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Posts Tagged ‘poverty’

Poverty in Guatemala

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

A boy wandering in the trash at the Guatamal City dump.

By MJ Zelaya-

As the trucks come into the dump working rush to sort through the rubble.Not only does Africa contain some of the poorest countries in the world, but there is also one country in the Americas, a very small country called Guatemala, where people exist and live in inhumane conditions.

And it’s hard to say this when you are talking about the country where you were born.

Poverty can be defined generally as a situation in which households or individuals do not have sufficient resources or skills to meet the needs of those individuals. In the national survey of living conditions in 2011, more than 13 million inhabitants, above 50% of the population in Guatemala live below the poverty line— with more than seven million people living in extreme poverty.

And it’s why thousands of Guatemalans decide to emigrate to other countries, risking their lives simply to seek better opportunities. Poverty in Guatemala is cataloged in two ways, from “poor” to “extreme poverty.” People living in extreme poverty live on $1 a day. That dollar is supposed to cover their basic needs, and in reality they have only one: eat to survive.

A vicious circle is created over generations that is hard to escape because you have such limited options: without education the new generation follows the same pattern… work hard to get the minimum to eat and survive, or die.

Children, like this girl are the most vunerable to poverty's effects.It’s a daunting but very real scenario. Just walk around the cities of Guatemala — you can see people in need in the streets, poor people trying to get by with God’s help, needing Him to be true to what it says in Scripture: give us today our daily bread (Mathew 6:11).

A lot of those who are better off try to indulge being islands, keeping to themselves — no matter what is happening around them, they are only satisfying their OWN needs and forgetting God’s heart — to help the poor.

And that’s why Forever Changed International supports those in need, working to meet the many needs Guatemalans suffer. Through outreaches in our missions program you can make a real difference. The many children and families we serve throughout Guatemala eagerly wait for Forever Changed International to bring teams of people to share Christ’s love with them as well as provide them with what we would consider basic living essentials. Soap and a pair of shoes can brighten the eyes of a 5-year-old boy more than you can imagine. Apply for a trip today!

Coming to Guatemala is a real eye-opener. The suffering will change your mind and your point of view. It will show you how many are truly hungry, and that you have been privileged to be born and raised in a country with a multitude of opportunities —a very different life to live. Even more so it will help you gain a kingdom perspective. One mission tripper put it this way, “Seeing their hearts for the Lord displayed with Dorie’s Promise children, the communities we visited and with our team was very impacting on us. Every person on our team has expressed the positive life experience our time at Dorie’s Promise has produced.”

A home in the ghettoBut poverty is affecting many things in our country: starving children are being exploited physically, emotionally, and sexually — a reason why Dorie’s Promise, our orphan home in Guatemala, is so important.

Dorie’s Promise Guatemala changes the lives of those most vulnerable to poverty’s effects – children. They come to us lacking the emotional, physical, mental, and, most important of all, spiritual fundamentals they need to break free from the cycle of poverty. You have the opportunity to lift a child out of poverty and into a loving home by becoming a sponsor! Sponsorship does more than just provide them with the basics of life – food and shelter.  Your sponsorship fills their life with love, hope, education, and care.

The Switch and the Samaritan

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

Serving the Poor

Part seventeen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

Founder Heather RaduGod loves you all the time. He does not quit for a day, hour, even a second. I think that is one of the most beautiful things about being a Christian. God’s love never changes. When I show love to people, the quality of that love sometimes depends on my mood. Sometimes, unfortunately, my mood is not the greatest. I think this is true of most of us, isn’t it?

Sometimes when we serve the poor in our communities, the love we have for people has a sort of “on/off” switch. When you go to the community center, or the food pantry, or wherever you serve, you are “on.” You talk with people, you help fill their physical needs, and you share the love of Jesus with them. You might even develop a sort of friendship with the people you meet there.

The sort of ministry described above takes a lot of energy. When you are exhausted after a long day, the temptation to flip your switch to the “off” position is very tempting. You might walk down the street and see a man laying on the sidewalk and think, “I’ve done my part today. Please, God, send someone to help this man.” Then you walk on by.

