This past weekend I had the privilege of chaperoning a High School Mission trip to Prestonsburg, KY. Now, if any of you have been to Prestonsburg you know that it is in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains and it is one of the poorest areas around due to the closing of all the coal factories a few years ago when Obama claimed coal as an unclean source of energy. Not only is this area very poor, but it is also right in the middle of the Bible belt and therefore many of the inhabitants are Baptist. The little Catholic Parish that we visited, St. Martha’s, is the only Catholic Church within miles and believe it or not only has 100 parishioners! The Pastor, who he himself converted from the Baptist faith, said that many of their parishioners are converts. How neat is that?!
Over the extended weekend that we were there we visited three members of the Parish that are now shut-ins due to various reasons. Our job was to help winterize their homes. When I first heard what we would be doing while down there I had a vague idea that this area was poor and that the houses were probably not all that great, but I was truly not prepared for what I saw. Down there they do not identify where they live by streets and house numbers but by which holler they live at. What was the most shocking is that you would travel up these mountains and you would see literally shack after shack after shack but then in the middle of these shacks would be this gorgeous home. I was astounded by the poverty and the way that these families were forced to live. These men and women are just trying to get by and do the best they can, but the amount of work available is very limited and so many are only living off of welfare.
The true impoverishment of this area was unbelievable to me and as I returned home from helping these men and women I started to feel weird inside. As I took some time on Monday to reflect on the weekend I realized how much I have and how often I complain that what I have is not enough. For some time now I have been struggling with getting rid of cable television. I pay an arm and a leg for it, but literally every night I sit down and turn the TV on to find absolutely nothing to watch! So what is holding me back from canceling? As I sat and reflected I realized it is that I can say I have cable, now when I say that out loud I realize how ridiculous that is, but it is the truth. I realized that my selfishness is holding me back from what God is calling me to do. Yes, I give, but I can’t say I give until it hurts and lately I have felt like the Lord is calling me to give till it hurts. So, maybe your giving until it hurts is not giving up cable television, but where is it that God is calling you to let go for His greater glory in your life?