Poverty is in front of my face.
I cannot move it.
Every single day I wake up and I go to bed looking at poverty and misery.
And I suffer when I see how people suffer.
I feel so helpless to solve these problems.
I get angry that people don’t work to solve their own problems.
I lose my hope that things will ever be different.
But God answered me in my hopelessness and gave me a new understanding.
God said, “Jose, in this kind of ministry, you have to live out hope from virtue, not optimism.”
Optimism says, “We can do something for this family!”
But when that doesn’t work, and they don’t get it, and nothing changes, the hope of optimism comes to an end.
These people will not move easily.
But I need to keep hope, or I will be hopeless.
God moved me deep down in my soul and gave me grace, saying, “Live out hope as a virtue. You will have hope because I give you the hope, not because you’re optimistic.”
For 20 years I have been working in InnerCHANGE as an optimist.
We can do something. Things can get better!
But this time, in Honduras, God is requiring something more profound.
Many people have come to this neighborhood where we live, and no one has stayed.
People tell me about many missionaries who come and stay one week, one month, and then they move out because they cannot live here.
Things look hopeless.
If God is calling me to stay here for six years, I need a deeper hope.
I don’t need the hope that comes from optimism.
I need the hope that comes from virtue.
I need the hope that is only from God.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jose Peñate-Aceves has been with InnerCHANGE (a ministry of CRM) since 1997. He and his wife, Célida, invested years working with gangs in San Francisco before launching a team in Oakland, CA among Honduran youth who were dealing drugs. They moved to Honduras in 2015 to work to address the roots of the problems pushing young Hondurans toward street life in America.