Isaiah 58:10 “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.”
We wanted to do something different on one of our mission trips. An opportunity came up for my husband and I to go to La Paz, Bolivia. This trip would provide us with some very different opportunities.The church in Bolivia was buying an old hotel building. They hoped to use the hotel as a retreat/convention center for all the churches in Bolivia. A team was needed to evaluate the condition of the building and the cost to make any repairs. Bill and I both had business backgrounds so we went to help them develop a business plan.
Once in La Paz, we toured every inch of the seven story building. We visited the basement, the roof and every nook and cranny. it was a lot of fun as we learned all about hotel operations. The hard part of the trip was the elevation of the city. La Paz had an average elevation of 12,000 feet. The airport sat at an elevation of over 13,500 feet. Altitude sickness was a major concern but we were mostly okay . I climbed into the roof area as seen in the photo below.
The part of the trip that impacted me most was a trip to a local Sunday church service. The church was in the center of town. It mainly served the homeless population of La Paz. I was excited as we started our walk. Soon, I realized the walk was all uphill. Walking up stairs or up hills was when we struggled with the altitude. By the time we reached the church, I was breathless. It took me a long time to breathe normal again. I took a seat but soon noticed the person next to me got up and moved. I was puzzled. I noticed the same thing happened when other members of the team sat down. Before the service started, several of us approached the minister to introduce ourselves and ask about the seating issue. The minister explained since the men lived on the streets, they were worried their body odors might offend us so they moved away. I could not believe it. I was shocked and saddened by their reaction. These men thought of themselves as less than me because of their living conditions. We had to show them Christ’s love made us all brothers and sisters. Sometime we have to be the nose of God as well as His hands and feet. I went and sat back down right next to one of these men. I introduced myself and shock his hand. The service started and we worshiped together. It was a beautiful foretaste of heaven.
The church provided refreshments after the service to help fill the bellies of these men. We were extra blessed when the pastor asked us to help serve the snacks. I served and visited with many of the gentleman that day. God showed me how poverty crushed the self-esteem of an individual. As the verse from Isaiah 58:10 “Feed the hungry, and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness, and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.” God allowed His light to shine into the darkness of worthlessness in these men. God showed them we are all equal in His sight. It was well worth the uphill climb to the church that Sunday morning in Bolivia.
May the Lord Bless you and keep.
Matthew 28:19 “Therefore, GO and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”