I recently read a quote from Richard Morgan of Save the Children where he speaks of measures that can break the cycle of economic poverty in a child’s life.
Morgan’s measures to break economic poverty:
- Inclusive health and nutrition services
- Good quality basic education for all
- Social protection
- Supported transition from adolescence to adulthood
As I read about breaking the cycle of economic poverty in a child’s life, I was thankful that VOH has been able to do just that for so many children over the past 19 years.
I also reflected on how important it is that as an organization, our Mission includes breaking the cycle of spiritual poverty. Mirroring the measures Richard Morgan set out for breaking the economic cycle, I set out the following measures that can be used to break the cycle of spiritual poverty.
My measures to break spiritual poverty:
- Spiritual healthcare
- Spiritual nourishment
- Good quality spiritual education
- Spiritual protection
- Supported transition from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity
Like economic poverty, spiritual poverty and its effects will be passed on from one generation to the next, unless determined and sustained efforts are made to interrupt its cycle.
The measures used to break the cycle of economic poverty can also apply when breaking the cycle of spiritual poverty.
1. Spiritual Healthcare:
Many of the children who come to our Children’s Centers are in need of spiritual healthcare. Through prayer and spiritual counselling, the spirit of the child can experience healing. Like the father who brought his mute son to Jesus, we must bring the children to Jesus and believe on their behalf.
Mark 9: 23-24: 23
And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
2. Spiritual Nourishment:
Like the physical body, the soul needs nourishment to heal and grow. We must feed children with spiritual nourishment, which comes only from God. These nutrients include his love, mercy, grace, and comfort.
The steadfast love of God endures all the day.
I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.
2 Corinthians 1:3
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort.
3. Quality Spiritual Education:
To ensure a lifetime of spiritual health, children need to learn the Word of God from an early age. The teaching of God’s word must continue throughout childhood and adolescence.
You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
4. Spiritual Protection:
Spiritual protection ensures the impact of the first three measures (spiritual healthcare, spiritual nourishment, good quality spiritual education) is not undone.
We must protect our children from spiritual abuse and intervene on their behalf when such abuse is suspected or reported. Celebrating Children defines spiritual abuse as, “The misuse of power, authority, and trust by a spiritual leader, or someone in a position of spiritual power or authority… with intention of controlling, coercing, manipulating, or dominating a child.” (source: http://www.viva.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/6-Child-Protection.pdf by Bill Forbes)
5. Supported Transition from Spiritual Infancy to Spiritual Maturity:
When I shared these ideas with VOH’s Village Directors, I reminded them that as the children’s spiritual leaders, we support their transition from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity by teaching them about God and His love for them and by being living examples to those who are in our spiritual care.
Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.
I am thankful that our ministry allows us to care for the whole person, breaking the cycle of both economic and spiritual poverty in every child that walks through the gates of a Village of Hope.
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