He has shown you, oh man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: to walk justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Hey Erin's readers!

I'm Jon, Erin's brother. Hola, if i've never met you before. I'm down here for a couple weeks, so here's a guest post for ya... (ps, this is basically the same as my Math/Science blog for my 7th grade students, so I apologize in advanced for any of you matha-phobiacs)


I’m a normal person in America. I drive a Saturn. Four doors, electric windows, stick shift, 32 miles per gallon. Nothing special, just gets me from A to B. If I’m in the mood, I’ll stop in at Dunkin' Donuts or Starbucks and grab a coffee. I go out to eat with friends at times, no big deal. I have an ipod, a cell phone, and a new computer. Normal, right? Doesn’t everyone live like that?

Not everyone...

Here in Bastion, Ecuador, I’m met with a new kind of normal. Here, its normal to have a family of 8 with no car. Its normal to raise chickens as your form of income. Its normal for a whole family to live in one room with a mattress on the floor. It’s normal to make less than $200 per month for a whole family. Its normal to work all day collecting cans and bottles to turn in for pennies.

So what’s normal? Life in Hawthorne, or life in Bastion?

Statistics tell me that more people live lives mores similar to life in Bastion. According to GlobalIssues.org, “Almost half the world - over three billion people - live on less than $2.50 a day.”

So what does that mean? Since there are 365 days in a year, $2.50 a day means...

$2.50 x 365 days = $912.50 per year

Imagine living on $912.50 per year. Thats less than my meal plan at college cost for 3 months. Thats less than I spend on gas in 6 months. Thats less then a new mac!

Check out this for perspective. Imagine making $36,500 per year. That’s a relatively low paying job in our economy. But...

$36,000 ÷ 350 days = $100 per day

$100 dollars per day for a bad job in America compared to half the world living on less than $2.50 per day!

Visiting here turns statistics into faces.

This is a house that Erin and I visited in a community about a half hour bus ride from us. This neighborhood is extremely poor. Notice that we are sitting on the floor. This was because she had no chairs to offer us. When we had lunch there, there was no table to eat from. The only furniture was one bed, the stove in the background, a hammock, and a small table with a tub on it which she used for a sink. There was no running water in this bamboo house.

Its good to know that even in this drastic of poverty, there are still smiling children.

Honestly, at times it is tough for me to be here. Things which I accept about life are being challenged. I don’t like being a rich person among poor people, but that’s what I feel like here. Its hard to spend money when I know people who are counting pennies. I guess the reason for that is my mentor was a really rich guy who gave it all up to become really poor and dedicated His life for others, and I want to be like Him.

"For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9

Lord, please give me the grace to live like you.


Rob said...

Hey Jon & Erin,

Thanks for the post. I read them all Erin, but I need to leave comments more often. :-)

Jon, you put some challenging words out there and I appreciate it. We don't have much of an understanding of what it means to give up everything for Jesus. What does that look like for you and me?

Erin, I'm so proud of you and how God is using you. I'm sure it is tremendously challenging and overwhelming at times, but I trust that God will be your strength and give you wisdom.

Uncle Rob

Beertha Metzler said...

Hi Erin, we have never met but our daughter Doris is married to your Uncle Rob Swartz. Our granddaughter Larissa is coming your way in a few weeks and we sent $$ to help her make this trip. We were in Ohio recently and Doris gave me this blog information. So good to see you and the place where you are sharing the love of Jesus. Wow, what Jon wrote is so very mind boggling. We in America are so blessed and the Bible says "To whome much is given, much is required" Blessings to you as you take Larissa under your wing soon. She will be a wonderful blessing to you.....she is so good with Spanish speaking people :)
Praying for you as you shine for Jesus in your small corner of the world.
Bertha Metzler (mother of Doris Swartz) (MeMa of Larissa S.)