Friday, February 08, 2008

Tourists to a Tragedy














"When did we see you Lord?"

Our first day here South of the Border was filled with a variety of events (a visit to the dump site and a daycare facility for children with severe disabilities). K explained our first stop would be to meet two of her friends and drive to the dump site for this end of the Vallarta Bay. We drove through town, passed the harbor where three cruise ships were moored directly across from Walmart and a newly constructed mall. The traffic was fairly light, but as we drove on, the roads began to show the neglect of civil service funding, the concrete crumbled, the potholes multiplied until the asphalt finally finished and in its absence loose rocks, former bricks, and dust became the obvious "road less traveled".

I could tell you the dust rising from the road is the first noticeable transition from a tourist attraction to a terrible trap of impoverished lives existing on the scraps and salvage that create their sanctuary from the elements as well as their small salaries for sustenance.

But what no words can translate, or adjectives culminate adequately is

the smell.

You smell it long before you can see it.

It is foreign, unfamiliar, and not for the faint of heart; because the closer you get to the actual wasteland, the residents begin to multiply. A car coming up in the road in between the endless stream of trucks bringing in the leftovers from hotels, cruise ships, condos and those who discard with disregard, tons and tons and tons of trash (soon to be sorted through for the salvageable) brings out the people. We are a bigger curiosity to them than they are to us.

K explained one of the issues facing the church, is the "ministry" run by a wealthy resort owner. Once a week, visitors are loaded up on a huge tour bus to hand out sandwiches and toys as well as pull out their cameras for the ultimate photo opportunity. "Look what I did on my vacation". They are good-natured, tender-hearted, and well-meaning but...

tourists non the less.

Our life here on earth, with the time He has alotted and numbered must not be spent as tourists. We must be Guides, seeking out the lost, and showing them the Way home. We will be held accountable for those we "gawked" at with pity and sorrow, and walked away from. We did not come here to walk away - we came here to equip the local church, and to "go", even to the ends of the earth (or the dump) and make disciples.

Thank you for praying, for your participation financially in the sending, and for entreating the Lord of the Harvest - to raise up more workers!

Smiling in the sunshine of His service