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  • Writer's pictureMegan Greenwald

Seen.

Treading up the massive hill of rocks was so tough, but it became so much tougher when I realized that the path was leading us to the poorest neighborhood in all of Cuidad Dario. There were four of us plus two locals from Light & Salt, and our ministry for the day was to go on house visits to meet with the families of the boys. We were told that we had 18 families to meet, and I was excited to spend the day doing this, however I was not prepared in the slightest for what I would soon encounter. Way out of touch from society in a dirt field in the middle of nowhere we walk up to the first house, which consisted of four small pieces of tin covered by a tarp, and found the mother of one of the boys from the school. All I can think about is how unseen this family appears, struggling every day to get enough food to eat or find clothes to wear, yet no one seems to notice because the thing is, it’s not just them. It’s that family, and the next one, and the next one. All living their lives going unnoticed by the next in a fight to survive the odds that are piled against them. I often ponder why the favor fell on me instead of them. Why am I not them? 

I see the extreme poverty, Nicaragua is the second poorest country in all of Central America, and my heart breaks. I see first hand all of the struggles that one family after another is going through. I’ve been praying for increased understanding of the language that I am quickly falling in love with, so I’ve been blessed to be able to piece together some of the stories straight from the mouths of those telling it. I hear how little Andrew’s dad left him, his mom and all of the children under the roof of that home, at least five others, just 15 days ago. This is more than a father figure no longer being in the picture, but this is the absence of security and safety, as well as most of the income for that family since the mother has to be home with all of the kids. I see the sister of one of the boys in the school holding one of her three babies, she is 15 years old. I hear Lucas’s mom talking about how he has to work on weekends to make ends meet because his dad passed away two years ago, and saw the tiniest home where a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother are taking care of 12 kids. I see one of the little boys from school who is maybe six or seven peek his head out the door of his home, just to find out that he’s the only one there. He gets left home alone for weeks at a time while his mom leaves, and has a taxi paid by the ministry take him to and from school. 

In the midst of the tragedy all around, I see something else, a glimmer of light in the midst of this broken & empty way of life that has such power to change the reality of all they are facing. What I see is that they are in fact seen. They are seen by the Father who cares so deeply about them. Not only are they seen, though, but their cries to Abba are heard, and they are known by Him. He knows each and every need, and He is meeting each person where they are. He met the lady at the first house in a moment when I was able to pray over her wrist which had been wrapped because it was hurt. The Healer passed by her in an instant as her wrist was made whole, the wrap was removed and she was brought to tears as she filled a bucket with water and carried it around with the wrist that was useless just a minute before. He sees the need for hope, for the kids and for the families, and He provides Light & Salt Ministries the ability to take these precious boys, who are the most at-risk in the city, into a school Monday – Friday where their needs can be met. He gives them a hot meal daily, which is sometimes the only meal that they will receive. I’ve learned that some boys come into this school and gain 20 pounds in the first month just from the one meal that is served a day. He is revealing himself through the Bible teachings that are incorporated into every aspect of this school, whether that be in an actual Bible study or worship, or during sports, art and even meal times. He gives them the best staff here that truly love the boys with their whole hearts, it’s so evident, and they help with homework from their public school that the kids go to either before or after coming to Light & Salt. They are given space to learn all that they can in order to get a better chance of education at a university, which can help them get a good job and escape this cycle of poverty. English classes are also taught here at ministry, and knowing English greatly increases their chances of a good job down the road, plus the boys have so much fun telling us the same three or four phrases that they’ve learned so far: “Godblessyou” “What. Isyourname.” “My nameis: Victor” “I am TWELVE yearsold”.

 

Their understanding that the Father sees them has such an obvious impact on the Christians here. The reality of being seen therefore gives each person a vision beyond their natural circumstances and into the Spirit world, where love and peace and true joy abound. Life with the Lord is not some last resort option here, but the very means of survival, they have no choice but to be completely reliant on the Provider. I believe it is because of this, that they know God, and I mean really know Him. He is much more than a good guy in the sky, or someone that you quietly whisper a song to on Sunday mornings. I see the way that these boys love to scream their worship to the Lord daily. The boys who get one meal a day. The boys who are having to support their household because a father figure isn’t present. The boys who come from backgrounds of abuse and backgrounds of extreme poverty. I see the way the mothers of these homes have such genuine, grateful hearts for the little that they do possess, and how though they have so little, all they can think to pray for is safety and education for their children. This leads me to question the way things are where I am from.

I wonder how much we would gain, if we were to lose it all. I wonder how in awe we would be of the Father if we didn’t have so much distracting us. I wonder how much of an increase we would see of the fruits of the Spirit in our own lives if the Lord became our lifeline. I wonder what life would look like if God became who we ran to, not God & a plethora of other things. I wonder how we would live if we saw Him the way they do, if we knew Him like they do, if we had the vision that they do. 

I’m starting to think that they may be the most well off, that the favor of the Lord is actually on the least of these.

God, make me like them.

 

*Name’s of children changed for security purposes*

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