When we arrived, there was already a group leading the people in songs of worship. We got off our bus and were instructed to disperse throughout the group. In those first moments, all I could do was look around and take it all in. Some were singing; some raising their hands in praise. Many were watching us as we moved throughout their group. It was surreal, but there was no time to hesitate – everyone just had to jump right in.
We joined the group in singing and when it was finished, the local pastor called on anyone who wanted prayer to come forward. People came forward and requested prayer for everything from blessings to relief from medical pain. We then put our hands on the people and prayed over them. Once the prayers were finished, we distributed the food and toys.
As the families gathered their food and toys and headed back to their homes, I began to take a closer look around. Everywhere I turned there were mounds of trash. It was all over the ground, everywhere you stepped. Families were gathered on some of the mounds, surrounded by bags of plastic. Some had animals, all as undernourished as their owners, their skin dry and tight around their rib cages.
As I processed everything my eyes were taking in, I wondered what my purpose would be on the trip. What could I possibly have to offer? I was far removed from my comfort zone, but as I looked around, my heart softened. I watched the children, the joy they exuded, and knew I would do whatever was needed of me. I resolved to allow myself to be guided by Christ and not be afraid to do things I had never done before.