[ ‘SHARE’ Sept-Oct 2014 ] TAKING ACTION
Written by: Samantha Wong
It is hard to maintain one’s beliefs and dreams in a stifling society. Instead of blindly following the world in aiming for a good job, it is better to spend time identifying one’s purpose in life and run towards one’s goal. I decided to spend my gap year seeing and delving into Father God’s world, and I had the precious opportunity of spending three months at CEDAR.
“Can’t poverty be solved by money and resources?” Sharing my three months’ experience often helps clear my friends’ misunderstandings about poverty. Poverty takes away human dignity, choices and chances of advancement; it exploits human rights and causes despair… These cannot be solved by material aid alone!
Long-term poverty relief involves Christians walking into the darkest places, bringing hope to the hopeless. I thank everyone at CEDAR for not despising my youth and allowing me to write, sharing their experiences with me, and even letting me attend the conference in Malaysia… I saw parts of the world through CEDAR: frontline workers comfort the poor with the gospel, and despite life’s harshness, illnesses and abandonment, they live with resilience because they have hope and dignity. Nepalese women speak out, the poor of Bangladesh become self-sufficient, Burmese war orphans feel loved, and Zimbabwean AIDS sufferers find meaning in life… They refuse to give up or wallow in self-pity – they have found Jesus, the Light of hope. I thought success was best quantified by numbers but CEDAR told me that poverty relief cannot be expressed by figures; this miraculous harvest contains stories of changes in lives and communities.
Despite an improvement in global poverty, there are still financial crises, natural disasters, food price inflation and wars. The rich-poor divide in Hong Kong is serious. Education, laws and economic development cannot eradicate poverty because love and justice is core to the solution where the church can play a vital role. Poverty relief is a seemingly endless path but God is greater than any social injustice and I will wait patiently and equip myself, seek to understand poverty and grasp opportunities to grow. “But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God” (Mic. 6:8).