Whilst in the Dominican Republic we visited a place called Aguas Negras, meaning Black Waters.
It is located next to where a river joins the sea, an d is made up of brick-built houses as well as shacks. The river has been eroding its banks even faster than normal, many shacks have been falling into the river. Meaning people are losing their homes.
But what really struck me about this place was the beach, it was disgusting. It was more or less a rubbish dump, the smell was not nice, and the sea didn't really look a normal colour. Even in all this mess there were children playing on the beach, a group of them were rolling a massive tyre out of the sea.
There was this new bridge that the government have recently put in. There's a sort of path that people walk along by the beach, and at one point there's this really disgusting-looking little river that flows down to the beach, its full with all sorts of rubbish. And before the bridge was built, you had to use stepping stones, that the people had tried to put in, to get across it, so the government have come along and put in a bridge so that you can get over all the rubbish easily.
But for me this just symbolises what they are doing, they can't be bothered or don't want to do anything about the actual problem, so they're just making it easier to step over the problem safely.
I said to one of the other people on the team about the conditions of the beach, 'wow, this is disgusting' and she turned to me and replied, 'yes but it is so, so much better than last year'. So yes, the area has been improved, but it still has a long, long way to go.
I realised that we all need to be careful. There are hundreds, thousands, millions even billions and trillions of problems in this world, and we need to be really careful when we start helping to deal with them. We need to ensure that we look for the root of the problem, and start finding solutions to solve it. We need to ensure that we don't find ways to step over the problems. We need to ensure we are willing to get our hands dirty, to put in the hard work, so that problems aren't stepped over, but are solved for the long, long-term.
Kingdom work isn't easy. Its just not. But, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me' (Philippians 4:13) and as I learn to trust God wholly, and completely, He will guide me, and be a lamp to my path, showing me how to solve problems from their root, and helping me get my hands dirty and put in the work.
This is me saying I want to stop stepping over problems, I want to stop hiding from problems, and I want to whole-heartedly jump in and start being God's hands and feet in a way I've never been before. Will you join me?