From Lodwar, Kenya – The Poverty of the West and the Riches of the South
So my blogs will probably not be as frequent for the next two weeks, because I’m blogging from small town in the Northern part of Kenya. Our churches in Los Angeles have “sister churches” that we are partnered with in Lodwar, Kenya. We help to support orphans through the Unembraced, and with the Solis Foundation we give small business grants so that people can start or re-start businesses and support their families.
Through this partnership and ministries we share with these churches, I am always struck by how rich the church in Africa is and how often we in the West are blind to our own poverty, because in many ways, we have been shaped to believe that we are what we possess.
So how is the church in Africa richer than the Western church?
I think they tend to be richer in community, because in order to survive, they need to live interdependently. I think they are richer in prayer because people who suffer tend to cry out to God in primal ways, they cry out from their gut in honest ways. They have more time to pray because they are less distracted. They also tend to be richer in worship. They often worship with no inhibitions. No wonder the scriptures say that the poor are rich in faith. Life in many ways demands they live by faith from day to day.
I remember Darryl Guder sharing once about how a man from Africa came to speak to him in his office. At Princeton, if you get accepted, they pay for your school and give you a small stipend as well. So they guy from Africa says, “Professor Guder, I need to tell you that I feel I am losing my faith in God”.
Guder says, “Why is that?”
This guy says, “Because I don’t have to trust God for anything anymore. All my needs are met for the whole year, and so I think I am about to lose my faith.”
If you live in the West, when was the last time you had to trust God to meet your basic needs everyday? When was the last time you had to trust God in prayer for healing because you could not afford to pay for a doctor? When was the last time you had to trust God?
As I observe my brothers and sisters here in Lodwar, I realize how much trust [faith] they display in God from day to day. When it comes the deeper things in life, who is rich? There is more to be said, but I’m about to lose my connection. What is your thoughts?