Posted in Africa African Traditional Religion Poverty

Vain Generosity

I wrote a few months ago A Case for Generosity in which I made the claim: “Being generous is so close to being loved that for the average Kwakum, they are indistinguishable.” My conclusion to this blog post was that, as Christians, when considering all of the variables for giving, we should make generosity a priority. I used in this argument a case study of a little boy named Patrick who was born with hydrocephalus. His family asked me to help get him a surgery and we decided to give. We found that our giving in this case conveyed great…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Adoption Encouragements and Exhortations Poverty

The Greater the Sacrifice, the Greater the Sweetness

Fruit that comes from suffering and sacrifice is surely the sweetest kind. As the farmer nurtures his tender young plant, day in and day out, he nurtures it not only by pruning and watering, but with his very heart. And then, when that tender young plant becomes a strong tree that bears much fruit, he enjoys that fruit with a satisfaction that his neighbor, who also shares in the fruit, cannot. Jesus explains it in these terms, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). That which we invest in, care about, and pour into will…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa Christian Missions Poverty

A Case for Generosity

When we came to Cameroon on our vision trip in 2010, I asked our colleagues for their highs and lows of Cameroon living. Without exception, each person told me that one of the hardest parts of living here was dealing with money. Knowing about these challenges we read a ton about the subject before crossing into a new culture. We found that most books written for Westerners moving to Africa deal extensively with the question of finances. We have already written about some of what we have learned from books like African Friends and Money Matters (read HERE) and When Helping…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa Christian Missions God’s Work in Cameroon Poverty

How God Has Worked Through Our Helping

You may have read of our distress in thinking through when to give in a past blog “When Not Helping Hurts”. I wrote about a little girl in our neighborhood that was sick, our desire to help, and frustration in not knowing what to do. With much prayer and seeking counsel, we decided to help financially. And now, I thought I would give you all an update on how Madeleine is doing. I am pleased to say that she is doing incredibly well, considering her condition. First, though, I will tell you about her sickness.The Sickness Originally I just knew…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Poverty Prayer

Does God Expect us to Change the World?

Imagine a child, just before his first trip to the ocean, telling you he is going to fit the whole ocean in his toy bucket. It is only when he stands on the seashore and soaks up the immensity of this body of water, that he is able to see the ridiculous nature of his ambitions. Why? Because no matter how hard he tries the ocean is simply too big for him to master. This is how we feel about the problems in which we face on a daily basis: poverty, injustice, corruption, sexism, illiteracy, abuse, false gospels, and lack…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa Christian Missions Encouragements and Exhortations God’s Work in Cameroon Poverty

The Less Than Romantic Realities of Village Life

For various reasons throughout my life I have heard people talking about the virtues of “village life.” I generally do not say much on these subjects, as they tend to be a bit touchy, and to be honest, I did not have a lot to say. However, I realized that after living for a while in an African village, I can offer some facts regarding village life that most people would not know. My goal is not confrontation in this blog, but just information. As you are making decisions regarding your family, raising your kids, and how you counsel others,…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa Encouragements and Exhortations Poverty

What We Do With the Poor is What We Do With Jesus

The other night, I went on my nightly walk through village to visit with the neighbors and I was struck once again with the poverty that surrounds us. The problems seem insurmountable: open, untreated wounds; sick children; dark, mud-brick homes that contain few possessions outside of what our neighbors find in our trash pit. Then, as I walk back towards my house, I hear my 4 hyper-active children hysterically laughing and playing, without a care in the world. The contrast between their joy and my neighbors’ sorrow makes the heaviness that I often feel even more profound. How Does God…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa Christian Missions Poverty

Education Will Not Save Africa

I often find myself daydreaming about how I could really make a difference here in Cameroon. When I look around me I see people trapped in their traditions and who literally cannot imagine any other way of life. I see poverty so extreme that some have no source of water other than a dirty river, and they are always sick. Their children die from measles, and improper sanitation, and lack of access to medical care. I see people that deal with conflict the only way they have ever seen yelling in the streets and threatening each other with machetes. And I sit…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Africa Christian Missions Encouragements and Exhortations Poverty

How Can We Best Love the Poor?

I have been asking myself the question how we can best love the poor since moving here to Cameroon. It was much easier to consider this while living in the States where there were no people living in houses made of mud and sticks right next door to me. There, “the poor” were more of a category as opposed to actual people that had faces and names. So let me begin by introducing one such man so that you too might begin to see their faces:   Introducing Simon Simon is an old widower that wears a white silky “Lancôme…

Continue Reading...
Posted in Culture Shock Poverty

Being a “Have” in a “Have-Not” World

One night we ran out of food and therefore Kaden was not able to have his typical forth helping. He looked up at me with horror in his eyes and asked in a trembling, hushed voice, “Mom, are we…poor?”  Maybe you have had a similar experience in your home where your child comes home from school, buries his head in the sofa and cries because his family too “poor” to buy him the $100 shoes that all the other kids are wearing.  Living like Kings If you are like us, you remind your kids that compared to the majority of…

Continue Reading...