The Other Side of the Dirt Road

I was in shock— Not about what I saw about I saw, but about how I felt about it.


What I saw was horrific. I was walking in the city down a dirt road with a railroad track on one side and a collection of ____ on the other side. I guess they function as homes so they could be called that. But these are pathetic. They seem to be a collection of sticks, tarps, and buckets arranged in the rough form of a tent. Most Americans wouldn’t let their dog stay in a structure like this in their backyard. In fact, if you woke up and found one of these in your backyard, I imagine you would immediately throw it all away because it resembles a trash pile more than something with any value or use. And that’s where these people live. That’s where their children grow up.


Poverty is ugly. It’s cruel. It’s seeing fellow humans suffer in a very tangible way that you can’t just ignore. However, this isn’t my first time seeing poverty. Two years ago, in the Philippines, I encountered poverty for the first time (http://philippines.adventures.org/?filename=7776). Last summer in Africa I was exposed again to poverty’s brutality.


I knew seeing poverty would impact me but I didn’t think I would be shaking with anger too mad to talk on the verge of frustrated tears. I didn’t think it would feel like the entire world was crashing down around me. I didn’t think that moment would be burned into my mind so vividly.



God has been teaching me a lot about myself on this trip. It all started at training camp when God started revealing deep pains in my life that I didn’t know about. He has continued teaching me about myself and, not sugarcoating it at all, it’s been hard. I have had to face fears and be out of my comfort zone constantly. Standing next to the railroad track, overcome with emotion, God was revealing something else to me.


I have a heart and a passion for the poor.


The truth is, I am a prideful person and comparison is often the thief of my joy. I want to share the gospel to international students on campus the way my friends do. I want to pray like the little old ladies from my home church. I want to preach like David Platt.


But that’s not who God made me to be. It’s okay. God gave me passions and talents for a reason. There is no telling what he will do with my passion for the poor or any of the other passions he has given me. God does crazy things, but I am excited to see where he leads and I know that true joy is found in the following.


God made each of us perfectly unique. We each are passionate about completely different things. We each are gifted and skilled in different areas. We each are totally one of a kind. So why try to live someone else’s one of a kind? Be you!