Monday, April 12, 2010

Faith Without Deeds is Dead

On Saturday, Brandi and I went with our pastor's wife and a few other people from the church to Huacsapata, a pueblo about 45 minutes outside of the city. She had asked us to go a few times before, because she could really use the help. You see, our church has helped to start a mission church in Huacsapata. Mondays and Wednesdays, they have services for the adults and teens. And Saturday is a big day because they go and have a kids day, including games, songs, English lessons, and Bible classes. They also feed them lunch, and we are told that it is the one healthy meal they get a week.

Huacsapata is one of the many very poor areas on the outside of Arequipa, a city of 1 million people. They are the poorest of the poor. Their houses consist of one room, they don't have water, and they don't have money to provide their children with proper nutrition. 

But the kids are beautiful. Right before lunch, a few of the girls asked me to help them with their English. And we practiced some English tongue twisters!

And the whole time, I had the feeling that this is what I want to be doing. I want to live an Isaiah 61 life: to preach good news to the poor, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives, to release prisoners from darkness, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor, to comfort those who mourn, to provide fro those who grieve, and to replace the crowns of ashes with crowns of beauty. This is what it means to live in the kingdom of God on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. So yes, I was pretty heartbroken for the kids live in a reality without adequate food and without water. But we have good news for the poor, that Jesus Christ is the bread of life! That the least on earth are the greatest in the kingdom of God!

There is a song that I have been wanting to share in my blog since I first heard it, and this seems like the time to do it. It is a song called "Albertine" by Brooke Fraser, about her experience in Africa. She visited Rwanda, and saw sites where people had been greatly affected by the genocide. Her tour guide introduced her to a girl named Albertine; the tour guide told Brooke her story, that she had personally saved Albertine's life during the violence. And she asked Brooke to tell her story. So she is, with this song.

"Now that I have seen, I am responsible. Faith without deeds is dead."

This is how I feel about visiting the slums of Arequipa. I have seen the depths of poverty, and the lives it affects. Now I am responsible. Because I serve a God who care very deeply about the poor, the downtrodden, the widows and orphans. And He tells me that as His follower, I have to take care of them. He tells me that I am saved by grace alone, but once I am saved, my life will produce fruit. And if my faith isn't producing fruit, then it is dead.

"Now that I have held you in my own arms, I cannot let go 'til you are..."

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