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Responses to How to Help?

Feb 27, 2012 at 17:59


Friends, Thanks for the comments on "How to Help?"  We have posted three below.  John King raises some excellent questions.  How would you respond?  

From Larry Bennet www.upwordcoaching.com   You are right on target…with shekels come shackles. We saw this in India over and over again, Westerners throwing money at orphanages attempting to make them westernized, and then when the westerners got bored or disagreed the money was cut off, doing great damage to the orphanage and the community. From my experience, it is much better to keep children in an environment similar to the local living conditions, making sure they have adequate food, shelter, hygiene and education. The local church planters can do a much better job at that task.

The problem begins In the western churches where there is a wrong concept of missions. No concept of people adoption, emersion in a culture and understanding the needs in cultural context. That is one of the reasons I don’t bring over groups any longer, most churches just want to throw money at some kind of building project, take lots of pictures that make great presentations when they returned home. I never figured out why they would want to build a modern building to house street kids when they could take the same amount of money and plant 500 new churches, that would in turn develop local orphanages? I know I am a passionate church planter – but I am missing something in this Western concept of missions.

From Dennis Kugler www.agapelifeministries.com.sg   Very true every where, once building of orphanage done, once you have orphans, no more supply... Visiting mission trips should before doing anything take advise from residents missionaries how to help, and how to do ministry.... We face a lot of problems here also in Cambodia.... Visiting groups mean good, but once they are gone problems occur, and makes our work often times much more difficult..

 From John King www.hope-international.com   Appreciate your words here (well written), particularly as I’ve been discussing these thoughts with people in Canada who support orphanages.  How has the response been? 

40 years ago, the SIM closed down the orphanages in Nigeria because the children were getting into trouble (jail, pregnant, etc.)  SIM was able to find good Christian homes for all the children, and the story had a happy ending.  But why are we still learning the same lesson today?  I have not had great success overcoming peoples’ attraction to this method of helping.  Thinking people need to figure this thing out for themselves, I have been asking the following questions:

 1.       Why have we shut down most, if not all of the orphanages in Canada?  (social-workers say that they are problematic)

2.       What is your institution doing about attachment syndrome?

3.       What does your institution doing about “roots” for the children.  (20 years from now they won’t recognize anyone in the orphanage)

4.       Are you trying to create a Wealthy Island in a Sea of Poverty?   (Soon people from the surrounding villages will start abandoning their kids at the gates, and that is already happening at many orphanages)

5.       How is your institution integrating the children into society?   Etc……

 Again, thanks for expressing what I’ve been feeling for several years.  I’m very interested in how people respond to your excellent letter.

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