Can Poverty Really Change?


A tent city in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake

Can Poverty like this Really be Changed?

Ever feel like we’ll never put a dent in the deep poverty that exists in our world today?

In a place where government is dysfunctional, society is at war, formal jobs are scarce, natural disasters are pretty regular, disease is rampant, basic roads and schools barely exist, and so on … there’s no chance the people there will rise out of poverty. The deck is too stacked against them.

Is this where you’ve landed in your attitude toward poverty?

Poverty is seen as a vicious cycle that entraps. It’s like one link after another in a chain of need, until the chain is too long and heavy to break. So often that’s what we’re told. It’s also a reality we witness when we go to impoverished places.

Convinced that Changing Poverty is a Gloomy Prospect?

If not, how about some statistics to prove the overwhelming scope of poverty’s grip. The World Bank estimates that just about 50 percent of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lives on less than $1.25 a day (World Bank).

The same source said in 2010 that “1.2 billion of the world’s population remain entrenched in destitution.”

That’s billion with a “b.” They also estimate that 34 million people worldwide are living with HIV/AIDS. There’s no end to disheartening statistics I could cite.

Now, here’s the final nail in the coffin – the theological argument for despair in the fight against poverty.

We as Christians believe that humans are fundamentally in rebellion against their Maker who stands for the good, justice, love and truth that liberates. We are all in a state of depravity, and we understand that most people will never come into a relationship with Christ that truly transforms the heart.

Therefore, we should expect this world to be in a continual state of impoverishment. And then there is taking out of context what Jesus Himself said, “the poor you will always have with you.”

Ready to Give Up?

“Ok, ok,” you say. “I’m giving up on changing poverty.”

But hang on a second!

Take a minute to watch this video of Makhai, Uganda, a community that worked to get out of poverty. See some evidence for our faith, real life reasons why we at Food for the Hungry (FH)  don’t share the perspective of despair or resignation shared earlier.

If you have five minutes, watch this video of Bufukhula, Uganda – another community that found a way out of poverty.

In FH’s 43 years of walking with the most vulnerable, we’ve watched God change the course of a child’s life, put families back on a track of well-being, revive churches to be the agents of reconciliation they’re supposed to be – and yes, even end the poverty of entire communities! In the last four years, we’ve seen 171 communities stand on their own and out of poverty.

Are we excited about changing poverty? You bet. We want you to be too!

Before watching the videos, were you resigned to the fact that poverty is unsolvable? After watching the videos, how do you reconcile what you saw with the commonly-heard case for despair that I laid out earlier? Please comment below. I’d love to here your thoughts!



About Sean Mills

Married with 2 fine daughters 8 yrs. of service with Food for the Hungry My passion - to help stewards honor God with what He's placed in their hands.

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