the world is bigger on FM 969

I almost gave up. I had driven back and forth so many times on FM 969 that I was tempted to stop at the roadside, knick-knack garage sale and head back home.

I drove in and out of several drives until I saw a wee-bitty sign poking out from an overgrown entrance. Austin Samaritans shared the sign with another local non-profit and between the two of them, the inches were precious.

I wound my way around the curves into a ghost town. The layout suggested maybe a school or education center, but the weeds had long declared this territory. I finally came to a cluster of cars, and, relieved, saw the most-welcoming registration table, where I signed a form saying I wouldn't hold anything against anybody if something happened.

This weekend my church organized Serve Austin at local organizations; to build capacity through service, to be obedient and effective as servants, and most of all to magnify the Lord. And that's how I ended up in a deserted school on FM 969. Not too long ago, Austin Samaritans moved their warehouse operations to a small portion of this school. From this humble space, they collect surplus medical supplies to ship to Nicaragua, where a hospital anxiously awaits every box.

Nicaragua, I learned, classifies 85% of their population as being below the poverty line (defined as $1/day). Next to Haiti, its the poorest country in the Western hemisphere.

As we sorted today, we came across medicines, sterile needles, infant formula, x-ray film, syringes... the list is endless. As we worked, we speculated at the reception of this package. I came upon some loose cottonballs and instinctively wanted to trash them, but thought about how resourceful I would be if I didn't know cottonballs were so easy and cheap.

We are so flippant with surplus! Every single thing sorted today would have been in the garbage dump, completely useless and adding to the alarming amount of waste. But now, with the vision of a few to bring first the transformation of Christ, the people in this Nicaragua hospital might understand how the true gospel is to care for the orphan and the widow.

I just kept thinking, "This should be every day."

And so, as I meandered out of the hidden drive, I wondered at all the acts of service and all the giant foundations and galas and bake sales. For some reason it struck me that so much was happening in this little place just off of FM 969 with out any hoopla.

The world outside is still consumed, wasteful, and self-absorbed, but in this little place the world is a little bigger... and purpose a little greater.