We view the word “poverty” through a rather shallow lens, full of pity, aversion, and cardboard signs. We interpret it as “otherness,” which really translates to: not me. Well, what if I told you that we are all suffering from poverty? That poverty is defined as the brokenness of relationship. These ideas spur from the book When Helping Hurts, and I apologize for referencing it so often in these discussions! But the deeper I dive into the development work of SEED, the more clearly I see these lines being drawn. There is some form of relational poverty in all us, whether it be in relationship with others, God, the environment or ourselves. And in this poverty, we are all broken together. It is a commonality that we all share and something that we have the power to change. This summer has already been one of learning, so I want to continue to confront the brokenness in myself, while investing in others through the structure that SEED has created.
In response to this relational brokenness, SEED has become SEED Livelihood Network. The team here desires to involve livelihood groups, our Champions, international churches/organizations and you in this web of empowerment. The core of this outreach, besides the provision of resources, is belief. We desire for our livelihood groups to know that we believe in them and their abilities. We believe they can become self-sustaining through the gifts God has given them and the resources in their community. They are our partners in this fight for development.
Think about your “home team” and the people that believed in you the last time you felt stuck. Did it make all the difference? For many, myself included, it even brought value to the failures. I know I wouldn’t be in this internship role without the empowering world my parents fostered at home. David and Rose have shared several stories pertaining to livelihood group empowerment. There was a group in Latin America who saw the work SEED was doing in a nearby city, witnessed the potential for change, and before even contacting SEED, created a micro-enterprise of their own. Those are the kinds of stories that we exist for. We want groups to know that there is talent and potential waiting to be fostered and all it took to access it, was a little belief.
Where has the time gone? We have reached the point in the summer for me to select a large, independent project. This could bleed into any aspect of the organization’s work, but I decided I wanted to focus my project around this concept of network. Throughout the month of July, I will be establishing our “Business Resource Network” with the goal of providing niche business coaching to livelihood groups worldwide. This creates an outlet for business professionals to get more involved and to continue to encourage collaboration among all of our partners. It really just leads back to the basic principles of helping one another. If this sounds like something you would like to be a part of, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
This week, I encourage you to think about the people that support you, and how you have or can continue to believe in someone else. As I consider my own poverty, I continue to see places in which God has filled as well. Humanity is relational, so let’s put relationships first.