(This blog was originally written more than two years ago when my friend and co-host Pam traveled to Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It has been modified to reflect the trip she and I are about to take to Lima, Peru.)
I love the story of the grandfather and grandson who were walking along
the beach one day. As far as their eyes could see, starfish lined the
sand - having been washed up and abandoned by the tide. Knowing that
these starfish would die if left out of the water for too long, the
little boy began picking them up one at a time and throwing the
creatures back into the ocean. Splash. Splash. Splash.
The grandfather said, "You know you'll never be able to save all of
them, right?" To which the boy replied, "I know. But I can save this
Tomorrow afternoon, Pam and I are traveling with thirteen listeners to Lima, Peru with Shoes for Orphan Souls. Over nine days, our
group will love on hundreds of orphans the best we know how. We will play games. Sing songs. And tell stories. We will hold their hands. Hug their necks. And put new shoes on their feet. Will we change the world? No. Will we change Peru? Probably not. But will we change a life or two? I think so.
The needs in our world can feel overwhelming - crippling even - but I learned something when we went to Peru last year: The only thing worse than not helping the masses is using the masses as an excuse to not help anyone. Maybe we can't change our entire school system, but we can mentor one kid in it. Maybe we can't beautify an entire city, but we can pick up trash at a nearby park. Maybe we can't provide clean drinking water for an entire nation, but we can provide safe alternatives for a family or two.
Whether it's in Peru or right in your own backyard, you and I have a part to
play. And while it may feel like a small part, it's a part nonetheless.
Remember, saving millions of starfish starts with picking up the one
right in front of you.