And that Made the Difference
Each night we spend time sharing about our day and working through a book that we read together* before coming on the trip. Some of our discussion revolved around the thoughts of those who we are serving. What is their impression of our presence here in Ecuador? How do they feel when we are in their homes? Do they feel valued or looked down on by us?
We want to serve, but we do not want to devalue the person we are serving… we want to provide a solution for a need that exists, but we don’t want it to cause a dependency on a person? We want to lift a person up? We want to demonstrate love to a person that God loves deeply. We want to be sensitive to the situation we find ourselves in… because it can be a delicate matter.
After an evening of honest, healthy, intense, and compassionate conversation about how to serve while preserving the dignity of a person we slept and woke to our last day of installing filters.
As the day came to an end and we were sitting together again on a rooftop porch in Ecuador discussing our day. Every person said the interactions were different. The time we spent in homes this day seemed to have a deeper connection than those previously.
Maybe we were getting comfortable in our role? Maybe we had the filter installation down and we could focus more on the situation? Maybe our Spanish had improved? Of course those were a part of the difference, but I believe that our discussion about valuing and loving the person, being sensitive to the honor that we have been given to step into someone else’s home and life couldn’t be taken lightly.
Sometimes in our desire to help meet a need in the world we can jump without considering the consequences or the secondary effects of our actions. I loved that our team was willing to dig in and discuss these subjects. Many are not.
On this day our visit became more about the person than the filter… and I think that makes all the difference.
*In The Name of Jesus – Henri Nouwen