I am raving mad today. Frustrated at something that is all around me every day, yet I can’t seem to ever wrestle it down. I want to scream at it, to get above it, to rally everyone I know to fight against it, yet I am not sure we have what it takes to win.
Next to our house lives a woman who has two young children, their father has never been in the picture, she works odd jobs around the neighborhood and earns hardly enough to make ends meet. About a month ago the small shack she was living in was torn down by the owner who wanted to build something bigger, and she moved into a house right behind ours that is under construction.
Literally, this mother is living in a small room of a house that has only been finished to the concrete, where windows should go there are scraps of metal that have been attached to the wall.
For the past year we have been helping a bit here and there, offering work for her, giving clothes for the kids, and even helping with money at times when we felt God leading. Then last week we decided that it was time to do something more sustainable, to help this family that God has put before us in a big way. We spoke with some local friends and together we decided that the best help would be to put money towards setting up a small injera (local food) shop that she could work at. We decided that she would pay us back over time so that she felt invested in the effort and would look to sustain it in the long term.
The plan sounded perfect.
Then, when we tried to explain the plan to her as best we could, but the response we got was. “No!”
“Why not” We pressed. Completely confused.
“I want you to take my children and give them a better life” She said as she gestured to the two young children who were standing by her feet looking up at me with smiles on their faces.
“But you are their mother, and you are a good mother!” I said.
This was not the first time that she has offered her children, I once wrote on here about a letter that this same mother gave to us telling us that she wanted to give her kids to us.
“I don’t want them any more” She insisted, as she gently pushed on the children’s backs, scooting them closer to me.
What makes me so mad at this is that this was the response to an offer for her to climb out of poverty, the shop would make enough money to get them into a good house, and even help put three meals on the table each day.k
Later on Jessie and I talked about what might be stopping her, and although we don’t understand her story completely, we have seen it all before, poverty and lack of education is a nasty combination, one that most are unable to see past. When we talk of moving forward, all she can see is the past, and the struggles.
Darn it, I want to scream and yell, I want to tell this woman that she is a good mother, I want her to see the value that she is to her kids, but none of it gets through! She wants out, and not because she does not love them, but because she can’t fathom that she is anything but a poor woman who has no future.
And I understand, I really do. Imagine what she has been through, imagine where she grew up, and her mother, what was that like? How many generations of poverty run in her family?
I am not trying to say the battle is hopeless, or that we are going to give up on this family, but I am saying that it is hard. And the more time that passes when the poor aren’t helped to stand on their own two feet, the harder it becomes to offer real help.
All I can say is this. God, let there be light in this darkness please! Come and start changing things!
My prayer is for solutions, for plans that work, for resources to implement these plans and for an army of Christians who are not going to let go until things get better.
Are you with me?
This is a battle that we have to understand that we are loosing today, and to win will require a hundred times the effort that we have already put into it, and infinitely more resources.
Poverty is fierce, and will not go away without a fight. But we are the army that will take on this battle, and we will win!
Will you stand with us against poverty, stand for real lasting solutions no matter the cost to us personally?
Bring Love In is a part of this solution, I know that, I see that each of the 45 kids who we have in our families are no longer in in the grip of poverty and darkness, and these kids are going to be leaders one day that help others rise up and see a brighter future. I know that, but I also know that we are up against so much more, and I pray these kids, these seven families are just the beginning of a battle that will help end the war.