There are different kinds of people in the world.
There are Coke people. These are cool people, up on all the latest fashion, beloved by friends and enemies alike, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. These are people you want to marry your daughter, be your boss, and watch on “Jeopardy.” These are happy people.
There are Pepsi people. These are insecure people, people who prefer imitation leather instead of the real thing, and are constantly challenging Coke people to a taste test. These are people you want to cut off on the freeway, live next door to your evil boss, and see tackled on “COPS”. These are unhappy people.
Then there are Dr. Pepper people. These are weird people, people who talk to themselves in the grocery store, believe Kennedy was killed by aliens from Area 54, and talk about Dublin, Texas as if it were the birthplace of the leprechauns. These are people you want to sit next to your boss on a long flight, see pulled over on the freeway, and watch on “Survivor.” These are crazy people.
The thing about Dr. Pepper is that you can only get it in about .00031% of the developed world. In other words, most of the time, the Dr. is not in the house.
Which brings us to Cambodia. (Doesn’t everything these days?) The Dr. isn’t in the house here, either. Imagine you made a list of the healthcare available to you? What would you include on it, right off the top of your head?
Would you include the ability to brush and clean your teeth? In our trips to the brick factories this week, we’re taking each family a bag of rice (from 121), and a hygiene and medical bag (from our fellow servants Bridgeway). Before we hand out anything, we demonstrate how to use everything in the medical/hygiene bags.
We first demonstrate brushing your teeth, using some kids in the audience as guinea pigs, challenging them to see who can brush the longest. Yesterday, two girls lasted about five seconds before they had to spit out the toothpaste, not because it wasn’t Crest, but because they had never tasted it before. They were fifteen (ish, it’s hard to tell here).
Would you include having soap and water? Our second demonstration is how and when to wash your hands and why. For this we pull in some of the men in the crowd. On Tuesday, the men dipped their finger tips in the bowl; immersing their hands and using soap was a foreign concept to them.
Would you include (isopropyl) alcohol and band-aids? Again, we demonstrate how and when to use these, and again, it is a foreign concept. (So much so that our partners repeat the demonstration every time they take in the kits.)
This is not ignorance. It is abject poverty. It is poverty as foreign to us in the U.S. as the toothbrush is to them. It is poverty generated by spending half of their meager income on their lean-to houses owned by the brick factory owner, and not earning anything when no bricks are made during the entire rainy season. It is poverty that makes even the barest of essentials (to us) completely unknown to them.
What can you do with this information? Pray. Ask the Lord how you personally can be a part of fighting all kinds of injustice, including abject poverty. Ask Him how you can be generous. He told us that of whom much is given, much is expected. Compared to these, we have been given the moon, so expectations from the Lord are sky high. Are we, are you, living up to those expectations?
And when you have the answer (and you will have the answer, He’s just waiting on you to ask the question), be doers of the word, not hearers only.
Oh, and have a Coke. It will make you happy. And possibly sing in perfect harmony.