by Amy Straub I used to assume that life must be joyless for those without all the material comforts that were commonplace to me. When I considered people who had only the clothes on their backs and just enough food for each day, my first and strongest reaction was pity. I felt it often in … Continue reading Seeing Dignity Instead of Misery Among the Poor
I was always blown away by the number of funerals. During the years our househelper in Tanzania worked for us, I lost count of how many times she asked for time off to attend a funeral for a family member. She was my age, but during those years she lost her mother. Her mother-in-law. A … Continue reading This Pandemic Can Help Us to Identify With the World’s Poor
by Rachel K. Zimmerman I was sitting at a table for four at one of the more exclusive country clubs in Florida. My friend and I were in fancy dresses, trying to enjoy a nice dinner with some relatives. I was headed back overseas a few days later. My anxiety always peaked a few days … Continue reading Are You Poor?
I learnt the hard way what NOT to do in poor communities. When I first came to Cambodia 22 years ago, the place was a mess. People were poor. Dirt poor. Frankly, you’d have had to be a heartless zombie not to respond. And the missionaries came flooding in. We were full of compassion and … Continue reading One question to help you evaluate ministry among the poor
My neighbors were evicted. I came home to find their worldly belongings – a couple of dirty sheets, a filthy pink pillow and assorted clothing – piled in a puddle outside my front door. They had previously been living crammed together in one of the tiny, windowless rooms that line our alleyway. Apparently our landlord … Continue reading There’s no such thing as the “deserving poor”
Partnering directly with poor churches is a promising way to do mission for affluent churches. Skip the middleman and Go Direct is the mantra of this internet age. I personally like the idea of this approach because of the possibility it holds for real, long-term, mutual relationships to emerge between rich and poor. But if you’ve … Continue reading How to partner with a poor church without screwing everything up
Katherine Boo talks about the western ‘conceit that poverty is ennobling.’ Tracy Kidder, in his book Mountains Beyond Mountains, quotes Paul Farmer, “There’s a WL (white liberal) line – the ‘They’re poor but they’re happy’ line.’ They do have nice smiles and good senses of humor, but that’s entirely different.” I am of the opinion … Continue reading Please Don’t Say, “They Are Poor But They’re Happy.”
by Jacob “Sure it’s got no natural light, but the water supply is good, and look, you even have your own toilet!” A potential landlady was showing us a room that was available for rent. We had just moved back to India from Australia and were getting back into our old roles doing community development … Continue reading What’s on Your Housing Wish List?
Seedlings I once took a class about missionary family health. The instructor pulled a seedling from its little terra cotta pot, exposing its threadlike roots. She held it up with two fingers. “Seedlings are fragile,” she said. “And they’re especially vulnerable when they’re being transplanted. The longer the roots are exposed, the more likely … Continue reading A Simple Tool to Increase Stability for TCKs During Transitions
Twelve years ago, I visited Indonesia for the first time. I was a twenty-two-year-old American citizen, freshly graduated from university, filled with hopes and dreams. I visited the Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor team, staying with them in a slum community. And I sensed Jesus inviting me to join them and make my home in … Continue reading Beyond Our Comfort Zones
by Rebecca Hopkins Are you cautious about being a “white savior” but still feel called to be involved in mission work in other cultures? Craig Greenfield’s newest book, Subversive Mission: Serving as Outsiders in a World of Need offers five categories—catalyst, ally, seeker, midwife, and guide—for the outsider who wants to be sensitive to pitfalls … Continue reading How to Serve Abroad Without a Savior Complex (an interview with Craig Greenfield)
by Joseph “What’s the point in helping people materially if there’s no change spiritually?” Our intern had been observing our work in a north Indian slum for a month or so. His question put words to something that had been bubbling in my subconscious mind for some time. For the past few years I’ve been … Continue reading I thought I was here to meet people’s physical needs. Jesus showed me I’m here to meet spiritual needs too.