Evangelism and the Extreme Poor
Seven hundred thirty-four million people around the world live in an amplified state of poverty, their unmet needs as vast as the stars in the sky. The extreme poor live life on less than $2.15 a day, with insufficient food, and limited health care. They toil through sub-par education systems, an absence of safe water and inadequate job opportunities. Their fate is a troubling one. With statistics like this, it can be hard to believe that Jesus cares for the poor.
With daily survival needs so abundant, where does evangelism fit into the relief and sustenance programs prepared for these communities?
If someone is starving and has no food, their most immediate need is for nourishment. There are times when only contaminated water is available, then safe water is essential. When an individual or community has urgent, unmet needs, those are the priority. When someone is starving, they only want to satisfy the gnawing feeling in their stomach. We must care for the immediate urgent need before anything else. We call that bringing Hope for Today.
Once urgent needs have been met, we can begin working on a better future. To prepare for this, we offer programs in education, job training, microfinance, and agriculture. Hope for Tomorrow programs are designed to increase educational opportunities and the standard of living and to change the outlook for days, weeks, and years to come.
Hope for Eternity
Safe water, food, education, and job training programs are all essential to breaking the chains of poverty. One could make a point for the grave importance of each, but when it boils down to what’s most important, hands down, it’s a topic yet to be mentioned—eternal salvation. Jesus cares for the poor.
While Bright Hope believes this wholeheartedly, we recognize the necessity of providing practical Hope for Today-type help to those in great need. An essential and unique aspect of our ministry is our holistic approach that feeds both the body and spirit. We can’t train pastors and disciple church leaders when their communities are starving, and their children are dying from malnourishment. Our Hope for Today and Tomorrow programs set the stage for the higher goal: to bring Hope for Eternity to every person we encounter. Because Jesus loves the poor.
When we come in Jesus’ name to feed an empty stomach or provide a scholarship to keep a child in school, we are watering dry souls. This opens the door to share about the love of God, and His undiscriminating gift of eternal life.
The Heart Behind Hope for Eternity
C.H. Dyer, Bright Hope’s CEO and president, tells a story from years ago when he made a trip overseas to a project where we were helping some war refugees. An older lady said to him, “This help you are giving is like a spring that has come to my soul.” She couldn’t express it the way you and I would, but God was ministering to her in a way she had never felt His presence before. That is the effect we desire all our programs to have—the experience of God ministering to lost souls, leaving them full of joy. She was sensing Jesus’ love for the poor.
It is our prayer that everyone will experience love and compassion through our Hope for Today and Tomorrow programs. We pray that each life touched will grow in hunger for Jesus and the Hope He provides. As we fill their bellies with food, may their spirits crave the rich spiritual food found only in the Lord Jesus and His Word.
Nothing matters more than our Hope for Eternity programs. If we save a life from poverty, what good comes if they end life without an eternity secured by Jesus?
We believe in the importance of evangelism and discipleship and take joy in working with our church partners to offer programs that distribute Bibles and other materials for community outreach and discipleship.
Through our partner churches, we host multiple training programs for pastors and church leaders, training them to preach the Word of God effectively, care for a congregation, and reach out to their community. We initiate programs in our partner churches that minister to families and individuals and others that feed the hungry through their local church.
All of our programs are run through a local church so that communities will know that the church is the place to go when they have a need.
Bright Hope also supplies physical resources for spiritual development including, Bibles, children’s Bible storybooks, and training materials.
The Gospel is for everyone, and salvation is for eternity. Jesus cares for the poor, and we do too. No matter the need, social status, religion, or color, the one common denominator we all share is the journey we will take into eternity.
Imagine, someday in heaven, you bump into someone, and they thank you because you helped them in their time of need. You never met them on earth and didn’t know their name, but you gave, in faith and trust. God took your gift and changed a life or two—not only while on earth but for all eternity too.
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