July 12, 2013

This is my Father's World

Bramalea 2013 HANDS Team:


For those of us in North America, I think it is fair to say that the term “third-world problems” tends to invoke thoughts about poverty, hunger, disease, lack of education, employment or opportunity and other day-to-day challenges that many people in countries all over the world face on a daily basis. Reflecting on my limited experience during these short -term trips to Belize the past two years, some of these issues are clearly evident here. Belize is a small country with a population of only 350-400,000 people (smaller than my home city of Brampton Ontario) and faces a lot of very real problems that would appear to be primarily financially driven.

Over the past year, our children taught us about an expression that is part of their vernacular – “first-world problems”. For those of you who haven’t encountered this expression before, it’s generally defined as those perceived problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that those in developing countries would simply roll their eyes at, or put another way, stupid problems we have that do not affect our/other’s lives in any major way. Examples of this could be, “This computer is so slow, it’s taking forever to load this cat video  I want to watch on YouTube and I have to get to my Pilates class – this is ticking me off!”, “I forgot my Blackberry, now I’m going to have to go back home and get it.”, “The Mercedes is in the shop, so now I’m going to have to take the van to the mall – how hideous!”, “My i-Phone 4 has such a small screen, I can’t read any of the updates on Facebook. I definitely need to get the new i-Phone 5.”  You get the idea.

The absurdity of my own first-world rants really come into sharper focus after spending these past 12 days with Ruth and Mario Ku at New Life Presbyterian School and Church here in Orange Walk. During the Vacation Bible School (VBS) program that we helped run during our first week here, the children learned the following memory verse from Romans 5:8 (NIV) – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

As I thought about the contrasts of first-world/third-world issues, I was reminded of the fact that there is only ONE world and we are all part of it. Furthermore, regardless of our economic situation, status or nationality, God’s Word clearly teaches us that there is one common problem that we all face – the problem of living in a world that has been tarnished by sin. The world that we live in today is not the way that it was when God first created it – perfect and without sin. However, God didn’t abandon us and our world in this corrupted condition, he provided for us his Son, Jesus Christ – perfect and without sin.

I brought my guitar along and put some songbooks together so that our team could spend some time in the evenings singing praise and worship songs. Along with lots of contemporary songs, I picked a selection of old hymns to, including one that helped shape my thought process when writing this blog – This is my Father’s World. There are two versions of this song of which I am particularly fond; one by a tenor trio called Tenore and one by sung acapella by Glad. I’ve put them together with a few pictures from Belize and uploaded it to Youtube (http://youtu.be/e5Bpio9SVbg) for your viewing and listening pleasure in the hopes that it (and perhaps reflection on a passage like Psalm 19 (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%2019&version=NIV) will lead you in your own meditations.

This will be my last blog entry while still in Belize as we will be flying home today, but I hope that as I reflect back on this trip some more and look through all the pictures that I’ll have a few more thoughts to share on this site.


Paul A. Davidson
Bramalea 2013 HANDS Team


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