Here I am. Back "home" in Guatemala City. This is my third trip back and, yet again, I feel as if I've returned to my heart. It's still difficult to describe the ghetto when you see it in person. It's not just the devastation of poverty, but also the sadness, oppression, spiritual destitution. I have not been to Guatemala in 10 months, and as I viewed the slums of La Limonada once again, there was the return of that familiar feeling. There is just so much need.
How do you even tackle something as big as La Limonada? With somewhere between 60,000 to 100,000 people living in such poverty, how do you handle that? Thankfully, Tita did not let the gravity of the situation daunt her 16 years ago when she began her work in the ghetto. I often wonder if my faith would have been as strong as hers, to know that me, as one person, can make a difference. Perhaps it is an insecurity on my part, or a lack of faith in my God, but it can be a conscious effort sometimes to remember that me, as one person, can make a difference.
I believe it was "God timing" that I am currently reading Richard Stearns' book, "A Hole in Our Gospel." The current president of World Vision, a Christian aid organization, Richard has been faced with this same feeling since he began his tenure. This morning, as I sat and read, feeling tired from a night of restless sleep due to my mind being unable to shut off from thinking about the ghetto, I read a familiar story that I desperately needed to be reminded of.
Richard spoke of the story of a man who was walking on a beach, seeing millions of starfish that had been washed up by the waves. Without their ocean environment, they would die. The man considered trying to help, but became discouraged by the gravity of the situation. "Even if I try to help, I can't help them all," he thought. Then, he saw a man walking down the beach. Bending over, then straightening up, bending over, then straightening up. As he drew closer, he saw that the man was picking up the starfish and throwing them back in the water. "What are you doing?" he called to the other man. "There's no way that you can help them all. It won't make a difference!"
As the man picked up another starfish and tossed it into the ocean, he replied," It made a difference to that one."