Is extreme global poverty on the run?

Posted: April 30, 2014 by efenster in Ideas
Tags: , , , , ,

51tbUY4TC1L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Do you think extreme global poverty has increased or decreased over the past 30 years?  According to a recent article from the Barna Research Group, most Americans believe it’s increased, even though it has actually decreased by 50%!

I have a confession to make.  Even though I am co-chair of my church’s Mission & Outreach Team, whose focus is especially children and poverty, I had no idea poverty had diminished to such a degree.   The book, Hope Rising, by Dr. Scott Todd, posits that we are closer to eradicating extreme poverty than one would think and that we Christians are leading the way.

I think of our denomination’s effort to eradicate malaria from the continent of Africa through its “Nothing but Nets” campaign.  Deaths on the continent have actually dropped in half over the past dozen years, in a large part due to our working with the NBA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and United Nations on this campaign.

I think of Herb Buwalda, and Clay United Methodist Church in South Bend, Indiana, and the many other pastors and churches he’s gotten involved in drilling freshwater wells in the African country of Burkina Faso–providing clean water for villages and building churches and schools next to each well.

I think of our church, Covenant United Methodist Church in Fort Wayne, that has been partnering with Life for Children Ministry in Kenya for a number of years now, and how it takes children orphaned due to the HIV/Aids epidemic and provides them with stable homes, food, clothing, education, and health care, as well as ministering to their spiritual needs.  Over 200 children, who would have likely been on the streets, now have the opportunity to thrive.

Could it be true, that extreme global poverty can be eliminated in our life time?  Lord, forgive me for praying “Thy Kingdom come…” and not truly believing that it is coming, not seeing how you are redeeming your creation right before our eyes, through us!  May we not forget the miracle of Easter, how you conquer death, disease, and brokenness!

— Ed Fenstermacher, Associate Director of Church Development

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