Tag Archives: Hunger

Child Soldiers: Examining the Solution

26 Sep

Guest blog post by Amanda F., Team Haiti 2012

When you think of a soldier what do you see? I picture a tall, strong man. He is a fearless fighter for his government; a positive exactitude, defending freedom and rights of the people of his country. That is not the case for child soldiers around the world. A child soldier is defined as, “a person under the age of 18 who directly or indirectly participates in an armed conflict as part of an armed force or group.” This definition is very cut and dry, but the life of a child soldier is so much more than that. Some children carry assault rifles, machetes or grenades on the front lines, while others are used in “combat support” roles as messengers, spies, cooks, mine cleaners and sexual slaves. These children have not only been robbed of their childhoods, many have personally experienced or witnessed executions, death squad killings, disappearances, torture, arrest, sexual abuse, bombings, forced displacement, destruction of their homes and massacres.

A 14 year old, abducted in 2000 by the Revolutionary United Front, in Sierra Leone said, “I’ve seen people get their hands cut off, a ten yer old girl raped and then die, and so many men and women burned alive, so many times I just cried inside my heart because I didn’t dare cry out loud.” (http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/briefing/ soldiers/index.htm) This ongoing trend of child soldiers is tragic and heartbreaking. According to recent investigation, the number of children who have been coerced or induced into armed forces as child soldiers is around 300,000.  The youngest child soldiers are around 7 years old, the average age of a first grader in America. Over 50 countries currently recruit children under 18 into their armed forces and no one is spared; over 1/3 of these children are female. Continue reading

Pondering the Word ‘Orphan’

19 Sep

Blog post by Katy P., Team Haiti 2012

When I think of the word ‘orphan’, there are a lot of words that come to mind. Two of the dominate words are: starving and parent-less. There are a lot of orphans that are starving and have no parents, but there are also orphans who have to deal with much more terrifying and deadly things than that. Poverty, child labor, HIV/AIDS, sex trafficking, etc. are not the first things that come to mind when I think of orphans….but they should be.

Knowing that children all over the world face these kinds of terrible things makes me want to help them in any way possible. One of the reasons I am going on this trip to Haiti is to see firsthand what these kids go through on a regular basis. I want to be able to come back with a better understanding and know how to tell others what is going on and how they can help. I not only want to help with their everyday needs of clothing, food, and supplies, I want them to know that there is a loving, caring God who loves them unconditionally. He will be there no matter what happens in their lives.

On my first trip to Russia, I got to work with orphans. At one of the orphanages there were rooms with babies who never got held; they were fed by their bottles being propped up by pillows and they lay in their cribs all day staring at the ceiling. There was another room with kids that were disabled; they had all kinds of toys, but they were not allowed  to go anywhere because of their disability. In that room there was one little girl who had no legs, so she would scoot to me using her arms.  She was so happy. Another boy had no arms or legs, so he would roll to me. Still there were other rooms I could not go into because those were the rooms with the “sick” kids. I was never told what the symptoms were; all they could tell me was that the kids were very “sick.” Seeing and hearing all they went through really got to me and broke my heart. It got me thinking of what I could do and how I could tell others about how they could also help.

I realized that I am happiest when I am helping someone else. Whether it be somewhere in another country or right next door, I love working with kids. I can walk into a restaurant, store, church and anywhere else, and have a child smile or wave to me and it makes my day. I love to smile or wave back and to know that my smile or wave has made their day. It is one of the best feelings in the world.

A lot of people ask me “Why Haiti” and I honestly don’t know how to answer them. God has opened this door for me and I am going to step through it. Although I don’t know what is going to happen on this trip, I know that God has it under control, and I can’t wait to see how God is going to use me for His glory.

Katy resides in Oneida, KY and will be serving with Journey 117 in October on Team Haiti.

Turning the Page on Poverty

24 Jul

Blog post by Joe C., Team Ethiopia 2012

Poverty is at the root of so many of the injustices around the world and causes the most vulnerable in our society to be pushed further and further into the dirt.  The Bible is so clear that we caused this grave situation starting with the first choice to eat from the wrong tree.   The statistics are staggering, to the point that we’ve generally ignored them because they are so large that most of us have no frame of reference to understand them.  We can’t possibly put faces, names or identities to all those who suffer in poverty.  Although, if you go to www.poverty.com they will put faces to the people who died in the past hour from hunger.  Then you can put a name with a face.  If you watch for 24 hours, you will see on average 25,000 people died of hunger related causes in that time.  So many preventable diseases and medical conditions causing death are related to poverty, so many children sold in to slavery, prostitution or abandoned as orphans stem from people living in poverty.  The numbers are overwhelming, the reality is overwhelming, to the point where many of us get angry and bitter, we get hopeless and ineffectual or we get apathetic and ignorant in order to protect our sanity against the reality.

