Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | March 28, 2012

I Dream of the Nations

Andhra Pradesh, India en route to Houston, Texas

When I was a child I dreamed of the nations. My imagination was fueled by stories, photos, books and magazines, and assorted bric-a-brac that had found its way to the shelves and walls of my grandparents home from dozens of faraway places. As a result I developed a hungry curiosity that was always asking questions and feeding on answers from those in my family who had traveled to this or that place. And, in those pre-computer days when Googling meant actually finding and turning the pages of a particular book, I learned to dig for answers on my own. The world in those days seemed absolutely immense to me as a small town boy. Photos in books and magazines became my own private windows to the world, allowing me to peek at slices of life in other places.

Knowing of my interest in the nations, my grandfather encouraged me to collect stamps. This was an especially good idea because we had so much correspondence from family members who had traveled the world. He taught me how to carefully remove stamps from envelopes and then categorize them on the pages in my stamp-collection binder. As I grew a little older I developed yet another nerdy hobby of writing to chambers of commerce around the country to ask for travel brochures. It wasn’t long before I had amassed an impressive collection of saddle-stitched brochures and tri-folded leaflets that I carefully catalogued in the top drawer of my dresser. These became one more way for me to learn and to dream about the world beyond the city limits of Mission, Texas.

Today, I have been privileged to see much of the world that I had dreamed about as a kid — a world of places and people even more fascinating than I had imagined when I sat on the floor of my grandparents home looking at photos in magazines. This latest trip to India has broadened my understanding of how difficult life is for some of the people who live beyond the kinds of glamorous photos you see in travel brochures — in this case lepers, those suffering from HIV-AIDS, women trying to find a way out of the commercial sex trade, and Dalit children. In some ways, ease of travel and our new connectivity has made our world a little smaller, making it easier for us to learn about and to help those who are suffering in places beyond our city limits. This is important because I believe that awareness is the first step on the road to a compassionate response.

I am no longer a child but I still dream of the nations. My understanding of the world today is enriched because of my experiences among the people groups that I first learned about when I was a curious little kid. However, my dreams have changed to consider what I can do to help and how I can mobilize others to help change the world for someone in desperate need or danger. As I make my way home from India, my head and my heart are conversing about the lepers and others living in desperation that I met this past week. I can’t ignore their plight because they are more than people in photographs, they are also my neighbors in our ever-shrinking global community. As I travel home I am also enjoying sweet memories of days spent with my grandfather. I don’t think my grandfather could have imagined where my dreams of the nations would lead me, but I know he would approve.


Responses

  1. Omar, your trip to India has truly touched my heart. One of the greatest values of your missions are the “travel guides” and brochures that you give out to the world through the internet … God’s view and perspective on what it is that HE sees comes shining through.
    Our recent technological capabilities to send out God’s Travel Brochures, at the touch of a button, and to the whole world is not just convenient, it is an obligation. Gone are the “if only I had known” excuses!
    Blessings and love from
    Jackie, your friend in Honduras.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Jackie. Yes, we are indeed fortunate to live in a day when we can send out “travel brochures” via blog and internet that make people aware of the plight of others. Gone indeed are the “if only I had known” excuses. Thanks for your friendship and encouragement.

  2. LOVE YOUR HEART OMAR, AND YOUR LEGACY.

    • Thank you, Dacques. So glad that God allowed our paths to cross in El Salvador.

  3. This is so inspiring. I really think you should make a book of your blog posts!

    • Thanks, Kim. Appreciate your encouragement and friendship.

  4. Thanks for taking us with you on your walk through the nations. Although we can’t be on every trip with you in person, we are through your blog. Being the hands and feet allows you to be the eyes for many of us thus awareness = compassionate response but I think you said it best here . . .

    “I can’t ignore their plight because they are more than people in photographs, they are also my neighbors in our ever-shrinking global community.”

    Amen!

    • Thanks, Eva. It is so good to see God at work among the nations and in the hearts of His people.


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