November 28, 2014

It's All About the Money...Or Is It?

Blog Archives:

As part of our current Sponsorship Campaign to recruit 50 new Sponsors by December 5th, we'll be doing a series of posts that explore the world of development and what transformation REALLY looks like - past our own perceptions and misconceptions and into the lives of those who have been working for change around the world.

Today we'll be sharing another portion of a testimony by Randy Lodder, who serves as Director of Adoration Christian Centre - a project of Word & Deed - in Port au Prince, Haiti. He has seen how money can often be thought of as the solution to all problems, but that God’s way of encouraging his people’s use of their own talents and assets always results in a much better solution.

Poverty sucks.  Not so much the material, but the results or causes of it: loneliness, feelings of worthlessness, oppression, despair, hopelessness, hunger, pain, fear, injustice and violence, lawlessness and disorder, voicelessness, and sickness, just to name a few.

Coming to live in Haiti, I saw a lot of problems that needed to be fixed and I viewed my role as the official solver of these problems.   I focused a lot of my time dealing with the many problems that people faced.  People would come to me with their problems all the time and this would weigh heavily on me, as there are many difficult circumstances here in Haiti.  This is probably one of the hardest things about living here.  It wipes you out emotionally as you try to understand everyone’s situation and seek to help them the best you can.  The struggle is that all of these things are important and people are legitimately suffering and how am I going to respond to them?  Well, imagine if I gave a dollar to everyone who asked me – I would be broke right away.  This type of aid is definitely appropriate in some situations, but for the most part, it is harmful.   

This was a hard lesson for me to learn.  Saying “no” to people, and not encouraging a hand-out mentality. 

I am here to serve, encourage, support and help, but this does not mean I can solve all their problems.  That God-complex is something which I had to repent of and one which I understand more clearly as I continue to seek to serve the people in this community.  I don’t have the solutions for all the problems here, and it is not my role to provide the solutions.  As a matter of fact, it is the other way around.  I try not to fall into the temptation of providing a solution to a problem, but just listen, encourage, and probe, and leave the solutions up to the people.

I am learning so much about cross-cultural servanthood and community development here in Haiti.

I have seen a big truck full of money go by this country and not do a whole lot of anything. 

I have witnessed good development and aid practices, and horrible ones.  I have personally practiced some good principles and also some horrible ones.   I definitely continue to make many mistakes daily, but continue to desire to grow as a servant of the LORD Jesus Christ, as I wrestle with how to effectively love and serve the community in which I am working.   I am always reminded by the words of John the Baptist, who heralded the awesome news of the coming of the King, the Redeemer, the Restorer, God with us, when he said, “He must become greater, I must become less.” (John 3:30) The people need more of Jesus and less of me.  That is a good truth, a good reminder.”

The truckload of money that went by Haiti was not the solution.  God is the solution, and he is powerfully at work in the hearts and lives of Haitians.  We need to remember that people are much more than numbers – they are awesome creations of God who have skills and talents that God has given to them to be encouraged and empowered to transform their communities!

That's why our theme this year is More Than a Number - reminding us that each person is created in the image of God. Our Sponsorship Program helps us focus on this truth by sharing stories of teachers, students and their families who are impacted as we support our partner's efforts to promote quality, Christ-centred education in their communities.

Become Part of the Equation - enroll as a Sponsor today!

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