Can we smash the cycle of poverty and prevent one generation trapped in poverty producing another poor generation? Returning from our visit to Jaffna recently we were overwhelmed by stories which emphasised the importance of education and the potential to radically change lives. In this article I present some anecdotal evidence that sponsoring really works. Ensuring that boys and girls receive a good education really changes the lives of young men and women.
I first visited Sri Lanka early in 1988, but have just returned from what must be about my 30th visit. The roots of the poverty relief charity, Kingscare/Karuna Action developed here, and the country has been central to it’s work and vision.
I remember well my first visit. I came with a burden and a dream along with a certain amount of idealism. I knew that God had called me to take some action to relieve poverty which I knew held so many in it’s grip of slavery. I had read every book I could find, both Christian and secular, on the subject of poverty and world problems. I was anxious to find ways that the Church of Jesus Christ could be a blessing to the whole world.
I was in Sri Lanka visiting a mobile clinic run by Heidi. I had to drive up a muddy track with trees on one side and a drop on the other side. As I was driving up the hill an ox cart came the other way. Heidi thought the situation was hilarious! As I got hot and bothered trying to manoeuvre so the ox could get by, Heidi laughed and laughed! It was typical of her sense of humour.
It all started about 22 years ago when Derek Brown, our church leader, asked me to speak to Heidi and see Continue reading “Heidi goes to Sri Lanka”
How did I end up in a hotel room with a Swedish missionary lady! I must add, rather quickly, that my wife Christine was also present, and that we slept the night fully clothed. Things started going wrong when we discovered that the plane which was to take us back to Colombo had been hijacked by a bank for their own use. We had no option but to travel back by car. We arrived at Vavuniya late at night and found a Sri Lankan “rest house” with only one room available for the three of us.
We were flying low over the forests and jungles of Sri Lanka to Jaffna. It was a six seater plane – and that included the pilot’s seat. I was in the copilot’s seat and I thought to myself, “I had better watch how he flies the plane, because if he has a heart attack I will have to land it myself”! In the back of the plane was my wife Christine, and Pastor Leslie and Shanthi Matthews. Continue reading “Visiting Jaffna”
The room was dimly lit, the temperature must have been 40°C with humidity around 100%. It was 1988 and I was visiting a church in Colombo in Sri Lanka. The Pastor of the church had got together a group of elders and I was there to talk about ways that we could help their congregation and their community.
How did I get here? I had no real experience of poverty relief and development and thought I was ill-equipped to fulfil the vision I had to see the church really blessing their communities. I was in for a big surprise! Continue reading “My first visit to Sri Lanka”