Tuesday, September 14, 2010

the anawim around us

Last week was the wrap up for this year's Nativity:Nigeria team. The Anawim Team, the five who went to Africa, and the Home Team, those who supported the mission from Maryland, gathered last Wednesday to celebrate. The team shared stories and photos and we all celebrated a safe journey and successful trip. It was a feast of food and fellowship. (Side note: we don't do enough feasting -- eating a meal together to celebrate the completion of something is a lot of fun!)

The mission group is named the Anawim Team because we stayed with Sr. Oresoa at their Gwagwalada location, called the Anawim Home. While we were in Nigeria, Sr. Oresoa told us the meaning of "Anawim." It's a Hebrew word that is found throughout Scriptures meaning poor or afflicted, the outcasts and rejected. More specifically "anawim" characterizes those who, due to their circumstances, cannot not rely upon their own strength but have to rely upon God to provide for them.  The Anawim Home is just that. A place where young mothers out on their own, mentally ill, and abandoned children can call home.

The trip was an eye opening experience for all of us, but one of the struggles we encountered as we began settling back into our routines at home was about a takeaway. What should we all be doing differently? Certainly, God used our experiences to speak to us in unique ways, I know I'm being challenged to spend my money more wisely. But we really struggled to come up with something for all of us, an overall lesson learned.

Then it became more clear. Although we traveled around the world for those two weeks... Sister Oresoa lives in Nigeria. She lives among all the poverty and injustice we saw, and the things we "dealt with" for a brief time are a daily reality to her. She saw these things in her own community and decided to do something about it. While we have traveled back home, she's still in her community serving her people. So what's the takeaway for us? It's the exact same:  to go into our own community and serve.

The awesome part is that Nativity:Nigeria is setup to help and support Sister as she works to bring justice to Gwagwalada. But we must remember that the anawim are all around us.  They're in Nigeria, and they're in Cockeysville, Timonium, Towson and Hunt Valley.  Maybe it took going half-way around the world for the five of us to realize this, but I don't think that's a requirement.  Who are the anawim around you? Find out, pray for them, and do something about it.

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