Now that I am back on Eastern Standard Time, I have began compiling my thoughts about my most recent Missions Opportunity with the high school students from the X.
This year, we worked with an organization called Network Tacoma, (www.networktacoma.org), and organization that is basically helping families who are either a step away from, or a step out of, being on the streets. We helped flip and clean out some apartments for families who would struggle to get apartments otherwise.
There was one project that took all week - the cleaning out of an apartment from someone who had been evicted. None of our were prepared for what we found in the place (some of which I cannot mention here, so that I may remain employed). Food had been left out where it was on the final day they left. The smells were appalling. The evidences of children living in this place at one point were heartbreaking. And, just when you thought you had found the "worst of it," there was something else to turnover or move that was even more saddening.
Seeing the chaos of this person's final days in an apartment is only a small taste of the chaos and torment this person lives with daily....
I wrote this in my journal following day 2 -
"pill bottle after pill bottle, a book of morman, a WOW worship CD, and drugs: this is a person looking for something to bring hope to their hopelessness. Jesus, where would I be without you?"
It's easy to have an opinion about what would have fixed this person's situation. Maybe a bigger government with more "health care options?" Maybe a job opportunity, or a hip cool, church with a rocking worship pastor and some crazy cool preaching. Maybe if there were more "family values" on the west coast?
Here's the truth: apart from Jesus, we live in darkness. Our hearts are prone to do dark things, and it's a slippery slope from my current situation to the desperation of the situation we found ourselves observing in Tacoma. We are a people who are looking for hope, and will worship a variety of things until we find it. In the process, these things enslave us.
My nuclear family, college education, and work ethic give me some benefit in this world...but they do not give me unfailing hope that the gospel offers. Lord, may I not rest in the former things, but rejoice in the latter.