Having a reasonable degree of comfort or confidence in my position as one with more means and wealth than some people I met was a challenge. I was sometimes challenged when attempting to see significant benefits from the work of certain Ministries, this could be because they perhaps were in some ways flawed, or perhaps because I can not see the big picture from a one day frame-of-reference. I can not witness systemic change, which is what I want to see most, on a five day trip.
I suppose a big continuing challenge is to have some degree of trust in human institutions because even witnessing a moderate amount of poverty earnestly makes it hard to believe we are capable of making some nearly equal society. Perhaps this is just a stage to achieving that kind of society; perhaps we have overcome other demons on a collective journey toward a better society.
Certainly, I saw ministries of the Church pursuing and creating healing in a population very in need of it in many facets. I don’t really know if the ministries, both effective and not so effective, would exist, or exist in a similar capacity in the absence of the Church. Faith is obviously a strong driving point pushing people and resources toward ministry. Much of that seems facilitated through the Church. Certainly the lives of the impoverished or homeless are better for each ministry I saw a Church carrying out. Joseph’s house must enable some spiritual and mental healing that can occur even while the body is deteriorating. Christ’s House provides many forms of healing that can help a person permanently move to a better situation. I think the Church’s ministries can also be an important promoter of human connection, which God created us to need, which many of the impoverished or homeless sometimes sorely lack.
I found much joy playing cards with Kenny and talking to Abraham during lunch at Christ House. Joy always came from interacting with my ECM friends during the trip.
Also, hearing about the critical role of data for 100,000 Homes and Community Solutions gave me another example of how data science, which I really like and may go into, is an important tool for pursuing meaningful impact, which makes me happy.