There are many different moments you go through as a youth minister…some are disappointment, fear, being humbled (especially when middle schoolers are involved), pride, anxiety, relieved, and in moments like tonight, expectant.
As I was looking at Blake and Luke sitting across the table from me at a local Hampton Cove Mexican restaurant, and these seniors in high school shared with me about their extreme experiences in Kenya…expectant is what I was feeling.
They talked about how they saw the 2/3s of the country that were completely and utterly poverty stricken. 1 of the slums they spent a good deal of time in had 200,000 people living in shanties…shacks…mud…garbage…cows eating trash. A place where pictures couldn’t be taken, and one of the boys shared that someone tried to grab him. Total darkness. In that particular slum, people can just grab a piece of land and settle there for free. Nobody wants to work for fear of other relatives seeking financial aid. So they continue in this poverty cycle and complacency.
On the flip side, they shared how they visited some places where the 1/3 was in that country. The land owners are the ones who are wealthy. They went to a safari “resort” of sorts. The guys described the lush food, beautiful surroundings, zebras, and rhinos roaming free.
They also shared with me that the translation of “Moongoos” (I’m guessing on spelling), which is the term used to describe white people is literally translated in Swahili as “the great white god.” You can imagine how these good old Alabama boys were sticking out like a sore thumb. We are the 1/3. Ok, maybe not in the literal sense. The way American’s live is obviously waaaaaay less than the 1/3 in the worlds standards.
I will be interviewing Blake Waldrop and Luke Leeth for our Valentine’s Overflow for high school in February. I posed them with the question of, “how come the people in our ministry and in high school in general around the world say they have a passion for others and Africa and all that, but they can’t be nice to the person sitting next to them?” Then I asked, “How can we help them understand this concept ?” I found their answers interesting. They talked about how sometimes we are so surrounded by our culture, material things, and western thinking that sometimes it just takes a catalytic event or big “BAM,” as they put it, for them to understand that we are the 1/3 and the majority of the world is in the 2/3s.
So, feel free to share your thoughts on why today’s youth aren’t seeming to get that concept.
Also, have you stepped out of your 1/3 place and gone to the 2/3s?? I am planning a high school mission trip to a Native American Reservation in Montana in June. This, I am also expectant about which students are ready to have a catalytic or “BAM” moment, as the guys put it, and they can finally understand that the 2/3s have got to be reached with the love of God.
1 of my favorite things about my job, is even though I am hired to inspire change in teens,…a lot of times they inspire me! 🙂 That’s just the way God works.