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Third World Problems

Posted on October 11th, 2012

At work, I am asked to solve problems. People problems. Project problems. Design problems. Business problems. And, if I do say so myself, I think that I’m pretty good at doing that.

But there is an entirely different class of problems that I am not very good at solving. Sitting in a comfortable chair in an air-conditioned room in New York, surrounded by electronic gizmos and with plenty of food in my kitchen at home, I am worlds apart from a shockingly high proportion of the human population that struggles to meet their basic needs. Almost half of the world lives on $2.50 a day or less. (You can talk to me about purchasing power parity all day but, in the places where a dollar does go a long way, think about all of the things our governments and social programs “give” us that they don’t have.) Indeed, many of those people live here in New York and I do make an effort to bring relief through initiatives with Forefront and through places like The Father’s Heart.

Growing up in Canada, I was raised in a more socialist environment and I feel some of the ideals of socialism have stayed with me. When I think about the adage of how one can judge the qualities of a society based on how well (or poorly) they treat the least fortunate among them, I am proud of the systems and programs that Canada has implemented. As technology continues to power an unprecedented rate of globalization, we find ourselves coalescing into one interconnected community that spans across the world. And there are many who are not fortunate among us.

In a recent conversation I had, participants posited and agreed that not everyone can be missionaries or doctors or relief workers; the world wouldn’t work if that was the case. While I wish my work somehow improved the human condition more, I can also accept that fact that it facilitates my support of efforts that do. It doesn’t change the fact that I want to be a direct agent of change, though.

Sometimes, such an opportunity comes my way. My good friend John Black works with Northwest Haiti Christian Mission, an organization that operates in the poorest region of what has recently become the poorest country on the planet. He mentioned, in passing, that he was leading a trip down to Haiti in January and said that I should think about it. I didn’t at the time but, as the next few days passed, I felt a strong conviction to break out of my bubble and to go for it.

So, come early January, I will be joining him and over a dozen volunteers from Canada and across the United States on a trip that will change the lives of at least two Haitian families, countless children, and all of us headed down. (Even though we all can’t be relief workers, we all can be relief workers sometimes.) You can read more about the trip and on how to support the volunteers here. Please join us – physically, spiritually, financially, or however else – as we seek to address some of the third world problems in our global community.

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