Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Peru Adventures pt. 2

Day Uno (I don't know Spanish)

So far today we have...
Eaten good food
Rode in a motor-tricycle carraige thing in crazy traffic
Visited the market
Tried new fruit
Met some people living in the city
Got lost on the way to our service project
Walked in the rain to get our service project
Got really muddy digging trenches for our service project (for the foundation of the patio for a POPP's new clinic)
Met and entertained the kids at VBS

So its been eventful. I'm sure Pastor Troy and Mr. Bokov and my classmates have been keeping you posted on many of these. One of the things that stuck out to me was in the market. So many different and new fruit, plant noodles, weird merchandise, the meat market, and the jungle pharmacy were only the items on sale. Add in a whole section of water streets with little kayaks, a whole other language, and a drunk man stumbling over the steps. Also the booths were literally just a table. In many places tarp was laid overhead as a canopy for the sun and rain.

But I think the thing that stood out to me the most was the dogs and cats. Living in America, we are accustomed to having and keeping these creatures as pets, some almost to an obsession. Yet here in Iquoitos, they seem... forgotten. But us tourists, we see this tiny little kitten about the size of our feet, and say, "Oh so cute! I want to take you home!" We saw about 4 cats and 20 dogs in that market. Some sick. Some starving. Some shooed away. All wandering. All ignored. All forgotten.

Later on the way to the work site the next morning, we saw two dogs, just rummaging through the garbage like... dogs? It was sad. A friend had told me that as they were walking through the market, they saw a little kitten curled with its tail, everyone around it hustling by, almost stepping on it. For us tourists, our compassion had filled up. One of my good friends even went so far to ask, "Why do we care more about the animals than we do for humans?"
The only reply to break the silence was heard as, "We tend to humanize animals, but dehumanize humans."

Jesus often walked in the market. He probably saw some of the very same things I did, though I'd like to think their sewege system was much better. One thing I know He saw that I didn't was the sacrifical market. Caged birds and lambs and goats. So many of them forgotten after they were slaughtered at the temple. Perhaps this is what prompted Jesus to say, "Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And one of them will not fall to the ground without the knowledge anr consent of your Father. And even the hairs of your head are numbered! Therefore do not be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows" (Matt 10:29-31, LEB).

Of course God cares for that kitten whose body was almosted stomped to the ground, and for the starving and sick dogs, and even for the sparrows, just as we do, for they also are His creatures. Yet many times, like Iquoitos has done for their animals, we have forgotten about God's creation. But this time, I'm not talking about pet species or meat species or even endangered species, though they are important as well. I'm talking about those whose hairs are numbered. Too many times we forget about our brothers and sisters, whether in Peru,or Indonesia, and even back in the States. Especially those who are our neighbors. We forget about them. We forget they struggle, that they have issues, that God is working to have them back. By the time we leave, some of us will forget the people here, what God has done here. We forget, like the priest and the Levite, about the wounded we pass by.

Josh's Good Samaritan impression 
Too often we forget to be the good Samaritan. Too often we pass by those who hurt, who we know are hurting, but we still step over them like that little kitten. But Jesus won't pass by. And I'm glad that we all can find comfort in that.

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