When Kingscare was formed in 1988, I had a clear vision of how we, as a Christian community, could make a real impact upon the lives of people living in extreme poverty throughout the world. Having a vision, is terribly important to me as a person. Without it, I might as well have continued working in the computer industry, earning good money.
But having a clear idea what God wanted me to do didn’t come easily. I knew that I had the call of God on my life but I didn’t know what I was meant to do. At one point I thought I was meant to be a pastor, or leader of a church – but that didn’t work out. In retrospect, I don’t think I had the right gift.
Rich Christians …
The vision to be involved in fighting extreme poverty came gradually. Ten years before, in 1978, I read a book called, “Rich Christians in an Age of Hunger”. This book opened my eyes to see the effects, and the evil of, extreme poverty. I thought that the author had gone, “a bit over the top” in places. I’ve since realised that his writing was accurate.
I was deeply impacted by the book, and remember when I reached the last page, I put the book down and said out loud, “This book will change my life”. I then proceeded to read as many books as possible, both Christian books and secular, on the subjects of poverty and other world problems.
I spent 10 years, being rather frustrated, because I was aware of the problems, but I didn’t know what to do about it. It seemed to me, that in 1978, the last thing developing countries needed was computers, because at that time, they were expensive to buy and to run. I thought to myself, “I am not a teacher. I’m not a doctor. I’m not an engineer. What can I do to help?” The problem was, I love statistics, but the problem seemed so enormous that anything I could do would be a drop in the ocean.
In 1988, the computer software company that I worked for, was sold to a larger organisation. I was a minor shareholder of the company so had the resources to initially take a year off work to explore various possibilities. I travelled to Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India visiting various churches which we, as a church, had contacts with.
Statistics into people
It was only after talking with church leaders, and meeting with individuals, that suddenly “statistics” changed into real people. I saw that, we as a church in the West, had enormous resources compared to the people I had visited. The vision became reality as Kingscare was born. It became clear that although we could not change the whole world, we could help to bring a significant number of people out of extreme poverty.
Having a clear vision is vital to me. It is keeping vision in mind that has seen me through difficulties and disappointments along the way. We live in the real world, and at times we fail and other people fail us. It is having a vision which has given me the strength to carry on and be determined to see that vision transformed into reality.
The Vision develops
Over the years, the vision has expanded. We ask, “Your Kingdom come, your will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven”. If only we are sufficiently motivated, poverty, or at least extreme poverty, could be eliminated. As an organisation, Kingscare could only effect a limited number of people. Working together with others we can have an enormous effect on world we live in.
My vision is for a better world, a world without extreme poverty. A world that deals with the injustice of the oppression which causes much of the poverty. I believe that God’s Kingdom coming on here on earth is a progressive process. Previous generations struggled with issues such as the abolition of (institutionalised) slavery, the exploitation of children and the racism of apartheid and segregation. These problems were only tackled because ordinary people said, “This is no longer acceptable”.
It is my belief that the time has come for the issue of extreme poverty to be top of the agenda. In the last 30 years, extreme poverty hashalved. (With extreme being defined as living off less than $1.25 a day, or about £6 a week.) The next generation could see the elimination of extreme poverty. Will they be up to the challenge?
My vision to have a world without extreme poverty is achievable. The world has the resources! I may see it in my lifetime, or it may not be achieved in time. Either way, my vision is not a pointless dream, but totally valid and totally achievable. I believe that vision will become a reality in due course.
I now need a new vision. But that is the subject of my next blog post…