Friday, July 22, 2005


In a world our size, we can easily lose perspective on our place in it. An article I read yesterday reminded me again that we live in a blessed country.
The article describes a visit by some NBA players, as a part of the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program, to a poor part of China. The program has taken players to Africa, South America, and Europe, besides Asia. The author notes that if every NBA player were required to take part in a trip like this, many of the game's off-the-court problems would be helped. The players involved say that they get more from the trip than they could ever give. It truly is a great reminder of what one can learn from engaging a society less well-off than our own.
It reminded me of another set of articles from 2003 by ESPN's Chad Ford describing the first year's program in Africa, also well worth reading (if they were accessible-- I can't see that they are). This might give you a taste.
My wife and I last spring had the chance to take a similar trip to Bolivia and Peru. We helped some Quechuans in Cochabamba, Bolivia build their church before hiking the Incan Trail to Machu Picchu. It was an experience that, like the NBA players in the articles above, moved both of us. Despite living in circumstances less than what we felt were adequate (1 outhouse for the entire neighborhood), the people we worked alongside were so excited to welcome us and befriend us that they bent over backwards to serve us with what little physical means they could.
I would encourage anyone who has not had the chance to go on a short term outreach or missions trip, such as one of these, to go and help wherever needed, wherever it is you feel called to go.

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