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We Belong Together

A year ago I was preparing to travel to Nicaragua.  In the last few weeks I've found myself recalling that trip and the people I met there. This is a reflection I wrote soon after returning:

I am at my writing desk, looking out my window at the bougainvillea and geraniums blooming in my yard. I hear toddlers calling my dog and watch her eagerly look for them, their little bodies and voices hidden behind the rose bushes. The kids in this neighborhood love her. She looks a bit wily right now with her summer haircut. They shaved off all her cute fluffy fur and she looks more like a svelte coyote, not so cute.

It reminds me of the dogs I saw in La Chureca, the dump in Managua, Nicaragua. There were dogs everywhere. They were scrawny and limping, ears drooping and noses rummaging through all the trash.  Right now my dog looks like she belongs there, but she doesn’t. I went with a group to visit the school in this dump community.  We took the kids out on a field trip to the zoo. The kids wore old, faded, stained clothes and shoes that were too big for them. They looked like they belong in a dump, but they don’t.  Nobody belongs in a dump among discarded, old, ruined trash. No one belongs there no matter how they look.

The kid I was paired with is named Lester. He is about 5 years old. My favorite picture of the trip is the one of him in front of the water buffalo at the zoo. He looks like any kid, like he could be a kid from my neighborhood smiling in front of the animals. He liked the monkeys best and taunted the donkeys. Lester looks like he could live in my neighborhood in Orange County, California, but he doesn’t. He lives in a dump in Nicaragua.

Since I’ve been back my days are filled with my work here in my city but my nights have been filled with dreams of people I met in Nicaragua--kids who live in dumps, teachers who love them every day, doctors who serve in clinics in rural communities, and women who pray earnestly for their country. They inhabit my dreams and there I visit with them again. Sometimes I’d like to think of my dreams as prayers, like my mind is sifting through my heart and lifting up the best to the Lord, remembering people I forget about during my days.

I would like to think that these brothers and sisters will stay tucked in my heart, that I will continue to be reminded and pray for them. And in praying for them I am reminded that we belong together, before the Father, we are one family calling out the Kingdom of God in different places. Where is the family you are thinking of today?

 

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I love our world- the sights, noises, and flavors of it all. I've found the best way for me to make a difference globally is to be rooted and engaged in my community. Every day is 1 more adventure in loving God and loving my neighbor.


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