The (Sort of) New Global Poverty Line

World Bank Global Poverty Line Graph

The new global poverty line (of living on less than $1.90 a day) captures income and consumption data. What it doesn’t reflect are other conditional circumstances and deficiencies that strip opportunity and hope from the poor.

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Experience Compassion Conference: Colorado Springs 2014

experience compassion conference

Experience Compassion Conference: June 27-28, 2014 in beautiful Colorado Springs. We’d love to celebrate with you and give you the opportunity to learn more about what we do. Learn more and Register today!

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Undercover With Compassion

I have been feeling challenged lately to get closer to the heart of Compassion, where we interact with sponsors, churches and children. I recently read a quote from a top executive of a large retail chain (I can’t remember which one — maybe Best Buy). He said, “I have never wasted a day visiting a store.” So, I arranged a trip to Honduras where I spent six days at two different child development centers in the central zone of the country … the Honduras Country Office did a marvelous job of setting this trip up so that I could be a regular guy without any fanfare or protocol.

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What is the Definition of Poverty?

The absence of a clear definition is a serious problem for organizations whose missions are to eradicate poverty or, in our case, to release children from poverty.

Tell us how you understand and define poverty, and then in future blog posts we’ll explain the basis of our holistic approach to ministry and what our definition and understanding of the problem is.

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Life in Haiti After the Earthquake: It Just Hurts

life in Haiti Received from Scott Todd, our Senior Ministry Advisor, who is leading our medical team in Port-au-Prince.

Saturday, Jan. 30 – We had the chance to meet eight leadership students today. We sat in a circle in the parking lot listening to their stories as ashes drifted like snow upon us and the smell of burning plastics scorched the air.

They spoke of how important Compassion’s work has been in their lives. Some shared with tears about being selected for the Leadership Development Program. I don’t know whether the tears flowed from joy, gratitude or something sad.

Like the dream that almost came true. They had climbed so high. From the slums to the universities. But when we asked how many went to schools which had been damaged in the earthquake all of them raised their hands.

We asked how many had lost friends or loved ones and all raised their hands again.

At one school 90 percent (180 out of 200) of the students were killed. With buildings collapsed, professors and administrators dead, its hard to imagine how those dreams can come true now.

May God have mercy on us if we fail to find a way forward for them. They are Haiti’s future.

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Life in Haiti After the Earthquake: Carrying On

From Scott Todd, our Senior Ministry Advisor, who is leading our medical team in Port-au-Prince.

I’m in my tent. Too tired to go up to the place where I can connect to Internet on the sloping desk and wobbly chair in the parking lot – so I know this won’t go out tonight.

Today (Jan. 29) we returned to the area we visited on day two. Leogone. Almost a two-hour drive. It is an absolute war zone of destruction. Nearly the whole town is rubble. I felt a deeper sadness than the other places – a community completely broken. Yet, they were clearing away the debris from the streets and already beginning to rebuild.

We arrived at the church, a partner in our program, to find a group of people under a tarp canopy. We assumed they were patients waiting for our arrival as had been the case on previous days. They weren’t.

They were the people of the church who had gathered for fasting and prayer. They sang, “What a friend we have in Jesus, all our hopes and griefs to bear.”

We set up the clinic with greater proficiency today – larger tarps, larger ropes, higher anchors so the heat radiating under the plastic didn’t bake the people (and us).

Another day of broken bones and infected wounds. A few unexpected cases – a man with polio who had fallen and needed surgery, a young boy whose foreskin was nearly sealed, preventing urination, creating back pressure and infection risk.

Half the team has suffered intestinal problems, but they carry on despite their misery. It didn’t help that there were no latrines available today. We “stood guard” for one another.

The person I will be specifically praying for tonight is Chantal. Mother of five. We saw her two days earlier and I believe it is by God’s guidance that we came to this site today.

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Life in Haiti After the Earthquake: Living by Faith

life in Haiti Received from Scott Todd, our Senior Ministry Advisor, who is leading our medical team in Port-au-Prince.

Back at my sloping desk in the parking lot with my chair tottering over the pothole.

In some ways today (Jan. 28) was the most exhausting. Mainly the heat in our “clinic.” Once again, under tarps despite a respectable-looking church right next to us.

Our team used the church for sorting meds and eating lunch, and I hope that our occupying it might encourage the people to overcome the fear that the earth may shake it down at any moment.

