As I reflect back on the mission trip to the Dominican Republic, there are certain mental images I can’t get out of my mind. Certainly, there are ones I’d LIKE to rid myself of… but the memories of the refugee area, difficult as they are to process? These memories are certainly not amongst those I’d like to forget. No way.
You see, I’ve written about the poverty I witnessed in the Dominican. In no place was this more dramatic than in the refugee area. It’s difficult to process, but critical to remember. These memories and mental images are simply too powerful… too impactful in shaking up my world and in molding my heart.
So, the refugee area…
I’m not exactly sure I understand the ins and outs of this place. I’m not exactly certain what the people in this area were taking refuge from. I’m not exactly certain how or why these people ended up here. But I do know one thing… I can’t help but wonder what kind of place these people lived in before if THIS is a place of refuge for them.
How can shacks with leaking tin roofs, drafty cobbled-together walls and dirt floors, housing families of five or six in 80 square foot areas… how can this be a place of refuge?
How can a place with mud streets flowing with polluted water be a place of refuge?
How can a place with starving, parasite infested, scabies-covered children be a place of refuge?
How can any people allow this kind of place to continue to exist?
How can God allow this place to continue to exist?
What can I do to make a difference in places like this?
What can we, as Americans, do to make a difference in places like this?
How can we, who have so much, live with ourselves knowing we have so much while people living in areas like this have so little?
What response should I have to witnessing this?
There is so much I just don’t understand… so many questions for which I have no good answers.
But I do have images burned in my mind… images that impact me deeply.
How do they affect you?
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