Tag Archives: poverty

The Extreme Poor Take a Leap Forward

CH jumping with the Maasai tribe.

In an article from Yale Global Online, Laurence Chandy and Geoffrey Gertz make the claim that the number of extreme poor fell from 1.37 billion in 2005 to 820 million, over a six year period.

This is great news, but why did this happen? Chandy and Gertz credit these trends: the rise of globalization, the spread of capitalism and the improving quality of economic governance.

“The poor countries that display the greatest success today are those that are engaging with the global economy, allowing market prices to balance supply and demand and to allocate scarce resources.”

If these trends seem to be working so well to help the extreme poor around the world, shouldn’t we also focus on them to help the needy in our country?

I’m writing today as a contributor to the Christian Writers Blog Chain. Our theme for this month is “Leap.” Christianwriters.com is an excellent place to network if you’re a Christian writer or author. Please visit these other members:

Zambia’s Tree Shortage Increases Poverty

Zambia is one of the highest rated countries for deforestation, in fact, it is ranked in the top five. Why?

  • Increasing demand for firewood and charcoal, especially in urban populations.
  • Charcoal making and slash-and-burn farming yield short-term gains, but long-term destruction of the environment.

You could say that rural families are quite literally burning through their children’s inheritance.

Bright Hope recently began work on Mbabala Island in Zambia and found the island to be a devastating example of the impacts of deforestation. With just over 5,000 people living on the island, all of the trees, except for a few fruit varieties have been chopped down. The expense of importing wood from the mainland is high. Families who can’t afford to buy wood make a five mile round trip walk around the island looking for scrap to burn.

Many resort to burning grass, which results in under-cooked food and poor or no water sterilization. Poor hygiene is also an issue as bathing is reduced when only cold water is available. The standard of living declines because families spend the majority of their money on firewood instead of food, school and clothing.

Fortunately, with a little education and ingenuity, the situation on Mbabala Island can be reversed. Working through island churches loans will be provided to help people plant tree farms. The loans will enable poor families to plant a multitude of trees that are fast-growing and great for use as building materials.

Changing lives by providing a micro-loan is a simple and effective way to lift people out of poverty without giving handouts and creating dependency.  Click here to SUPPORT THE MBABALA ISLAND PROJECT.

Upcoming Special Events:

Bright Hope is hosting two Bright Hope Council and Board of Advocate events featuring our Zambian Partnership Developers, Mark and Carmen Brubacher.  The first is in downtown Chicago, 131 S. Dearborn, 30th Floor,  on March 8th, 2012 at 7:30AM-9:00AM and the second at Bright Hope in Hoffman Estates, IL on March 9th, 2012 at 10AM.   If you would like to receive an invitation and RSVP for either of these events please contact Madelynn Reyes at Bright Hope 224-520-6133. 

Click these links for more information about becoming a MEMBER of Bright Hope or to join our Bright Hope COUNCIL or BOARD OF ADVOCATES.

10 Things Every Pastor Needs to Know about Helping the Extreme Poor.

This is a copy of a popular post from 2011.


1.       Partner with a local indigenous church.

2.       Partnerships should impact the poor and marginalized; the orphan, widow, refugee, disabled, and disenfranchised.

3.       Partnerships should be holistic:  impacting the physical (food, clothing, medicine, shelter, water, education) economic (jobs, micro-loans, training) and spiritual (evangelism, discipleship, church development) well-being of the poor.

4.       Don’t send teams from your church until your relationship with the indigenous leadership is solid, the vision is cast, and it’s determined how progress will be measured and celebrated.

5.       Crawl before you walk, walk before you run.

6.       If you don’t recognize the American cultural mindset your church brings to the partnering relationship, sooner or later this will derail the partnership.

7.       An experienced Christian ministry can help overcome cultural differences, be the peacemaker when difficulties arise, help keep the partnership focused and away from rabbit trails.

8.       An experienced Christian ministry can also help you broaden the impact of the partnership in your own congregation on all levels, not just the “missions” groupies.

9.       Your partnership should impact every person in the partner’s church as well as in your own.

10.   Helping those living on less than $1.00 a day will powerful challenge and spiritually grow your church members unlike any other activity they will experience.

