Late in August 2013, nine Victorians invested several thousand dollars and two weeks of their lives to spend some time amongst some of the people in South East Asia. Some things are indelibly etched in my memory from this trip; like sitting in a bamboo shelter on a the waterfront outskirts of a bustling city, eating fried bananas cooked by poor families who told us how thankful they are for the help and guidance from our hosts – a microfinance movement that lifts and equips the poor. From that bustling city we moved to a haven in the jungle, where orphans have a home, children are educated, sick people are treated, lepers are held and cared for, and songs of thanks rise to the skies every morning at 7am.
Everyone was busy, treating patients, pulling teeth, educating health workers, teaching children, fixing doors and electric fences, teaching English, reading with kids and hearing stories everywhere of incredible sacrifice, forgiveness, and transformation in people’s lives. We were so inspired, from malnourished babies who learned to stand, old lepers who feel whole, survivors who forgave those who murdered their families, leaders who are called to be there, long term Aussie teachers, kids who play soccer in the rain and grab your heart with their pain and their joy, and a community that pulls together towards wholeness and joy and life.
Maybe in some small way we made a difference to them, but the best investment was in our own hearts as we were inspired and challenged and hopefully changed forever. If you ever get the opportunity to invest like this, I would encourage you to grab it with both hands.