Tuesday, May 31, 2011

One of Lincoln, Nebraska’s churches travels to La Paz, Bolivia to do mission work.

As reported by Jessica Fitch

Kaya Children International is a nonprofit organization who works with street children and getting them off the streets and into a stable environment. These children come from abused families, sexually and physically. Kaya hopes that one day no child has to call the streets home.

Pastor John Eggen led Sheridan Lutheran church on a six-day trip and brought school supplies for each child. We have been partnering with Kaya for the past several years. For more information about Kaya or to meet some of the children, see www.kayachildren.org or to read more from this trip visit www.sheridanlutheran.org

In Genesis 1:26-27 we read about how God created humanity in His image and declared it to be good. I believe each individual is created with inherent dignity. Each child and adult we saw on our visit around La Paz deserves the same level of respect as those most revered.

Yet we know, even though Jesus even tells us we serve him when we serve those in need, it is rarely the case they are well cared for. Extreme poverty tends to make us uncomfortable about ourselves, about our possession, and can leave us feeling helpless. In these places there is darkness, a darkness that exists because of the collective sin of the world, what some call institutional sin.

As much as talking about 12-year-old prostitutes makes us uncomfortable, it is the reality of our world. What’s needed isn’t for us to ignore this reality but confronting it with the hope of the Gospel and an attitude of service, humility, care and dignity.

We were able to see one of the ways that happens through the Kaya Center, a place where we focus on dignity, individual children, and the innocence of childhood. Their goals: living the love and grace of Christ, and returning childhood to these children with a hope for a better future.

We live in a dark world, but I still believe in the power of Christ’s body, the Church to overcome this darkness.

About the author: Jessica Fitch, 26, is a four-year member of Sheridan Lutheran Church. She works as an ultrasound technician at an imaging center in Lincoln.

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