Guatemala City, Guatemala

Guatemala City, Guatemala

Reader Ryan Booth sends this in from his church mission trip. They’re in a massive garbage dump in Guatemala, helping build housing for the people who live there. Ryan said that this food you see above is most likely the best food this little girl will get all week. He adds:

The thing about what we are doing, Rod, is that, yes, there is real poverty here, with thousands of people living in one-room shacks, with dirt floors, without running water — but the poverty here doesn’t compare to poverty in Africa.

I wouldn’t be enrolling in New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary if I hadn’t come to Guatemala four years ago. There’s something about serving in a place like this that changes people. I’ve seen it in everyone from our church who has come.

The reality of this is what has made short-term mission trips so popular among American Christians. Of course, modern technology helps too. Some of my friends who live in the dump are also my friends on Facebook.

Unfortunately, a lot of that work is wasted or even counterproductive. I recommend When Helping Hurts by Steve Corbett to understand how rich Americans can create a culture of dependency if they aren’t careful in what they do.