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An Avenue of Hope

January 23, 2012

I recently had the opportunity to take a group of our preteens to the REAL. LIFE. Exhibit inRedmond,WA. I scheduled the tour about a month ago and as the date moved closer, I could feel my anticipation for the group heighten. I was excited for them to see and feel what it’s like to live in other countries – in poverty. I prayed that they we would have good discussion following our tour and that they would walk away with grateful hearts and a willingness to help others in need. My intent was to begin to develop compassion in our youth.

 What I didn’t expect was for my own heart to be so moved and touched. The tour is not fancy, it’s not “explosive” and there isn’t a lot of hype. And yet, the simplicity of it seemed perfect. As I walked through each area, I read about many people that are suffering from AIDS, poverty, disaster, abandonment, abduction. The exhibit allowed me to literally walk into their lives with the multi sensory exhibit.

I have images in my mind of real children whose stories are almost unbelievable and stories I’m not likely to forget. The Bible teaches us to serve the poor, to have a grateful heart, to live our lives with compassion for others. I know this and yet, until last weekend, I didn’t truly feel it deep within my heart and my soul. The experience was life changing and I realized that I took a lot for granted.

I walked away from the tour with a different perspective. The “other world” out there doesn’t seem so far away and so far from my touch. I used to see things on the news, feel sad, say a prayer, but then move on with my day. I haven’t been able to move on after my visit. I’m inspired to take action.

My son, who went with me, began to explain to our 8 year old how such a small amount of money can go such a long way. We’ve hung the 2 week challenge on our pantry door and we’ve taken up the challenge each day. My daughter is excited to put together Hope Kits for the mobile dental vans. Together, as a family, we’re bringing hope and a future to those in need. We’ve realized that one person truly can make a difference and that you don’t have to be rich to help.

I may never stop hearing the baby’s cry from the burn unit in Moldovan or the 8 year old’s face from the Ugandan camp who had been abducted by a terrorist group. But rather than it just bringing tears to my eyes, it has touched my soul and moved me to make a difference.

Thank you, Medical Teams International, for all that you do to serve Christ and His Kingdom!

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