Sometimes I question if it’s possible for us to understand how blessed we are. I really don’t think I have the capacity to count all of the things that I take for granted on a daily basis. The list is endless. Picture this. You’re a 16 year old boy living in one of the most dangerous communities imaginable. You live in small house made of scrap tin barely held together with a few nails and boards. No air-conditioning, even though the average temperature is 90 degrees and humid. Not only do you live in this nice little shack, but your family doesn’t own it. It’s actually rented out and it costs your family about $200 to live there each month. How can your family afford to live in such an expensive house? Well, selling her body as a prostitute is one of your mom’s few options for paying this expensive bill. She’s pregnant with a strangers child, there’s really no one out there who will hire her. You’re not alone either. Four other families also live in this house with you. You had a dad, but he was shot and killed by a boy the same age as you. In fact, your father’s murderer lives in the same house as you.He sleeps in the room next to you. seven-year-olds carry knives, 5th graders own guns and life is seen as worthless. You hope one day you can have a job that pays a high salary, therefore your dream job is to be a drug dealer because you know that they make the big bucks. If you can’t be a drug dealer, then your next option is to be an assassin because it also pays well and doesn’t require an education. You used to go to school but everyone knows that school doesn’t get you anywhere in a town like this. You can only think of one person who has made it to the 9th grade. Good for them, but you know that they’re never going to get anywhere. No one can get anywhere from a place like this.

Unfortunately, a place like this exists and the other week we went to visit this community with YWAM (Youth with a Mission). I’m just going to bluntly say that this was the most messed up places I’ve ever visited. If I didn’t believe in a God who makes all things possible, I’d tell you that this is a place where all hope is most likely lost. There is a “church” in this community called Luz Del Mundo, meaning “Light of the World. This “church” is actually a cult with a significant impact on this community. The false teachings of this cult has impacted more than 100 families. The leader of the church refers to himself as the lamb of God. They teach gender inequality which is reflected in the community. Women have absolute no rights, not even to their own bodies. It’s very disturbing to see. Seeing this community has torn my heart in many ways. Not does it break my heart for this community, but also for God. This village is feeding off of lies. So many lies. In February, a new church was planted. This church is led by two women, Lara is the woman that we got to meet. She gave us a tour of the town and gave us a brief about the new ministry. The impact that the Church has is very small, but the vision is for there to be significant change within this community over the next ten years. If there is one thing you should pray about, it is for this community called Sinai, they need all the prayer they can get. Especially for the men, there are no male role models in this community. Some women here are just now starting to discover their worth.

The very small and new church has begun a few groups to get the community involved. When I say small I mean small. Last month a sewing club was started. Four women signed up for this sewing club. There were no machines and no fabric. Somehow, the day before the club started someone donated 4 sewing machines and over $2000 worth of fabric was given to them. How great is God? Seriously. Now, when I first heard that they started this club, I was puzzled. I never would have thought that something like this could make an impact in someones life. Now I think otherwise. After going to class and learning how to sew, a woman finally finished her first project. It was an apron. Something rather simple, however the woman was overwhelmed by it. She couldn’t help but sob after looking at what she had made. She never thought that she would ever be capable of creating something beautiful. This is just one example of how scared these women are. They really believe that they have no value to contribute to society. One day, they went to town and passed a church where Lara’s sister had gotten married. She pointed it out and the girls were in disbelief. The fact that people actually get married and that its possible to have a loving relationship was a foreign idea. Not one of these women knew their father. The asked her how long they were married for and when they found out that they got married 15 years ago and are still together, the women wept. They seriously cannot comprehend and they were overwhelmed by the fact. How crazy is that? Something as normal as marriage is unknown to these people. It’s incredibly sad. The things we take for granted each and every day, these people will most likely never experience.

I find myself in a negative state of mind. Here at my tico home I’ll complain to myself about the stupidest things like how I have to eat ANOTHER plate of rice or wait a half an hour before I can take a warm shower. Who the heck am I to complain about such minor issues when there is a community less than a half an hour away who doesn’t even know what a hot shower feels like. They would go through a lot of trouble just to be able to have enough to put a plate of rice on the table each day. Talk about a first world problem. We complain about some of the most ridiculous things. I keep catching myself complaining about dumb little things and each time a negative comment comes out of my mouth, I can’t help but feel horrible because I know that I have nothing worth complaining about. I have been reflecting on all the blessings I have in my life. I can’t even count them. We have no idea what we have. We have no idea what people don’t have. Trust me, the fact that you had the ability to even read a blog post is a blessing. The fact that I’m able to write it is as well. We are beyond blessed.

Written by Halle Marr, Social Media Journalist

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