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What would you do?

While we are here in this city, I am going around visiting all the different projects that we have going on here. One of the projects that we have is a weekly feeding project for the really poor or homeless. On Tuesdays, the group they feed is mostly old people. I took a video of the singing beforehand, as well as the blessing and you can see it here. If we all prayed as fervently and wholeheartedly as they do in this video, we would be doing good. Each week before they serve the food, the people all start clapping indicating that they are ready to sing. We are still trying to decide if they are excited to praise the Father or just ready to eat. Hopefully, a good dose of both.

Wednesday, the feeding was a bit more difficult. There were a bunch of school aged children who had apparently been skipping school each week to come to this feeding, so it was decided that they needed to quit doing that. That being the case, it was decided not to give them food since that would only encourage them skipping school. They climbed the fence and hung over it staring into the area where we were doing the feeding the whole time. When we started the singing, I swear those kids sang louder than the rest, I think in hopes of convincing the workers that they should also be fed. It was so hard to accept the fact that they were hungry too, but they would no longer be fed. In this crowd, there were many moms with babies and many of those babies were malnourished. Everywhere you looked were skinny, sick babies or school aged children begging for food.

Leaving town Wednesday afternoon, we were followed by about 8 people – women and children begging for money. They don’t just ask and leave when you say no. They will follow you for blocks or right up to your car door with their hand virtually in your pockets the whole time. At first you feel sorry for them, but after a while, it will almost drive you crazy. You can’t go anywhere without people following you and begging you constantly. The sad part is, you know that the reason they are begging is because they literally have nothing. Today, there were two little kids aged one or less that had been taught to say, “you, you” and “money” and hold out their hands. Literally the first thing they were taught was to beg – those were some of their first words. I go back and forth constantly on whether or not I should actually give. Of course, many times I do give, especially to women and children, but I am approached non-stop day in and day out and you begin to wonder what is the right thing to do. Obviously the people are needy, but does giving to them just set a precedent and encourage further begging and dependency. Or am I absolutely heartless to look into the face of a dirty malnourished 2 year old holding his hand out asking for money and to still say “no.” It might seem black and white, but I promise you it isn’t. Actually, I would be very interested to hear what you guys have to say on this. Americans who have lived here for 25 years still say they aren’t sure what is appropriate and just go by the HS’s leading in each different scenario.

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