What do impoverished Ethiopians and homeless men in Bellevue, WA have in common? Our NGO, Living Perspectives, serves both by bringing education, empowerment and encouragement. Those individuals beings served, though separated by a 21 hour air journey and a seemingly different culture, have the same challenges and aspirations expressed in different ways. They aspire to a better life, productive work and peace of mind.
I just returned from Ethiopia where we have created jobs for the poor, shared the gospel with men prisoners in a regional prison, starting a vocational sewing program for women inmates in the same prison, and met with officials of the school we built for the poorest of the poor families.
As spiritual director and board member of Congregations for the Homeless, an outreach to homeless men in Bellevue, WA, I have the privilege to mentor these men, co-lead a twice a week Bible study and bring counsel and hope.
It is a privilege to educate, equip and encourage Ethiopians and homeless men who are seeking productive lives and sharing God’s love for them. This kind of outreach brings hope and pathways for progress not just the “social justice” mantra that is more political than practical.
This Thanksgiving season, I am praising God for the poor, the prisoners and the widows he has placed in our life. Through God’s word we are enjoined to help the poor, visit the prisoners, and take care of the widows and the orphans. I rejoice this year as being a soldier in God’s army to bring hope to those who have poverty of possessions, body and spirit.
“If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother.” Deuteronomy 15:7