Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Christians are Helpingl those in Need

Although there is always room for growth, Christian churches, Para-Church Groups and compassionate individuals have been offering their help to needy people for two thousand years. In 1983 I was able to visit Kenya as the President of a Christian organization that was focusing on spiritual renewal. While there I saw huge problems with poverty and thousands of people living in squalor. It was depressing and overwhelming.

It was also uplifting and inspiring because I saw the work of dozens of Christian ministries from the US and other western nations who were giving of their blood, sweat and fortune to help the Kenyans build their own projects.

One of the most interesting was a small pond that came from a spring several miles away in the hills above the village. That spring fed pond provided water for all the people and cattle in the village. I discovered that a semi retired couple from Seattle, Washington had traveled to Kenya on several occasions to help them build the pipeline from the hills to the village.

On their first trip the couple saw women with heavy loads of water on their backs traveling daily to and from the spring. their men helped place the huge burden onto the backs of the women but none helped carry the load. After looking the situation over, the couple decided to help the villagers build the pipeline so those women would be set free from such a horrible job.

The came to the Missionary and told him their plan. He reminded them that it might take several years for the village to decide to build the line and several more to figure out how to pay for it. Although the rich couple could have built it themselves and certainly paid for it, they knew it had to belong to the village completely and that meant decide how, when and who would pay.

It only took three years for the village to agree to the plan and another two to get it built and paid for by the villagers. But, after five years the people had running water and the women had respite from a terrible job. In addition, the villagers learned how to plan, build and pay for a big project. They also learned how to work cooperatively with rich white folks from the USA without losing their self respect.

I like the model that the Missionary and the couple from America came up with and I have attempted to use a similar model to equip Christians to care for each other. I am speaking at Xavier University for the Remarkable Families Symposium on Friday, March 2 and that is part of my message. Come and join with us as we share how to listen to and support the parents of kids with a disability.

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