How a little girl with no eyes taught me to see

They say missions will change you. You hear it. You believe it. But you don’t bother to see for yourself. That’s been me for most of my life, giving dollars and cents to various causes and doing my little part here and there, but all in all ignoring the status of the world apart from where I live. (Did I admit that?)

Last week Jason and I visited Guatemala. We have been flying the World Vision flag for some time now and we sponsor three children ourselves—Javier in Honduras, Angelina in Ghana, and Amarilis in Guatemala. (Good will, yes, but perhaps in some part as justification for not (yet) having children of our own). 

We have always believed in the work World Vision was doing. Passionate about it? I dare say not.

But now, how could I not be passionate.

Because when you see you believe.

When a father has abandoned his family. And they live high up on a mountainside in poverty like none of us have ever experienced. And they feed you corn and coffee and fruit, and all the delicacies they have gathered and saved because they heard you were coming and they wanted to celebrate your arrival. And they will forfeit a meal for the joy of feeding you and sending you home with a backpack of fruit fresh-picked off their tree. Their generosity changes you.

When another father has abandoned this family who lives another two mountains away. The mom a brave-heart. The youngest girl breaks your heart. Because you wish you could erase the suffering she’s gone through. If only. Because the water isn’t clean and they have no money and they have no father and so her eyes got infected and there was nothing that could be done to stop the spread and so they had to be removed. 

And when that little girl is your own sponsor child, and you’re no longer thousands of miles away, you’re in the very same room, you’re meeting for the first time. The reality changes you. It hits you like a ton of bricks that your own life, even crazy piled upon crazy, is nothing to complain about. And when that little girl twirls and dances in the room and then finds you even in her blindness and feels the curves of your face and gently touches each of your eyelashes, your heart is broken but somehow whole in that moment. And when her mother tells you that it was only God who got her through, you’ve never believed it more. Their courage changes you.

Loving her is the easiest thing you’ve ever done. Love transcends language and colour and time and space. (Good thing, because sometimes your few measly words in Spanish and your songs aren’t enough.)

I wish sometimes that I didn’t have to see to believe. 

But no regrets. There’s only today, and tomorrow, and the next day. I’m thankful that I have seen. And that I know now it’s time for faith in action.