As a history nerd, I love maps. I love to see the change in national boundaries or how our understanding of surveying and cartography has improved. So imagine my disappointment when the pull-down maps in my classroom broke last spring. I was even more disappointed when I saw how expensive a new set of maps would be.
A very exciting thing happened when I got back from Christmas. Two sets of maps had been donated to QCS from some very kind person in the States. After a long delay for hardware and labor, they were finally hung last week. I. was. giddy. MAPS!
I am teaching my Comparative Government class about Modern China, so I pulled down the map of Asia and we looked a the country, talked about our favorite Chinese food dishes and why Yao Ming was a certifiable NBA bust. I was putting the map up and suddenly I froze in Post-Cold War horror. In the space north of China where I saw it: the Union of Socialist Soviet Republics!? How could this be?
I quickly pulled down the map for Europe. Next to the USSR was Czechoslovakia, further south was Yugoslavia. I checked Africa- Zaire was prominently displayed. These "new" maps that had been "donated" were over 20 years old.
I talked to my director and told him. He looked dog-faced. He had no idea.
These were not so much "donated" to us as "thrown away" to us, and the thrower got to feel good about their "help". What an absolute pile of manure. Do you remember why God favored Abel's sacrifice over Cain's? Because it was the fat portion, the choicest cut of meat. Not the outdated-not-good-enough-for-my-kids-but-good-enough-for-those-Haitians-they-will-take-anything portion.
This is one of those things missionaries learn deal with. My principal's grandparents, who were missionaries to Asia, were often mailed used tea bags. Recently my school received 2 boxes of men's size 12 football cleats and XS bike shorts. How many 9-year-olds in Haiti have ginormous feet and are playing nose tackle? My friend Sean told me that his first year here someone shipped him a box of used undergarments. I read after the Asian tsunami a few years back, I heard of a donation of Santa costumes. After the earthquake last year, the relief camp here at Quisqueya received at least one large shipment of frostbite treatment kids and tents without poles.
Some people think beggars cannot be choosers. If you are less fortunate you should graciously accept anything given to you, and it is being ungrateful to question gifts. However, I would charge that this is a defense mechanism to keep the speaker from confronting the fact that they are not living up to a Christlike example of charity. Christ encourages us to give so graciously we would offer the very shirt off our backs and to go the extra mile, not to spend at little as possible or to give trash. The Good Samaritan surely is the most famous Biblical example of helping a stranger, and he surely spent a good amount of silver tenderly caring for the mugging victim he encountered- no secondhand toss-offs there.
Wouldn't it be great if the American church started giving out of its fat portion (and it does have a lot of fat to give from)? Giving new and needed items and never stained, expired, dated, useless material?