Enoch in Guatemala
At Urbana during Christmas of 2003 I made a promise to God that I would serve for a year of missions after I graduated from College. A number of circumstances made me back that number down to 2 months which I have just completed with Potter’s House in Guatemala. However, recently God has made it clear that my promise to serve a year still stands.
Potter’s House is a Guatemalan run ministry that is located less than a block away from the city garbage dump. Smelling strongly of rotting garbage and inhabited by more flies than people, casa del alferero (Potter’s House) offers hope to those who’ve spent their lives literally living in the garbage. In addition to basic relief including sandwiches, shoes and blankets, Potter’s house works to make a permanent difference in the lives of its treasures (a treasure is what they call anyone who relies on the garbage for their living). One unique aspect of Potter’s House is that it is run by Guatemalans, even more striking is the large portion of the staff who previously scavenged in the dump. For the last last two months I have worked in the micro loans department where we make loans of less than a few hundred dollars allowing the people to have enough capital to get out of the dump and start their own small business (fruit stands, barber shops, auto repairs, snow cones, etc.)
It's been life changing to live here, it really makes you think a lot about what's important. In many ways life is different here, some things are much worse, like crime is rampant (I got robbed the other day, although I ended up getting away without paying a thing), I saw a car intentionally hit a homeless man and sometimes death isn't the worst of it, surviving in poverty is. Then on the other hand, some things are much better, people actually take time to talk to other people. The guy at the local restaurant knows all our names, we actually talk. You realize a lot more about what Jesus was talking about with the poor. I'm a bigger believer in a social gospel than I was before. Just because we don't see poverty doesn't mean it's not our responsibility. So there's that combined with my promise at Urbana and I just don't think I can leave. I made an agreement last Wednesday that I will stay for another 10 months in order to complete a year.
So now I find myself in the opposite situation from where I expected to be. Instead of earning money at Allstate and supporting missionaries I'm giving up my job that pays a salary and am looking for support. Here are the details: I'm trying to raise $1000 a month for 10 months. I figure if I can find 50 people who are willing to pledge $20 a month for 10 months I'll be set. I don't know how much you care for the breakdown but here it is. $625 a month goes to food, housing and transportation to and from work and to church. This is a package deal and is done through Potter's House. $100 dollars a month goes to Potter's House itself for their staff and bills. The remaining $275 monthly will go for medical costs and medical insurance, clothing (I only have two pairs of pants down here), transportation and food outside of work, any additional unforeseen expenses, and a plane ticket at the end of 10 months. If I end up raising too much, the additional will be split between a fulltime missionary here named Matt who is currently under funded, and Potter's House towards sponsoring children, many of whom live and work in the dump.