A friend is flying from Houston to Miami to Peru and hopping on a boat through the Amazon to get to a small village where people cook over fire. The locals have to find wood, start the fire, then slowly cook their food at the mercy of the fire’s cooking capacity.
My friend, while sharing the gospel, is helping build a small cooking device, so this village can cook more efficiently and improve the quality of life. Then he’ll teach the locals to build and sell these devices, so they can make money while helping others.
Pretty nifty, huh?
Anyway, I thought about how my grandmothers cooked over a fire in their tiny homes. Sometimes I ask my mom if she and her peers in Kerala 50 years ago would count as poverty-stricken. I mean, they ran around with no shoes! And took dumps in holes in the ground. Tom’s Shoes could have swept Kerala in its arms in my parents’ day and covered their little feet. They barely had any clothes and shared a tiny living space with many brothers and sisters and few beds.
But I imagine they counted as pretty well off compared to the truly poor in India.
So maybe just because someone doesn’t have electricity or a stove or shoes, we don’t have to think their world is a mess? Or feel sorry for them in that oh-you-poor-third-world-citizen-you kinda way. At the same time, helping anyone economically develop is a good thing.