I meet with Poverty on Tuesdays.

I walk across a threshold of sewage and starvation to meet Poverty where she lives.


Her house is full of children that ought to be in school on a Tuesday morning. They should be wearing uniforms, holding pencils, and writing in notebooks. But Poverty won’t allow it.


They should be in 3rd grade, and 5th grade, and all the other grades, or they should be starting Kindergarten.
If Poverty’s kids get an education, they will leave her.


Poverty tells her children that they have no hope.


She tells them they have no worth.

She never calls them by name. Instead she calls them all Poor.

She leads them to believe that they are weak, because they are so very, very small.

Sometimes even I believe her because of how she towers over them.

It can be hard to see that Poor has another name.

But when I feel that one of Poverty’s children has wrapped his little arms around my legs, and when I look down onto his smiling face, I am reminded that Poor is actually Josue

…and ten minutes later it’s Daniela.

Poverty’s poor daughter is Alondra who likes candy…alot

… and her poor son is Cristian who always wants please, please, please just one more banana.

All of her children have real names… and real faces… and real dreams for a future.

What Poverty doesn’t know, when I come to her door on Tuesdays, is that it is to fill her children not just with food, but with ideas.

To offer them hope because I know where they can find the strength to do all things.


To show them that they are worthy recipients of the greatest Love that has ever existed.

To bring Faith to a place where there was once only desperation.

We must be the light in Poverty’s shadow so that her poor children can know Faith, Hope, and Love.
On Tuesdays, I get to bring “the greatest of these” to “the least”, just by showing up on Poverty’s doorstep and looking her in the eye.

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16 Comments

  1. Brittany Dale on February 17, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    this is beautiful.
    you are doing amazing work Jamie.

    this actually made me cry.
    I have also lived in Costa Rica, and seen people live like this. It's amazing to me, how we in north america live in our perfect houses, with food in our bellys and education at our fingertips. And this family, and many families in Costa Rica (as well as other countries), live with nothing.

    Thank you.
    from the bottom of my heart, thank you for what you are doing to a country that I love, and have fallen in love with.

    Keep doing what you're doing.
    We're praying for you and you're family, and for the people of Costa Rica.

    t.q.m.

  2. Vicki on February 17, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    God bless you Jamie. Oh yeah… He is. And through you, me and a whole lot of other people get blessed too.

  3. Pam on February 17, 2010 at 10:35 pm

    Oh, dear Lord, you got my heart right there. Poverty wants to bring these little ones down and convince them they are worthless. FIGHT DIRTY, JAMIE!! Shout from the rooftops that they will never be alone (Ps. 139:10), that they were created by God Himself (Ps. 139:13), that God has a plan for their lives (Ps. 139: 16), and that the Creator of the universe thinks about them more often than we can count (Ps. 139:18).

    Thank you for standing in the gap on their behalf. Fight on, sister!

  4. Kirk on February 17, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    You humble me with your servants heart

  5. Anonymous on February 18, 2010 at 12:12 am

    …. thank you

  6. Carrie on February 18, 2010 at 1:20 am

    Beautiful!

    Instead of being Poverty's children, these are Hope's children!

    This is very much like the work we do among the Roma Gypsy children. It's where my heart is.

  7. kathy on February 18, 2010 at 2:04 am

    Thank you for boldly loving these precious children.

  8. Zac on February 18, 2010 at 10:21 am

    Amazing poetry about the children that capture my heart as well as God's! It is because of kids like this that I feel that I need to get out of America. Out of my comforts, to do what I can to give hope to the least of these.

    Thank you Jamie for doing what you are doing. This is just another example in a long list of examples that you are nowhere near the very worst missionary!

  9. Aydan on February 18, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I found your blog through SCL.

    As I read this post, it struck me that these kids look so much like the American kids I have worked with in various venues over the years: they have the same facial expressions. This is probably a silly observation, but… to me it's a reminder of how much every kid deserves a chance, no matter where he or she was born.

  10. Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary on February 18, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Thanks to all!! It makes me so happy to see that others have as much appreciation for these amazing little lives as I do. Please pray that God will continue to be revealed in the precario!!

  11. deemus on February 18, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    best. post. ever.

    I am moved.

  12. Anonymous on February 19, 2010 at 1:16 am

    Best post ever. I would like everyone to see,and smell that world just once. I think it would make such a difference in our focus on what is important. That is why I HAD to go Mexico every six months with Lakeside. To keep that picture fresh in my head. Keep up the good work.

    Dan O

  13. nick reid on February 19, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    This world is amazing isn't it? and to think of all the things were so concerned about….

    your walk inspires me.

  14. brotherjonathan on February 20, 2010 at 7:35 am

    "The Very Worst Missionary"? I beg to differ! If I, who has only just now stumbled across your blog, can see quite clearly the heart you have for the "least of these", then how much more must those to whom you minister be aware of the great Love flowing out of you?

    If you don't mind too terribly, I'm going to shamelessly abscond your concept in this post and adapt it to the addictions ministry I am involved with. (Actually, I'll probably do that whether you mind terribly or not, so you may as well agree.)

    Grace and peace;
    Br.Jon

  15. megan on February 21, 2010 at 10:50 am

    This brought me to tears. These could be French kids, or North African kids-kids that I see every day. You seem to be to be the very best kind of missionary there is. One filled with love, compassion and generosity. You are not only a gifted writer, you are an inspiring lover of people.

  16. Jamie, the Very Worst Missionary on March 24, 2010 at 9:12 pm

    brother Jon, by all means, use whatever you like, however you like. (i meant to say that alooong time ago – wwhoops!) :{
    ~the VWM

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