14 October 2010

Go make someone else rich.

Generous giving starts when it hurts to give. When one moves in the direction of "poverty" in order to make someone else "rich". -Gordon MacDonald

The hubs and I are reading our way through a devotional that our entire church has been recommended to read.  Day 1 made us both kind of scratch our heads.  And so we put the book down for a few days.

Eventually we jumped back in with Day 2, and we both had an AHA Moment.  I read it before the hubs got home, underlining a couple of things that stood out to me.  Then he read it. In a different room.

So he walks into the room where I am and has tears in his eyes.  He said it reminded him of our buddy Ernesto from Bolivia who died of cancer some years back.

Ernesto was from a village outside of the tiny village where my husband grew up.
A market street in the Village (not Ernesto's tiny village).

Farmers. Campesinos.  Rednecks << in a genuinely honest, not-derogatory sense >>. Village people.  I was studying in La Paz for the semester, and the missionaries who worked with the church that we were attending would occasionally bring Ernesto with them to church.  We learned that he was 16, and he had a rare and aggressive form of cancer (I can't recall if it was bone or blood-based).  He made the journey from the tiny village outside of the tiny town all the way to the Big City with important doctors, all the while praying for and working towards a miracle. 
La Paz, Bolivia.  Unlike any other city in the world.

We'd spend time with Ernesto when we could. 

We'd show up with empanada's in the evening.

We'd come with saltenas mid-morning.  

We'd sing songs and tell stories.  Soon we learned that our buddy was going to have his leg amputated.  

I had an irresistible urging to find out if he could get a prosthesis.  Because in the States when you lose a limb, you replace it with a prosthetic one << okay not everybody, but some bodies do >>.  We learned from the doctors in La Paz that it would cost about $200US.

I asked about the likelihood of Ernesto's family's ability to afford the limb.  Outlook wasn't good.

So he had the operation and eventually figured out how to manage his mobility with crutches.  Meanwhile this prosthetic limb kept nagging at me.  So I looked at my finances << do student's even have the right to call them "finances?"  Sounds like such a grown up word... really people- there's not ever enough "finances" as a student... and here I was, a student on a tight budget living in a third world country >>, and after talking with the missionaries we all agreed that a fake limb would in fact improve Ernesto's quality of life.  It was apparent that his battle would be short-lived.  A miracle was the only viable option.

So we purchased a limb for Ernesto.  And his smile capacity increased exponentially.  One day, on that limb, he walked a good 5 blocks with us to the soccer stadium.  He was in a light blue Bolivar jersey- we all were- and we bathed in the sunshine as the players raced around the field.  Bolivar won! << Vamos! Vamos Academia! Esta Noche... Tenemos Que GANAAARRRR!!! >>

Reflecting on the journey we took with Ernesto after reading through day 2 of << The Book >>, it dawned on us that we made that boy rich!  He had a new leg.  And on that leg he walked unassisted to his very first real-life, pro soccer game!  We all shouted cheers and rants at the field, and we bought snacks and drinks to share.  We laughed and joked around.  Maybe he even forgot at some point that he was sick.

Thinking back on it, we made him rich << if only for a few brief moments >>.

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