Poverty is Not a Statistic. Poverty is a Person

(I can’t tell you where I got that quote from. But it’s not mine).

Earlier this month, we had the privilege of having Peace from an organization called Tirzah International come to Santa Barbara and share her story and the organization’s story to handful of our church folks at our house.

My wife went to Africa in 2011 with Tirzah, and she got to share her story and her experience with our church.
She shared her experience after we all watched a video of the things that Tirzah does and the stories of the women Tirzah serves.
As she was sharing her experience, my wife got emotional and started crying.

After she had finished, she snuck back into the kitchen, where I was, and being the ever supportive husband, the first thing I thought of to say to her was, “Dude. Why you cryin’?”
Not the best time to joke…

She responded, “Because, I know these women [in the video]. I’ve met them. Talked to them. Got to know their story. I know who they are. I know what they’ve been through. And I know what their goals are. I know them!”

We become more invested when we start to know people.
We become more passionate when we start building relationships with people we are trying to help.

Distance helps foster comfort and being disconnected.
The further you’re away, the easier it is to ignore you. The easier it is to be unmoved. Uninvolved. Uninvested. Uninterested.

It’s easy to have your eyes start glazing over when you hear statistics about poverty.
But, when you know someone; when you start putting names and faces to those statistics; it becomes harder to ignore.

You begin to know them. Any stigma and stereotypes you held begin to fade. You feel uncomfortable, not because of the proximity of that person standing next to you, but because you want to help, but you just may not know how.

Eugene Cho said, “without relationships, people become projects.”
A statement that I wholeheartedly believe in.

I hope, we as a church, continue to try to build relationships with the people that we serve.

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