Friday, February 11, 2011

Treasure in the Trash

Wess Stafford, Pres. of Compassion International, shares a story a young man who went with him on a mission trip to Guatemala.  Wess wanted the group to see the struggles that abject poverty brings to a child's life.  The van pulled up to mountains of debris, the local dump.  In the sweltering heat, the stench was unbearable.  Swarms of flies greeted the van.  Children were excited for the visitors.  What children?  The children who lived at the dump.  As the mission group got out of the van to visit and encourage the kids, one young man refused to get out of the van.  Wess approached him to see why he was not getting out. 
The young man answered, "You told me Compassion's ministry is about hope and dreams.  Then you bring me here.  There is no hope here.  No dreams are possible.  I only see tragedy and despair.  Nothing good could happen here."
Not much Wess could say to calm him, so he left him in the van.  I've been to Guatemala and remember hearing about the kids who lived at the dumps.  The poverty is unbelievable!  Later that night, a banquet was held with formerly sponsored children who had qualified for Compassion's Leadership Development Program.  Visitors sat at the table with these special LDP students.  As Wess made his rounds from table to table, he approached the one where sat the angry young man in the van.  "So, how are things here going?"  The young man replied, with tears in his eyes,  "Wonderfully.  We have the best table of all."  "Why is that?", Wess asked.  The young man simply pointed at a young girl sitting at the table.  "Ask her where she grew up."  She smiled and said, "I grew up on the city dump you visited today."  It appears as though God had a hand in the seating arrangements for the evening.  God is so good and smart! 
      Her name was Aury, and she shared that she had just been accepted at the university as a business major.  She was excited.  Wess wisely asked her, "What do you know now from having grown up in that awful place?"  (Stop right here, right now and go get some kleenex.  You are going to need them when you read her reply.)
"I know two things.  First, I know what it feels like for people to look at you and think you are garbage.  When I was very small, the dump trucks wouldn't swerve to avoid hitting me - the drivers thought I wasn't worth the effort.  If I had been killed out there among the dogs and vultures, probably nobody would have even dug a grave for me.  I was already where I belonged - garbage in the trash heap."  "What else do you know, Aury?",  Wess asked gently.  (Grab the kleenex!) She beamed and answered confidently, "I know that nobody is garbage. We are all loved by God and He has a perfect plan and purpose for every life.  THAT'S WHAT I KNOW."
Go to, Winter 2011 magazine to find out the rest of the story.  Marcia called me and read me Aury's story over the phone.  We both wept as we were in awe of a God who even goes to the city dump to reclaim His treasures.  This story so perfectly fit with the message of my blogs through March, How God Feels About YOU! 
      Aury is the cover story for the Winter 2011 edition of Compassion Magazine, but GOD is the author.  Her story is still being written and so is yours.  God often finds us among debris of a bad decisions, broken homes, broken hearts, failures, shattered dreams, deception, disallusionment, addictions and sin.  We cry out from within (most of us too prideful to cry outwardly) and as Amy Grant says,
He hears a melody.  He loves you and considers you a Treasure, even if He found you at the City Dump!  He won't leave you in the dump, He won't swerve to miss you, He is headed right toward you.  Grab His hand, feel His heart and follow His steps to the dumps edge.  Take a moment, look back, never to live there again. YOU ARE TREASURE FOUND IN THE TRASH!  Only return to lead others out.  What a journey.  You can be a part! Consider sponsoring a child and help them write the rest of  their story. It will be a significant part of your story too.  JOIN THE JOURNEY!


  1. There are no words Keith, but lots of tears.......Thank you

  2. Incredible story. God is so attentive. Thanks for the comment.

  3. .....the debris of bad decisions...I love that word picture. Thanks for the perspective. It's "not about me" is it?

    BTW...You do have a unique gift being made apparent in this blog format....God is using YOU!

  4. Leon, Thnx for the encouraging words. I know the stench of the debris of bad decisions. You are right, it is not about us, but what He can do with the debris, the mess (us).