October 28, 2020

Pastoral Nuggets: The Landfill Harmonics

Brother-Aaron-236x300In his book, “The End of Me,” author Kyle Idleman tells about a town in Paraguay, South America, which is built around a garbage dump.

Every day 1,500 tons of trash is added to this dump. The people of the town make their living by scavenging through the dump seeking things they can recycle and sell.

Sadly, the living conditions in the town are as you might imagine.

Now insert a man named Chavez into the equation I described above. He is a music teacher. He came to this poverty stricken town and surprisingly, where others saw hopelessness and despair, of all things, he saw an orchestra! An orchestra! This just proves that whatever is in us determines how we see the world. We view it through the prejudice of our own filters!

He began by recruiting the man who supervises the garbage dump to start looking for anything that could be salvaged and made into a musical instrument.

Before long he had made a cello from an old oil can, he used old x-ray films for drumheads, and saxophones and other wind instruments were fashioned from metal water pipe. He even used old spoons and forks for the keys on these instruments. He then taught the people how to play them.

Today, this little poverty stricken town in Paraguay, built around a trash dump, has a full orchestra that is comprised of instruments made from recycled trash and played by the people of the village. They have toured worldwide, playing the most prestigious venues. They have even played before royalty.

They said, “The world sends us their trash – we send them our music!”  One female member of the orchestra said, “Just because you have nothing, doesn’t mean you can do nothing!”  They call themselves:  The Landfill Harmonics.

The story of this town in Paraguay and its citizens should serve as a reminder to us that as Christians, we too are in the recycling business.

In fact, Jesus Christ modeled before us the greatest recycling project ever known to mankind when He left His throne in heaven to reclaim and repurpose His creation that satan, through sin, had cast upon the garbage heap of life. Then He said to His disciples in John 14:12(KJV), “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do …”

God has called us to: Win the lost; disciple the found, and to mend the broken.  We are to recycle and repurpose broken people!  To that end, He will bring people across our life-path who, in their current condition, just like those instruments made from recycled products, may not remotely resemble what they have the potential to become.

However, if we will only take the time to look past everything they are presenting and see what they have the potential to become, we may be able to repurpose/recycle them into an instrument that produces a beautiful melody.

I am glad that we serve a God Who, regardless of what script the world has written for our lives, allows re-scripting!  Aren’t you?

Brother Aaron

PS … To watch a documentary about this orchestra, Google: Landfill Harmonics.

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