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Archive for August, 2009

Living Off The Grid

Recently, my family had to deal with a crisis of another family member. Should she leave her abusive husband with her kids? Or shouldn’t she? Here’s the situation… They were together for about eight years. He has beaten her, stolen from her, and scared her. Yet, they stayed together. She has moved out on him, more than once. She has had him arrested, more than once. She has been to the hospital with injuries, more than once. They had two beautiful children. The physical abuse stopped.

One helping hand, after another, has been held out to her. She would accept this help for a period of time, and then go right back to him. At one point, she takes the kids and leaves. The condition is that she has nothing to do with him, and they will be taken to a safe place. They will have all of the familial support that they can imagine. She accepts this condition. After a few days, she starts to communicate with him again. At this point in the game, they have been homeless for about two months… with the kids. They bounce from home to home, living for a few days at each place. They are unemployed. They are homeless. They have children. They are not able to provide any stability for their family. They are living ‘off the grid’.

This situation has had me thinking about these kinds of scenarios for a while. People all over the world live off the grid. I thought of the people that I met in La Limonada. I am honestly not sure if these people are receiving support from the government. I met children who potentially have no birth certificates. I met children who’s parents are in jail, or not able to care for them. If not for the kind hearts of their local community, these kids would be living on the streets. La Limonada is in the top five for the highest murder rate on the planet. 

What can I do? What can you do?

Don’t close your eyes to the homeless. I have met people right here in Raleigh who claim to stay away from the shelters, because of abuse from other residents. One of the experiences I had in La Limonada was life altering. I didn’t know it at the time, but learned of this later. A young woman came to the “field” (a large empty lot full of rocks, trash, and broken glass), and started to throw a Nerf football with me. She wore shoes with no laces. Her clothing was torn, and her hair was in her face. She wore a floral bathrobe over her clothing. She and I threw the ball for about 15 minutes, and then I passed her onto another missionary… my arm was throbbing, as I am not much of an athlete. I later learned that this woman was homeless… the poorest of the poor in the ghetto. I think of this woman when I pass a homeless man on the street. Or when I drive past a man with a sign saying “Gcrazy land headod Bless” on the side of the highway.  

Consider visiting a third world country. Consider the people who don’t have as much as you. Open your heart to the possiblity of sponsoring a child from another country. Lemonade International has children that need sponsors HERE. If you are not into sponsoring a child, consider sponsoring one of the amazing people who work in these situations everyday. Everyone deserves to be loved.

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