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The Spirit of Poverty

September 15, 2016

Sending meaningful financial and human resources to faraway places like a small Batwa village in Burundi, Africa not only makes us feel good – it also changes us.  I’ve twice now visited this, one of the poorest places in the world.  Over the past three years I’ve come to better understand myself, my views on poverty, love and grace, how I listen to others, and how I can better impact my local community.  In addition to meeting some immediate physical needs, these outreach efforts can bring dignity, peace, hope and spiritual healing to those we partner with. After three years serving our friends in Burundi, I’ve learned that despite severe material poverty, there exists a deeper “spirit of poverty”.  The 140 families in the village of Bugenuzi, (our friends with whom we’ve committed to partner and journey with) share something very profound with you and me.  They long for healed relationships. They long to know God. They long for healthier marriages, dignity and trust from others, a future and purpose for their children, peace, security, to trust and be trusted, to be understood and respected – to love and be loved.  They cry and hurt over the exact same things we do here in the west. And in that way we all share in the same spirit of poverty. In fact it has little to do with material wealth or lack thereof. Reaching out internationally gives us a glimpse into other cultures and value systems and by doing so gives us a better glimpse into our own brokenness and need for love and forgiveness.  Sharing the Good News and being Jesus to others is a universal calling whether we do it locally, regionally, or globally.

Reaching out internationally gives us a glimpse into other cultures and value systems and by doing so gives us a better glimpse into our own brokenness and need for love and forgiveness. 

 

Note: The Chapel partners closely with an amazing organization called Harvest Initiatives who are committed to providing holistic care to people and training to indigenous leaders in Burundi, Africa. As of August 2016, the Chapel has sent three teams to assist with building houses, help train pastors and distribute food to children and adults. But it’s Harvest Initiatives that nurture vision and strategy, maintain staff, and provide daily developmental support in Bugenuzi. In 2012 and 2013 our village experienced an average of 72 deaths per year (6/month) of children under five due to lack of nutrition and basic medical attention. burundi-3  As a result of our partnership with Harvest Initiatives, there was only one child death in 2015 and none so far in 2016.  The long term strategy is to nurture and develop a self-sustaining community where outside aid and resources are no longer necessary. Generosity changes everything!

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