Valley of the Shadow of Death

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
– Psalm 23:4

Today my mom read the newspapers travel section. What do you know, a passage about Honduras is in it. Honduras has now officially been ranked the murder country of the world, and San Pedro, the city I will most-likely be living in next year, was voted the city with the most violence and murders in the entire world.

As you can imagine, she wasn’t too happy. Even as I kept explaining the violence and murders was due to gang violence, her mind kept scrambling. She came up with different solutions like: I should go with you, you can skip your next trip, you can find another country, etc. She didn’t seem to realize this really isn’t new news to me.

Ok, so maybe going to the murder country capitol of the world and staying in the most murderous city in the world with only yourself (17 years old) and a friend (19 years old) may not seem like a super great idea, but I promise you it is. We’re extremely safe, and on top of that, when people hear those stats they tend to not consider the vital side of it.

Sure, it is extremely dangerous for us. But did you think of the people behind the murders? Gang members. And do you know who heavily populate those gangs? Boys living on the streets.

Let me put faces to these “dangerous heartless gang members” for you.

It could’ve been Manuel and Maycol

manuelymaycol

Or Jairo

jairo

Or Cristian, Eduardo, and Enrique

olderboys

Let me take a guess and assume these were not the exact pictures you had in mind. You probably were think more of a scar-faced never-smiled-in-his-life muscular bad boy holding knives in his hands. This must’ve change your view around a bit. The thing is, these are the kids ending up in gangs. The ones living on the streets, abused and abandoned by their families. The ones that are thrust into the the world on their own, damaged, without given any kind of chance to get out of it. These are the deadly gang members causing the murder rate to go up higher, and they’re also the ones being murdered. You see, the news of these facts doesn’t detour me at all. If anything, its made me even more determined.

Let me put Psalm 23:4 in my own words. Even though I walk through the country of death, I fear nothing. I won’t fear anything. Because God is with me. Even if I am hurt, or put in a life-threatening situation, I fear nothing. I would rather have my life taken from me young while saving the lives of those innocent kids than taken from me when I’m old and having made no contribution to anyone’s life.

Crazy enough, my pastor talked about this subject today. I had begun blogging this before I went to church. Somehow, I already a feeling he was going to talk about it, and he did. He talked about the young and small David, conquering the big and mighty Goliath. On my ride home I heard the radio talk about the same exact verse.

God’s slamming signs in front of my face all at once. I really must’ve missed a lot for him to show them so prominently. My advice to those of you out there that are young and waiting for some kind of direction in your life: just you wait. Some day he’s going to slap you in the face with more signs then you can handle.

My advice to those of you worried about a current situation, for example, living in the murder capitol of the world: keep pushing onward. Even though you walk through the valley of the shadow of death, you will fear no evil. God is with you.

Pray for the missionaries around the world today. Pray for the kids living in the valley of the shadow of death on a daily basis. Pray for strength. Pray for the chance to make a difference, no matter how dangerous or difficult it may be. Because even though there is a valley of the shadow of death, with God, you will fear no evil.

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