Today we completed our final outreach program in a pueblo called Hunucma. By far, this is the poorest community we have been exposed to during this trip. For some of us, the poorest we have ever seen. If you have ever watched a World Vision commercial where the child is sitting in front of a cement or dirt floor hut, no shoes, flies buzzing, a pot cooking on an open campfire, and the property scattered with garbage – this is what we were introduced to today, and where Pastor Ricardo, our Mexican partner, is building a church. He is both hopeful and encouraged by the potential for the people of this village. The children in this community were shy and not as eager to play as children from other pueblos. However, some engaged in hoola hoop, football (soccer), and catch. Handing out clothing, making balloon animals, face painting, and distributing toys, seemed insignificant, when looking at the big picture of how poor these people really are. What was so amazing about this visit was the children. They didn’t blink an eye at the environment they were brought up in, but rather engaged with the locals in a way that was deeply rooted in love. It was like God poured love into their hearts and showed them we were their brothers and sisters in Christ – all part of the same body – which was the morning devotion from 1 Corinthians 12:12-26.
The afternoon started with the women and children on our team cleaning up the property – pulling weeds and picking up garbage. Talking it over with a C-Quest staff member, the same questions were asked: “Why do they throw their garbage on the property?” and, “Why aren’t they helping us clean up their property?” It’s clear that the poverty witnessed here, or anywhere in the world, is largely psychological and will take the power of Jesus to change hearts and minds. It will take a grassroots approach in asking the locals what they think they need to do to improve their living conditions. It will take education about hygiene and sanitation to improve public health and decrease disease. Additionally, it will take a message that will give the people empowerment to know they can make changes for the better. Not that our culture is better, but studies show that there are certain living conditions that are healthier than others.
The men from our team removed a tree in the back-end of the property, making space for a future church. Although the terrain was hazardous and the work difficult, they managed to get the tree cut down with no injuries. Like the body of Christ, we all had an important job to do; looking out for each other and identifying hazards, such as broken glass on the ground or rough terrain that could have caused trips and falls. The wood was donated to an appreciative neighbor who, after witnessing our struggles, indicated that he would like to attend Pastor Ricardo’s church service some day. In the end, the removal of the tree saved Pastor Ricardo roughly 3,000 pesos, which is money that they do not have, and it was one step further ahead to build the new church for the Hunucma pueblo.