For the past 15 years, the people I work with have repeatedly travelled to nations that Trump disparagingly referred to this past week. We have also sent thousands of people from all over Canada to experience and serve in these nations. People often go thinking that we have so much to offer them. The perspective is that we live in such great nations and our job is to help people all over the world live like us. It’s an understandable but ignorant perspective.
If you ask any of our staff, or the volunteers we send, you will hear the same thing after almost every trip. When someone comes back from one of these “sh**hole” countries, the wide-eyed response is almost universal. This is what you hear; “They had so much more to offer me than I had to offer them.”
Why? The challenges my friends from these nations face produces in them a depth of character and spiritual vibrancy that I am always envious of. They are resilient and courageous in ways I will never know. The obstacles they face to simply live each day would cause me to crumble. They have a value for relationships and community, over individuality and materialism. Their lack of comfort pushes them to live not for today. They have an eternal perspective, because they realize the next life is so much better than this one. I see far more joy in their lives than I do in nations like ours. Their physical poverty often produces spiritual vibrancy, while our material wealth can quickly produce spiritual and moral poverty.
In many ways, we in North America do live in great nations. I have been all over the world and I’m thankful to come home to Chilliwack every time. But if we believe our countries are superior to Haiti and African countries, we have no idea what truly matters or what makes a nation great.