Does that scenario sound familiar? It should because it is very much like the parable of the Good Samaritan! In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus tells us about the man who had been robbed, and how the respectable people passed by because they were too busy “serving God.” They did not have time to get their hands dirty. But truly, getting their hands dirty was exactly what God wanted them to do.

At this point you might be thinking, “thanks for the guilt trip.” But making people feel guilty is not the point. What I really want to do is to remind myself and everyone who reads this that serving the poor, and loving people in general, is not a job we do. It is not a task we perform. Serving those in need should be a natural outgrowth of our love for God. When we love God, his love will fill us up and give us the strength to serve others without reverting to an “on/off” mentality.

I encourage you to seek The Lord every day and ask him for strength to love like that Samaritan.

Flourishing for Everyone

Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Signs of poverty -l iving in a shack like this.

Part sixteen of our Missions Matter Series, come back each week to find out more about serving those around your home and community as well as around the world. God has given us the power to be His witnesses! Start today…

By Heather Radu-

A road through a poor neighborhood in GuatemalaOver 2500 years ago, the Jewish nation was conquered and many people were carried off to Babylon. Can you imagine how it might feel to be torn away from your home like that? You might feel bitter, or angry. You would feel like you were in a place you did not belong, and you would probably want to go home.

If I had been taken from my home, I would want God to set me free, and maybe to destroy the city of those who had taken me away! The surprising thing is that God did not want the Jews acting this way. He did not want them to be bitter toward the people and cities of Babylon. Instead, God told the prophet Jeremiah to tell people to work for the health of the city.

I think a part of living as a Christian is working for the health of our cities. Like the Jews in Babylon, we are strangers in this world. We represent Jesus well when we bring goodness to the places we live.

It would be easy at this point to start thinking about working with the local movers and shakers, and how much good we could do through influencing them, but it is important for us to remember the poor. If we make our city beautiful and line the pockets of those who are already wealthy, what good have we done? On the other hand, if we elevate the poor, we have helped those who genuinely need it.

So if we are determined to help our cities, how can we make sure the poor aren’t left behind? For one thing, it is important to make sure the poor haven’t just been run out of town or forced out of sight. That is a surface level change that ignores the dignity of those in need. Instead, ask for God to give you insight on how to develop relationships with the people you minister.

Another way to make sure the poor are not left behind is to be intentional in including them in your planning. They understand what they need better than we do because they are living in these communities full time. If you ask for their help you are acknowledging that they are genuinely valuable and made in God’s image. In that way you will help your city, and everyone in it, flourish.

Fighting Poverty and Bringing Hope Through Community Projects

Wednesday, July 30th, 2014

Serving the poor in Guatemala City.

By MJ Zelya –

Since our ministry began in 2000, Dorie’s Promise has served many needy people in the communities of Guatemala City.Working in the local communities around Guatemala City is a benefit and an alternative measure to help those who do not have the resources to care for themselves. Guatemala is a poor country where eight of 10 people live in extreme poverty, and poverty is especially harsh in rural areas. According to the World Bank, many families live on $1-2 per day. It is difficult to imagine being able to take care of basic needs with that amount of money. As a Guatemalan citizen I can tell you: that amount would barely be enough to cover three meals a day for one person, I cannot imagine how entire families survive on it.

The vulnerability and risk that exist in communities of extreme poverty obstruct opportunities for everyone in building lives of their own. It is increasingly difficult to visualize any other type of life because of the basic limitations on food, education, and medicine.

According to the Human Development Report of the United Nations, Guatemala ranks at 125 out of 187 countries — leaving it in the bottom third of all countries.

That’s why in addition to providing a home and care for children who have been abandoned or negligently treated by their parents, we want to bring blessings to those in need in the communities surrounding us. At the same time, we know the problem of poverty, and a lack of resources means more children will need care. Many of those children will be sent to state orphanages, who are themselves struggling with resources.

Working in the community moves us forward. As we help improve the living condition of people in poverty, we know the aid we’re providing will have a positive impact on the community, and ultimately society, breaking the cycle of poverty.

