PU 039: When Helping Hurts

I had the opportunity to interview Brian Fikkert, co-author of When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor… And Yourself.

In this conversation, Fikkert discusses…

  • Diagnosing the causes of poverty
  • How Western materialism has infected Christians’ work among the poor
  • How Christians can use their gifts to do meaningful ministry
  • Ministering out of brokenness

Dr. Brian Fikkert is Associate Professor of Economics and the founder and Executive Director of the Chalmers Center for Economic Development at Covenant College.

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PU 038: Ideas Matter (Laying the Foundation #3)

In this third foundational episode, we look at the roots of poverty. If we provide food, health, and education to people living in poverty, will we solve the problem? Or does poverty run deeper?

Key thoughts:

  1. Our understanding of how life works must be defined by God. (Romans 12:2)
  2. When we don’t listen to what God says about how life works, poverty happens somewhere. (Matthew 12:33-35)
  3. Our quality of life is based on the behaviors of ourselves and those around us, and those behaviors are ultimately rooted in beliefs and values.
  4. We must address the root causes of poverty—beliefs and values—in order to make lasting change.
  5. Before pointing fingers, American Christians should examine our own alignment to biblical values.

Mentioned in this episode:

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PU 037: New Heaven and New Earth

Our daily life is influenced by the way we understand heaven and God’s kingdom. In this interview, Beth Allen shares insight gained from reading Surprised by Hope by N.T. Wright. Beth applies an understanding of the new heaven and new earth to cross-cultural work, the local church, and Christians’ circles of influence.

Beth Allen is Placement Services Manager at Food for the Hungry. She served in the Hunger Corps program as Special Projects Coordinator in Bolivia for four years.

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PU 035: No Shortcuts (Laying the Foundation #2)

This episode is the second in a series called “Laying the Foundation,” an update on the introductory episodes of Poverty Unlocked.

“’I just brought you the kingdom of God, and it’s a size 7 pair of shoes. But don’t thank me! Thank God…’ Does that strike anybody else as a pretty shallow kingdom?”

There is a difference between converts and disciples. Missional living is connected to wholistic ministry, but we need to make one step beyond living missionally. We discuss handing out food and shoes, and how to share Christ without undermining our message.

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PU 034: The Next Pandemic

The truth about H1N1 Flu, also known as Swine Flu. Carolyn Wetzel explains the pandemic threat, separating hype from real concerns, and analyzes the threat to the developing world. For news on pandemic flu, visit the World Health Organization, the United Nations influenza site, and the US government site.

Carolyn Wetzel is Health Programs Coordinator at Food for the Hungry.

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PU 033: Why We Ship Goods Overseas

Questions and answers about gifts in kind. Are handouts ever appropriate in community development?

Andrew Crawford and Cameron Calabrese work for Gifts in Kind Resources at Food for the Hungry, a department that handles non-cash items going to other countries. In this interview we discuss if and when “handouts” are appropriate, a case study in charging a small amount rather than offering a handout, and Watoto Children’s Choir from Uganda. Andrew and Cameron ask, “When was the last time you thought about Bangladesh?”

E-mail Cameron to learn more about shipping costs.

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PU 032: The Birth of Poverty (Laying the Foundation #1)

This episode is the first in a series called “Laying the Foundation,” an update on the introductory episodes of Poverty Unlocked.

Poverty started in Genesis. It was solved by the Christ’s work on our behalf. Because of Christ’s work, poverty can be overcome today, and it will be completely solved when God brings about a new heaven and earth. Understanding the Biblical story of poverty helps us to understand how Christians should respond to injustice and worldwide needs.

Read Walking with the Poor by Bryant Myers to learn more about these foundational concepts.

Contact Wendy to request the new Poverty Unlocked 4-week curriculum for small groups and Sunday School classes.

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PU 031: Surviving an Economic Downturn

People who live in poverty are experts on how to get through tough economic times. Here are some tips learned from people who live on less than two dollars a day.

Mentioned in this episode: Rooftop and Urban Gardening, a resource from ECHO

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PU 030: Recording Artist Jeremy Willet on Poverty

Three brothers – Jeremy, Justin and Jordan Willet – make up the band Willet. In this interview, Jeremy Willet shares the heart of the band, his experiences in Ethiopia, and how Christians can make a difference in the fight against poverty–no matter what their profession. Jeremy invites you to e-mail him with your comments.

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PU 029: The Poverty of Abundance

One billion people worldwide are overweight or obese, while another billion are hungry. Alisa Keeton shares her thoughts on one link between obesity and poverty.

Alisa Keeton is the creator of Weigh Less to Feed More. She credits Bryant Myers’ Walking with the Poor for shaping her discussion of poverty.

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PU 028: Conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo

Democratic Republic of Congo has experienced a 20-year civil war, with millions of deaths and internally displaced people. Chris Sheach shares the reality from his experiences on the ground in Congo.

Chris Sheach worked in the hotel and security industries, as well as two years in provincial government, before starting his relief and development career. He has worked in Vietnam, Indonesia, Mozambique, Burma and the DR Congo, and studied seven languages. Currently completing his Master of Arts in Disaster and Emergency Management at York University, Toronto, he consults for Food for the Hungry Relief Unit as an Emergency Response Coordinator.

Read about Food for the Hungry’s response in Congo or the Food for the Hungry Relief Unit.

Prayer requests mentioned by Chris in this episode:

  • Pray for an end to the conflict in Congo
  • Pray for strength and support for church leaders
  • Pray for a spirit of reconciliation in Congo

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PU 027: Don’t Miss Christmas

Isaiah prophesied of a Messiah who would rescue the poor. At Christmas, we celebrate this Messiah… or do we?

Scripture references in this episode

  • Isaiah 9
  • Psalm 23
  • Matthew 11:28-30
  • Isaiah 11:1-5
  • Luke 4:16-21

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PU 026: Worms

Two billion people worldwide are affected by parasitic worms. These worms keep children’s bodies from absorbing the nutrients they need from the food they consume, affecting physical and intellectual development. In this interview, Karen Neiswender discusses the combination of interventions needed for children infected by worms: treatment, education and prevention.

Karen Neiswender provides technical support and training in the area of health to Food for the Hungry’s Child Development Program staff.  She develops health education curricula for FH staff to use with school age children.  Karen also collaborates with a Health Ministry Services Team to provide necessary support to other FH health programs.  Previously, Karen served as a Hunger Corps missionary for over four years in Guatemala, working with children and their families at the community level.  Karen’s professional background is in nursing and public health, focusing on maternal and child health.

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PU 025: Raising Children with God’s Heart for the Poor

Ideas for getting past selfishness and self-absorption with our children.

God wants His people to “do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with (their) God.” (Micah 6:8) These principles are the opposite of our culture’s reality, where value is placed on possessions and exalting oneself. This episode offers principles and practical ideas for training up children with God’s heart for the poor.

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PU 024: Myanmar Cyclone

An up-to-the-minute update on relief efforts in Myanmar. Sara Sywulka of the Relief Unit at Food for the Hungry shares an insider’s perspective.

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