Monday, April 27, 2009

across cultures

at the heart of all of us, we are all just people learning how to walk this journey we call life. it does not matter what culture we are from, where we live geographically, what color our skin is, whether we are male or female, we all have the same basic needs... we all have hurts, joys, baggage, gifts, struggles, etc. and i believe that at the core of all of us, we spend a lifetime learning the balance and the ebb and flow of letting the God who created us teach us the way we are to walk and how to move on this journey with each other.

i have reminded myself of this truth many times since being down here, living in a culture quite different from the one i grew up in. sometimes it is a hard talking i have to give myself to hold onto this truth in the midst of a hard situation, and yet other times, it is so evident that it would be wrong to try to deny it.

since i first came here, i have prayed for a way to reach out to and connect with the young girls here in our area for longer than just the ten minutes we get in clinic, and about two months ago, the opportunity arose right in our clinic in san andres as i sat with a young girl who had been cutting herself after a fight with her mom the week before. as she was in the local church, i already knew her fairly well and that she already had a foundation and the basics of a walk with christ. as we talked, our conversation grew from discussing some of the resources we have available to us in spanish to meeting together once a week to inviting some of her other friends as well.

and so now we have a time of breakfast and fellowship together before clinic starts on sunday mornings. although we have only met twice so far, i am reminded how much this is going to be something that i gain a lot more from than i can give to. the group is varied in personalities and levels of maturity, both in life and spiritually. they have already opened my eyes to many problems in san andres that i did not know existed… many things that go much deeper than simply “cultural” things, although problems that seem to be tied to the deep rooted traditions and sins of their ancestors here… many problems that seem to have been brought in by the influence of western culture…. many that are the products of a parental structure that places little to no value on discipline and kids that have never learned the concept of obeying.

and yet in light of all the things my eyes were opened to, i was reminded of the thing that i have learned over and over in my time here as i have listened to stories of abuse and neglect, watched customs deeply rooted in unfair treatment of women and children, and watched the far and deep reaching hold that alcoholism and satanic worship practices have over the men and women here. i was reminded that the first thing that and the most important thing we can do is pray.

pray and pray and pray that god will have mercy on us, that he will forgive us and our ancestors, that he will break our hearts, humble us, and then restore us to what he has created us to be…. how he has created us to live. that he will break that spiritual strongholds that are so obviously still binding the people of this area, in church and out of church… the strongholds that go back thousands of years to a culture, practices, beliefs, and people that i have only read about in the history books.

and this time with these girls has also reminded me how truly lucky i am that not only my family heritage is one of christianity, but my country’s heritage as well… a country that was founded on christian principles by christian people. i never realized any of this to the degree i understand it now… until i have lived in and amidst problems that are so deeply entrenched in the very beginnings of this country… satanic worship, poverty, malnutrition, abuse and neglect.

and i realize that this freedom we have in the states did not come by letting life just pass us by, but it came with a fight from the very beginning. i pray that we in the states are still fighting for the freedom that we have enjoyed... a freedom that came not just from being able to do whatever we want (our rights...) but a freedom that came from being founded on christian principles and seeking after our God.

and i ask that you would pray for this country as well. that we will fight in prayer for the freedom of the people here...

because we all want to be free, don't we?