Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Dust to Dust
Yesterday we went our garbage dump outreach. When I heard we were visiting the dump and washing feet, I thought "What a good outreach. That's a great thing to do for the people we see at the dump." I was surprised to hear that these people aren't just poor people going through it to look for something to sell or eat, but they are families who actually both live and work in the dump, collecting plastic for recycling and averaging $2 a day in income. As I listened I became more eager to go and serve these people, to love on them and share with them the love of Christ. But nothing could have prepared me for what I saw.
As we drove up, the road was blocked by thick black smoke, which we drove through and saw acres and acres of burning trash. As we pulled over and began unloading supplies, whole families began pouring into the disgusting streets, just to find out what we were up to. They politely lined up and waited patiently to hear what we would be doing with them.
One thing that was pointed out to me was that the little girls were still wearing the dresses they had been wearing the last time they had come for an outreach, in March. We concluded that these girls were wearing the same clothes every day, probably the only ones they own.
Each man, woman and child who wanted to had their feet washed in a tub my a team member with soap, a sponge, and a drying rag. While we washed we blessed them, talked to them, found out their stories, shared Christ. Each little girl got a new dress, and almost every person got a new pair of flip flops to wear. We handed out toys, candies, bags of rice and bags of fruit. We even had one of our experienced team members treat a severe burn on one man's foot that had become infected and kept him from walking without a cane. We finished the outreach by teaching the kids jumprope and hot potato, which they loved, and we left the jump ropes and balls with them for them to enjoy on their own.
We all left commenting that we would never take a breath of fresh air for granted again. The whole time we were there we were surrounded by dust and dirty white smoke from the burning garbage. It burned my eyes, and hundreds of flies swarmed the area.
My prayers are with the men, women and children who earn their income by going through the garbage. And I'm thankful for the fresh air of Texas, however hot it may be!