There are two camps, one camp says, ‘Short team help is a waste of time, only long term help will truly meet the need.’ The other camp says, Long term help takes too long and only helps a few people. We believe we need both, a commitment to long term short term help, and a commitment toward long term investment. We need both to help bring relief to people in poverty and to help people out of poverty.
This means we can serve the less served with a little, or with a lot. Both are more than good enough. Your little you give to serve others, is much more than those who do nothing or give nothing.
One man challenged me, he said that Christians were all hypocrites(internally I agreed, all are, me included) and that they did nothing to help the real needs like feeding the hungry, or helping kids in poverty or meeting medical needs. In the conversation I stated what I was doing to help to meet some needs. I can’t meet all the needs but I could meet some.
My wife and I had adopted Quiche Indian kids in Guatemala for over 20 years, we consistently serve helping the poor with food and clothing, and we helped send medical supplies to Haiti. I then asked him what he was doing to meet the needs of the poor? Seems he was doing nothing.
Not to be smug, well maybe I was, but I did think, ‘I like what I am doing better than what you are not doing.’ We continued our conversation I discovered he had been burnt by some ‘Christians’ who weren’t very Christ-like and was pretty jaded. Been there?
Often we discover we arrive at just the right time. One man with tears in his eyes asked, ‘I heard you were cutting back and not coming to Dayton anymore?’ I assured him that we were gonna be here for as long as possible. He then replied, ‘I don’t know what I’d do without your help.’ He was one of those innocent ones of our city who needed hope and reassurance.
It’s amazing that some people have given us a hard time for our connection to the people we consistently help. Framed in ‘you are not really being real to the people and you are not developing long term relationships.’ The truth, long term relationships are being developed and people are serving specific individuals and caring consistently over time.
One couple has built a relationship with a prostitute. They know her name, spend time with her, purchase new clothing and generally are her lifeline to sanity.
A Listening Ear- Listening to a persons story encourages the heart more than we understand. Everyone has a story. But not everyone has someone who wants to hear the story. Listening shows respect, gives honor and establishes a sense of self worth. Listening also shouts, I care for you.
When we first opened the Thursday breakfast I was talking to one of the men. When we were finished, I held out my hand to shake his and said, ‘Thanks for the conversation.’ He gripped my hand and said, ‘No sir, thank you for listening, it means more to me than you will ever know.’
When prayer is offered we repeatedly hear stories of how God has met their needs. Whether it be for healing, relationship restoration, jobs, etc.. They can point back to the day the prayer was prayed, up to the time the prayer was answered.
If you don’t live in Dayton… Why not begin from where you are, with what you have? Your little, or your a lot, will make a difference.