Today we started our day on the rooftop overlooking the varied landscape that spanned to the horizon, while enjoying the crepes before us wonderfully made by our gracious cooks. We had a brief devotion, provided by Shane, an excerpt from Mark 2:15 that reflected upon the way we view others, especially the ones that are quickly judged by those who believe they are of a higher moral ground.
Back in those times, they were tax collectors and the commonly coined term ‘sinners’, and the ones who did the judging were the Pharisees. The sinners and tax collectors were the ones shunned by the rest, judged for either their social status or occupation. What Jesus reminded the Pharisees is that it is “not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but the sinners.” As the focal point of these verses, they pose an important lesson that is so often overlooked, and they specifically resonate for us on this mission trip. It reminded us that we are all just sinners; no different from the person beside us or the ones we pass on the street. We are all children of God, regrettably united by the common thread that is sin. We can try and try again to be the typical ‘good Christian’ and lead a life selflessly, but to attain this is impossible. It’s important to sometimes realise that we are helpless unless helped by God, and a community that surround us in love. I was also reminded that I must reflect what God would bestow on me. But that was just this morning’s devotion.
What we did next was the first trip’s visit to the Village of Hope. There we were received with loving smiles and welcoming arms by those who reside there. We were also told about the history of the ground we stood upon and the challenges overcome to become what it is today. We got to explore the houses and the communal kitchen areas where the women prepared and provided the food for all. We got to share handshakes and hugs, and the exchange of many names that I know I’ll struggle to remember. Despite this, it was enjoyable experience to see in person what we’ve been preparing and gearing up for.
We returned back for another delicious meal, and then headed into town for a quick geez at the markets. There we saw beautiful handcrafted goods, souvenirs, clothes and amazing paintings. Then we returned to the Village of Hope, where now the children were there to welcome us. They could not have had wider smiles on their faces, or sprinted any faster to eagerly greet us. Although not all were as forward, all were approachable for a conversation. I especially encountered a shy, lovely girl who was able to tell me that I was her ‘first bestest friend’, which kept me smiling as much as they did. All of kids seemed to have endless energy, tiring even those fully adjusted to the 8 hour time difference. They pulled us all in different directions (and for some, our hair as well), showing us every nook and cranny of that property. It was great to see children that didn’t necessarily come from the most privileged backgrounds, but children that lived in that moment and for the moment, embracing every situation in that Village as a blessing. It reminded me how it’s so easy to take things for granted.
All in all, a great day also had a great night, with amazing food and better people. I could not be happier with how today turned out.
Schoolies Rev is a project of HopeBuilders International, a registered organisation that partners with Global Development Group. All images, media and content are used with permission & belong to Schoolies Rev.
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