Charlie Schnabel is a storyteller and brings his wit and wisdom to every Austin First Church service in his “Three Minutes to Live By.” However, the stories from his recent trip to Nicaragua with the Austin Samaritans are hard stories to tell – and even harder to hear. How can we begin to relate to the reality of 2000 people – men, women and children – LIVING in the Managua city dump, known as La Chureca. Not just coming in to collect recyclables, but making their homes out of the junk found inside; children working and playing among mounds of dangerous garbage which may, in fact, become their next meal or parents prostituting their teenage daughters to “get the best garbage.” There is no way we can truly comprehend the horror of their lives unless we see it ourselves. Charlie chose to bear the burden for these people a world away. To go and to do something. As the Austin Samaritans work to build medical facilities to serve the people in La Chureca, Charlie is now working with his clients in the Pediatric Dentists Association to provide dental care and equipment. We can all bring something: resources, connections, our concern and prayers.
Our love for God must translate into a tangible love for others. Acts 3:6 says, “Then Peter said, silver and gold have I none; but such as I have I give thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” This is the example we strive to follow, that Charlie and the Austin Samaritans have lived in La Chureca – meeting real human needs with whatever God has given us; changing lives through the unchanging love of Jesus Christ.