As the Serving At Risk Families ministry gets under way and we continue to look forward to how it will serve the people of Guatemala, we have begun putting together sponsorship packets for families.  I started thinking about why some people don’t share the resources we have been given to help others.  Even more, I wondered why it is so difficult for us to do this in other countries.  I realized that it is sometimes hard for us to trust others with our money, especially if we have no clue who they are or how the ministry is handling the funds.  This is why I love working for Servants, Inc so much, because they raise their own money for office and business expenses so whenever someone donates money to a missionary, a family, or other cause, it goes straight to them 100%.

The mission of Serving At Risk Families (SARF) is to create sustainable solutions for families at risk of falling apart.  By “falling apart” I mean that the family cannot maintain unity because of some sort of hardship.  Sometimes families cannot take care of their children because there is no work available, so they try to give their kids to an orphanage who can take better care of them.  The difficult aspect of that is if millions of families do this, then the orphanages are overrun and therefore wind up in the same situation the families were in.  Guatemala has recently been running through the media exposing their undernourishment problem of kids.

SARF is aimed at helping to break the cycle of poverty in the families we serve.  We recognize through various studies that simply throwing money at the problem will not fix anything, rather it will exacerbate the problem of poverty because it will create more dependence of people upon unsustainable sources of sustenance.  This is why we are careful when we agree to help a family in need to create short-term solutions that help the families achieve their long-term goals that will put them in a position to not only sustain themselves, but also help others do the same.

Over the next week or so, I will be posting about the families that SARF is currently trying to serve.  We cannot, however, do it on our own.  As we’ve stated many times, part of the mission God has given us is to bridge the gap between Guatemala and the U.S. (that has been broken by war, bad politics, and even worse) in order to re-establish a healthy, working relationship with people truly in need of relief from emotional, spiritual, and physical poverty.  Our pastor here in Guatemala taught this past week about investing in people.  Buildings will fall, cars will rust, but lives are eternal.  At Servants, our main focus is building relationships.  It isn’t about just sending a monthly donation so someone can go to school, it’s about remaining prayerful for a kid who otherwise has no chance of learning how to add or use a computer.  It isn’t about donating money for a tax write-off at the end of the year, it’s about sending regular letters to a girl who has no mother or father around to give them the love they deserve.  What I am writing to you all isn’t about us trying to raise money for our ministry, it’s about relating to you the preciousness of the people we are working with and ministering to so you also get to know these wonderful people that despite their circumstances remain faithful to God and keep persevering even though they don’t have $1 to buy some tortillas and beans to eat today.

I encourage you as we put out this information that you don’t just delete the messages or quickly read over them just to say that you read them.  Rather take an intimate look at the lives of these people.  They aren’t just pictures and stories, they are reality and just a very tiny portion of the poverty and brokenness we witness here on a daily basis.  Don’t send them money, invest in their future so the following generation doesn’t have to suffer the way they are.  I don’t intend to use sob stories to compel you emotionally to sign up to sponsor a family or child just to make yourselves feel better.  My intention is to reveal to you the reality of life outside your comfort zones.  I want to explain to you all why we are here and what God has been trying to open our collective eyes to all along.

23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; 24 for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. 25 But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does. 26 If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this man’s religion is worthless. 27 Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.

James 1:23-27

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