I Was Blind, but Now I See

Rwandan children in poverty

At the beginning of this year, I traveled to Rwanda to study economics for 10 days. This trip opened my eyes to a level of poverty I had never seen before. Yet I witnessed radiant joy in the midst of desperate circumstances. People were enthusiastic and welcoming, even to a complete outsider like me. Children’s faces would light up when they saw my group and me, and they would immediately start waving at us.

Walking into a situation like this, it is easy to think that we have all the answers and resources to help people. Since we live so far removed from the harsh realities facing different people around the world, it is especially easy to fall victim to thinking we can “fix” situations and people. However, that is something only God can do.

Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” It is by the grace of God only that we have been saved, and only God’s grace can save others. This is not to say we do not have an important role to play in God’s plan of salvation. God calls us specifically to care for orphans, widows, and the poor. We are merely vessels that God chooses to use for His glory. We have to focus on God’s power over all circumstances and proclaim His glory in every situation.

My trip opened my eyes to the vast field of missions. A critical part of missions is church planting and discipleship, but missions also includes things like running a business where you treat people fairly, form deep relationships, and model Christian living on a daily basis. This work can happen anywhere in the world. People right outside our door and across the globe need to experience the rest and love God offers. Opportunities to serve, share, and show Christ to people abound no matter where you live, work, or go to school.

Spending time—even a short time—in the developing country of Rwanda changed the way I see almost everything in my life. I witnessed many earthly struggles, but I also saw spiritual struggles. Paul said, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18). We are all hurting people living in a broken world. Our brokenness manifests itself in different ways, but despite earthly wealth or poverty, we all desperately need Jesus.

Emily Clark is a senior at Samford University and served as an intern with WMU’s editorial production hub.

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