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Day 7: Grime


Editor’s note: On this seventh day of our Advent blog series “His Light Would Not Go Out,” current missioner Domonique Thompson reflects on her ministry at a soup kitchen or comedor in Cochabamba, Bolivia. Instead of a transactional experience, she notices that those who come to be served find ways to serve themselves.

Men, women and children enter the comedor covered in the grime of the dust of the dry season. It is apparent that they are expereincing homelessness. But they come into the comedor with smiles on their faces, eager to help. 

In a space where you are essentially there to serve, there is a feeling of them already having so much going on in their life. So let me at least do this for you, but no, it is not a give and take relationship. The women participate in the cooking. Coming early to help peel the potatoes and carrots. The men help transport the heavy items and set up the space of the comedor. We all gather in the hallway with a bag full of carrots peeling with nothing but our hands and a knife watching the children play or playfully making fun of my poor attempt to peel without a peeler. All working together.

Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday we open our doors. Welcoming people of all walks of life. We have no idea where they come from or what sins they’ve committed. And none of that matters because when they walk through those doors they are a part of our community, our brothers and sisters. We share a meal together, washing the grime off our lives through laughter, even if it’s only for a moment.

Question for reflection: Are there give and take relationships in your life? How can you foster mutuality in those experiences?

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(Matthew 25:40) “And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” This speaks to me and my call to service because it encourages all of us to see one another as children of God. It reminds us that we are all deserving of basic human rights and dignity.