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"But reasons fail at children without mothers"

In one of my classes this semester, we have been discussing the idea of the division between body and soul, and how that happened because religion was privatized. Reason and religion have somehow become divided. It's a big heady topic, and every Wednesday I come home after class with a dazed look on my face, wondering at my life and how we can possibly work to solve all the problems that the world has.

Then clarity comes. I realize that we simply can't, at least not on our own.

My going to India may result in the change in one person's life, other than my own, and that alone is good.

My friend Anne traveling to Holland to work with a missions organization may only change one person, but that person's life is well worth it.

My brother's friends living in a seedy neighborhood in the midst of Waco, giving prostitutes rides to the grocery store and other places around town, may only change one life, but that life is worthwhile.

Back in 2003, I signed up to go to Belize with my church youth group for my first ever missions trip. It was also my first time out of the country. The youth group did multiple things while there, but one of them was an evening "show" of sorts that was a presentation of the gospel with music, theater, and, yes, puppets. We traveled around to various churches in the area, presenting this show in the evenings. As I was the "theater" person, this was a major part of my work down there, and I was proud of how the show came together. But consistently, night after night, when we opened up the floor for people to come forward, no one did.

Having been raised in a somewhat fundamentalist evangelical church, I thought that I was somehow a failure because our evangelism was supposed to be about "winning souls for Christ," and all that. I didn't realize that by simply living my life in love, I was affecting the children who came around to our campsite everyday and played with us. By allowing them to call me "Biscuit" - my nickname for the trip, named after a type of cookie they have down there branded the "Diana Biscuit" - and by simply listening to them and giving them a treat every so often, I was showing them love.

On one of the last nights that we were presenting our evening show, I felt bad because our tree for the show had been confiscated during a bus ride through a quarantine zone, and we had had to scrounge for a rather pathetic looking branch when we got to the church. I was concentrating a lot on the show being "perfect," that it didn't really matter to me anymore what sort of "souls" were we winning. Despite my own attitude toward the whole thing, that evening an old man came forward. He was probably in his late 60s, though it was a little hard to tell. He came to a life changing encounter with Christ that night, in his much later years of life.


Even when all reason fails, when we look at the mother homeless in the streets of LA, when we look at the children orphaned by the AIDS epidemic in Africa, when we look hard into the eyes of a child prostitute rescued from the trade in India, even when we want to look around and lose all hope as to why the world is the way it is: We remember. It is by one life that this world is changed - one life changed mine, and my life can change just one. And if I can help just that one, if all of us commit to helping just that one, the world will change.

My AP US History classroom had a small poster on the bulletin board by the door that simply read: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." (Margaret Mead)

Indeed. It is the only thing that will.

For more information about my India trip, scroll down and read some of the other posts on this blog. I should be receiving my flight information soon, and I will be reporting stories about my immunizations (have to update that tetanus shot!) and other preparations for the trip in the coming posts.

(photo from Clint Whitley, fellow Belize participant).

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