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Leah’s New Life

March 17, 2016 by Diana Coombs

SOP Bread PhotoGod uses you to bring people dignity! Through your prayers and support, you empower sustainable lives. But what does this look like?

As I walked by Leah, I reached into my pocket to hand her a dollar for a loaf of bread. This was the fourth day in a row.

Battered and abandoned by an abusive husband, Leah had taken refuge in our church. Though her wounds healed and we could offer her a small hut for shelter, she still had to beg in order to eat.

It hit me that in my attempt to solve her problem I was actually creating one.

By handing her a daily dollar I was:
Creating and encouraging her dependency.
Robbing her of the joy of developing her own skills.
Removing her responsibility to solve her problems.
And supporting an unsustainable solution.

I’ve learned from experience and from God’s Word that God is more interested in building our lives than simply solving our problems. Jesus tells his disciples “Go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” (John 15:16).

The solutions to poverty are certainly not simple. However, by guiding people to attain skills and find sustainable solutions, we equip them to build their lives and achieve God’s purposes for them. Then they, too, become teachers and role models of the holistic life to which God calls us all.

Two months later, Leah was selling bread. A Tanzanian comrade and I built a steel drum oven to give to her. I’ll never forget the day that she walked forward during a church service with coins in her hands for an offering. Her face filled with a smile. The fruits of her own labor she was now able to give to God!

by Don Rogers

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