Treated over 100 people again today, but the conditions generally seem less severe in the city, where people are getting access to health services.

The story that will most trouble me as I try to sleep in the parking lot again tonight is the two very young children (approximately 2 and 3 years old) whose parents both died in the quake.

These young children are registered in our Child Survival Program. Their aunt came to take them and is caring for them.

I just learned an hour ago that their aunt is 15 years old and they are sleeping in the street under a makeshift tarp tent. It’s night now and I wonder how that 15-year-old girl is going to find any food for herself or for those little ones.

I’ve only shared about the kids and people we’ve been seeing, but I want to say something about our staff in Haiti.

It just isn’t possible to describe the emotional burden they carry. I spoke with Jozue (Joshua), who works for Compassion and is pastor of the church where we set up the mobile clinic today.

Jozue told me that on the day of the quake his wife was getting ready to wash their two little girls. Their water is outside, like a backyard spigot, and when mom went out to get the water one of the girls saw her go out and began to follow. Then the second one followed.

Mom saw the girls coming out of the house and said “Get back inside.”

But the girl said “No!”

“I said go back inside!”

But the girl stomped her foot and insisted, “No!”

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Life in Haiti After the Earthquake: Reclaiming Beauty From Despair

life in Haiti Received from Scott Todd, our Senior Ministry Advisor, who is leading our medical team in Port-au-Prince.

Today (Jan. 27) was … not sure what word could cover it. The team went to a rural site (HA748) and set up our clinic under a large mango tree.

I had to stay back in the morning because we had medical supplies that had missed the original plane and it was important to receive them. They were tagged to me, and we didn’t think U.S. forces would allow anyone else through.

So, with a tail number on an aircraft we went through the two checkpoints and were suddenly amidst the chaos of the tarmac. Massive cargo planes from the U.S. military being unloaded, vast field of materials, also some non-U.S. big planes – a 777 from Israel…. Helicopters of all types buzzing around.

We took a guess at a small plane and drove out to a field where they were parking smaller charters and we found our guy grabbed our meds and got out to HA748.

The team saw much heavier needs today. I held an 80 year old (approximately) lady for 30 minutes while she writhed in pain as our orthopedic surgeon amputated her toe. It had been crushed and was rotting infection up into the bone so it needed to be completely cleared out.

That old lady was made of leather and wire but wailed away. We probably saved her life – certainly her foot as the infection would have progressed.

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Life in Haiti After the Earthquake

life in Haiti Received from Scott Todd, our Senior Ministry Advisor, who is leading our medical team in Port-au-Prince.

Last night’s (Jan. 25) arrival – in the dark, no lights in the airport, Humvees and Marines roaring around, bags thrown on the tarmac, smell of jet fuel, shouting, chaos, can’t find our pickup, pulling out over 30 duffel bags and boxes, driving through the chaos of Port-au-Prince with three of our guys on top of each pickup “guarding” baggage.

Touring our office at night with flashlights, framed mission statement on the wall tilted, leadership principles tilted, warning to walk clear of certain walls which are collapsing – pitch tent in parking lot, spray some DEET, take some Malarone, sweating from hauling stuff.

Today (Jan. 26), our medical team worked under tarps because the people are afraid to go inside buildings. Within an hour we were up and running and saw approximately 100 patients.

Each patient registered at entry through a gate with name, basic info including height, weight etc… and took a number. Some were triaged. Others waited to be called to one of four (sometimes five) stations. Each station had a doc, nurse and translator (though some of our Haitian nurses also served as translators).

The cases were not as severe as I expected with some very serious cuts and abrasions that were infected and needed dressing, some dislocations, a few bone issues. Many were just overwhelmed and needed someone to look at them and tell them they were okay. We prayed with some of them.

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The Ability to Eliminate Poverty: Is It Just a Matter of Interpretation?

Is our ability to eliminate poverty just a matter of how we interpret the Bible? John 12:7-8 is the verse that has captured our thoughts as we think about the poor. The verse that is now the most remembered about the poor.
And yet, when Jesus spoke, he was not talking to us. His use of “you” was not intended to be directed at us. This reference, this statement, was very specifically directed at Judas.

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Eliminate Poverty: Can We Do It or Not?

On the subject of eliminating poverty, how do we reconcile the seemingly conflicting messages of John 12:8 and Deuteronomy 15:4?

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