of life. They have no access to how others live, having nothing to compare their lifestyle to. The Good Book says we will always have poor among us. Maybe that is so that we will see God better, perhaps make a difference in ones life, just like Won By One.
They know there is a God. Countless churches from all over the globe come to minister to these folks. It’s only natural to cling to what other faiths offer. There are over four hundred different religions. Take your pick from what you want to believe in, always embracing the message of hope.
But…is their hope in the one true God?
Only he knows. It would seem unlikely, except for Won By One. They reside nearby offering opportunity and hope. They are a steadfast anchor for spiritual growth. Fortunately, God only looks at hearts, not our surroundings or belongings.
He is holding these people, caring and protecting as only a good God would do. Like my Dave, he has a strong grip on their heart, keeping them close to him and safe. By the way, he is here for you too.