ICDU View: The Real Value

Every month come newsletter time I struggle with what information pass along to you, our readers. Too often I lean towards updating you on our projects in terms of progress or numbers knowing how much everyone, myself included, likes to know how far along a project has progressed or how many new contacts or loans we have made. Completed latrines, new loans, successful library events, new projects. All of these things make for good article fodder and I enjoy giving you that because I want you to be keeping ICDU and the ongoing projects in your prayers. In the past few weeks however ,I have been struck time and again by the fact that the work we do here is not for numbers. Sure, we want to good results. I want to fill two or three more loans this year. There are other projects in the works that have very definable goals but those goals, in and of themselves, are not the point. The main point of our work is, and should always be, the people we meet and the ways we can bless their lives, and be blessed in return. Here are some of the relationships we are finding ourselves in... 
This past week I spent a few hours in a park talking with a friend of mine here about his life and family and dreams. As we talked he began to share with me ideas of development and relief projects he has that he would like to see implemented in his hometown. He wasn’t looking for help or funding but instead just sharing with me the possibilities he sees to help his family and friends. As we left the park that night, he expressed his interest in helping us with future projects in any way possible. It was a very humbling and refreshing experience.

Earlier this week Megan gave me the phone number of a friend who is interested in our loan program. On the front end Megan let me know about some very difficult situations this woman is in right now so that I would know her background. Going into our first conversation, I was prepared to talk to a troubled woman and instead I found myself with a sweet, kind-hearted lady who, thanks to her easy manner, made me feel so good about myself and our loan program. This loan won’t be changing her life but in her words it is exactly the help she needs, exactly when she needs it. She thanked God for putting us, mostly Megan, in her life at the right time. I thank God for her perseverance and strength in the face of hardship.

Also earlier this week another friend of ours asked me about our loan program. Apparently she has been eyeing a building where some new store locations will be put up for rent and she has a desire to open her own business. She doesn’t know what type of business she wants to open nor when she’d be able to undertake this venture but the excitement in her voice as she talked about the possibilities was evident. To paraphrase her words, she is eager to have her own source of income so that she isn’t dependent on a husband who doesn’t always come through for their family. With humility in her voice she asked me if we could help her make this dream a reality.

Each Sunday morning since the middle of June a group of us goes out to Naranjal to dig in the dirt. Specifically we are digging holes for latrines so that families have a sanitary bathroom. This past Sunday was different, because for the first time the entire community came out to help dig the holes. Usually it is just us gringos and the families whose plots we are digging on. As everyone worked, I checked on each of the six plots and chatted with those working and those watching (you can only fit so many people in a hole at one time). There was hard work, conversation, kids getting in the way, sharing of food/water/tools, and laughter. There was community.

I could churn out some numbers for you, but to me these stories are more important. Lives are being changed. Ours as much as theirs. God is working and we are grateful to be here at this time to be a part of what is happening. May we all continue to work to see His kingdom come, and His will be done on earth as it is in heaven.