On the side of the street where two boys, they must have been brothers. One boy looked about 8 and the other about 6. The 8 year old was cradling the little boy in his arms. Both boys were covered in filth and wearing dirty clothes. The little boy’s eyes were closed as his brother held him…. The little boy (Jonathan) looked sick… deathly sick. He had barely any hair, his head splotch with patches of dirt and disfigured coloring. His brother held him, close but he wasn’t moving much.
As we past them by the older boy looked at us, and asked her help… You see here in Ecuador it’s costume to beg with a pitiful voice, but this boy asked naturally, he wasn’t begging, but just his demeanor was pitiful.
I wasn’t sure what to do. I asked my roommate if I should give them money… You see we pass beggars on the streets all the time, dirty little kids selling madarinas with their parents, or people doing shows at traffic stops, or cleaning your windows at a red light… but those boys were different. I looked around and couldn’t find their parents. All I could think about was how sick the little boy was, where were they parents, and why were they there all alone?
So we decided to buy them dinner, a ten piece nugget meal from MacDonalds… We brought it back to them and gave it to them but still Jonathan didn’t wake-up. The little boy held his brother and barely even smiled at us. We walked away but I was burdened by the thought that I didn’t do enough. So I asked my roommate if we could go back and pray for them… I in my broken Spanish asked the boy (Christian) if we could pray for him and his brother. As we prayed, Christian stared at my roommate and I, his eyes confused, red, and sad. We ended the prayer. We asked Christian if he and his brother were going to be alright and he said yes… But even as we walked away I felt no peace. There I was leaving behind a little boy who looked like he was going to die and his 8 year old brother taking care of him. I walked away from a sick kid who had no help… but how could I have helped? My Spanish is not that great, I have no car, I had all of $5 on me, and I’m a young vulnerable girl… What was I to do.
When we had asked the boy what his and his brother’s names were he told us his was Christian, and his brother’s Jonathan. In that moment all I could think was, “Great, even Jonathan in the Bible died!” This kid was going to die and I couldn’t help him, I couldn’t save his life!
That night this verse in James 4:17 kept coming to my mind:
“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.”
What more could I do? I knew there was more I should have done but I didn’t know what or how.
Later as I was eating in a near by restaurant, I saw Christian and Jonathan. Jonathan came to our table begging for money, eyes open, talking… Alive. I could stop worrying… but even as I sit here I can’t stop worrying about him and kids like him who are sick and helpless, who people are so accustomed to just passing by. Sometimes I just don’t look at them when I walk by because I can’t handle the sadness in their eyes but that’s terrible.
In James 1:27 it tells us:
Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
I won’t ever be able to help enough. I won’t ever be able to save all the sick and dying Jonathans on the sides of the streets. I won’t ever be able to buy enough Happy Meals to feed them all. I’m broken because there are homeless hurting children on the streets where I live.
The question is, what now? I don’t know. I know I have a great ministry here that I love, teaching children and seeing them learn about God but what do I do to help those all around me who are living in poverty?
Will you join me to pray about what more we can do and ways to help here?