The words that penetrated my soul the most, "my sons were hungry and the only thing I could give them was water." This was part of a guest speaker's story. She was a small Honduran woman, measuring a mere 4 feet and 9 inches, but she made up for it with tremendous heart & conviction. Her name, Danubia Orellana Lopez, and she is apart of the Agros village of Brisas del Volcan.
Danubia was the speaker at the Agros International fundraiser dinner Ben and I attended at the end of October. It seemed fitting that we attended just days before we plunged into doing this 30 day challenge. Agros is an amazing organization, who seeks to empower people in Central America & Mexico through micro loans to purchase land. Many of these people, like Danubia, lived in the slums and had to wake up at 2:30 am to walk 2 hours to get to the farm (to which she & her husband worked for someone else), work an 18 hour day and only get paid $.40 a day. She recalls the times when payday arrived and the owner of the land wasn't there to pay her & her husband. Those were the days when all she could offer her children was water to fill their bellies. She also recalled a time at the age of 14, when her mother only had 3 eggs to feed the 14 kids....I am truly blessed.
I can't imagine that world. To feel absolutely defenseless and unable to give your children a basic necessity. Agros seeks to extend both physical means to these people who are willing to work REALLY hard to till their land; but, also give them emotional/spiritual means. They come in to teach the people how to cultivate the land, how to educate themselves, how to make financial deals, etc. What Agros does, is tell these people like Danubia, that if they are willing to want something more, then they can have it. More importantly, what Agros does & says to them, "You are worth it! You have value!"
Danubia spoke of telling her mother that she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up. Her mother said, "Danubia, people like us don't dream, because our hearts just get broken." After Agros came in to empower Danubia, her family & community, she and other women worked together to make the men realize that they are just as important & valuable as them. And you know what, after the women worked just as hard, the men realized that these women, their women, had dignity & value.
When I think about what Evangitality means--this is it. This is the global representation of it. It's finding value, dignity & worth in each individual, because they are created in God's image. It's empowering them by giving them a hand up, and not a hand out. It's not entitlement, because there are many people who choose to stay in slums so they can keep their TV or refrigerator. Instead, it's for the people who want something more, who want to dream. Life without dreams isn't a life worth living, and Danubia knew this.
Walking back to the hotel that night, I told Ben, "You know, the poor in America aren't that poor. They still get assistance. They're not putting their children to bed without food." It has made me more thankful than ever. And that's why I give thanks before my meals. I thank God that I have more than enough to fill my family's bellies. So when I've been cranky during this 3o day challenge, or hear people whining about, "Oh, I ONLY get meat, vegetables, limited fruit & nuts, and eggs," I'm reminded of Danubia's words, "my sons were hungry and the only thing I could give them was water." Oh how I have nothing to complain about, and everything to give thanks about.
I'm thankful for simple meals too. So simple it seems almost too good to be true.
Cinnamon Sweet Potato Goodness (printable recipe)
This is for one sweet potato, but you could easily increase the amount and play with the ingredients. If you're not a cinnamon fan, sub some nutmeg (but go easy on it) or add some smoked paprika.
1 sweet potato
1 tsp coconut oil
dash sea salt
2 Tb pecans
Directions: Bake a sweet potato on 350 for 30 minutes or so (check a source, I'm that person who pops it in and doesn't worry about it). Do this the day before if you're having it for breakfast. Remove the skin and cut up the sweet potato into chunks.
Heat up coconut oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add the sweet potato & salt. Stir around letting it get a bit golden, about 3 minutes. Add some chopped pecans & a sprinkling of cinnamon. Cook for an additional 1 minute or so. Serve and enjoy!