The Poor Are Thankful Too – 9 Reasons

I have  been working with the extreme poor, people who live on less than $1.00 a day, for over 18 years.  Over these years there has been many sorrows, seeing the conditions in which they live and the tragedies they experience.  However, seeing the world through the eyes of the poor has also broadened my world view and made me exceedingly thankful for the things I have and the people in my life.

Having sat in hundreds of church services in some of the world’s poorest communities I have found the extreme poor to be wonderful examples of people of faith and hope.  Some have become my heroes and many I admire  for their deep love for God in the midst of pain and struggle.

Below are nine things I have witnessed the poor thank God for, while living in extreme poverty:

  1. The Small Things:  Maybe it is earning 25 cents today, or having electricity for an extra hour, or having a pencil to take to school this morning, the extreme poor are grateful for little things that come their way.  What we take for granted, poor Christians are giving thanks to God for them.
  2. Daily Provision: When you don’t have a refrigerator, a bank account, or a regular paying job the fact that there is food for you and your children to eat is not overlooked.  Waking up this morning, I didn’t give much thought about where my next meal was coming from, but for the poor, today’s challenge is providing today’s meal.  My father would always pray before each meal “For what we are about to receive, may we be truly thankful”.   Amen.
  3. A Christian Community:  We don’t naturally think that living in a crowded slum area, people would experience loneliness.  However, scripture says, “The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, while the rich have many friends”, Proverbs 14:20.  However, if you are Christian living in an African slum and there is a church nearby, you have a place to go and fellowship with other brothers and sisters in Christ.  They may not be able to help you financially but spiritual comfort and prayer support are huge blessings to the poor.
  4. Standing before God: In India, an often taught passage of scripture is Galatians 3:28, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”  At the foot of the cross, there is no caste system, no rich nor poor.  The church is the only institution where poor and rich can sit in the same row and worship together.  The poor are thankful for the love and respect shown to them by God.
  5. Protection:  A slum community is one of the most dangerous places on earth.  Drunkenness, drug use, and gangs make slums a violent and volatile place to live.  1 Peter 5:7-9 says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith…”.  No one feels more vulnerable to the “enemy” than a person with no savings, no job, and no home.  God is their fortress and their trust is in Him for protection.
  6. Health:  In a poor community a cold can easily turn into pneumonia, a mosquito bite can lead to Malaria, a cup of water can bring dysentery, a cut can become infected and lead to other more serious illnesses.  Doctors and medicines are hard to come by so when you are healthy you give thanks to God.
  7. Rain: A severe drought is currently taking place in the Horn of Africa.  Many people fall into extreme poverty because of such conditions.  When was the last time you thanked God for rain?
  8. Jesus: He is our Savior and friend.  For the poor, faith in Jesus gives hope for eternity.  Never having to live in a garbage dump or shanty house again, and knowing your future house is a mansion with streets of gold and no more illness, suffering, or death is a wonderful hope.
  9. You:  Whenever I travel I tell the poor about the donors to our projects.  I share how a nine year old boy raked leaves to raise money for the food program.  I tell them about the family who prays for them and has given a small amount every month for the last year so their children can go to school.  I share how an elderly couple gave part of their life’s savings through their will to fund 30 orphans to go to college for the next four years.  The poor know your gifts to them are a sacrifice and they thank God for you and your generosity.

The life of a poor person is hard; I don’t think I would survive long living on less than $1.00 a day.  It is awful and grotesque, but out of these horrible conditions come some of the Godliest people I have ever met.  They love, trust and thank God for simple things that I take for granted almost every day.

Please leave a comment about what you are thankful for this Thanksgiving.

November comes from the Latin word “novem”, which means the number “nine”.  Each member of the Christian Writers Blog Chain is writing this month using a theme of “nine”.  Check them out at www.ChristianWriters.com

Water Bottle = Light Bulb?

Simple concepts can be life-changing for the extreme poor. Watch this terrific video about lighting homes of the poor with a simple water bottle.  Amazing stuff if we only take a look at what God has already provided.

We can bring these types of simple innovations to the poor, if you help.  Spread the word to your Facebook friends, tweet about it, and support agencies helping the poor, i.e. Bright Hope

What do you think about this concept?  Does it inspire you?

Do me a favor and leave a comment and subscribe to my blog.

%d bloggers like this: