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the h e a r t of the m a t t e r

A Wome n of Vis i on S tu dy

hope
in a world of
hurt

Page 1
ac know ledgements
World Vision Resources produced this educational resource in partnership with Women of
Vision. Copyright © 2009 by World Vision, Inc., Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way,
WA 98063-9716, wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.

Editorial Director: Milana McLead


Editor-in-Chief: Jane Sutton-Redner
Project Editor: Laurie Delgatto
Author: Beth Dotson Brown
Contributing Authors: Laurie Delgatto, Reneé Stearns, Cynthia Breilh
Project Consultants: Judy Bergman, Cynthia Breilh, Marilee Pierce Dunker, Karen Marion,
Reneé Stearns
Design: Journey Group, Inc.
Sales and Distribution Manager: Jojo Palmer

Printed in the United States of America

ISBN 978-09819235-2-9

The Scripture in this resource is from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL
VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by
permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

The quotes in lesson 2, page 8, and lesson 2, page 5, are from Bryant Myers, as found in
Walking with the Poor (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books 1999), pages 13, 51, and 81-82. Copyright
© 1999 World Vision International. All rights reserved.

The quote found in lesson 3, page 8, is from Mother Teresa in No Greater Love (Novato, CA:
New World Library 2002), page 46. Copyright © 2002 New World Library. All rights reserved.

The quotes found in lesson 4, pages 2 and 7, are from A Citizen’s Guide to Advocacy (Federal
Way: WA, World Vision, Inc. 2008), pages 6 and 9. Copyright © 2008 World Vision, Inc.

Instruction on advocacy in lesson 4 is drawn from ”Stewarding Our Influence for Justice:
Fulfilling Our Biblical Mandate to Speak for the Voiceless,” January 2009, by Tim Dearborn,
director of Christian commitments for World Vision International.

The litany prayer found in lesson 4, page 9, was used on Sept. 25, 2008, at an Interfaith
Service of Recommitment and Witness to the Achievement of the Millennium Development
Goals, at the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine in New York City, by the Ecumenical
Women of the United Nations. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
cover photo by andrew goodwin/world vision 2009

During the preparation of this resource, all citations, facts, figures, names, addresses,
telephone numbers, Internet URLs, and other cited information were verified for accuracy.
World Vision Resources has made every attempt to reference current and valid sources, but
we cannot guarantee the content of any source and we are not responsible for any changes that
may have occurred since our verification. If you find an error in, or have a question or concern
about, any of the information or sources listed within, please contact World Vision Resources.

Page 2
S e r i e s Ov erv iew

The Heart of the Matter is a biblically based, interactive study series that focuses
on three areas: how Christians are called to respond to the needs of the poor (Hope
in a World of Hurt); the root causes of poverty and how transformational develop-
ment brings hope and lasting change to communities and individuals (Communities
Transformed with Change that Lasts); and the ways in which extreme poverty and
injustice uniquely impact the lives of women and children (Touching the Lives of
Women in Poverty).

The study offers opportunities to:


» explore Scripture.
» personally reflect, share, and pray about injustices in the world.
» develop a greater understanding about poverty and oppression.
» participate in interactive learning experiences.
» learn about the transformational work of World Vision.

The combination of video, printed material, discussion and reflection questions,


simulations, quizzes, and other learning activities contribute to a multifaceted,
creative learning experience that is easy to lead and engaging for all participants.

St u dy Ov erv iew

Hope in a World of Hurt includes four lessons:

1. Called to Imitate Christ


Jesus demonstrated His heart for the poor through His life, His words, and His
deeds. He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and honored the small gifts of the poor
more than those of the rich. Jesus showed us how to love.

2. The Curtain that Veils Poverty


We must seek to see those who are poor through the eyes of God—as precious
women, children, and men whose very hairs are numbered, just like ours.

3. The Multiple Causes of Poverty


Jesus sought to understand the circumstances of all those He came across, inclu-
ding and especially the most vulnerable. With Jesus as our model, we too must
seek to understand the circumstances that create and perpetuate poverty and
oppression in the world and discern our call to serve “the least of these.”

4. Giving Voice to the Voiceless


Scripture calls all followers of Jesus to imitate Him in word and deed. Sometimes
that means doing more than feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. It calls on us
to give voice to the voiceless and speak out for those who have not yet had an opportu-
nity to develop their own voice or make themselves heard among decision-makers.

Page 3
U s i ng Th is St udy

This study is ideal for a group setting, although individuals can easily adapt it for
their use. Each lesson is designed for a 60 to 90 minute timeframe. Some lessons
might take a bit longer, so choose the sections and activities that work best for you or
your group.

L e adi ng Gro up Les s o ns

If you are leading a group, please review the Leader Notes that accompany each
lesson. Leader Notes, handouts, and other resources are available at
www.womenofvision.org/heart. These notes will help you facilitate a smooth-
flowing exchange among group members to build community, deepen faith, and
increase knowledge.

Read each lesson before you facilitate it; then use it creatively to meet the needs
of your group members. Knowing your audience will help you determine which
strategies will work best. Some activities require preparation. Expect to spend
20 to 30 minutes preparing for each lesson—praying, reading, working through
transitions, and contextualizing material. Also review the list of required materials,
which often include downloadable resources from the Web site noted above.

I n di vidual St udy

If you prefer to work through this study on your own, you can do so with some
minor adaptations. In addition to the lessons here, the Web site noted above provides
resources and a discussion board where you can build community with others who
are also participating individually.

Handouts, Videos, and Additional Resources

Each lesson includes a list of required supplies and materials. All handouts, videos,
and resources needed for each session can be downloaded from
www.womenofvision.org/heart.

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20 08 si o n
o rl d vi
la g o /w ue l
ju an m ig
L esson On e

called to imitate Jesus


Ove rview
Jesus demonstrated His heart for the poor through His life, His words and His deeds.
He fed the hungry, healed the sick, and honored the small gifts of the poor more than
those of the rich. Jesus showed us how to love.

K ey S c rip t ure
John 13:34

E s s e n t ial Q uest io n
Who are our neighbors, and how do we love them?

L e s s on Goals
» Develop a greater understanding of God’s heart for those who are poor.
» Reflect on God’s personal call to each of us and our response.

M at e rials
Pen, Bible, computer with Internet access, candle (optional).

o n l i n e RESOURCES from www.womenofvision.org/heart


» “God’s Heart for the Poor Gallery Walk” handout
» “Precious In His Sight” video
» “Prayer at 14,000 Feet in the Andes” handout
» “A Response to Homelessness” handout
» “Five Days of Hunger” video
» “History of World Vision” handout
» “History of Women of Vision” handout

Age n da
» Introductions and opening prayer » Choose a personal response
» View “Precious in His Sight” video (9 minutes) » Close in prayer
» Reflect on Scripture » Review homework and further
» Consider the situation in our world today study suggestions

Page 5
I n t r o duct io n and Op ening P rayer

1. Take some time to consider the following questions. Then share your
responses with the group or journal about them in the space below:

»W
 hat one issue do you hope to have resolved as a result of this study?

» Have you had an awareness-raising experience with local or global poverty? If so,
describe it.

2. Offer a prayer. Pray for guidance while exploring God’s call to serve those in
need. Spend a few minutes in silent meditation, concentrating on opening your heart
and mind to where this study might lead you.

Vi d e o

1. View the video “Precious In His Sight.” It provides a brief overview of the
plight of the world’s children living in poverty, raises some of the key issues, and
explores current efforts to bring hope and sustainable change aimed at the root
causes of poverty.

2. Share or journal about your impressions, thoughts, and feelings.


aklilu kassaye/world vision 2009

Page 6
Which of these responses best describes your reaction, and why?
[ ] I want to know more right away.

[ ] I feel too helpless to care for those in poverty.


If we are to be
disciples of Jesus, we
must love one another
as God loved us. Not
[ ] I want to get on a plane to begin helping now.
only love, but love as
Jesus loves us.

[ ] I don’t understand the needs.

[ ] Other: (explain)

S c ri p t ure Reflect io n

1. Read John 13:34.


The Gospel of John gives us a direct command that seems simple. What could be
easier and more fulfilling than loving someone? The first time a parent or a proud
aunt opens her arms to a newborn baby, her heart can feel like it’s going to burst with
love. This feeling repeats throughout life, at birthdays, graduations, weddings, and in
the daily smiles and hugs shared among friends and family.

But when we are asked to widen the circle of our loving relationships to strangers
in our communities and people we’ve never met, it can become more of a challenge.
This causes us to ask questions:

» Who is my neighbor?
andrew goodwin /world vision 2009

» What does loving them look like?

» How do I respond?

Page 7
Consider the questions in light of these examples:
»S  omeone in the Middle East is suffering from war-induced hunger.
» A homeless person asks for money.
»A  young boy in Tanzania is denied the opportunity to attend school because he
cannot afford the mandatory uniform or school supplies.
»M  any women in developing countries walk miles each day to bring even dirty
water to their families.
» Two million children a year are forced into labor or prostitution to earn
income.
»T  wo thousand children die each day from malaria, which has been eradicated
in North America and Europe.
»W  omen and children fleeing domestic violence and living in shelters or on the
street may not have health care.

The command Jesus gave His apostles makes it clear to each of us. If we are to be
disciples of Jesus, we must love one another as God loved us. Not only love, but love
as Jesus loves us. That’s quite a challenge coming from someone who sacrificed His
very life!

Share or journal your responses to the three questions above.

Loving as Jesus loves


is a daunting task
when we look at the
state of the world
today. But daunting
does not mean
impossible. Scripture
provides us with
countless examples 2. Read Luke 4:18, then share or journal your response to the following
of how to love our question:
neighbor.
a. What leaves a deep impression on you about Jesus’ life and ministry on earth?
sibus isiwe ndlovu/ wor ld v ision 2009

Page 8
b. We can compare how Jesus began his public ministry to today’s politicians
and company chiefs. For example:

»W  hen a politician announces his or her candidacy, the announcement


typically includes a platform—the things the politician plans to do.
»W  hen a company names a new CEO, he or she calls the employees together
to share the company’s new agenda and direction.
» When a church gets a new pastor, the first sermon is well-attended because
everyone wants to find out what’s foremost on the new pastor’s heart.

It was the same with Jesus’ inaugural sermon. He set out his platform, laid out a new
direction, and demonstrated what was on His heart. He set forward His concern for
the poor and called on the people to join Him in His work of loving.

Loving as Jesus loves is a daunting task when we look at the state of the world today.
But daunting does not mean impossible. Scripture provides us with countless
examples of how to love our neighbor.

3. Read Luke 10:30–37, then share or journal your response to the following
questions:

» Which person in this story do you most identify with? Why?

» When have you either passed by or stopped for a stranger who needed help?
How did that make you feel?

» Why do you think so many in our society choose to not get involved?
News of the world can
lead us down a dark » Who is most commonly shunned in our society?
path of fear. But as
» What is the message of this parable to us?
children of a loving
God, we know there’s
an alternative that
offers light and hope.
Optional questions for further reflection or discussion:
» Whom does the priest in this parable represent?

» Whom does the Levite in this parable represent?

» What is the significance that it was a Samaritan who had compassion and
showed mercy to the beaten man?
jon warren/world vis ion 2008

Page 9
C o n s i d er Our Wo rld To day

1. Most of us don’t have to look far to see people in need—they live on our
block, attend our church, or check out in front of us at the grocery store. Yet,
when confronted with someone who needs assistance, we are often either uncertain
how to help or hesitant to get involved. In some cases, it is easier to tell ourselves that
it isn’t our business.

Share or journal about a time you have experienced discomfort or uncertainty when
confronted by need.

2. Consider the following:


Sometimes we encounter the problems of the world not through individual contact,
but through the media. These 2009 headlines are from The New York Times:

“Rebels Kill at Least 620 in Congo, Groups Say”


“Kidnappings in Mexico Send Shivers Across Border”
“Suicide Attack Kills 24 at Iraqi Tribal Gathering”
“Unemployment Soars to Highest Level in 16 Years”
“Afghan Girls, Scarred by Acid, Defy Terror, Embracing School”

Then there are statistics:


» More than one-third of the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a
day, and nearly one-sixth live on less than one dollar per day.
Source: World Bank World Development Report, 2008

» Some 854 million people worldwide, or one out of seven, lack enough to eat;
820 million of them are in developing countries.
Source: FAO State of Food Insecurity in the World, 2006

»A
 ccording to UNICEF, about 26,000 children under the age of 5 (21 each
minute) die every day, mainly from preventable causes.
Source: unicef

Women are among those in greatest need, particularly in developing countries


where traditions perpetuate discrimination. When women toil in burdensome
conditions, children also feel the weight of the hardship.
k at ia m aldonado/world vision 2009

News of the world can lead us down a dark path of fear. But as children of a loving
God, we know there’s an alternative that offers light and hope.

Page 10
3. Read the handout “Prayer at 14,000 Feet in the Andes”
or
Your group leader will guide you through a “gallery viewing.” Spend a few
moments viewing each image and reflecting on the Scripture passages about God’s
heart for the poor. What words or phrases stand out; what images come to mind?
Share or journal about your impressions.

C h o o s e a P ers o nal Res p o ns e

Share or journal about the following questions:


» What is your reaction to the poverty facts presented earlier?

» What are some alternative responses or actions to apathy or paralysis?

» How might coming alongside those in poverty also be transformational for the
less-poor?

» What tugs at your heart? What issues do you feel passionate about?

» What does it mean that you might be the answer to someone’s prayer?

» What might God be calling you to do?

C lo s i ng P rayer

Read Matthew 5:14–16 and Matthew 25:34-40.


Light a candle (optional) and spend a few moments in prayer. Pray for people
around the world who are crying out to God about the needs in their families and
communities. As followers of Christ, we are called to be light and hope for the world.

H o m ewo rk fo r Next Ses s io n

All resources are available at www.womenofvision.org/heart.


st ephen m at thews /world vision 2009

1. Read and study the next week’s lesson.

2. Read homework (online or as handouts): “A Response to Homelessness,”

Page 11
“The History of World Vision,” and “History of Women of Vision.”

3. View video online: “Five Days of Hunger” (12 minutes)

4. Reflect and journal for the next lesson:


How would you feed your family if all you have is $2 per day? Try it, just
for one day. What foods could you buy? How many meals would you eat?
Alternatively, take some time to brainstorm a possible plan to live on $2 day
for five days.

Jot down some ideas here:

In Jesus’ time, everyone was poor except a very few rich people. Today, 2 billion
of the world’s 6 billion people are extremely poor, meaning they live on less than
$2 a day—not what two U.S. dollars would buy in their countries, but the equi-
valent of what $2 would buy in the U.S. This would be like living for a year on a
combined income of $730 from private sources (what you and your family can
earn) and public sources (taxpayer benefits).

Relative poverty (North American or European poverty) exists when some


people in a community, region, or nation have incomes that are vastly unequal.
The social fabric of any community can be severely stressed by such extreme
differences in wealth when some live in squalor and others collect luxury goods.

Reflection Question
How would you feed your family if all you have is $2 per day? Try it, just for one
day. Alternatively, take some time to brainstorm a possible plan to live on $2 day
for five days.

Page 12
+ For F urt h er St udy

Read Under the Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America by Mike
Yankoski.

A ddi t io nal S crip t ures fo r


P e r s onal St udy

» Leviticus 23:22
» Deuteronomy 24:14-15
» Job 5:15-16
» Psalm 14:6
» Psalm 35:10
» Psalm 140:12
» Isaiah 41:17
» Isaiah 58:6-9
» Isaiah 61:1-3
» James 1:27

Lectio Divina or “Divine Reading”


Using the Scriptures above, try this traditional contemplative practice to listen
deeply to what God has to say—to “hear with the ear of our hearts.”

1. Read one Scripture each day. Read aloud if you can.

2. After the first reading, sit in silence for a few moments.

3. Slowly read the same passage a second time. Listen for a word or phrase that
touches your heart. Reflect on the word or phrase during the silence that follows.

4. Read the passage a third time. Where do you see or hear Christ in the text? Is
there an image that comes to your mind?

5. Read a fourth and final time. What is Christ calling you to do or be, today or
this week, through this text?

Page 13
Lesson One Handout

prayer at 14,000 Feet in the andes


By Richard Stearns

A few years ago, my wife and I traveled to Peru. We were there with a film crew,
trying to capture some before-and-after stories that would appear on one of our
World Vision TV specials. We wanted to show our viewers the difference in the lives
of the poor after World Vision had worked in their communities for several years,
proving to them that we can have a transforming effect in people’s lives and literally
restore hope to their part of the world.

On one particular day, we were traveling high up in the Andes Mountains to film one
of the “before” stories. It was there that God taught me something about the people
behind the statistics—because it was there that I met a woman I will never forget.
Her name was Octaviana. These are the field notes I wrote as I returned home a few
days later:

Today our travel took us two hours from


Cusco, high up in the Andes to a mountain
community called Callqui Central. Our
vehicle left the main road and began the
arduous ascent up a winding and treacherous
dirt road to an elevation of 14,000 feet–-
almost the equivalent of Mt. Rainier’s
summit near where I live in Washington
State. On this gloriously clear and sunny
day, the views of the surrounding peaks
and valleys were spectacular. This was
literally a natural paradise . . . Shangri-
La in this mountain range, second only to the Himalayas in their
grandeur. Adding to this natural beauty were the occasional adobe
brick houses with sheep, llamas, and alpacas grazing on the slopes
. . . and the remarkable people-—native Peruvian Indians adorned
steve reynolds/world vision 2000

in festive colors with brightly woven shawls and skirts with their
distinctively colorful hats. Children waved eagerly at the rare
sight of a vehicle passing through. Most women carried infants slung
over their backs.

In the United States, this would be priceless land, dotted with

Page 14
Lesson One Handout continued

resort hotels, ski lodges, and condominiums. But here the natural
majesty was a deceptive veil hiding the suffering and poverty of
these beautiful people.

We stopped in front of a small adobe structure and were greeted


by a remarkable woman, Octaviana, and her three children–-
—Rosamaria (9), Justo (6), and Francisco (4). This was an exciting day
for them because of our visit.

We entered this small, one-room structure with walls and floor of


dirt. We sat and let Octaviana tell us her story. She was widowed
just nine months earlier. Her husband succumbed to respiratory
problems and suspected tuberculosis, leaving Octaviana and the
children alone to fend for themselves in this harsh mountain
environment. She wept in despair as she described the loss of the
man that was her provider, her husband, her children’s father, and
her friend. She spoke of her loneliness and her fear, with no one
but her and the children to carry on the strenuous work of raising
sheep, growing crops, and the daily struggle just to survive.

In this “paradise” we had found pain and suffering. No heat, no lights,


contaminated water, and little food. The entire family was sick with parasites and
respiratory disease. The children had to stop attending school to help with the
heavy workload, and on top of it all, Octaviana was struggling to pay a $300 debt
her husband had incurred buying his livestock. Worst of all, her only source of
income, her small flock of sheep, were dying of some disease. She could no longer
sell them at the market; she could only bury them.

Octaviana’s story, sadly, was not unique. Each of the families in this region had their
own tale of sadness, sickness, and death. These magically beautiful people in this
breathtaking setting suffered deeply and anonymously. How rarely do we pause to
remember the poor, to consider their suffering? Some, like Octaviana, are 8,000
miles away and even more remote from us culturally. Some are just a few miles away,
yet their pain is real whether we know of it or not. They suffer alone, with no one to
hear their cry.

Page 15
Lesson One Handout continued

I asked her what she prayed for, because I could tell she was a woman
of deep faith. She said that she prayed to God that He would not
forget her and her three children on that remote mountain–-that
He would help her carry this burden and that He would send help. And
as I held her hand and prayed for her, God revealed to me a profound
truth–-that I was the answer to Octaviana’s prayer. Eight thousand
miles from my home in Seattle, 14,000 feet up in the Andes Mountains,
she had cried out to God for help, and He had sent me. God had sent
me to help her, He had sent me to comfort her in her suffering, and
He had sent me to be Christ’s love to her. She had prayed and I was
God’s answer, I would be God’s miracle in her life.

And then the even bigger truth washed over me. I could see that all
I promised across the world people were crying out in desperation to God for
her that I help, for comfort; widows, orphans, the sick, the disabled, the poor
would not and the exploited. These millions of prayers were being lifted up to
God, and we, each of us who claim to be His followers, were to be His
forget her. answer. We were the ones who would bring the “good news” of Christ
I promised to the poor, the sick, and the downtrodden. God had not turned His
her that I back on the poor in their suffering. God had sent us. This was the good
news of the gospel–-good news indeed for the poor.
would help.
I will return to my comfortable home in a few days. I’ll tuck my
children into their comfortable beds and read them a story. The
familiar routines of my life will resume again. But tonight, Octaviana
is still on that mountain in her run-down adobe house. She will sleep on
the hard floor with her three children coughing and shivering through
the night–-hungry and afraid, and she will pray again to her God.

I promised her that I would not forget her. I promised her that I would
help. I promised her that I would be the answer to her prayers. May
God help me to keep those promises.

Page 16
Lesson One Handout continued

Postscript
After my visit, World Vision did come alongside Octaviana and her children,
bringing clean water and latrines to her and her community, helping her with food
and nutrition through improved gardening, and training her in basic health and
sanitation. But with the poor, not all stories have happy endings. Several years after
my visit, it was discovered that Octaviana had advanced breast cancer. Virginia,
one of World Vision’s caregivers, walked with her through her illness, taking her
to the health center in Quiquijana and then to the main hospital in Cuzco, looking
for a relief treatment, since she was in a great deal of pain. World Vision made
arrangements for a surgery that allowed her to live for another year. Meanwhile,
Virginia visited her constantly and made contact with the local church for additional
spiritual support. When Octaviana died, World Vision paid for all of her funeral
expenses. After her death, Virginia looked for a safe place for her three children.

In addition to the children I wrote of in my field notes, Octaviana also had older
children, who had grown up and left the community. Her oldest son, Florencio, who
had a family of his own, agreed to take in the three young children. World Vision then
committed to help Florencio support his expanded family. He came to participate
in World Vision agriculture and livestock programs. He was given guinea pigs for
breeding—a food source in Peru—and also received technical assistance to run his
farm plot and raise his animals. World Vision also provided medicines and extra food
for the family for the first few years, and the children received school supplies for the
duration. Today, Justo and Francisco still live with Florencio in his community.

Octaviana, a courageous woman whom I met only briefly, enriched my life and
taught me much about faith, perseverance, and prayer. She had no title, rank, or
formal education, and she lived thousands of miles from me both geographically and
culturally. But she blessed me deeply through the few hours we spent together. Jesus
said that when we feed the hungry, visit the sick, and clothe the naked, we are doing
the same for Him. The day I met Octaviana, I saw Jesus in her eyes. I’m certain I did.

Excerpted from A Hole in The Gospel (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2009), pages 164-168. Copyright
© 2009 World Vision, Inc. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.

Page 17
Lesson One Handout

a response to homelessness

Melody Ip, a World Vision employee who works in Seattle, shared one of her
concerns: How should I react when I see a homeless person? The person’s situation is
usually obvious; perhaps he’s wearing torn, dirty clothing; his beard is overgrown; and
he smells bad. Do you walk by but avoid contact? Give him money? Buy him food?

In searching for answers, Melody discovered that the state of Washington ranks in
the top 10 U.S. states for high homeless populations. It’s easy to assume the homeless
are addicted to drugs or alcohol, but other primary reasons for homelessness include
poverty and lack of affordable housing, chronic health problems or mental illness,
and divorce or domestic violence. Economic downturns in society also can cause
responsible workers to lose their jobs, rendering them unable to pay the rent. They
might end up on the street, struggling to feed their children. These traumas can leave
a person devastated and with few options.

Melody’s research suggested we should be ready, willing, and flexible when encoun-
tering homeless people. Sources she consulted recommend not giving money, but
offering to buy them food or take them to lunch if they’re hungry. It’s also possible to
hand out water bottles, energy bars, or other packaged foods.
Allow yourself
Carol Osher, a volunteer coordinator for Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission, suggests
to be used as an avoiding hard foods because homeless people often aren’t able to take care of their
instrument of teeth. She also recommends giving out white cotton socks because, next to teeth,
feet are the first to go. A caring way to help the homeless is to buy socks and fill them
God’s love. with practical items like a toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, bottled water, deodorant,
A single act crackers, a gift certificate to a local restaurant, and a Scripture verse of blessing.
In addition, shelters and homeless organizations need volunteers for everything
of kindness can from teaching to stuffing envelopes.

change a life. Even the simplest act can have the most profound affect. Osher says homeless
people need others to recognize that they are human beings, not just objects that can
be passed by with no human contact. We can make a profound difference in the life
of someone who feels invisible simply by looking them in the eye, smiling, and saying
bobby ysais/ world vis ion 1996

hello. If you feel it’s safe and appropriate, you might even stop for a few minutes to
ask how the person is doing. Allow yourself to be used as an instrument of God’s love.
A single act of kindness can change a life.

Copyright © 2009 by World Vision, Inc., Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716,
253-815-3320, wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.

Page 18
Lesson One Handout

History of World Vision

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to


working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach
their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice.

The 1950s
Dr. Bob Pierce began World Vision to help children orphaned in the Korean War.
To provide long-term, ongoing care for children in crisis, World Vision developed
its first child sponsorship program in Korea in 1953. As children began to flourish
through sponsorship in Korea, the program expanded into other Asian countries and
eventually into Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Today, monthly contributions from child sponsors enable World Vision to help
children and their communities access to things like clean water, nutritious food,
education, health care, and economic opportunities.

1960s
World Vision began its global relief efforts in the 1960s, delivering food, clothing, and
medical supplies to people suffering after disasters. World Vision began soliciting
clothing and other surplus products from corporations to help meet the immediate
needs of children and families in emergency situations. These gift-in-kind donations
now account for roughly 30 percent of World Vision’s income.

1970s
Donations continued to increase, and World Vision was able to reach thousands
more children. At this time, World Vision recognized the growing need to work
with entire communities to help children and families break free from poverty.
steve reynolds/world vis ion 1983; world v ision arch ive

Staff began incorporating vocational and agricultural training for families into
sponsorship efforts, and parents learned to farm and started earning money through
small enterprises.

These efforts to effect sustainable change evolved into World Vision’s current
community development work. Long-term development has proven central to
bringing lasting hope. After meeting immediate survival needs, World Vision works
with communities to help them find lasting solutions and move toward self-reliance.

1980s
A major benchmark of World Vision’s growth occurred in the mid-1980s, when
famine struck Ethiopia. The media coverage created unprecedented awareness of

Page 19
Lesson One Handout continued

human need, and people throughout the world responded to the relief efforts. From
1981 to 1985 World Vision provided annually $64 million worth of food, medical
assistance, and other emergency aid, saving tens of thousands of lives.

Once the immediate crisis subsided, World Vision began long-term efforts to help
Ethiopians rebuild their lives. Today, some regions that were once parched and full
of death thrive with nutritious crops, fresh water, and hope for the future.

Also in the 1980s, World Vision began drilling wells in communities, causing infant
mortality rates to drop. World Vision often uses clean water as an entry point into
communities, following with other activities that create change. Once the pump is
installed, World Vision trains community volunteers to become health promoters,
who, in turn, teach their neighbors how to use fresh water for better health. World
Vision offers classes to villagers in health care, gardening, irrigation, and income
generation. Villages evolve from poverty-stricken, illness-plagued communities to
thriving, self-supporting, healthy ones.

1990s
In 1990, World Vision began addressing the urgent needs of children in Uganda who
had been orphaned by AIDS. Recognizing the magnitude of the AIDS pandemic and
its serious impact on decades of development efforts, World Vision began expanding
its AIDS programming into other hard-hit African countries.

In Romania, World Vision worked with the long-neglected orphan population and
david war d/world v ision 1993; mary p eter son/wor ld v ision 1985

provided training to health-care workers. In Somalia, World Vision joined United


Nations peacekeepers to help millions affected by the civil war.

World Vision launched the 30 Hour Famine in the U.S. early in the decade to help
young people experience the effects of hunger firsthand and raise funds to make a
difference for hungry children around the world. In the U.S. alone, 485,000 youth
now raise more than $11 million every year through the Famine.

World Vision also began actively promoting justice for children and the poor, calling
for an international ban on land mines, an end to child exploitation, and equal
opportunities for female children.

2000 and beyond


In the year 2000, World Vision launched the Hope Initiative to call Americans to

Page 20
Lesson One Handout continued

respond to what had become the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time: HIV and
AIDS. By 2006, nearly 399,000 orphans and vulnerable children were sponsored
in AIDS-affected communities. World Vision is helping turn the tide against AIDS
worldwide by caring for orphans and vulnerable children, preventing the spread
of HIV with education based on biblical principles, and advocating for effective
programs that transform communities and save lives.

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks, World Vision assisted New Yorkers
who were not covered by other aid programs. World Vision also established
emergency food programs for more than 1 million people in Afghanistan.

In 2002, World Vision, along with other non-governmental organizations, received


one of the largest emergency relief grants in history to provide food and related
assistance to tens of millions of Africans affected by the decade’s worst famine in
Southern Africa.

World Vision has continued to advocate justice by helping to stop the flow of conflict
diamonds fueling civil wars in Africa; deterring sex tourists who prey on innocent
children abroad; and calling for an end to the use of child soldiers in northern
Uganda.
an drew goodwin/world vision 2009

When massive tsunamis devastated South Asia in December 2004, World Vision’s
3,700 local staff began responding immediately with life-saving aid. Generous donor
gifts are enabling World Vision to help families rebuild their lives with new homes,
schools, clean water, health care, and economic opportunities.

Copyright © 2009 by World Vision, Inc., Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716,
253-815-3320, wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.

Page 21
Lesson One Handout

History of WOMEN OF VISION

Women of Vision is a volunteer ministry of World Vision that unites Christian


women called to invest their time, intellect, compassion, creativity, and finances so
that impoverished women and children might find hope and experience a tangible
expression of God’s love.

We are women of diverse ages, backgrounds, and circumstances—united in Christ to


serve and walk alongside those in need so that, together, we can experience life in all
its fullness.

Recognizing the enormous needs in our world, we seek to educate and motivate
women in our communities to become women of action in helping create a brighter
and healthier future for suffering women and children.

Women of Vision challenges women throughout the U.S. to help change these
statistics by providing help and hope to women and children in our communities and
throughout the world.

Contact us:
Women of Vision
World Vision
P.O. Box 9716
sop heak kong/world vision 2008

Federal Way, WA 98063-9716


toll free: 1.877.WOV.4WOV (1.877.968.4968)
womenofvision@worldvision.org

Copyright © 2009 by World Vision, Inc., Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716,
253-815-3320, wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.

Page 22
20 08
vi si o n
/w o rl d
re n
jo n war
L esson two

the curtain that veils poverty


Ove rview
We must seek to see those who are poor through the eyes of God—as precious
women, men, and children whose very hairs are numbered, just like ours. These are
people with names, dreams, and families who love them.

K ey S c rip t ure
Genesis 1:27

E s s e n t ial Q uest io n
How do our personal experiences influence our interpretation of the world—
specifically, our perceptions of those living in poverty?

L e s s on Goals
»D
 evelop a greater understanding of how we view those living in poverty.
»C
 onsider the assumptions with which we view other people and identify some of
our own biases.
»R
 eflect on our relationship with those who are poor in our world.

M at e rials
Pen, Bible, candle (optional)

ONLINE RESOURCE s from www.womenofvision.org/heart


» ”Seven Steps to Poverty” handout
» ”A Framework for Understanding Poverty” handout

Age n da
»W
 elcome, opening prayer
»E
 xplore stories about the kinds of poverty participants have encountered
»R
 eflect on Scripture
»C
 onsider how those living in poverty see themselves
»C
 hoose a personal response
»C
 lose in prayer
»R
 eview homework and further study suggestions

Page 23
I n t r o duct io n and Op ening P rayer

1. Consider the following questions. Then share your responses with the group or
journal about them.

»W
 hen and where have you encountered someone whom you consider to be poor?
Describe your interaction.

»H
 ow would you feed your family on a severely limited income? For your homework
assignment, you planned how you would feed your family on $2 per day. In groups
of three or four, share your plan and what kind of skills, resources, and talent you
would need to keep your family alive in those circumstances. (If you are working
through the lesson on your own, you can post comments on the Bulletin Board at
www.womenofvision.wordpress.com.)

2. Offer a prayer. Pray for open eyes and an open heart to see others as Jesus sees
them. Spend a few minutes in silent meditation, concentrating on how this lesson
might change your perceptions and responses toward those who live in poverty.

E x p lore Sto ries

1. Read the following story:

Like many other young women, Della is spending this spring planning her June
wedding. After years of struggling through wrong relationships, she has finally met
the man of her dreams, the man who has promised to care for Della and her children
as her faithful husband.

They’re planning a small wedding—a few family and friends who will gather at the
home of Della’s parents. Their preacher will perform the outdoor ceremony under
shade trees with green mountains as a backdrop. Della’s aunt will make the cake,
and other family members will prepare a light lunch for the guests. A neighbor will
provide music to add to the celebration.

With the plans going so smoothly, Della begins to search for her wedding dress. She
wants to be a traditional bride with a floor-length white gown and veil. She searches
lau ra r einhardt/world vision 2008

area second-hand stores and locates a white dress. The short-sleeved beauty fits
Della and matches the season. The day is nearing, and Della is almost ready. The one
thing she lacks is a veil.
(continued next page)

Page 24
When her sister is able to borrow a car, the two women drive to a shopping mall an
hour from their home. Della rarely leaves her small community, and going to an un-
familiar place makes her nervous. With her sister by her side, she walks into the mall
and keeps her eyes on the floor. She knows she doesn’t look quite like everyone else.
She’s overweight, doesn’t wear makeup, and never has time to think about her hair.
She’s happy to escape the eyes of people in the mall when she walks into the store
that she heard sells veils.

It’s a small store with an attractive floor display of furniture and silk-flower
arrangements. As she walks deeper into the store, Della sees the furniture displays
replaced by tall shelves of household décor. Then they arrive at the wedding aisle
where napkins, flowers, ribbons, and other wedding accessories fill the shelves.

As Della reaches for a veil to try it on, a sales clerk materializes. She stretches around
Della and, without a word, moves the veil to a high shelf that Della cannot touch.
Della’s eyes return to the floor, and she and her sister hurry out of the store and the
mall to return home.

2. Share your reactions to the following questions after hearing this true story:

» Why do you think the sales clerk reacted as she did?

» Why do you think Della and her sister didn’t ask the sales clerk to get the veil
for them?

3. Consider these questions for further reflection or discussion:


» Where do you think Della lives?

» Why do you think Della kept her eyes on the floor?

» What assumptions did the sales clerk make about Della?


lau ra r einhardt/world vision 2009

» What assumptions did Della make about herself?

Note: The story above is a true story of a young bride’s experience in Appalachian Kentucky.

Page 25
4. Consider the following:
Because of where we were born, who raised us, our genetic traits, our life experien-
ces, our culture, our education, and myriad other influences, we each see the world
in a way that no other human being precisely replicates. Because of this, each of us
brings distinctive gifts to the world. We also bring our particular biases, or lenses,
through which we view people and situations. Sometimes our assumptions reveal
that we see those in poverty as inferior or objects that need our help—as people who
do not understand their own conditions as well as we do.

5. List some of the assumptions our society makes about poverty or the poor:
Each of us brings
distinctive gifts to the
world. We also bring
our particular biases.

6. Consider the following questions about your own life:


» Has anyone ever assumed something about you that you felt wasn’t true? How
did that make you feel?

» When have you assumed something about someone else that you discovered
was false?

» Share your thoughts about the questions above or journal your responses
below.

S c ri p t ure Reflect io n

1. Read Genesis 1:27 and Psalm 139.

a. Make a list of characteristics or traits that reflect God’s image.


jon warren/world vis ion 2008

Page 26
b. Share or journal your response to the following questions:
» Which aspects of God’s image are reflected in those who are not poor?

» Which ones are reflected in those who are poor?

» Are there aspects of God’s image that are better reflected in the poor and that
can encourage and inspire those who are not poor?

c. Consider the following:


Mother Teresa once When we see those in poverty as God sees them, we will glimpse His image in their
referred to the poor as faces. Mother Teresa once referred to the poor as “Christ in His most distressing
“Christ in His most disguise.”
distressing disguise.”
A grandmother in Appalachia who was speaking with a reporter took exception to
the term poor because she felt she wasn’t any poorer than the next person. She might
have little money, live in a house that needed repairs, and not have as much educa-
tion as the next person, but she also has a rich relationship with God and with her
family. “What right does anyone have to call me poor?” she asked.

In our society, we generally refer to people who lack in materials goods, income, and
education as poor. As we move forward in our quest to better understand the causes
of poverty and what a community of poverty is, let’s try to see our brothers and sis-
ters through the eyes of God, as precious women, men, and children whose very hairs
are numbered, just like ours. These are people with names, dreams, and families
who love them. How we regard the “least of these” is an indication of how we regard
Christ.

2. Read Luke 12:7 and Matthew 25:34-40. Discuss or journal about what
Jesus says regarding the value of the “least of these.”
rachel wolff/world vision 2006

Page 27
C o n s i d er Our Wo rld To day

1. Read the following:


The San people are descendants of those who lived in what is now South Africa and
Botswana. They are the original human inhabitants of sub-Saharan Africa.

The San were hunter-gatherers, and some of them still survive in small numbers
in the Kalahari Desert. They are small in stature, their skin is brown, and they use
unique “click” languages.
The San woman could
never believe God In response to hearing the gospel story, a San woman sitting around a campfire in the
Kalahari Desert said she felt it is possible that God would let His Son die for a white
would allow His Son to
man, and maybe for a black man, but she could never believe God would allow His
die for a San woman. Son to die for a San woman. In her marred image, she saw herself as having no value
In her marred image, and had no idea why she had been created. She was twisted by the “poverty of being.”
she saw herself as This state of mind and heart can become permanent.
having no value and
Share or journal your response to the following questions.
had no idea why she
» What might have influenced this woman to see herself this way?
had been created.

»W
 hat do you think is needed to help someone recover from this kind of poverty?

2. Read and role-play:


Consider the situation of people throughout rural India. Life in India is heavily
influenced by a caste system. In this system, ruling groups believe they have earned
their position through previous faithful lives. Those who are poor, however, are
believed to have inherited more difficult living conditions because of sin and
unfaithfulness in their previous lives. Therefore, lessening their poverty would
negate the consequences of sin.

This leaves some without access to clean water because people from a higher caste
do not want to share their water source. The high-caste people might not believe
that people who are paying for past sins deserve access to water. Higher-caste people
might also fear that the lower caste will contaminate their water if they use it. So
even when the only water source is in a neighboring village, belonging to those from
a higher caste, it is off-limits to the lower caste.
jon warren/world vis ion 2008

There are also times when it’s beneficial to those in power for someone to remain
poor. For example, if a money lender in India gets his wealth from lending to the

Page 28
poor at exorbitant interest rates, then the money lender’s wealth relies on people
continuing to live in poverty.

Below you will find descriptions of some of the roles found in the caste
system in India. Take some time to read about each role and think about life from
each person’s perspective. If you are gathering with a group, consider role-playing—
assigning each role to a group member and inviting them share the perspective of the
person portrayed in the description. If you are doing this study on your own, choose
one or two roles and journal what it might be like to be in this role.

Thobias is the local Brahmin leader.


He feels that as a member of the highest caste, he has paid for previous wrongs
and now deserves to live the good life. His home is near the border between his
village and the next village where a group of “Untouchables,” the lowest caste in
India, lives. Thobias has a well in front of his house that several Brahmin families
use. He is steadfast in refusing the Untouchables to use the well, fearing they will
contaminate it.

Lu is the local money lender.


She lives in a nice house and has what she needs to care for her family. Her
business is on the village border where the Untouchables can access it without
walking through the village. She charges an extremely high interest rate on all
of her loans, which makes her business profitable. After initially agreeing with
Thobias about the well, Lu tries to change his mind. She suggests he charges a
fee for others to use the well, and she offers to handle the transactions. She fears
that if they don’t allow it, a Western aid worker will help the Untouchables dig
their own well and maybe even irrigate their fields—then their lives might
He feels that as a improve, and they wouldn’t need her services.
member of the highest
caste, he has paid for Nirmala is a widowed mother of four and an Untouchable.
She leaves her 7-year-old in charge of the other children as she makes the daily
previous wrongs and 90-minute walk to retrieve water for her family from a polluted pond. The water
now deserves to live the she brings home has made her 6-month-old very sick, and now Nirmala is also
good life. ill. Nirmala doesn’t believe she can sustain her daily treks, and she thinks this is
a sign that she and her children are destined to die.

Amita is Nirmala’s sister who has moved away from the village and
returned to visit.
Amita has been to university and lives far away in Delhi. She and her husband
both have jobs with a human rights organization. Amita insists that Nirmala
approach the Brahmins to use their well.
andrew goodwin /world vision 2009

Page 29
Share or journal your responses to the follow questions:

» What is Nirmala’s problem?

“The poor are poor


largely because they » What seems to be the cause, or causes, of Nirmala’s problem?
live in networks of
relationships that do
not work for their
well-being.”
» How might a situation like this play out in our own society, even without the
—Bryant Myers limitations of caste?

3. Read the following:


“The poor are poor largely because they live in networks of relationships that do
not work for their well-being. Their relationships with others are often oppressive
and disempowering as a result of the non-poor playing god in the lives of the poor.
Their relationship within themselves is diminished and debilitated as a result of
the grind of poverty and the feeling of permanent powerlessness. Their relationship
with those they call ‘other’ is experienced as exclusion. Their relationship with their
environment is increasingly less productive because poverty leaves no room for
caring for the environment. Their relationship with the God who created them and
sustains their life is distorted by an inadequate knowledge of who God is and what
God wishes for all humankind. Poverty is the whole family of our relationships that
are not all they can be.” —Bryant L. Myers, Walking with the Poor, page 13.

C h o o s e a P ers o nal Res p o ns e

Share or journal your response to the following questions:


» How has this study changed your thinking about poverty and those living in
poverty?
andrew goodwin /world vision 2009

» What might you feel called to do differently as a result?

Page 30
C lo s i ng P rayer

Light a candle (optional) and spend a few moments in prayer. Pray for communities
around the world to be able to address the needs of all their members. Identify people
or groups in your own community for whom you would like to pray.

H o m ewo rk fo r Next Ses s io n

All resources are available at www.womenofvision.org/heart.



1. Read and study next week’s lesson.

2. Read the handouts “Seven Steps to Poverty” by Richard Stearns, “A Framework


for Understanding Poverty” by Ruby K. Payne, PhD. , and “Hidden Rules Among
Classes.” Payne examines what she learned as an educator about children and
families who arrive at schools with a very different set of behaviors and desires
than most teachers hold. Study her chart about “Hidden Rules Among Classes”
to consider how differently people in different economic classes view things like
money, food, and education.

3. Search the Internet or print publications to find several images of poverty as


well as statistics. Bring them with you to the next study session. There are several
good Web sources, including www.worldvision.org and www.unicef.org.

For F urt h er St udy


+ »C
 onsider relationships with the materially poor in your life. Journal about how
those relationships have enriched your life.

» Consider the biblical narrative of Creation-Fall-Redemption and write your


thoughts about the causes and solutions to poverty.

A ddi ti ona l S cr ip t u r e s fo r
Pe r s o na l St u dy

»G  enesis 1:26-27
»G  enesis 9:6
» Mathew 8:23-26
» Mark 13:38-40
andrew goodwin /world vision 2009

»L  uke 5:12-13
»L  uke 5:27-32
»J  ohn 6:2-12
»2  Corinthians 3:18
»R  omans 8:29

Page 31
Lectio Divina or “Divine Reading”
Using the Scriptures on the previous page, try this traditional contemplative
practice to listen deeply to what God has to say—to “hear with the ear of our hearts.”

1. Read one Scripture each day. Read aloud if you can.

“Poverty is the 2. After the first reading, sit in silence for a few moments.
whole family of our
relationships that are 3. Slowly read the same passage a second time. Listen for a word or phrase that
touches your heart. Reflect on the word or phrase during the silence that follows.
not all they can be.”
—Bryant Myers 4. Read the passage a third time. Where do you see or hear Christ in the text? Is
there an image that comes to your mind?

5. Read a fourth and final time. What is Christ calling you to do or be, today or
this week, through this text?

Page 32
Lesson Two Homework

seven steps to poverty


By Richard Stearns

For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me
something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you
clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me...
—Matthew 25:35-36

One of the most difficult things to communicate is what it feels like to be poor in
the developing world. How can Americans really understand global poverty without
actually traveling to see it? Let me try to help you by taking you on a brief, imaginary
journey. I will transport you mentally and emotionally simply by taking seven things
away from you, one at a time. Ready?

First, I will take away your clothes. Don’t panic, I won’t take them all. You can keep
the clothes on your back. Can you imagine wearing the same clothes every single
day? You can wash them each night, but you still feel embarrassed. Your children feel
jon warren/world vision 2004

the brunt of this humiliation at school.

The rest of your life is still intact, and things are not all that bad. But next I must take
away electricity. Now you come home to a dark house each night. None of your appli-
ances work: no refrigerator, telephone, dishwasher, television, computer, or stereo.
Your showers are cold, and now you have to wash your clothes by hand. Your quality
of life has dropped precipitously—“inconvenient” is
an understatement. But you shouldn’t feel too bad;
you are still better off than most of the world.

Takeaway No. 3 is really tough: clean water. None


of your faucets, toilets, or showers work, and the
only water source is a stagnant waterhole about a
mile away. It takes hours each day to fetch the water
your family needs, and because it is teeming with
bacteria, you and your children are constantly sick.
Forget washing your clothes or even trying to stay
clean. Despair and desperation start to set in as you
see your children suffering.

I’m afraid I have to take away even more: your


home. Now you must live in a 20-by-20-foot mud
hut with a dirt floor and very little furniture. Your

Page 33
Lesson Two Homework, continued

whole family must sleep in one room on the floor. When it rains, the roof leaks and
the floor turns muddy. How much more can you take?

Takeaway No. 5 is devastating: food. Your children have long ago lost their smiles;
now they are hungry with a gnawing pain that won’t go away. You find a little food
by picking through your neighbors’ garbage. It’s amazing what people throw away.
Already sick from exposure to the elements and from drinking dirty water, your
children’s bodies become severely malnourished and cannot fight off diseases. Your
4-year-old girl seems to be slipping away.

Getting her to the doctor is urgent but, tragically, my No. 6 takeaway is health care.
To your horror and disbelief, your daughter dies before your very eyes—of diarrhea!
Unbelievably, You are trapped in a nightmare. How can this be happening? Why has no one
everyone stepped in to help? Unbelievably, everyone around you is living as they always did,
but no one seems to care or even notice your suffering.
around you
is living as What else could I possibly take away? No. 7 is hope. Without these basic necessities
of life, you and your children have no hope for the future.
they always
did, but no Poverty, for most of us, is distant and remote. But this is the pain that billions on our
earth endure each day. Please pray for them and know that World Vision, driven by
one seems to faith, is urgently coming to their rescue, thanks to people just like you—who do care.
care or even
—Rich Stearns has been president of World Vision U.S. since 1998.
notice your
suffering.
Copyright © 2009 by World Vision, Inc., Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716,
253-815-3320, wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.

(Originally published in the Autumn 2003 edition of World Vision magazine.)

Page 34
Lesson Two Homework

a framework for understanding poverty

Ask any public school teacher if all students show up ready to learn. You’ll likely
hear the same answer no matter whom you ask—no. Johnny comes in bright-eyed,
homework in hand, eager to learn. Jenny falls asleep, loses her assignments, and
fights with her classmates.

As an educator, Ruby Payne encountered these sorts of contrasts. She set out to
explore the impact of economic class differences on student discipline problems
and achievement. Through that process, she learned an immense amount about
the workings of the class system in the United States and how it influences our
interactions. The result is her book, A Framework for Understanding Poverty.

Payne put together quizzes to help people understand what is required to survive
poverty. Take a few minutes to complete the quiz below.

Could You Survive in Poverty?


Put a check by each item you know how to do:

___ 1. I know which churches and sections of town have the best rummage sales.

___ 2. I know which rummage sales have “bag sales” and when.

___ 3. I know which grocery stores’ garbage bins can be accessed for thrown-away food.

___ 4. I know how to get someone out of jail.

___ 5. I know how to physically fight and defend myself.


___ 6. I know how to get a gun, even if I have a police record.

___ 7. I know how to keep my clothes from being stolen at the Laundromat.

___ 8. I know what problems to look for in a used car.

___ 9. I know how to live without a checking account.

___ 10. I know how to live without electricity and a phone.

___ 11. I know how to use a knife as scissors.

___ 12. I can entertain a group of friends with my personality and my stories.

___ 13. I know what to do when I don’t have money to pay the bills.

Page 35
Lesson Two Homework

___ 14. I know how to move to a new residence in half a day.

___ 15. I know how to get and use food stamps or an electronic card for benefits.

___ 16. I know where the free medical clinics are.

___ 17. I am very good at trading and bartering.

___ 18. I can get by without a car.

Reflect on the following questions:


» Were you aware of any of these so-called “hidden rules” of class?

» What hidden rules might you and your friends follow?

Read through the following chart (next page) and reflect on these questions:
» Where do you feel you comfortably fit?

» What rules surprised you?

Page 36
Lesson Two Homework

Hi d d e n Ru l e s A m o ng C l a s s es

Poverty Middle Class Wealth

POSSESSIONS People Things One-of-a-kind objects, legacies, pedigrees.

MONEY To be used, spent To be managed To be conserved, invested.

PERSONALITY Is for entertainment. Sense of humor is Is for acquisition and stability. Is for connections. Financial, political,
highly valued Achievement is highly valued. social connections are highly valued.

SOCIAL Social inclusion of people he/she likes. Emphasis is on self-governance and Emphasis is on social exclusion.
EMPHASIS self-sufficiency.

FOOD Key question: Did you have enough? Key question: Did you like it? Quality Key Question: Was it presented well?
Quantity important important. Presentation important.

CLOTHING Clothing valued for individual style and Clothing valued for it's quality and Clothing valued for it's artistic sense and
expression of personality. acceptance into norm of middle class. expression. Designer important.
Label important.

TIME Present most important. Decisions made Future most important. Decisions Traditions and history most important.
for moment based on feelings or survival. made against future ramifications. Decisions made partially on a basis of
tradition and decorum.

EDUCATION Valued and revered as abstract but not Crucial for climbing success ladder Necessary tradition for making and
as reality. and making money. maintaining connections.

DESTINY Believes in fate. Cannot do much to Believes in choice. Can change future Noblesse oblige (with wealth and prestige
mitigate chance. with good choices now. come responsibilities).

LANGUAGE Casual register. Language is about Formal register. Language is about Formal register. Language is about
survival. negotiation. networking.

FAMILY Tends to be matriarchal. Tends to be patriarchal Depends on who has money.


STRUCTURE

WORLD Sees world in terms of local setting. Sees world in terms of national setting. Sees world in terms international view.
VIEW

LOVE Love and acceptance conditional, based Love and acceptance conditional and Love and acceptance conditional
upon whether individual is liked. based largely upon achievement. and related to social standing and
connections.

DRIVING Survival, relationships, entertainment. Work, achievement. Financial, political, social connections.
FORCES

HUMOR About people and sex About situations. About social faux pas.

Copyright © 2009 by World Vision, Inc., Mail Stop 321, P.O. Box 9716, Federal Way, WA 98063-9716, 253-815-3320, wvresources@worldvision.org. All rights reserved.

Page 37
20 09
si o n
o rl d vi
ve ra /w
an d re s
L esson three

the multiple causes of poverty


Ove rview
Jesus sought to understand the circumstances of all those he came across, including
and especially the most vulnerable. With Jesus as our model, we, too, must seek to
understand the circumstances that create and perpetuate poverty and oppression
throughout the world and discern our call to serve “the least of these.”

Key S cri p ture


John 10:10

E s s e n t ial Q uest io n
What causes poverty? How are we called to be part of the solution?

L e s s on Goals
» Reflect on what poverty looks like and some of the underlying causes.
»F urther understand commonalities between those who are poor and those who are
not poor.
» Consider a Christian understanding of poverty.

M at e r ials
Pen, Bible

Age n da
» Welcome and opening prayer
» Consider cause and effect
» Reflect on Scripture
» Consider your own viewpoint
» Choose a personal response
» Close in prayer
» Review homework and further study suggestions

Page 38
I n t r o duct io n and Op ening P rayer

1. Share or journal about the images and statistics you gathered from last week’s
homework assignment. Then take some time to consider the following questions:
» What do these images have in common?

» What do the images and statistics say about poverty?

» What has impressed you most?

2. Offer a prayer. Pray for the situations represented in these images. Spend a few
minutes in silent meditation, concentrating on opening your heart and mind to
where this lesson might lead you.

Cau s e and Effect

1. Many of us have assumptions about poverty. What are yours? Brainstorm


ideas about the causes of poverty.
Most of us are raised
and educated to believe
in a cause-and-effect
relationship—
if we can identify the
cause of a problem,
we can propose a
useful response. 2. Consider the following:
Most of us are raised and educated to believe in a cause-and-effect relationship—if
we can identify the cause of a problem, we can propose a useful response. Therefore,
we believe that if we identify the cause of poverty, we will be able to diminish it.
sibus isiwe ndlovu/ wor ld v ision 2009

Page 39
In his book Walking with the Poor, Bryant L. Myers identifies the following as
common assumptions about poverty’s causes and the response each provokes:

Cause Proposed Response


Sin Christian witness
Sinned against (wronged) Social action/need for justice
Successful Lack of knowledge/skills Education/training
intervention with Lack of things Relief/social welfare
Flawed culture Change culture to be like ours
those living in poverty
Poor social systems or governments* Change the system
must address all of
the causes that * This is particularly true for women, who are often treated as inferior to men.

play a role in a
Although these categories can be useful, we must also be aware that problems rarely
particular situation. stem from a single cause. Poverty isn’t that simple. It is a complicated problem
that requires consideration of its multiple causes and consequences. Effective
approaches to alleviating poverty address all of this, not just one small part of it.

If the only thing those living in poverty lacked were resources like clean water
or food, we could simply give them what they need. This, however, can set up the
dangerous result in which people passively receive goods without addressing the
multiple causes of the problem.

Poverty is more than a lack of resources. Bryant Myers examines various definitions
of poverty, grouping the causes in four areas:
» Physical causes (example: lack of adequate housing)
» Social causes (example: girls are not allowed to attend school)
» Mental causes (example: abilities diminished by poor nutrition)
» Spiritual causes (example: broken relationships)

Successful intervention with those living in poverty must address all of the causes
that play a role in a particular situation. That means the intervention must include
teaching skills that create lasting desire for change and hope among those who are
struggling—rather than simply providing material goods that will soon be used up or
worn out.

3. Consider each of the four causes of poverty. List at least one more example of
each type of cause.

Physical
Social
Mental
c ourtes y sarah malian 2008

Spiritual

Page 40
4. Share or journal your response to the following question:
» What do you have in common with those who are poor?

5. Each person has five basic resources in varying amounts. These resources
are: time, energy, material goods, skills, and desire. Complete the chart as these
resources might relate to you individually.

Resources of people living in poverty as compared to my life:

I have: more less

time

energy

material goods

skills

desire

6. Read and think about the following:


Most of us have more material goods, skills, education, and time because of
The child was conveniences (running water, appliances, etc.) than those who are poor. On the
critically ill. Yet, surface, it might seem that those who live in poverty have less and because of their
circumstances, they lack hope for a better future. But those who have worked with
his mother’s heart
the poor find something else to be true.
overflowed with
expectations for her One visitor to an emergency clinic in Niger met a 17-year-old mother with a de-
child’s future. hydrated, 1-year-old son. Feeding tubes were taped to his nose, and a nurse tried
desperately to find a vein to insert an IV. The child was critically ill. Yet, his mother’s
heart overflowed with expectations for her child’s future. She wanted her son to go to
school, to learn about the world, to speak other languages. She had hope that his life
k ar i costanza/world vision 2005

would be better than hers.

Page 41
S c ri p t ure Reflect io n

1. Read John 10:10. Then consider the following:


The Hebrew word shalom is often translated to mean “peace.” For many individuals, the
word peace connotes lack of war. But the true intention of the word in its full meaning
also includes the idea of completeness and welfare for each individual person.

Scripture illustrates the idea of shalom in this verse from John. Consider what
Bryant Myers writes about this concept in Walking with the Poor:

“Life in its fullness is the purpose; this is what we are for and what Christ has
come to make possible. To live fully in the present in relationships that are
just, harmonious, and enjoyable, that allows everyone to contribute. And to
live fully for all time. A life of joy in being that goes beyond having.”
“Life in its fullness
is the purpose; this is This concept of shalom has a strong role in how Christians understand and appro-
what we are for and ach poverty. If we choose to fully embrace this idea, it means recognizing the marred
what Christ has come identity of the poor as well as our own marred identity. It means meeting the poor
with a heart to create a relationship of mutual understanding and respect. It means
to make possible.”
recognizing the multiple facets of “having life to the full.”
—Bryant Myers
Yet most of us unwittingly interact with those we consider poor, much as did the
thief referred to in the Scripture. When we see the poor as helpless, we give ourselves
permission to play God in their lives. When we see them as nameless, we treat them
as objects of compassion rather than brothers and sisters. When we see poverty as a
thing, we feel we can do what we believe is best for them.

Adopting these viewpoints encourages us to speak for the poor rather than
empowering them to address their poverty themselves. It also robs us of our ability
to see them as our equals, all children of God.

2. Share or journal your response to the following questions:


» What do you think someone needs to live life to its full?

» What does this idea of shalom call you to do?

» In what ways does our relationship with those in need become mutually
transforming?
jon warren/world vis ion 2008

» How does this idea of shalom influence the way you will approach someone
dealing with poverty?

Page 42
3. In the Bible, there are more than 2,000 passages that reveal God’s sorrow over
poverty and injustice, and His command to believers to act to eradicate them.
Christian leader and commentator Tony Campolo says, “Here’s proof that faith
without commitment to justice for the poor is a sham, because it ignores the most
explicit of all the social concerns of Scripture.” Take some time to read and reflect on
the following Bible verses:
» Deuteronomy 15:7-8
» Isaiah 6:8
» Job 29:11-16
» Psalm 70:5
» Matthew 5:16
» James 1:27

4. Share your reactions to the verses above.


What kind of priority does God place on helping those in need?

C o n s i d er Yo ur Ow n View p o int

1. Group activity: (activity for individuals is on next page)


Your group leader will lead you in an interactive exercise. Afterword, share your
responses to the following questions:
» Which station most surprised you?

» What was a solution to a problem that occurred to you at one station?

» How did being in the company of the other person make you feel?

» Did this reveal any of your biases? If so, which ones?


andrew goodwin /world vision 2009

Page 43
Individual Activity:
»F ill two buckets with water. (You can use pitchers or gallon-size bottles as an
alternative.)Walk around the house a few times carrying both buckets. If you
feel daring, try carrying one of the buckets on your head. Then reflect on the
following questions:
• How many buckets of water do you think you would need for your daily
tasks?

• How much more difficult would it be for you if no running water was
available in your home?

• How would this change your daily routine?

» Place a handful of rice (uncooked is fine) on a plate. Then make a list of all of
the foods you ate for dinner last evening. Place that list beside the plate of rice.
Think about the difference between what you ate (your list) and what many of
the poor have to eat (a handful of rice), then reflect on the following questions:
• How does it make you feel to have this much to eat while others do not?

What might it • What might it be like to only have a handful of rice for a meal?
be like to only have a
handful of rice
for a meal?
• How would this change your daily routine?

» Make a list of government or influential people in your community, state, and


country. Now consider the following questions:
• How would you make your voice heard in this group of people?
world vision s taff 2007

Page 44
• What resources might you have to draw from that would increase your
chance of succeeding?

»L
 ocate an item in your home that weighs about 2 or 3 pounds. Also locate an
item that weighs a little over 7 pounds. Compare the difference by holding
both items. Did you know an underweight infant born in the developing world
averages 2 to 3 pounds at birth, while a child born in the United States averages
7 pounds, 5 ounces? Consider this question:
• What do you think each child’s prospect of a healthy future might be?

This exercise would be worthwhile to do as a family, with your children.

2. Reflect on the activity. As we consider who the poor are, we also need to know
more about how we see ourselves, as well as how others see us. Thus far in this study,
we have considered the different lenses through which we view and experience the
world. Now let’s take some time to further explore our identity as Americans by
spending a few minutes answering the following questions.

Did you know that an » What advantages do you have over someone who cannot read, must walk
underweight infant everywhere they go, and lacks access to clean water?
born in the developing
world averages
2 to 3 pounds at birth,
while a child born in » Do you believe that those in well-developed countries have something to teach
the U.S. averages 7 people in less-developed countries? If so, what might that be?
pounds, 5 ounces?

» Do you believe people in less-developed countries have something to teach


those from well-developed countries? If so, what might that be?

» We call this kind of learning relationship “mutual transformation.” Do you think
jon warren/world vis ion 2008

it applies in our own communities and churches? How might this approach
help build relationships with those from different backgrounds, cultures, and
economic circumstances? What might this look like in our own communities?

Page 45
Answers to these questions reflect some of our biases as people from a well-
developed country. These biases often dictate the relationships we form and on what
we base them.

C h o o s e a P ers o nal Res p o ns e

God is calling us all to simply respond to the needs of the poor as we feel led. When
we do, amazing things can happen. In No Greater Love, Mother Teresa tells a
wonder­ful story that beautifully illustrates this point:

“Not so long ago a very wealthy Hindu lady came to see me. She sat down and
told me, ‘I would like to share in your work.’ In India, more and more people like
her are offering to help. I said, ‘That is fine.’ The poor woman had a weakness
that she confessed to me. ‘I love elegant saris,’ she said. Indeed, she had on
a very expensive sari that probably cost around 800 rupees. Mine cost only
eight rupees. Hers cost 100 times more . . . It occurred to me to say to her, ‘I
would start with the saris. The next time you go to buy one, instead of paying
800 rupees, buy one that costs 500. With the extra 300 rupees, buy saris for
the poor.’ The good woman now wears 100-rupee saris, and that is because I
have asked her not to buy cheaper ones. She has confessed to me that this has
changed her life. She now knows what it means to share. That woman assures
me that she has received more than what she has given.”

Return to the idea of shalom as meaning every person lives life in all its fullness.
Perhaps part of our calling to care for those living in material poverty is an
opportunity for us to be challenged in our own poverty. Think of your own life
experiences and ways you have been blessed and taught by those less fortunate.

Share or journal your responses to the following questions:


» What have you learned?
“That woman assures
me that she has
received more than
what she has given.”
» How have those relationships helped you?
—Mother Teresa

» Are those relationships and lessons part of God’s plan?


ryan s mith/world vis ion 2007

Page 46
»H
 ow might those relationships help you to respond more fully to God’s call to
serve “the least of these”?

C lo s i ng P rayer

Spend a few moments in prayer. Pray for people who do not believe they are
worthy of God’s love and redemption. Spend some time in silence, meditating on
how you can “bring life to the fullest” to our brothers and sisters.

Conclude by praying the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Francis was born at Assisi
in 1182. After a carefree youth, he turned his back on inherited wealth and commit-
ted himself to God. Like many early saints, he lived a very simple life of poverty.

P RAYER OF ST . FRANCIS

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,


Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;


it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

H o m ewo rk fo r Next Ses s io n

1. Read and study next week’s lesson.

2. Read Esther, chapters 4 to 8.

3. Keep a log this week of anything you do that might be considered advocacy. For
example, did you speak up for anyone? Do something on another person’s behalf?
Express your opinion on an issue in some way?
jon warren/world vis ion 2009

Page 47
+ F u rt h er St udy

» Read The Hole in Our Gospel by Richard Stearns, president of World Vision U.S.

»G
 o to www.povertyinamerica.psu.edu and use the Living Wage Calculator to
discover the living wage in your state.

» Visit Web sites and read blogs from a variety of aid workers in the field.
Consider their experiences, the work they are doing to help those in great
need, and how it is also transforming their lives. World Vision has a number of
aid workers who post blogs. Go to www.worldvision.org and conduct a search
using the key words “aid workers blogs.”

Additional Scriptures for Personal Study


» Mark 10:17-25
»M  ark 5: 25-33
»L  uke 10:25-28
»M  atthew 22:34-40

Lectio Divina or “Divine Reading”


Using the Scriptures above, try this traditional contemplative practice to listen
deeply to what God has to say—to “hear the with ear of our hearts.”

1. Read one Scripture each day. Read aloud if you can.

2. After the first reading, sit in silence for a few moments.

3. Slowly read the same passage a second time. Listen for a word or phrase that
touches your heart. Reflect on the word or phrase during the silence that follows.

4. Read the passage a third time. Where do you see or hear Christ in the text? Is
there an image that comes to your mind?

5. Read a fourth and final time. What is Christ calling you to do or be, today or
this week, through this text?

Page 48
visio n 2008
patri cia moua mar/w orld
L esson f ou r

Giving voice to the voiceless


Ove rview
Scripture calls all followers of Jesus to imitate Him in word and deed. Sometimes
that means doing more than feeding the hungry and clothing the naked. It requires
us to truly give voice to the voiceless, to speak out for those who have not yet had
an opportunity to develop their own voice, to be present in places where they have
no representation, or to walk alongside the voiceless to empower them to speak for
themselves.

K ey S c rip t ures
Proverbs 31:8-9
Micah 6:8

E s s e n t ial Q uest io n
How do we advocate for our brothers and sisters in need?

L e s s on Goals
» Develop a greater understanding of God’s call to advocacy.
» Learn what it means to be an advocate for justice.
» Explore tools and practical steps to become a voice for those in need.
» Reflect on God’s personal call to each of us, and our response.

M at e r ials
Pen, Bible, computer with Internet access

O n l i n e Res o urce
“Hoops of Hope” video, available at www.hoopsofhope.org

Age n da
» Introduction and opening prayer
» View “Hoops of Hope” video (part 1: 5 minutes 41 seconds; part 2: 6 minutes)
» Reflect on Scripture
» Consider ways to advocate
» Explore the situation in our world today
» Choose a personal response
» Close in prayer

Page 49
I n t r o duct io n AND OP ENING prayer

1. Take some time to share or journal about the following question:


» In what way have you advocated for something or someone this week?

2. Offer a prayer. Pray for guidance as we learn to advocate with our brothers and
sisters in need. Spend a few minutes in silent meditation, concentrating on opening
your hearts and minds to using your influence and voice to help others.

V i ew Video

1. Consider the following:


A Citizen Guide to Advocacy offers the following on the practice of advocacy:

“Simply put, advocacy is a ministry of influence using persuasion, dialogue, and


reason to affect change. Advocacy seeks to address the structural and systemic
causes of poverty [or oppression] by changing policies, practices, and attitudes
that perpetuate inequality and deny justice.”

The most significant audience for advocacy is citizens—not government. The best
advocacy occurs by educating and empowering citizens and groups to press for
change as part of a functioning civil society.

2. Watch part 1 of the “Hoops of Hope” video. Then, share or journal your
responses to the the following questions:
» What is your reaction to Austin and his work?

» How does Austin’s advocacy work affect the future of the village?

Simply put, advocacy


is a ministry of » What do you think motivates people like Austin?
influence using
persuasion, dialogue,
»H
 ow might Austin’s advocacy work reach beyond the particular village he’s
and reason to trying to assist?
affect change.

Page 50
S c ri p t ure Reflect io n

1. Consider this:
If we want to study a biblical model of advocacy, we can look to a peasant woman and
her uncle. Esther’s story takes place during Israel’s captivity in Babylon. After being
raised by her uncle Mordecai, she was conscripted as a member of the palace harem
of the Persian emperor Xerxes. Xerxes banished his queen for failing to submit to
him. Esther, with her beauty and grace, pleased Xerxes so thoroughly that he named
her queen. Even with that title, however, Esther’s safety was precarious. Though she
was inside the courts of power, she was outside of true security, because she lived
with a secret—she was a Jew.

Xerxes’ second-in-command, Haman, was power-hungry and devious. Because of


his grudge against the Jews, he convinced Xerxes to order their execution. That’s
when Esther knew she must take action.

The Book of Esther offers an example of the steps involved in advocacy. These steps
include:

Step 1: Personal engagement—begin with passionate concern and personal


engagement.
Step 2: Public outrage—generate a movement of public indignation and personal
engagement.
Step 3: Provide accurate information.
Step 4: Accept risks and recognize that you are replaceable.
Step 5: Mobilize a campaign of prayer.
Step 6: Credible influence—work through a person with credible influence.
Step 7: Strategic process—proceed with a strategic plan to achieve specific results.

2. Read Esther 4:1-2.


Advocacy involves challenging existing power structures. Consider how this
Scripture relates to step 1 noted above. Then share or journal your response to the
following question:

» What risk does that involve for Esther and Mordecai?


pau l bettings/ wor ld v ision 2008

Page 51
3. Read Esther 4:3.
Advocacy requires public movement fueled by more than the passion and outrage of
one or two people. Mordecai shared his concern and took it “to the streets.”

Consider how this Scripture relates to step 2 (previous page). Then share or journal
your response to the following question:

» What other sorts of advocacy actions you might encounter today?

Advocacy requires
public movement 4. Read Esther 4:7-8.
fueled by more than the Mordecai had the facts straight; he could provide proof for his concern. This points
passion and outrage to the importance of having more than personal opinion and zeal.
of one or two people.
Consider how this Scripture relates to step 3 (previous page). Then share or journal
Mordecai shared his your response to the following question:
concern and took it “to
the streets.” » What are some sources of accurate information you call on when trying to
learn about an issue?

5. Read Esther 4:11-14.


Esther faced great personal risk. Yes, the Emperor had chosen her. But she had
replaced his former queen. He could choose a replacement again. Mordecai knew
that, but he did not back away from asking for Esther’s help. In fact, he reminded her
that perhaps this was the moment for which God had set her on her royal path.

Consider how this Scripture relates to step 4 (previous page). Then share or journal
your response to the following question:

» How do you decide when a risk is worth taking?


m argo sabella/ wor ld v ision 2008

Page 52
6. Read Esther 4:16 and 6:1.
People of faith have a very important source of help to call upon—prayer.

Consider how this Scripture relates to step 5 (chart page 51). Then share or journal
your response to the following question:

» How might prayer help you when making decisions about advocacy?

7. Read Esther 5:2-3.


Esther had both access to and credibility with the king—two important elements for
advocacy.

Consider how this Scripture relates to step 6 (chart page 51). Then share or journal
your response to the following question:

» How might you build relationships with those who have influence (media,
Justice is about politicians, etc.) so they will see you as credible?
relationships.
It’s also about planning
each step that needs
to happen to reach the
desired end result.
8. Read: Esther: 5:6-8 and 7:2-4.
Esther wisely approached her “campaign” by working to build a better relationship
with the king. Justice is about relationships. It’s also about planning each step that
needs to happen to reach the desired end result.

Consider how this Scripture relates to step 7 (chart page 51). Then share or journal
your response to the following question:

» What do Esther and Mordecai model that you would like to embrace in your
own life?
c ourtes y sarah malian 2008

Page 53
9. Read Psalm 103:6. Then consider the following:
The Hebrew and Arabic words for justice and righteousness share common roots.
They describe the quality of character and conduct necessary for people to flourish
in relation with God and one another. Justice literally means “to make right” and
righteousness is “to be right.” Justice is for life to be right socially; righteousness is
for life to be right personally.

“The goal of biblical justice is not to punish but to make safe … we are asked
to walk humbly rather than arrogantly, gently rather than with anger, united
in compassion rather than divided in fear.”
—Tim Dearborn

People who live in poverty and oppression don’t just need charity—they need justice.
Merely giving alms or rescuing them temporarily won’t make life right and resolve
the multiple problems that contribute to the difficult circumstances. The poor need
justice, expressed in structural change, protection from exploitation, and access to
opportunity.

10. Read Matthew 5:38-45. Then consider the following:


Anyone who is a follower of the life of Christ knows He did not always choose the
easiest path through the world. He confronted people, He turned old teachings
upside down, He lived a truly radical way of life. Many of us are uncomfortable with
the idea of being “radical.” We associate it with doing things that will cause others to
look askance at us. It sounds risky and frightening.
“The goal of biblical
justice is not to punish But if we open our hearts and fully embrace the passage from Matthew with a spirit
willing to follow where God wants to lead us, then we see that doing justice requires
but to make safe … us to walk in those radical footsteps of Jesus.
we are asked to walk
humbly rather
than arrogantly, 11. Share or journal your response to the following question:
» What does it mean to you to be a radical advocate for justice, following the
gently rather than
example Jesus set?
with anger, united in
compassion rather
than divided in fear.”
—Tim Dearborn
patric ia mouamar/world vision 2008

Page 54
E x p lore Our Wo rld To day

1. Consider the following:


“Learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed. Defend the cause
of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow.” —Isaiah 1:17

“We stand in solidarity with the poor in a common search for justice,
seeking to understand their situation and working alongside them to
experience fullness of life. We strive to facilitate engagement between the
poor and the affluent in ways that open both to transformation. We respect
the poor as active participants, not passive recipients, in this relationship.
They are people from whom others may learn and receive. The need for
transformation is common to all. Together we share this quest for justice,
peace, reconciliation, and healing in our broken world.

“This is accomplished when we represent the interests of the poor to
decision makers who then formulate legislation and policy that prioritizes
their needs. Our response to poverty and injustice requires us to work
for policy change and challenge those who withhold justice. Effective
advocacy addresses the root causes—whether with governments, religious
institutions, the general public, or all of these.”
—A Citizen’s Guide to Advocacy

» Each year, malaria kills nearly 1 million people; approximately 85 percent of


them are children.

» An estimated 15 million children under age 18 have been orphaned due to
AIDS, and the number is rising.
“Learn to do right!
Seek justice, encourage » Approximately 854 million people across the world are hungry.
the oppressed.
» More than 1 million children around the world are abducted, forced, or coerced
Defend the cause of the into sexual slavery each year.
fatherless, plead the
case of the widow.” From the World Vision Advocacy Center at www.worldvision.org.

—Isaiah 1:17 World Vision and other organizations are committed to reversing these staggering
statistics. An important aspect of that work is recruiting Christ-centered people
who are committed to advocating on behalf of those affected by these and other
world crises.

Advocacy is primarily a ministry of influence, using persuasion, dialogue, and reason


to obtain change. This happens first by educating and empowering citizens and
groups to press for change; secondly by influencing policy makers to change laws or
policies or ensure implementation of laws or policies as part of a functioning civil
world vision s taff 2007

society. This second type of advocacy is also called lobbying.

Page 55
To strengthen advocates, World Vision offers online advocacy resources. These
resources include fact sheets and talking points on current issues that demand
attention. Congressional updates are also available to inform advocates about
governmental proceedings that can have an impact on solving some of these world
problems.

2. Watch part 2 of the “Hoops of Hope” video, then consider the following
questions:
» With your deepened understanding of advocacy, do you have different
responses to any of these questions? How?

» Whom has Austin influenced with his advocacy?

C h o o s e a P ers o nal Res p o ns e

Share or journal your responses to the following questions:


» Which one issue would you most like to work on?

» What form of advocacy do you feel is right for you at this time in your life?

C lo s i ng P rayer

The United Nations General Assembly has created eight Millennium
Development Goals that set out a concrete plan for addressing some of the world’s
most pressing issues. Close this study by praying the Litany for the Millennium
david kadlubowski/ gen esis p hotos 2006

Development Goals on the next page.

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L i ta n y f o r t h e M i l l e n n i u m D e v e l o p m e n t G o a l s

In the spirit of the Millennium Development Goals, let us pray that God’s
justice and peace will prevail in the world.

Let us pray for the poor, hungry, and neglected all over the world, that their cries
for daily bread may inspire works of compassion and mercy among those to whom
much has been given. Lord, in your mercy, give us the will to eradicate extreme
poverty and hunger.

Let us pray for schools and centers of learning throughout the world, for those who
lack access to basic education, and for the light of knowledge to blossom and shine in
the lives of all God’s people. Lord, in your mercy, give us the will to achieve universal
primary education.

Let us pray for an end to the divisions and inequalities that scar God’s creation,
particularly the barriers to freedom faced by God’s children throughout the world
because of gender; that all who have been formed in God’s image might have equality
in pursuit of the blessings of creation. Lord, in your mercy, give us the will to promote
gender equality and empower women.

Let us pray for the health of women, children, and families around the world,
especially for an end to maternal and child mortality, that in building healthy
families, all God’s people may be empowered to strengthen their communities and
repair the breaches which divide nations and peoples. Lord, in your mercy, give us
the will to improve maternal health.

Let us pray for an end to pandemic disease throughout the world, particularly the
Let us pray that God’s scourges of HIV and AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis; that plagues of death may no
justice and peace will longer fuel poverty, destabilize nations, and inhibit reconciliation and restoration
prevail in the world. throughout the world. Lord, in your mercy, give us the will to combat HIV and AIDS,
malaria, and other diseases.

Let us pray for an end to the waste and desecration of God’s creation, for access to
the fruits of creation to be shared equally among all people, and for communities and
nations to find sustenance in the fruits of the earth and the water God has given us.
Lord, in your mercy, give us the will to ensure environmental sustainability.

Let us pray for all nations and people who already enjoy the abundance of creation
and the blessings of prosperity, that their hearts may be lifted up to the needs
of the poor and afflicted, and that partnerships between rich and poor for the
reconciliation of the world may flourish and grow. Lord, in your mercy, give us the
will to develop a global partnership for development.
jon warren/world vis ion 2009

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+ For F urt h er St udy

1. Read World Vision’s advocacy handbook—A Citizen’s Guide to Advocacy,


available free at www.womenofvision.org

2. Learn about current advocacy campaigns and successes at www.seekjustice.org.


Search out other organizations active in justice and advocacy, such as Sojourners
and the International Justice Mission.

3. Learn about the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at


www.un.org/millenniumgoals.

4. Commit to the next Heart of the Matter study: “Communities Transformed


with Change That Lasts.” The six lessons examine how transformational community
development brings hope and lasting change to communities and individuals. Topics
include asset-based community development, the use of appreciative inquiry,
and specific interventions that have tremendous impact. Issues include water,
food, health, literacy, microfinance and economic development, and more. This
is excellent preparation for traveling or serving in developing communities. See a
preview at www.womenofvision.org/heart.

Additional Scripture for Further Study

» John 14:12
» Psalm 82:2-4
» Corinthians 9:6-11
» Isaiah 61:1-8

Lectio Divina or “Divine Reading”


Using the Scriptures above, try this traditional contemplative practice to listen
deeply to what God has to say—to “hear with the ear of our hearts.”

1. Read one Scripture each day. Read aloud if you can.

2. After the first reading, sit in silence for a few moments.

3. Slowly read the same passage a second time. Listen for a word or phrase that
touches your heart. Reflect on the word or phrase during the silence that follows.

4. Read the passage a third time. Where do you see or hear Christ in the text? Is
there an image that comes to your mind?

5. Read a fourth and final time. What is Christ calling you to do or be, today or
this week, through this text?

Page 58
Ways to Get Involved
Many who participate in these studies want to respond when they become
aware of the harsh realities that their fellow sisters and brothers around
the world are facing every day. Whether that response is prayer, financial
support, volunteering, or educating others about the needs, there are
opportunities for everyone to do something.

Educate yourself. Request information about another Heart of the Matter study.
Each study focuses on a different area of concern related to poverty and oppression,
including a biblical understanding of poverty and our role in serving those in need;
issues specific to women in poverty, advocacy, and social justice; and helping
children develop a heart to serve and give. To preview all three studies in the series,
go to www.womenofvision.org or www.worldvisionresources.com.

Sponsor a child. For about $1 a day, you can help a vulnerable boy or girl survive,
grow, and reach his or her God-given potential. Your gift will help demonstrate
God’s love by providing your sponsored child and his or her family and community
with access to life’s most basic necessities—things like clean water, better nutrition,
health care, education, economic opportunities, and most of all, hope for a better
future. Go to www.worldvision.org for more information.

Give a gift. World Vision’s Gift Catalog allows you to give life-changing gifts to
children and families in need—things like goats, clean-water wells, or seeds—in
the name of someone special. The Giving Toolbox makes group fundraising easy.
Families, school groups, Sunday school classes, and others can work together to
make an impact for children around the world. www.worldvisiongifts.org.

Educate the next generation. Ending global poverty and injustice begins with
education: recognizing the extent and causes of poverty, comprehending its effect on
human dignity, and realizing our connection with those in need around the world.
World Vision Resources is the publishing ministry of World Vision, providing
learning materials to help prepare Christians to live in an increasingly globalized
world and become active citizens who can help shape a better future. Check out
World Vision Resources’ growing selection of global education resources at
www.worldvisionresources.com.

Become a Women of Vision partner. Receive the latest news and updates; join
monthly telephone briefings with subject experts from all over the world; receive
invitations to local, regional, and national conferences; and help support your local,
regional, or global Women of Vision projects. For partnership information go to
www.womenofvision.org.
john schen k/world vision 2004

Join the conversation. Subscribe to the latest news and information affecting the
poor around the world. Sign up at www.womenofvision.wordpress.com.

Page 59
Join or start a Women of Vision chapter. Women of Vision is a volunteer
ministry of World Vision that unites Christian women called to invest their time,
intellect, compassion, creativity, and finances so that impoverished women and
children might find hope and experience a tangible expression of God’s love. We
are women of diverse ages, backgrounds, and circumstances—united in Christ to
serve and walk alongside those in need so that, together, we can experience life in all
its fullness. Recognizing the enormous needs in our world, we seek to educate and
motivate women in our communities to become women of action in helping create a
brighter and healthier future for suffering women and children.

C o n tact us
Women of Vision
World Vision
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
toll free: 1.877.WOV.4WOV (1.877.968.4968)
womenofvision@worldvision.org
john schen k/world vision 2004

Page 60
Ab ou t Wo rld Vis io n

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with


children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by
tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ,
World Vision serves alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s
unconditional love for all people. We see a world where each child experiences
“fullness of life” as described in John 10:10. And we know this can be achieved
only by addressing the problems of poverty and injustice in a holistic way. That’s
how World Vision is unique: We bring nearly 60 years of experience in three key
areas needed to help children and families thrive: emergency relief, long-term
development, and advocacy. And we bring all of our skills across many areas of
expertise to each community we work in, enabling us to care for children’s physical,
social, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

Partnering with World Vision provides tangible ways to honor God and put faith into
action. By working together, we can make a lasting difference in the lives of children
and families who are struggling to overcome poverty. To find out more about how
you can help, visit www.worldvision.org.

Ab ou t Wo rld Vis io n Res o urces

Ending global poverty and injustice begins with education: understanding the
magnitude and causes of poverty, its impact on human dignity, and our connection to
those in need around the world.

World Vision Resources is the publishing ministry of World Vision. World Vision
Resources educates Christians about global poverty, inspires them to respond, and
equips them with innovative resources to make a difference in the world.

For more information about our resources, contact:


World Vision Resources
Mail Stop 321
P.O. Box 9716
Federal Way, WA 98063-9716
Fax: 253-815-3340
wvresources@worldvision.org
www.worldvisionresources.com
jus tin douglas s/world vis ion 2009

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th e h e a r t of th e m a t t e r
is a biblically based, interactive study series that focuses on how
Christians are called to respond to the needs of the poor (Hope in a
World of Hurt); the root causes of poverty and how transformational
development brings hope and lasting change to communities and
individuals (Communities Transformed with Change that Lasts); how
extreme poverty and injustice uniquely impact the lives of women
and children (Touching the Lives of Women in Poverty).

The study offers opportunities to:


» e xplore Scripture.
»p  ersonally reflect, share, and pray about injustices in the world.
»d  evelop a greater understanding about poverty and oppression.
»p  articipate in interactive learning experiences.
» l earn about the transformational work of World Vision.

The combination of video, printed material, discussion and reflection


questions, simulations, quizzes, and other learning activities contrib-
ute to a multifaceted, creative learning experience that is easy to lead
and engaging for all participants.

Welcome to The Heart of the Matter.

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