Sunday, March 15, 2015

Messy, Messy Missions Series: A honest look at poverty

Missions is not about projects, it is about people and, well, let's face it, sometimes getting involved in other peoples lives can get messy.  Many of us know this from experience.  Maybe we have tried to help someone and it did not work out the way we thought it would.  

Like my friend in the Philippines who offered her box of take home to a homeless person on the street.  Upon opening it and inspecting it, he remark he did not like this particular type of food.  I think I understand better why he did that now, but we will get to that later.  

The focus of our ministry here in Mexico is not to those in poverty, but we are faced with it often.  The fact that it is not our primary focus does not give us the liberty to turn our heads and pretend it does not exist.  Just because the situation seems too large for us to ever see results, does not me we are excused from doing anything. 

So what do you do?  What is a good way to help?  What will help the most?

A little over a year ago, I answered a knock at my door.  A woman was telling me her young daughter was pregnant and they needed money for doctor's visits and the birth.  As I asked more questions, she stated her daughter was having contractions.  

The need seemed urgent and I had the means to provide what she was asking, about 200 pesos, which is less than $20 U.S. dollars.  I could give it to her, accept her thanks, send her on her way, and go about my day feeling a little better about myself.

As I spoke with her and asked questions, I began to pray about the best way to handle the situation.  How we deal with people is messy, but important.  We can hurt ourselves and those we are trying to help without even realizing it.  

In the next several post, I will tell you how we handled this situation, and open myself up to the judgement that may come with that.  I do it gladly and humbly in hopes that maybe a conversation can be started about what poverty is, how to best help and if we should even help at all.  

For today I leave you with a quote from When Helping Hurts.
"We must do our best to preach the gospel, to find cures for maleria, and to foster affordable housing.  But part of our striving is also to fall on our knees every day and pray, "Lord be merciful to me and my friends here, because we are both sinners."  And part of our striving means praying every day, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven, for without You we cannot fix our communities, our nation, our world."  
What are your intial thoughts on poverty?  

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