04 November, 2008
The poverty cycle
I have to apologise for my lack of blogging lately. Thanks to the other bloggers for their excellent contributions. I saw this video today (thanks to some direction from Steve Court's blog) and it explains the situation that many of the young people I hang out with are facing. So many come from backgrounds where their family has lived in poverty for generations, leaving them trapped in a repetative cycle. For many, its all they have known and many are not encouraged or have the means to look beyond their circumstances. I was recently at the T3 conference in Melbourne with youth and children's workers from Australian Southern, Australian Eastern and New Zealand, Fiji And Tongan territories. We were blessed to have Commissioner Joe Noland speak to us and he summed this issue up brilliantly. He talked about how as Salvationists, we need to be people that peovide intervention for those trapped in the poverty cycle, even using his own testimony to show the changes that can occur. He also illustrated what happens when we don't intervene, which was a heart breaking discussion. He's got some great books that discuss it further - check out www.joenoland.com for more info. There is also an excellent video resource available called Altars in the Streets - a must see.
Crucial in this intervention has to be the message of the Gospel. I study social work at a secular institution and the seperation that exists there between intervention and the life changing power of God is something that I deeply struggle with. As Christians motivated by love, it is impossible to seperate the two. God's love is evident in everything that we do. In the kids that I work with and hang out with, this can look like a cell group where kids read the bible which helps to improve their literacy, thereby advancing their outlook on employment, as well as getting them into the word. Or it could be going into a school in a disadvantaged area and bringing hope, self dermination building games and exercises and maybe a christian band or two! I'm not suggesting that breaking generational poverty cycles is easy - far from it - but it is achievable, I've seen it! And I pray that I - and you - will continue to see it again and again.