This past summer, I was given an extraordinary opportunity to visit one of my favorite places in the world: Juarez, Mexico. Some of you are probably wondering how I could possibly find Juarez appealing, and that’s okay. Juarez, according to most news articles, is one of the deadliest cities in Mexico; however, I am writing this to tell you differently.
When I was in the fourth grade, my church took a mission trip to Juarez. It was my first trip out of the country and only the second mission trip that my family had ever taken, so we were ecstatic to see what the Lord had in store for us. As a child, I got in the habit of thinking that everybody had the same lifestyle as me. While my family had never been rich, we had always had food on our table and a roof over our heads, which were necessities that I had assumed everyone possessed. I thought that I knew everything about the world around me; however, my perspective on life drastically changed the moment I stepped foot on Juarez soil.
After sliding out of the church van, I looked around in awe of my surroundings. Surrounding “La Missíon,” the Christ-centered community center that we were doing construction on, was a trench that overflowed with waste and debris. On the other side of the trench was a giant hill, lined with small houses made of adobe and brick. To a fourth grader, these houses hardly seemed fit to use as storage units, let alone homes. Little did I know, these were the most luxurious houses in the neighborhood. While the owners of these “houses” were blessed with somewhat sturdy foundations, durable walls, and reliable roofs, thousands of their neighbors made use with whatever cardboard, trash, and plastic tarps that they could find. Their living situations were worse than anything I had ever seen, yet many of the people in Juarez possessed more joy than any of my friends or family at home.
This concept overwhelmed me at the time. How could these people, who have little to nothing, be so content? How could they find enough joy to sing as they walk miles without shoes to find water? Where did this spirit come from? Finally, after re-visiting Juarez for several years in a row, I have found the answer to these questions.
The abundance of love and life that overflows from the heart of Juarez is capable only of coming from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Their happiness does not come from worldly possessions but by the promises made to them by God, our Father.
So my question for you today is this: Are you happy?
Today’s society seeks happiness through success. Often times, we find ourselves thinking things like, “If I could just get that new IPhone, Mustang, or Michael Kors watch, my life would be so much better.” The more we have, the happier we are, right? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
While owning these items may cause us temporary happiness, they will never be able to bring complete satisfaction. In fact, there is nothing on this world that has the power to truly satisfy, except for Jesus Christ.
So today, I encourage you to take a look at your life from a different perspective. Be grateful for the little things: running water, nourishment, and literacy are possessions that we take for granted way too often. Enjoy the blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon you, but remember to seek ultimate happiness in Him.
Written by Haley
“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21