when i was in junior high, my older sister, lori, went on a mission trip to quetzaltenango, guatemala (the second largest city in guatemala). this provided me with my first impression of guatemala, primarily from her reports, but reinforced by the quetzaltenango pennant she brought me as a souvenier, and that hung on the wall in my room for the next few years. overall impression: poor, needy country
in college, one of my roomates was really “into” the political struggle in guatemala, and came down and spent some time here. further impressions were added.
a few years ago i met junior (the director of a very large and progressive christian schooling system here in guatemala) who helped me understand the culture here to a greater extent. and i met manny (who came to our event in argetina a few times and really connected with yaconelli), who is a wealthy guatemalan (he owns a collection of stores, and the guatemalan distribution rights to brands like CK, Hilfiger, Guess, Polo and others). manny is an amazing, gifted, godly and humble guy who is passionate about serving god and about his country. but he’s rich, in a highly poor country.
early stages of inner conflict set in.
last night, we had dinner at the home of one of the wealthier families in guatemala (their son-in-law is one of the volunteer organizers of our convention). their home is absolutely stunning, and the grounds of their home are better-homes-and-gardens lavish. stepping into the home made me extremely uncomfortable.
then, i experienced their hospitality (which could only be described as warm and freely-given), and witnessed their humility and spiritual passion. notch up the inner conflict: how does a person live in a house like this and have this much money in a country with so many poor, while still maitaining a passionate pursuit of the christ who loved the poor.
of course, forming that judgmental question in my mind brought on the REAL inner conflict: how do i live in the house i do and have the money i do, and live in a country (and world) with so many poor, while still maintaining a passionate pursuit of the christ who loved the poor.