Little green noses

I’m on my couch with some sort of head cold thinking of all the little kids I met with little green noses. Green noses because they have a cold too. But unlike me, they don’t have medication or tissues at their disposal. Most of them just let their noses run. How many of them are perpetually sick because of where they live, the food they eat, the water they drink?

When did we give ourselves the excuse to stop caring for the poor and sick? We’ve grown up in a church culture that is so obsessed with blessings and comfort that we’ve literally left the poor out in the cold. How did this happen? Wasn’t it always the church’s priority to care for those who society deemed unworthy? Hasn’t God given us that charge since the beginning? Isn’t that exactly what Christ did? Caring for the poor is the church’s responsibility and without us stepping up to the call, there is a void that is filled with a substandard bureaucratic response from our government. I’m glad there’s something there, but why aren’t we, as the hands and feet of Christ, doing something? When I think about how much I’ve shirked my responsibility to the poor, I’m embarrassed.

I’m thinking of Korah today. I’m thinking of Sumer and her thought that if Christ were here today, He would be there. He would be with the poorest of Addis. He would be with the sickest of Addis. He would be the hands and feet to the neediest of Addis.

Korah was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been. It’s not going to be on the list of attractions if you go to Addis. It’s a hidden gem. Korah means “cursed”. It’s where the lepers live. It’s where the dump is (well, used to be). It’s dirty. There are questionable fluids and piles everywhere. It’s where four or five people live in one-room houses that are smaller than half of my home office. But it’s beautiful. The kids have these smiles that light up the world, and hugs that make your heart melt. Little kids used my face as a canvas, gave me a manicure, and braided my heart. They tried to teach me Amharic as we walked their streets, and found my attempts to speak their words hilarious.  A woman in the leper hospital taught me to spin cotton and laughed with me. To see joy in a place that would otherwise be heartbreaking, how is God not there?

And more importantly, why wouldn’t I want to be there?

I’m still praying about what my trip means for Evan and me. I’ve been afraid to open my journal since I got back because I know my world as I knew it is probably over. I’m not sure exactly what God wants for us or what it looks like, what it means for us now or ten years down the road, but I know that I can’t be the same after this trip. I want to be an ambassador for the orphans in Addis, the orphans in Gisenyi or Kigali. I want to tell the world about these beautiful children.

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