Myanmar Blog: Kristen Hudson
Myanmar Blog- Kristen Hudson
March 24, 2019
Preparing for a mission trip in a third-world country causes your mind to race on the idea of poverty. Research states that if you make $32,400 in income per year, then you officially rank within the top 1% of wage earners in the entire world. We Americans know that we are very “blessed,” having access to running water, electricity, and not to mention some of the items that would put us in the fetal position if we were forced to live without (including but not limited to): smartphones, Wi-Fi, DVR, Amazon prime, and grocery pick up.
After spending my first day in Myanmar, I saw bare minimal living arrangements, very minimal A/C, no washing machines, meals that only come with the luxury of meat one time per week, deflated balls for playing games outside…
But I also saw children who were content and full of joy. These children worshiped and prayed with an intent and genuine excitement as any person I have ever seen with my own eyes. They had a love and desire to please others. Regardless of the language barrier, I never heard a grumble or whine, nor saw a pouting face. They played, they loved, they embraced… they simply seemed happy. No one looked sad or bored. No one sat staring at an electronic screen, avoiding social contact with the outside world. No one threw a tantrum when they were told “no” or when they lost at a game.
At the end of the day, I feel that we may have this “poverty” thing all wrong. Dictionary.com has a secondary definitely of poverty that says “deficiency of desirable qualities.” I can’t help but believe it’s our American children who are truly facing “poverty”—at least poverty of spirit (and therefore, desirable qualities).
Listen to what Paul says in Philippians 3:7-8:
“But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake, I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish in order that I may gain Christ.”
In America, we likely consider our “gain” things like wealth, education, job promotions, success, power, nice homes and cars, electronics, family vacations, etc. I think it’s fair to admit that we all strive for these things—it’s simply what our culture teaches us to do. But Paul says in Philippians that these “gains” may be counted as worthless as “rubbish.” To be even more vivid, the literal translation for the word “rubbish” in the original Greek is “skybalon” and means, “what is thrown to the dogs.” The King James Version even translates this word into “dung.”
So, fellow Americans, maybe we should re-think our priorities. Maybe we should reconsider what it is that we are striving for. Maybe we should consider the poverty of spirit that we are putting upon ourselves due to the cultural norms that we strive to uphold. While I would never wish for my children to wonder if their next meal is in jeopardy, I do wish for their spirit to be brought out of poverty. I wish for them to realize that knowing Jesus Christ as their personal Savior is so very valuable that it makes everything else that our culture teaches us to idolize and strive for become the literal value of dung.
I consider myself truly blessed to have spent the day with these children in Myanmar—for the seeds of life that they have planted in my heart. They inspire me to determine ways to remove my own “materially blessed” children from the poverty of desirable qualities. American missionaries always strive to bring a little bit of America to the impoverished places they visit, but my heart tells me to “take a little bit of Myanmar” back to America—to the heart of my own home.