Fire in my Bones
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Fire in My Bones
Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012

My experience with Third-World poverty last week reminded me that we are so much more blessed than we realize.

Whenever I stare Third-World poverty in the face I receive a painful attitude adjustment. This happened to me last week when I visited a refuge for disaster victims in the small community of Manatí, Colombia. Approximately 1,500 people—all of whom lost their homes during floods two years ago—now live in crude storage units equipped with running water and makeshift latrines.

I stuck my head in one of the apartment doors just to see the conditions. A single mother lived in one room with her eight children. Some pigs and dogs, looking uncomfortable in the South American humidity, sought shade near a window nearby. Most kids in the camp played with old jars, plastic bins and sticks, but I noticed one dirty-faced girl with a used doll. She had created a home for her Barbie in the dirt outside her front door.

“Thanksgiving has the power to adjust our selfish hearts and recalibrate our whiny attitudes. When we thank the Lord, we subdue the pride in our hearts and crush our craving for entitlement.”

The people of Manatí know nothing about hot water, air conditioning or flush toilets. They certainly don’t have smartphones, flat-screen televisions, washing machines or Internet access. They’ve never heard of digital books, granite countertops, spa treatments, GPS devices, Jacuzzis, gourmet kitchens or Netflix. They can’t imagine paying $4 for a cup of coffee or $10 for a movie ticket. Being able to own a car is unthinkable.

They are part of the 50 percent of the world’s population living on less than $2.50 per day.

Before my tour of the compound in Manatí I spoke to a group of women, many of them abused or abandoned by their husbands. They gathered in a tent on the camp property to hear the gospel. I used a scratchy sound system mounted on a motorcycle to share the message of Jesus with them. When I looked into their worn faces I was reminded of how fortunate I am to have an education, Christian parents, and the basic blessings of life.

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