I think that travel helps me to broaden my image of God. Somehow I tend to imagine that the Lord is just working here in the USA, in the life of my church, my friends, me (just a wee bit of self-centeredness). Seeing Christians in other countries helps me realize that God is SO much bigger than I think that He is.
The first Compassion program that we visited was the Child Survival Program (CSP) in Holeta, a little village outside of Addis Ababa. The CSP is a program in which the poorest of the poor moms are linked in with a Child Development Center. They work with a health worker and a program implementer to have their needs met. These women are usually illiterate, frequently single moms, often destitute. They live in huts with mud or cow dung walls and mud floors. There is often no bed, no crib, no playpen, no toys, no inside kitchen or plumbing. Babies crawl on dirt floors. There are no diapers, no wipes, no sweet-smelling disinfectant. Imagine having a baby in such an environment.
The moms shared their testimonies with us. One mom talked about, how, pregnant with her third baby with no means to support herself or the two children she already had, she was going to commit suicide. She had it planned and was waiting for the opportunity. One night she had a dream in which she saw her baby laying on a Bible, and felt that God was telling her that He would take care of her baby. She didn't know what this meant, but she delayed her suicide plans to find out. A week or so later she was asked to be a part of the CSP, giving her food, medical care, emotional support, and literacy education.
The same God that speaks to me, and works in my church is sending dreams to illiterate, impoverished African women to show His love and care for her and her children. God is not oblivious to anyone's suffering. He is caring for "the least of these".
Appropriately, I read in Luke this morning about Jesus standing up in the temple and sharing these words from Isaiah 61:
1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor,