Poverty in a tutu

HomesEach Friday from now until June we are going to be posting stories on Justice and Cambodia. This summer we are taking 3 teams to Phnom Penh and we would love you to come with us. All these stories come from Steps of Justice teams and individuals that went to Cambodia with us in past years. They are amazing truths of pain and healing both for the people of Cambodia and the individuals who went on journeys there.

Four years ago I was in TJ, Mexico building a house with my good friend Matt and a team from Indianapolis. As I was cutting shingles for the roof I asked Jesus to speak to me about issues that are on his mind and heart. I was starting to prepare a teaching on Justice/Calling and Steps of Obedience so I decided to see what Jesus had to say about those issues.


Almost immediately after asking I heard Jesus speak (not audible, thought that would be cool, but just in my head). I heard him say “what does it look like to turn injustice into something beautiful?” Man, this is some good stuff. I didn’t have my i-phone with me so I went back to the way that most of the world does things and grabbed a piece of wood and a contractors pencil and started writing.

Another thought came into my head. “You can’t just go around talking about how messy the world is without going and doing something to change it.” This thought came while on the roof. We needed more shingles and so I asked the team to get some. I asked a couple of times and got no response (they were to excited about nailing shingles on the roof to get on the latter and bring them up, understood). So I thought “the only way that these shingles are going to get up here is if I stop thinking about them being here, stop expecting someone else to bring them up and do it myself.”

As I was on the roof thinking about these things I looked over the hills and saw a little girl walking around in a dirty shirt, dirty shorts and a tutu. This image is burned into my mind. This is what I was talking about, seing beauty in the ashes. This so represented God’s heart for the poor. We shouldn’t feel sorry for them, we should see the beauty that is already there and help to bring it out. Don’t just look at the stats and the ugliness of the world, but do something to change it.

I believe that if we see the beauty in the messyness and the beauty that can happen when we live lives of obedience by doing justice we will be more driven to get involved and create change. We all want to create something beautiful, let’s stop talking and start creating what is already there, but not seen.

For more info on Cambodia check out the Matthew 25 outreach page.


Written by Phil Cunningham with Steps of Justice. Photo by Vanessa Hadford 

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