After returning from a short visit to Arizona, my head spins as I try and catch up with what we experienced. I struggle with taking it from my head and heart and putting it into words...
After arriving at 2:00am we got up later that morning so Robert could go out to the Reservation with our good friend Tory and help prep a house for a ministry team coming next week. This house, maybe 20 x 30, has 2 rooms and a tiny bathroom. It is Mary’s house, an 84 year old Apache woman living in 2 small rooms and a bathroom. But she was not living alone, no the house was also occupied by roaches. More roaches than I think you can imagine (it was more than my brain could wrap around). They had literally taken over her house, walls, floors, ceiling, etc…. along with the scorpions. This 84 year old woman had nowhere else to go, because when this is your reality, it just seems normal. It was her home, so why would she leave? Instead she slept with cotton in her ears every night so they would not crawl in. While this is graphic for some, it was her certainty, her actuality every day. Where were her family, friends? I am not sure. When did this become ok?
She was finally forced to move into a tribal run Shelter care facility, where she is clean and fed and sleeping without cotton in her ears. However, she wants to go home, it is her home. It is in the middle of a gang infested street, shoes strung over power lines, 2 doors away from a house that sells alcohol and who knows what, but it is her home. Almost all of the income she has now goes to the shelter care to provide for her, leaving her not much every month; she wants to go home. So we tore down walls, dug up floor tiles amongst the thousands (literally) of dead roaches and various “substances” they and the scorpions left behind. The smell was appalling, the dust covered us (by the way it was not “normal” dust). Yet the 7 of us worked in conditions most would consider inhumane. We had masks on and work clothing and protective eyewear, in the same place she lived and ate and watched TV in. When did this become ok? It never did! I know I do not have the answers, and perhaps it is not for me to know. What I do know is what my response should, no will be. So 2 guys and 5 girls, did things we never thought we could. Some of us terrified of a small spider or tiny fly at home, worked among bugs I cannot begin to describe and conditions that were heart-wrenching, and did so without grumbling, whining or one complaint. We did what God enabled us to do, no doubt. We never could have done this on our own. Isaiah 41:10 says: “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”So my response today was to do whatever God asked of me, and tomorrow will hopefully be the same. I asked God to break my heart for what breaks His…and He did.