My name is Kyler and I am a senior at Valor. Over the summer, I served in what my team and I now identify as the greatest city on earth! The weather was quite toasty and humid, but the presence of God was much stronger than our physical discomforts and kept our focus on our mission – to love and serve the people. Pictures and words will never do justice to the wretched sights and smells of impoverishment our team experienced in the first few moments after we arrived. Surreal. Unreal. Heartbreaking.
As we turned our eyes towards the Lord in a devotion and prayer, we discussed Galatians 5:22-23 (the Fruits of the Spirit) and what it means to implement those principles into our daily lives. We were able to easily see the fruits being lived out in the lives of the local people as they selflessly served and loved unconditionally. I have never witnessed such genuine care and love for others as I saw there – even in their unimaginable living conditions and poverty, they were so giving and hospitable. We were warmly welcomed and experienced joy and laughter with the locals. Students entertained us with dances and songs they learned at school. The students value and cherish the opportunity to attend school as a possible ticket out of their current dire circumstances.
We had so much fun playing and laughing with the children at the school – giving piggyback rides, giggling and teaching them English words. The kids are living examples of Galatians 5:22-23. Each of them was filled with so much joy and contentment that radiated through their smiles and laughter. I was especially touched when we brought them lunch and observed the kids as they only ate enough to satisfy their hunger and saved the rest of the food to share with their families. They truly put themselves last and love serving not only their family, but others.
Most of the people living in this country barely survive on meager provisions, yet they overflow with so much joy and love. Their hearts praise the Lord for the blessings He has already given them, with no focus on personal desires. I’ve come to realize that our lives back home (in the US) rely very little on dependence, while these children wake up every day and declare they are nothing without their good, good God. Maybe this is part of what we are missing. All of our needs and most of our wants are met on a daily basis, which makes it difficult to depend on the Lord. These people need and depend on God because that is all they have. It is so beautiful to see the Lord so alive in each of their hearts. Paul was right when he said, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. You believe there is a God. Good! Even the demons believe that and shudder” (James 2:18-19). These precious people not only believe there’s a God, but also display the characteristics of Christ to everyone, every day.
In its simplest form, Christian translates to “Little Christ”. The people of this country showed me what it means to be a Little Christ. For example, we visited a few families in their slum houses, and although they had very little, they served us fresh tea and crackers, with incredible honor and hospitality. Their service to us was so humbling to experience. One of the highlights was attending a slum house church service. Our group was crammed into the tiny impoverished house where we worshiped, learned and prayed together. The best part was seeing the sweet smiles on their faces and their joy and gratitude as we prayed for them.
This Discovery Experience was truly life-changing and will always hold a special place in my heart. The time spent with my team and the people of this country will always remind me of what it looks like to be a humble servant of the Lord, fully trust and depend on Him, and to live a life that genuinely displays the Fruits of the Spirit. I pray I can be more like them – a Little Christ.
* Location is intentionally undisclosed. For more information, contact Aimee Davison.