350 days ago, I realized the importance of the seemingly insignificant. I learned the importance of an eating utensil.
Oscar Corea, the director of the ministry known as “On Eagles Wings” we worked with in Leon, Nicaragua had asked if I’d help distribute food to the children at the days feeding clinic.
Corea had become a dear friend, and spiritual father to the people of Nicaragua and was the one responsible for feeding and clothing the children on continual basis. I willingly shook my head.
Little did I know, the image I would see that day would stay with me forever.
The children of the village ran over to stand in line, crowding the dusty roads of Leon–barefoot, daring,
and lacking parental supervision they excitedly waited for their turn to get a ladle full of soup from
An hour earlier we had chopped up fresh carrots and tomatoes to add nutrients to the pre-packages of rice and beans supplied by Food for The Hungry.
One of the women in the village calmly handled the needs of preparing the scrawny, malnourished chicken for the children’s meal which was an educational experience in and of itself.
I kept telling myself to suck it up, and act normal, but the things I began seeing were not normal. As we ladled up each scoop of soup we were told to make sure they each got a piece of chicken so they could get nutrients from the protein.
One child got a chicken claw in her bowl of soup and grinned at me ear to ear. I attempted to grasp it from her for fear of her choking. But Corea steady whispered, “It’s okay,” explaining the children would be able to eat the protein off of the claw for nutrients.
I felt like I couldn’t breathe.
As each child stood in line, I began noticing that their bowls weren’t like the bowls I was used to seeing. In fact, they weren’t bowls at all. Many of them had plastic containers and buckets to use for their meals.
My eyes jumped when I saw the caution sign from an old chlorine bucket, being used as a bowl for a meal. I continued to brush aside my shock, hoping I didn’t come off ethnocentric, but something inside me felt disturbed.
Child after child passed through regardless of my state of amazement.
We smiled asking them to hold up their bowl as we poured a scoop of warm soup in their bucket. My mind continually asked myself, “Where were the spoons?”
Calmly, they blew on the hot liquid so they could nourish their ravished tummies. The children began sipping from the bucket, and picking at the vegetables as they ate them.
I finally asked Oscar, “Where are the spoons? They don’t have spoons.”
“There are no spoons Briauna, there are no spoons,” said Corea.
Inside, I tried to gasp my breath. There were no spoons? It was bad enough they were barefoot and had little clothing on their skinny little bodies.
It isn’t saving thousands of people. It isn’t building a homes for homeless families. It is meeting a simple
need, an immediate need right here and right now.
It is of utmost importance. Within the culture of America, it’s so easy to neglect things that don’t seem like large tasks, it’s easy to ignore things that don’t seem impressive. It’s easy to say it’s not sustainable, and trust me, I’ve been that person.
Until you’ve had to feed your child out of a chlorine bucket, and eat soup with your fingers. Then suddenly it becomes a horrific realization of life outside of America. Why have our hearts become calloused to such needs?
This Spring break, we went back to Leon, Nicaragua the home of true brokenness, homelessness, poverty and, yet, genuine hope. Hope that is seen through leaders like Corea who started his organization-“On Eagles Wings”-to meet the immediate needs of the people of his the people of his nation.
We contributed with building a place known as the Dream Center, students from ORU have helped to fund. We taught business institutes with trained business professionals, educating leaders on how to be effective, sustainable and prosper in a corrupt country.
We challenged them to be the solution to the challenges they faced. We were able to look through a lens of sustainability to not only give them fish, but teach them how to fish so they can later feed their own nations.
But of everything we did, for some reason what struck me the most in the midst of all the accomplishments, was completely the small task, one year later, of meeting their needs and providing for them spoons.
Those same children, who stood in line for food, finally got to enjoy the seeming luxury of eating with a spoon. It blew my mind. The small cannot be neglected and it cannot be ignored. In our efforts to be sustainable and progressive and impactful, we cannot forget the small tasks. We cannot neglect faithfulness in the small things.
Because of the generosity of students giving from around the country to donate money for the cause, lives were changed and children were empowered with dignity as they enjoyed their soup with a eating utensil.
Why do we measure the importance of something by its size? Some of the most impactful moments shared were making pinatas out of candy, counting gooey stickers on their little hands, painting rainbows on their dirt-stained faces, adding pink sparkles to the little girls nails. Why is that?
How is that important? As sustainability and impact is very important to me, I wrestled through these questions. I learned that the impact of a nation can be furthered through small acts of love and kindness, through the distribution of spoons.
How can something so small change a nation? It will. Trust me, coming from a sustainably geared mind, I had those same questions going into it. The answer was obvious in their sweet faces that day. Their answer was yes.
This is what it means to change the world. Give what you can, and it is more than enough.
Spoons seem insignificant until we imagine every meal we enjoy, three times a day, hot and cold with no utensils.
We want every child in the feeding program to eat with a spoon.
This is love. Starting now, this is your opportunity to tangibly change a nation in an important way. It is the beginning. It is the beginning of being the solution to the problems at hand. It is the beginning of saying yes to meeting a tangible need, a small need.
It is saying, “Use me God” in whatever task, big or small. He will use you to change the world. Will you?