What if you were born into extreme poverty? Take a minute to walk in your brother's flip flops.
Living in poverty, you don't have the money for milk, vegetables, and nutritious food. By the time you are a teen, you have lost five adult teeth and aren't surprised when a sixth one breaks off while you're eating chicken at a friend's house. Your dad leaves you because he's feeling worthless and looking for a financial escape. Your mother dies when you are 13. School is difficult because you are always hungry and you can't think clearly. You can't do homework because it gets dark around 6:30 in the tropics and you don't have electricity. You have diarrhea often because you can't afford bottled water or toilet paper. It's hot in your 6 x 8 plywood shack with one cinder block wall, so you lie down on piece of damp cardboard on the dirt floor. Your 4-year old sister cries because she is hungry. When you drop out of school at 14, you shut the door on future employment and lock yourself into the prison of poverty. You are one of millions in the Global Church on planet Earth. You ask Jesus to send you help. Will He hear your desperation? He sends a family who brings you hope. Jesus starts a school for you. Jesus sends you a team of Christians who mentor, educate, and pastor you. Inside of you, where it had died long ago, hope is born again.
The riptide of generational poverty can be escaped. Normal, everyday people have to go to give a hand up, out of the current. It starts with the gospel and a smile. It continues with discipleship, meals together, homework help, starting a school, mentoring teenagers, teaching parenting classes, and helping college students get jobs and earn scholarships. It ends when those students grow up, get married and have the skills to raise their children Biblically. For Christians in the Global Church, the question we should ask God is, "Will I go or will I send?"
All born-again Christians are part of the global church. We've all escaped from the wrath to come and are supposed to live lives of thankfulness and purpose. As Christians, our purpose is to glorify God with our talents, time, and resources, and make disciples. That is a full-time life, so to speak. It is also something that is very difficult to do if you live in hunger, survival mode, and struggle with feeling worthless. It is impossible to glorify God with your talents when you've never developed those talents and gifts. If you live in extreme poverty, you have struggles that many of your other siblings in Christ have no concept of. You need some mature Christians to come to you, encourage you and build you up: Build you up into a Christian who can glorify God with your talents, resources and relationships.
For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:9-11.
We're a family on mission to bring the good news of Jesus to the Philippines.