Words cannot capture the emotions and thoughts which flooded me at that moment. I can only say that I pray no one ever feels the sort of helplessness and insignificance as I felt at that moment, but simultaneously I must wish for every person to reach the instant they realize they can honestly do nothing apart from God; that the problems of this world are too big for anyone but God, and so reliance on Him is not just a good idea, it’s dead necessary.
(journal excerpt 6.22)
I turned 21 today. It’s incredible what God will do when you give him control. I gave him my birthday, he gave me a country. This trip is unreal, halfway between a dream and a nightmare. Today was hard but God is good. Bible for today: Psalm 24.
We began the day playing with the children, hanging by the beach, and eventually packing bags of rice to give away. The plan was to hike them up a mount and give them away. It sounds so simple, but what they don’t tell you is how a 50lb bag of rice feels like 200lbs after about 10 minutes of walking on a 45 degree slope.
Thankfully most of the rice was handed out within the first 30 minutes. My brother helped me carry it for a bit and we even hired a lady’s donkey to carry it up part way (cost: 2 bags of rice). The mountain was steep, the road rocky, the temperature hot, and the air thinned as we climbed. It was long and difficult; if it had not been for God’s strength and the encouragement of those around me I honestly don’t think I would have made it up. The scene was breathtaking. Landscapes most only see in movies. But tragedy dotted the view as we saw more tent cities and the rubble remains of the mountain villages.
Towards the top, after all the rice had been given away, we began handing out bread with peanut butter. It became chaos. Like a pack of wolves on a carcass, we watched as dozens of kids and even some adults jumped over one another to get their hands on our meager gift. Chaos over a small piece of bread; people here simply can’t understand.
One experience I will never forget happened after all the bread had been passed out. There was this young girl in front of me licking the peanut off her hands. And it was just casual cleaning, she wanted every bit she could get off those tiny fingers. After her hands had given all they could she looked up at me with those innocent eyes and then down at my hands which had also become covered in peanut butter amidst the chaos of trying to hand out food.
I acted before I really knew what I was doing, and began scraping the peanut butter off my hands to put onto hers. She lit up and began licking away. I scraped harder in seeing how she reacted; until none was left. My heart broke.