There were the “typical tourist” things that were anything but typical. How about riding an elephant while searching for tigers to photograph? And we found one (have pictures!). It was the only tiger tourists had seen in many days there. We were blessed to go to the Taj Mahal, a manmade wonder of the world and a structure nearly beyond words in its beauty.
A not-so-positive aspect of India is the poverty. We were never far from people who had little to nothing. So many children wore what we consider rags. Even in the capital city of Delhi, many lived in tents or shacks built of scrap materials. In the country, houses were made of mud bricks with roofs of thatch, scrap and even tarps to keep out the elements. Few of those had doors or windows, just cloth covering the openings.
At times, the poverty was overwhelming. Some words of Jesus came to mind (Matthew 26:11a): “The poor you will always have with you….” Yes, people suffer in our country, but not to the degree of the poor in India. Water from a faucet, a flush toilet, electricity, a microwave and some of what we define as “basics” here are unheard of there for tens of millions or more.
Rather than guilt, a huge sense of thanksgiving filled me. Out of all the other places in the world, I am blessed to live in the United States. Praise the Lord! Just having electricity 24/7 is a new reason to give my God thanks.
So, neighbors, I would like to encourage all of us to be more thankful. The God of Jesus Christ has blessed this nation like no other in the history of the world. Our poor would be viewed as rich in most places around the world, and our middle class would be off their wealth meter. Rather than feel guilty, be thankful (Hebrews 13:15-16), and let us not forget those less fortunate both here and abroad.
That is one reason we give 11 percent of all general fund gifts to missions at Adventure church. That supports groups in India, Thailand, the Philippines, Honduras, Cuba and more. My goal is to visit each mission to encourage those working on the front lines in circumstances most Americans can’t even imagine.
In the next few weeks, you will have a chance to help make a difference in lives right here in Patterson. Watch the Irrigator for more details how you can join the Adventure Christian Church in doing just that. Thanks for reading this, neighbors.
• The Rev. Ken Hasekamp is minister of Adventure Christian Church. Sermon Notes is a column by local religious leaders.