Thursday, February 14


If I listen, God can speak so clearly through my children. When asked what one thing they would like to change in Guatemala, Shelby (7) says without delay,
"I want them to have clean water to drink. They wash their clothes and drink that water... and they get sick... and I want to help them." One of the local communal wash basins is picture on the left where women wash their clothes and children bring buckets to fill with water for their families to drink.

The solution is simple. A filter can be made economically for a whole family out of concrete, gravel, and treated sand (pictured left as concrete is shaped by a mold). Simply pouring contaminated water into the top of the filter will purify it. Minimal effort required. The family just needs to be willing to use it.

This might sound simple, but in fact, most are not convinced that they need the filter. They nod in agreement as the missionary explains about bacteria and parasites, and they allow the filter to be placed in their home.
Yet they may never use it, or at most, may enjoy the "bragging rights" it gives them in their neighborhood. "Look", they'll say, "Our water is clean and we don't need a filter" as they hold up fairly clear liquid. Finally, one doctor from our church allowed them to look through his microscope and they were horrified to see with their own eyes, an entire world that never knew existed. The filter was put to good use after that.

I've sat for years nodding in agreement that there is a world full of hurting people. I even saw them on TV and quickly grabbed the remote so my dinner wouldn't lose its flavor from conviction. I did manage to visit Guatemala on a short-term missions trip with my church and was happy to help build one house for a family whose home had been washed away in floods after a hurricane. I'm ashamed to admit that I managed to avoid taking my children to an orphanage in Tampa that our church visits each Saturday... except once, so I could show them how good Christians take a bag of food once a year at Christmas to appease my aching conscience.

However, it wasn't until I visited Guatemala with my children that I realized I had only been nodding my head in agreement that there was a problem that needed my entire life's focus...

My children were horrified and cried inconsolably when they heard stories from our pastor about the children in the orphanage who have no one who cares enough to spend time with them. My daughter sobs as she talks about other children who are dying from diseases that are preventable. My son can hardly express his shock that there are people still worshiping idols, animals, the sun, moon, and stars; and he tells stories of how they even had pictures of them on the walls of one of the restaurants we visited while in Guatemala.

My children have become my microscope. I have shown them enough and they refuse to ignore it.

Oh God, please soften my heart and use my own body as a filter for your kingdom. May my life not be wasted on going through the motions, merely enjoying the benefits you've given me, when you intended them to be used for your kingdom and the benefit of others. May I be horrified at the hurt, understand how physical needs are an illustration of spiritual needs, and of how You want to demonstrate Your power through my tender heart and serving You the way You want to be served, not settling for religious busyness (see the illustrations in Mark 2:9-12, Mark 10:13-15, Matt 21:28-31, Isa 58:3-7).

But if I ignore the illustration, how can I ever expect to learn the lesson?