A world of suffering

I spent some time on You Tube the other day watching videos about the appalling conditions in Eastern European countries. Orphanages filled with children who are in their teens and twenties who have bodies as small as four year olds and useless atrophied limbs from lack of use because they have spent their lives in those small cribs. There are also many Eastern European cities who cannot let their children out of their sight for even a few seconds or they will be kidnapped and gone forever. Many of these children are being sold for their organs. Young women are duped by false suitors who propose marriage, but are in reality prostitute merchants. Basic human rights do not exist. Woman are treated like chattel, and once raped by their employers, are cast out of society not even being able to return to their families. Workers building massive luxury hotels in oil rich counties are not even being paid a living wage. They are not even able to leave as their passports have been confiscated and they rarely get paid. Even when paid, they cannot afford the return ticket to their home countries, where they now also owe a 'job broker' ridiculous fees for finding them this work. The list of violations and outright slavery goes on and on. Families are starving on sub-standard wages and at the mercy of unscrupulous employers who work them 12 to 14 hours a day six days a week. They are abused and beaten. When sick, they receive no care. They live in horrendous conditions.

Once I viewed these reports, I was reminded just how fortunate we were here in North America. Yet, we complain about a lot of trivial things. Expensive ad campaigns try to make us worry about superficial things like clothes, hair, plastic surgery - all vanity and all meaningless in the big scheme of things. Beauty enhancement products, most that don't work, is an industry worth billions a year. Most of us have access to daily food of some sort, have shelter and clothes, and we have laws that protect us in the workplace (they aren't always perfect, but they are in place). Above all we are permitted to practice our faith out in the open without fear of imprisonment or execution. We are SO fortunate. Now that I have had this reminder of how others struggle with the most basic necessities of life, I personally will never complain again. We are so very blessed. I know that I failed to recognize the degree to which I was blessed, but I have made a promise to myself to start each day in thanksgiving for all that I have. I get to see a doctor when I need one, my grocery store has food on the shelves that I can afford to buy, and my home keeps out the elements in both winter and summer. Best of all I get to go openly to my place of worship without fear of arrest or incarceration. Praise be to God for these incredible blessings!

I hope that all remember to pray for those less fortunate. I know that Christ said that we will always have our poor, but we can still show mercy through prayer. Within our own society are those who also cannot afford housing or food. It is easy to become overwhelmed by the immensity of the problem. All we can do as individuals is the little bit that we are capable of doing, praying, and helping support those brave missionaries who risk their lives to bring the word of God to those who have never heard of Jesus or the good news of His resurrection.