Today’s bible reading has been in my mind. The reading was Mt 25:14-30, it is about a master who goes for a journey and gives his possession to his servants. To one he gave five talents; to another, two; to a third, one. When he returned, the servants who were given 5 and 2 talents each had invested them and doubled them, however, the one who was given 1 talent, because of FEAR, hid the talent.
The reason the reading has stayed with me today more than it has other years when I read it is because I can see the families that Opening Village Doors Foundation partners with in Kenya through this reading. On the other hand it reminded me of the first meeting that I had with prospective individuals three years ago, because this was the bible story that I used to drive the point home – they all have potential and they can succeed and get out of poverty!
So today, I have been asking myself, what will make the servant who was given 1 talent fearful and not take a risk and invest it? As I ponder this question, my mind shifts to quotes that I read in Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkerts’ book ‘When Helping Hurts’.
The authors share the following quotes; from Moldova, one person states, “For a poor person, everything is terrible-illness, humiliation, and shame. We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone. No one needs us. We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of?” While from Cameroon, another person states, “[The poor have] a feeling of powerlessness and an inability to make themselves heard” and finally, one person from Uganda states “When one is poor, she has no say in public, she feels inferior. She has no food, so there is famine in her house; no clothing and no progress in her family” It is no wonder the individuals are afraid due to poverty to take risk even when they have great ideas to thrive and grow!
It is very easy then to see the poor and see them as lacking or deficient. We often choose to give them money and other gifts in hope that our gifts will get them out of poverty. Opening Village Doors takes a different approach, and removes the FEAR through training, education and by giving them a small loan to start a small business so that they can support their families, and villages.
Due to the support of our donors and supporter, Opening Village Doors’ message to the individuals and families that we partner with, is “we have confidence in you, you are capable, you are created in God’s image, you have potential. Go and multiply the loan you have been given, we will walk along side you as you seek to gain ground, as you stand on your own and as you walk and eventually run, we will smile and pray and wish you well that you touch others as others have touched you!”