A team prepares the ground for a cement floor.Since our ministry began in 2000, Dorie’s Promise has served many needy people in the communities of Guatemala City. Our focus in these service projects has been to help people by giving them what they need to improve their living conditions. Sometimes it’s as simple as giving them a water filter (so need in areas where purified water is not found). By pouring a cement floor we can help make their home a sturdier living environment. By providing a family with a pila (a kind of sink) where they can wash their clothes and dishes, we help multiple generations live cleaner, healthier lives. All of this work changes lives.

And even more than that: In putting faith into motion, we demonstrate the real love and hope they can find in God. We’d love for you to join us in this effort — to experience work that makes a real difference. We conduct trips all year long. It will be worth your time to spend a week with us.

We know many organizations fight against poverty, and that there is a lot of competition for your dollar when it comes to helping people like those in Guatemala rise out of poverty. Making a trip to Dorie’s Promise isn’t just doing a good thing, it’s doing something that really matters!

Seeing Poverty

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

Poverty. It’s ugly. So ugly, in fact, that we shield ourselves from it. In the U.S., a person making less than $11,344 a year falls into the poverty category. Yet in Guatemala, the average income is around $2,800*. Poverty is rampant in Guatemala; it’s one of the poorest countries in Latin America. Approximately 75% of the population lives in poverty.

At Dorie’s Promise, our vision is to meet the needs of the most vulnerable children in the world. We work to provide a place for these orphans to find a loving home. Through our missions program, we are also working to help those living in poverty in the neighborhoods surrounding the orphanage. We believe that these programs can be life-changing, and not just for the families in the ghetto and the dump.

If you have been on a mission trip to Guatemala through Forever Changed International, you’ve likely experienced that change yourself. We’re working on a special blog for World Poverty Day, and we want to know your experiences. Email us if you’d be willing to be featured in the article.

*Stats from the National Poverty Center, UNdata, and the World Bank.

New Pila in the Dump – Family Thrilled!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

October 2011

By Desi Stephens

Last week I wrote about the partnership Dorie’s Promise has with Safe Passage, a group providing education and social services to hundreds of children.

One of the many stories that has arisen from this partnership is the pila—a water station—that one of our mission teams installed for a poor family living near the city dump.

The team consisted primarily of teens from the youth group at Central Church of the Nazarene in Flint, Michigan. They got connected to us through fellow member Cinda Rachor, one of our board members now in the process of adopting a girl from us.

This particular family sorts through garbage to find paper, plastic bottles, tin and other items that they can sell to different vendors.

The team met them after starting their day with representatives from Safe Passage. Installing the pila brought the mission volunteers considerable rewards.

“I was personally blessed by helping them and seeing their faces after we put it in their house,” Jeff Glitz says.

“The joy they expressed over just having something to keep water in to wash their clothing and dishes just made my day.”

C.J. Pettus says the experience opened her eyes to a lifestyle that she couldn’t imagine living. Yet the people they helped were amazing, she says.

“We only had a simple water station to give them, but they gave us so much love,” says C.J. “I can say that some of the most gracious hosts I have ever had came from an unexpected location. Meeting them showed me the importance of relationships instead of objects.”

Mission Coordinator Joel Juarez says the pila proved to be a great happiness for the family.

Their old pila had broken and all the water flooded their work area, sometimes spoiling the paper they collect.

“It is very useful for them, especially for their daughter because she can wash her clothes and all the dishes from the family,” Joel says. “The new pila is something very special.”

The family appreciates more than the water station, though. They love the mission team visits, the food they receive weekly, and the clothing that some teams have brought them, he says.

Helping poor families in the community not only expands the work Dorie’s Promise does, it has been an eye-opener for Joel.

“My life will never be the same,” Joel says. “It is easy to walk close to these areas and shrug, ‘poor people.’ But being with them, getting to know them and their stories, and learning about their dreams make me feel God is giving me an opportunity to do something for them.

“My life has been forever changed. God has shown me things that are really important, like family values, and to appreciate what we have. Because people living in bad conditions are thankful with what they have.”

SPECIAL NOTE: We are still working to totally fund out medical program for the children of Dorie's Promise.  We need your help and support.  Consider a special gift today!