Joe Mason is a volunteer ONE Regional Faith Organizer and freelance photographer/videographer who travels the world in order to document faith-based aid and development organizations.
Global poverty is a subject that always evokes a great deal of emotion within me. To be honest, before I began traveling to developing countries and witnessing this scourge for myself, extreme poverty didn’t really enter my thoughts that much. Then one day, I met a young, growing family of eight in a remote village of Bolivia who lives in a hut that is comparable to the size of my storage shed.
From that day on, I’ve felt an urgent “calling” to act on behalf of the world’s poor. So I began to study Scripture. It wasn’t long before I discovered that God has a special place within His heart for the poor and the suffering. There are more than 2,000 verses in the Bible that deal with poverty. Many of these verses are common to both Christianity and Judaism, and similar verses can be found in the Koran.
So I’m issuing a challenge. I guess it’s more of a rally cry, perhaps. It’s our time as believers to end extreme poverty. I know we can do it. But how?
One way is to make our voices heard. During the week of January 26 to February 3rd, ONE and other faith partners are joining together for a week of action. The Call to Prayer, Call to Action is designed to mobilize people of faith to act on behalf of the world’s poorest people. Resources are provided to help your congregation hold an advocacy-themed service, share missions testimonies, start small group discussions and more. We must make our elected officials and fellow believers aware of the plight of the poor around the world.
The fact is, within our federal budget are life-saving programs that make a huge difference to people around the globe, and this funding needs to be protected. I’ve seen it for myself. Without these programs, men, women and children would surely die. Government organizations like USAID are currently partnering with 115 different faith groups in the US and around the world, funding programs that help to rebuild hard-hit communities after natural disasters, delivering antiretroviral drugs to people suffering from HIV/AIDS, and providing housing and education to children living on the streets.
As people of faith, let’s unite to be a strong voice for the world’s poorest people. We must continue to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.” (Proverbs 31:8) This is our generation’s task. Let’s respond and rise to the challenge. This is our calling, and now is the time.