The Hardest Question to Hear…
Partnering with Lufafa, a Ugandan, to help bring development and sustainability to his community, has brought up a question and statement from others when I tell others about my involvement with Lord’s Compassion Ministry.
“Why should we focus on helping children in another country when we have children in America that need help? We need to focus on children in America first.”
Maybe you are shocked right now as I was when I heard the above question and statement. Though I was shocked and honestly a bit upset, this is a good question and we will explore it.
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” Galatians 9-10
We can’t ignore the totally wrong dichotomy that says we have to pick to between partnering with people in other countries versus people in our own community or country.
We each have different callings.
We are ultimately called to fill the needs of the body (1 Corinthians 12:7), but that doesn’t mean we are called to a specific ministry per say or that we will have a single calling. The calling may not even be life long, although it may. In the end, we are called to love God, love others, and take care of others.
We can be involved in BOTH. There is nothing wrong with focusing our efforts locally and internationally. We are called to love our neighbor and our neighbor is anyone, not just someone in our local community. James calls this the “royal law” in 2:8 to love our neighbor. Loving our neighbor as ourselves is also one of the greatest commandments (Matthew 22). It may be hard at times, however when we hold on to Jesus’ teaching and apply them we live in freedom.
Why we should avoid comparisons.
Comparing poverty in America versus extreme poverty in other countries should be avoided. People are suffering and struggling and comparing does nothing to help the situation. We all have a part to play, so let’s stop comparing and get to action!
Extreme poverty, according to the World Bank, is anyone living on less than $1.90 a day. In Uganda, the government lacks in having safety nets or social service programs in place to help people who are struggling. Often times, children are not able to be treated for preventable diseases and health issues because families are unable to afford the taxi ride to the government hospital let alone pay for the hospital fees before treatment is provided. Many people do not have access to clean water and stable income. Many families rely on sales from crops they grow; if their crop is struggling to produce; chances are the family will go hungry. Sending children to school is costly for families as well. Parents have to pay fees, supply scholastic materials, and buy uniforms. For families making a dollar a day or less, it is a struggle to send their children to school. Now think about children that don’t have parents or any adult willing to take care of them. Children often go without an education and the cycle of poverty continues. Once children reach a certain age and haven’t had a consistent attendance in school, the schools may consider the child too old to be in school. Thus, children often find a life of stealing and making other bad decisions. This is why LCM focuses on education, medical care, and development.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27).