Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

Flanders Field

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

On Flanders battlefield Christmas Eve 1914 German, French and British troops facing each other, were settling in for the night when a German soldier began to sing “Stille Nacht, Heilige Nacht.” Others joined in. When they had finished the British and French responded with other Christmas carols.
The men from both sides left their trenches, met in the middle, shook hands, exchanged gifts, and shared family pictures. Christmas Day soccer games were held. A combined worship service was held to bury the dead from both sides.
The generals were not pleased. Troops who know each others’ names and share family stories are less likely to want to kill each other. War seems to require a nameless, faceless enemy.
After that magical Christmas truce the troops spent a few days simply firing aimlessly into the sky. Then the war turned back to earnest and continued for three more years.
Yet the story of that Christmas Eve lingers – a night when the angels really did sing of peace on earth.
As technology in our global village zooms in on our impoverished neighbors we begin to sense the vulnerability of people in the Developing World. Personal computers and Facebook are providing faces and names to some of our new global friends struggling with extreme poverty. People who know each others’ names are less likely to shrug off the needs of impoverished neighbors. Poverty will disappear when it becomes a priority to the western world.
We are beginning to grasp the fact that all the people on earth compose God’s family. All major religions include concepts of love for one another. As Christians in mission, Emerging Mission Ministries is developing and supporting mission solutions that build on those aspects of love to alleviate global poverty.
When the right time came, God sent a son and a woman gave birth to him. God’s son obeyed the law so he could set us free from the law and we could become God’s children. Now that we are God’s children, God has sent the spirit of the son into our hearts. Galatians 4:4-6

The Global Village

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

If all people of the world lived in a global village of 100 people, 14 would live affluently, 11 would live comfortably, 35 would have at least their basic human needs met. The remaining 40 would struggle for existence. Those in extreme poverty sell their own scarce resources to their affluent neighbors in exchange for basic necessities.

The village is facing two major crises. The first is ecological as the environment suffers from the surge of technological advances. Depletion of soil, pollution of rivers and lakes, and deforestation become barriers for the agrarian poor villagers to provide for their families. The poorest of the poor are on the verge of hunger, which is the second major crisis.

The poorest 40 do not have enough to eat. Many suffer from malnutrition and none can afford basic health care. The 22 extremely poor plan for one meal a day and often only eat four times a week. Some of them are too poor to stay alive. They have pleaded to the rich affluent for assistance. They have been sent to the world’s money doctor. The main prescription has been budgetary belt tightening for patients much too poor to own belts. Riots and coups have led to social chaos and economic distress.

Even though it takes large amounts of grain to produce meat, the comfortably affluent eat increasingly large amounts of meat. The impoverished 40 sell their livestock and other produce to their rich neighbors to purchase a few beans and some rice. Most of the village’s hunger problems are due to the affluent lifestyle of their rich neighbors.

The 35 people living between the poor and the affluent are the relatively poor. They have succeeded in finding low paying jobs in sweat shops, live in sub-standard housing, some with running water, and a few have working latrines. Their income level exceeds $2.00 per day. However, they still do not have access to quality health care or education. Occasionally, these villagers splurge and eat unhealthy fast food.

The affluent 14 recognize the problems and set up procedures to help their unfortunate neighbors. They have enacted a plan to eliminate poverty in the village, yet their elaborate security systems and necessities of life make it difficult to set aside fifteen cents out of every one-hundred dollars earned for development aid.

To an outside observer, such a situation may seem strange. But this is life in the Global Village.


Why is poverty a global problem? How can you help eliminate poverty?

Thanksgiving – - Hunger & Poverty

Sunday, November 14th, 2010

When I visited the Congo a few years ago a mother asked me, through an interpreter, about my family and if my children get enough to eat. I assured her that my family is abundantly blessed. They have medical care, a comfortable home, elaborate electronic games, and an abundance of food to eat. I then asked about her family. I’ll never forget the pain on her face as she responded, “We plan to eat one meal a day and three days of the week we do not eat.” How can those of us who live in the midst of abundance respond to that statement? 

When the media brings us news stories and photos of people facing immediate suffering, the world community acts swiftly to alleviate the crises. However, when the news cameras fade away to some other more fascinating story, the sad faces of the suffering elude the public’s eye and the magnitude of problems begins to escalate. The documentaries often do not show us the faces of the estimated 40 million people around the world who die from hunger, unclean water, or malnutrition related illnesses each year.

 In September 2000 world leaders came together at United Nations Headquarters in New York and committed their nations to a new global partnership to reduce poverty, hunger, disease, lack of adequate shelter – - while promoting gender equality, health, education and environmental sustainability. They set a deadline of 2015 to reach these targets that have become known as the Millennium Development Goals.

 From world news and reports, it seems that we will not attain the eradication of extreme poverty and hunger by the deadline not to mention any of the other Millennium Goals. One of the reasons for the failure is that the western world has not heard the cry of the needy. The real aspect of hunger and poverty in the Developing World, fails to seize the imagination of the western nations.

 The hunger that catches the attention of our western culture is countered by myriads of free food banks, churches and social organizations with elaborate benevolent plans to meet the needs of the poor, and compassionate groups sharing food and planning benefits to support struggling neighbors and friends. Our culture stockpiles local food banks in November and prepares special shopping sprees in December to assure that the western poor have food and toys during the holiday season. Rich social organizations, churches with huge benevolent budgets, and wealthy neighbors are non-existent in the poor nations of the Developing World.

 Jesus taught about the poor in Mark 14:7. “For you always have the poor with you, and you can show kindness to them whenever you wish;” Jesus’ response to those who scolded Mary indicates that responses to grace in worship will result in providing for the poor.

 How does your spirit respond to the fact that people die from lack of food and clean water?

 The challenge: Give an equal amount to defeat world hunger as you spend on your Thanksgiving meal?