What the Slums of Asia Taught Me
Updated: Jul 20
My wife and I moved from California to Dallas, TX so I could study at Dallas Theological Seminary. In our transition, we settled into a local church and began working for High Point. All three contexts loved and pursued global efforts to help “declare his glory among the nations.” This Bible verse from Psalm 96:3 rang loud and clear, and the verse numbers became the beginnings of High Point’s 963 Missions division to help people travel and declare to an awaiting world.
Within a few years from, our church team had the opportunity to travel to the southern tip of Asia. The team wanted us to understand the need of the people, country and culture. My heart was heavy to begin the trip, and we spent most of the time in a city with a similar population to the entire state of California.
Our trip came to include a man dying on the flight over, helping with medical aid to slums and witnessing extreme poverty among millions of people.
The 14 hour crammed flight was several hours from landing when we awoke to the loud speaker request for a doctor or nurse. A nurse affirmed the elderly passenger four rows in front of us had passed away. They covered him, continued with the normal arrival time and left us stunned while de-boarding. Our return flight home had the same flight attendant who confirmed the cause to be a heart attack.
After our first week of touring a historically predominant Christian area, we walked into one of countless slums that the government built for a no cost, but high risk living. The slums are unhealthy beyond comprehension for families with the open sewage, dirty water, spreadable disease, and lack of healthy resources. We joined a medical aid team that revealed to us that the people’s belief system actually keeps the people within the slums, since their belief commands them to be content in their current life to gain a better afterlife. The medical team showed us the way to break through by loving people with truth and resources.
Walking through the slum and the city showed incredible poverty. But, among the poverty, there was great happiness – the opposite of materialism. The team and friends among the poor were humble students of God’s truth and sincerely loving to the people around them. They gave more with less stuff in the world, and friendship in Christ became redefined for me having witnessed sincere love through life distress. They gave themselves over to God and others. Hardship and difficulties were everywhere, but joy and hope of Christ was greatly evident.
It became evident more than ever to “declare his glory among the nations” because the world is waiting!
Story by: Nathan Gunter