Often times when people look at a mission field, they get overwhelmed by the sheer vastness and depths of needs in a community or country. It can be overwhelming. When you stop to think about how many people there are in an area, or how great their needs are, it can be devastating and overpowering.
As I drive and walk through the communities of Haiti, it is sad to see how people have to live.
To see little kids wearing no clothes, or wearing adult sized shirts as dresses.
To see how much work and time it takes to make one meal.
To see people trying so hard to sell their wares just to make enough money to feed their families for that day.
To see kids playing with garbage because they don’t have toys.
It breaks my heart. And I want to help change those situations. Many other people do too. It’s why people are called into missions, God has placed a desire on their heart for a certain country or people group. I’ve often heard the statement “I want to change the world”. That’s a big statement for one person, or one organization. Is there a better way to make a difference?
But what if we stopped focusing on changing the world? What if we stopped looking at population numbers or statistics? What if we stopped looking at how poor a country is?
What if we started looking at names? What if we started looking at each person’s face and realizing that each and every one of those faces is valuable and worthy? What if we stopped and helped one person and showed them the love of Jesus?
Can you do that? Can you stop and help one person? Can you change the world for one person?
You don’t need to fix their life, or come in to re-vamp the way they live. You just need to love them and ask, “How can I show this person how Jesus loves them?”
Sometimes there are things we can’t fix. Or there are things that we shouldn’t fix. But everyone needs love. Everyone needs to know that they are important, and they are worthy. Showing respect and dignity for someone is one the very simple ways we can love someone.
As I walk across the schoolyard, fifty little Haitian bodies run towards me and yell “Blan!”. Sometimes I just want to run across the yard and avoid getting yelled at and pulled over by all those little bodies. Sometimes I don’t want to stop to play with twenty different children and have their sticky hands going all through my hair. Sometimes I wish I was invisible, so I wouldn’t get stared at everywhere I go. Sometimes I just want to get back to my work and avoid all of it.
But then I think about how I could make a difference in one of those little one’s lives. I think about how I can show them that Jesus loves them. How can I show those sticky fingered, brown eyed kids how Jesus loves them? I wish I could take them all home, I wish I could give them all a clean, warm bath and a nutritious meal to fill their bellies. I wish I had medicine to treat all of them. I wish I could kiss them all and hug them tight and tell them that everything will be okay and no one is going to hurt them. But I can’t do it all. I can’t fix every one of those kids lives. But I can do something.
Helping someone is not always about giving physical things. Our North American mindset is to fix any situation by giving a thing. Giving a toy, giving clothes, giving money. Sometimes the best “thing” we can give, is our time.
Giving our time is a lot more work than just dropping off a bag of stuff. Giving our time hurts sometimes. Giving our time opens the opportunity for relationships. Giving our time makes us feel raw emotions and opens our eyes to another life.
Do you know how simple it is to show a three-year-old love? It’s as simple as playing hockey with him when the older kids don’t want to play with him. Do you know how sweet those giggles are when he scores a goal? Do you know what kind of bond you are forming when you take the time to spend with him?
Sometimes it’s taking a cranky seven-year-old and spending some one on one time with them and understanding the real reason they’re lashing out. Just sitting quietly with them while colouring can speak volumes without even saying a word.
Sometimes it is sitting down with an older kid and having a heart-to-heart and asking how they’re really doing. Ask their opinion, get them thinking. Sometimes it takes time to open up, but it is worth it.
What if we focused on changing the world for one person? What if we stopped for one person? What if we showed love to one person today and made a difference in their life?
You don’t need to travel to another country to change the world for one person. There are people right next door, there are people in your church, there are people in your home, and there are people in your workplace, who need to be shown the love of Jesus. There are people all over the world that need to see the love of Christ and that is what will change the world.
“I have learned that I will not change the world, Jesus will do that. I can however, change the world for one person. So I keep stopping and loving one person at a time. Because this is my call as a Christian. And if one person sees the love of Christ in me, it is worth every minute. In fact, it is worth spending my life for.” -Katie Davis
So do it. Do it for one. Stop for one. Love one. Change the world for one person.