The Bible however, is also clear that this isn’t just a big punishment and blame game that God is playing with us because of fallen state of our species.  After he gave us the boot from a perfect creation without poverty, he said you’ll have to work hard, but I’ll provide what you need.  He actually didn’t send us into an impoverished world.  Poverty.com also says, “yet there is plenty of food in the world for everyone.”   Continue reading

2000 Verses About the Poor, Orphaned and Widowed

28 Feb

Blog post by Krysta S., Team Haiti 2012

Deuteronomy 15:7 says: “If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them.” In regards to this command from the Lord, why then does almost half the world – over three billion people – live on less than $2.50 a day? Why do 22,000 children die each day due to poverty? Why are thousands of children orphaned because their parents perish because they cannot afford to eat? Whose responsibility is it to tend to this issue of poverty?

According to Deuteronomy, and the over 300 other Bible verses on the poor, it the church’s responsibility. We are called by God to stop the oppression of the poor. The economic aspects of poverty focus on material needs, typically including the necessities of daily living, such as food, clothing, shelter, or safe drinking water. Poverty in this sense may be understood as a condition in which a person or community is lacking in the basic needs for a minimum standard of well-being and life, particularly as a result of a persistent lack of income. Analysis of social aspects of poverty recognizes that poverty may be a function of the diminished “capability” of people to live the kinds of lives they value. This may include lack of access to information, education, health care, or political power. Poverty may also be understood as an aspect of unequal social status and inequitable social relationships. This inequality often explains the lack of relationship care to those experiencing poverty. In third world countries, the poor are excluded and powerless in society. They must do everything that they can to simply survive. This environment often results in the poor becoming enslaved as indentured servants or entering into prostitution in order to provide for their family. Poverty causes the poor to have lower life expectancy due to malnutrition, AIDS, violence and disease. As a result of their parent’s disease and death, the children of the poor become orphaned and abandoned. In order for the children to survive, they will do as their parents did (servitude or prostitution), resulting in a vicious cycle of poverty.

This vicious cycle needs to be stopped. This cycle is the leading causes of orphans worldwide. If we are commanded by God to help the poor, why don’t we help them? Why don’t we extend our reach to help the widows and orphans that need someone’s help? There are over 2000 verses that demonstrate God’s love and mercy toward the poor, the orphan, and the widow. What can you do to help?

Krysta will be serving on the Haiti Journey 117 Team leaving in March 2012 along with and others from her church in Evanston, IL.

Ethiopia Journey Inspires Teacher to Do More

9 Jan

Nathan Livesay, a teacher at Sumter High School and former basketball coach, spent nearly two weeks of his Winter Break in Ethiopia with Journey 117, a ministry of World Orphans.

BY JADE ANDERSON janderson@theitem.com  The Item

A trip out of the country can change a person.
“I wouldn’t trade those two weeks for a state championship,” said Nathan Livesay, a former Sumter High School basketball coach.
Last month, the English and credit recovery teacher traveled to Ethiopia with World Orphans, an organization that brings churches in Third World countries together with American churches to help supply basic needs of the children being cared for by the indigenous churches. He learned about the organization through the Willow Creek Global Leadership Development Summit simulcast held at Alice Drive Baptist Church in the fall.
“I was reading the statistics about HIV and AIDS, about people dying in extreme poverty, and the numbers really bothered me,” Livesay said. “I was compelled to go on this trip to put a name and face with the statistics. … Even with basketball, I’ve always had a heart for kids that don’t always have everything they need.” Continue reading

Aging out of the System….Then What?

4 Jun

Blog post by Janice O., Team Uganda 2011             

A child growing up in a loving home has hopes, dreams and desires of the life they will eventually live, the person they will become some day, and their future as a happy adult.  How is that different from an orphan child in Africa? In Africa 11 million children die each year before the age of 5.  Many of these orphan children don’t think of their future adult lives, because most are thinking of when they will eat their next meal, where they will sleep tonight, or how they will survive another day.  There are approximately 143 million orphans worldwide and in Africa, 2,102,400 children are becoming orphans each year.  The lucky ones may enter into an orphanage system, to be cared for by strangers with the hopes of being adopted some day by a loving, caring family.   With only 250,000 African adoptions annually, there is a desperate need for a change.  Continue reading

They did not get to choose….

1 Jun

Blog post by Stephanie J, Team Uganda 2011

They did not get to choose….

They did not get to chose to watch their parents die a slow a painful death.  They did not get a choice in becoming an orphan.  Their childhood has been stolen from them.  These children orphaned by AIDS do not have a voice loud enough or strength strong enough to fight for themselves but we do!

UNICEF 2009 statistics estimate that 1.2 million children (0-17 years) in Uganda have been left orphaned due to the AIDS.  UNAIDS 2007 statistics estimate that 12 million children in Sub-Saharan Africa have lost one or both of there parents to AIDS.  AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa account for 37% of parental loss from all causes (Richter, 2008; UNAIDS, 2008*) [1]

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