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Best Poverty Maps and Graphs

Graphical presentations of poverty help us clearly recognize areas of need and help me realize just how blessed I am to be living in a rich nation. Two useful map and graph resources that I find myself referring to frequently are presented below. Add your favorite poverty maps and graphs in the comment section below.

Click on the photo to go to the source website:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_percentage_of_population_living_in_poverty

www.Gapminder.org/world

From Sex Slave to Bond-Servant

Paul in the opening verses of Romans calls himself a bond-servant of Christ.  In early Biblical time, under Mosaic Law, a man that became indebted by borrowing money became the property of the creditor and had to work for his master until the loan was fully paid.

This financial arrangement gave the creditor great power over the debtor.  Some masters were cruel and evil, mistreating their slaves and taking advantage of people under their control. Others were kind and merciful, asking only for a fair days work in exchange for a portion of the debt to be written off.

In the Jewish tradition, at the end of seven years, a slave was set free.  Freed from his debt he could leave and be free from any bondage.

However, some slaves that were indebted to loving masters did not want to leave.  Their slave owners were caring for their needs and providing safety for the slave’s family.  There was security in knowing their household would not go hungry, and they could stay in a warm house, and their children be clothed.  It was these slaves who at the end of the seven years would choose not to leave their master but to become a permanent slave to their master, by choice, a bondservant.

A new bond-slave would go to the tabernacle and a priest would mark the ear of a servant with a hole to signify the willing servant has become a bond-slave to his master forever.  It was a mark that revealed the character of the owner.

As I think about my own life, I rarely think of myself as a bond-slave and I think this is unfortunate because I have made a choice too.

I have found a Master who is all loving, who accepts me, is patient with my flaws and shortcomings, and who blesses me beyond what I deserve.  He has paid my sin debt and set me free.  I in turn have chosen to return to my Master and become His bond-slave.  There is no marking on my body to identify me as His, but my heart has been branded by His crown of thorns and His cross.

As I consider the work Bright Hope is doing to help young women out of sex slavery, the reality of there being modern day, evil slave owners is undeniable.  They force their female slaves into prostitution, get them high on drugs, and destroy their lives.  It sickens me because I know there is another Master who loves, who blesses, who washes away wounds and brings healing, abundant life and eternal salvation.

I often think we are setting these young women free with Biblical counseling and economic independence.  But in reality I am hoping they come to know my Master well enough to experience freedom from sin and make the choice not to leave Him but to join me in becoming a willing bond-slave.

Kony: Who? What? Why?

The Invisible Children (IC) campaign, “Kony 2012,” has brought to light the terrorist activities of Joseph Kony, a Ugandan rebel leader.  IC’s video about Kony has been viewed over 100 million times in just the past few weeks and created a firestorm of controversy and increased pressure for his arrest.  In support of this call for justice, I want to share with you some actions you can take that will help African churches minister to those who have experienced the pain and destruction of Kony’s nightmarish civil war.

Who is Joseph Kony?  Joseph Kony is the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic.  Civil unrest caused by the LRA has made refugees of over 2 million people and increased poverty throughout the region.   Kony’s troops have spread terror and destruction for over 20 years.

The tactics of the LRA include stealth raids and hit and run attacks against mostly civilian populations, making his movements and activities tough to stop.  His troops have abducted an estimated 60,000 children, turning them into child soldiers and sex slaves.  Accounts of children being given drugs and guns and then forced to shoot their parents have been recorded along with thousands of other atrocities.  In the past month alone, 3 people have been killed and 43 young people abducted.

As a teenager, Kony was the witch doctor for his village and many believe Kony to be demon-possessed.  He uses spiritual language and symbols often in his propaganda and claims to be serving God through his actions.

Since 2005, Kony and four of his deputies have been charged with war crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court.  Two of these officers have been killed in fighting, but even with increased US military advisers and technical support, Kony has evaded arrest.

Pray for justice and give to churches helping people destroyed by Kony’s war?

Bright Hope has always focused on helping churches in impoverished areas of the world to share the love of Christ in practical ways.  So, when the LRA moved out of Uganda and it was safe for people to leave the refugee camps and return home, Bright Hope began partnering with in-country churches to help victims of Kony’s terrorist attacks repair their lives.  In 2009, in a remote northern area of Uganda, near the town of Apac, we began a program to help widows, former child soldiers and those with HIV and AIDS (which was also running rampant in the refugee camps).

Using the powerful micro-lending tool, we are helping mothers and their children (average size family in Uganda is eight) earn enough money to feed the family, send the children to school and repay the loan.

Because our programs are accomplished through partnerships with churches, the Gospel message is shared with all those willing to listen.  Many have committed their lives to Christ and have faith and hope for eternity with Jesus in Heaven.

Hope for Today, Tomorrow and Eternity is our motto – and we are seeing it in action!

The cost of the program, including the loan capital, three training sessions, and other fees is $274 per family or $34 per family member.  Our goal is to have 100 families on the program by the end of July.

Could you help provide a loan for one family or one family member?

As you hear more about Kony (IC’s “Kony 2012”campaign will make a major promotional push from April 16th-21th) please remember that you can actually help bring life and love back to the people Kony tried to destroy. The complete details of our project and links for donating can be found on BrightHope.org at http://bit.ly/BrightHopeKONY.

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and write a personal note when you do.

RESULTS ARE IN!

GOAL SURPASSED! 

The goal was $5,000 and you surpassed it by raising $20,360!  Can you believe it!?   Wow!  PRAISE GOD and THANK YOU!  You have raised all the seed money needed to launch the first stage of Bright Hope’s human trafficking initiative!

UPDATE FROM INDIA:  This morning our partner in India emailed us to say that four girls have been rescued thanks to your support – praise God!  A safe house has been set up for rehabilitation, and training and counseling can now start for these girls – as well as many others to come.  We believe as many as 10 girls might be rescued and rehabilitated from your efforts.

Keep praying for Supna, there have been some steps forward and some complications and she needs your prayers now more than ever.

We will continue to update you on Supna and the other girls as more information becomes available.  Thank you again for blessing us with the capability to begin healing and Hope for these young girls.

Quadrupled! YOUR $10 GIFT NOW BECOMES $40 – 24Hrs. ONLY

Spread the word!

Another generous Bright Hope ally has agreed to multiply the matching gift opportunity!  So every gift you give until 2PM TOMORROW will be 4x the amount!  For instance, a $100 gift will increase to $400.  With these funds Bright Hope will provide young girls leaving sex slavery a safe place to live, job training and counseling.

Quadruple your impact by Tuesday at 2PM (Central time): texting BHOPE to 85944 to instantly give $10 (it will show up on your next phone bill) or donate online at www.BrightHope.org/Donation.  Don’t forget to pray for Supna and the other girls.  We are expecting an update tomorrow.

Read Supna’s story here.

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