"Flower Petals in the Face" - Chapter 1

[Created to Flourish, by Peter Greer and Phil Smith, is an e-book available from Hope International, a microfinance ministry with whom Mission Resource finds much in common. It is an excellent book about a nuanced approach to ministry among the poor through financial services. With the busyness of your life, we thought it might be helpful to provide summaries of the book’s chapters here on our blog, but we encourage you to read the book for yourself. It is available for free as a PDF from Hope International’s website: HERE. ]

Chapter 1 – Flower Petals in the Face

Extreme poverty is prevalent across this planet, but it remains outside the field of vision of most American Christians. It is hard for us to imagine the daily struggles of life in the developing world.


The title of this first chapter refers to an encounter which author Peter Greer had with a 5-year-old orphan girl in Mumbai, India who playfully threw flower petals at him. Greer could not help seeing his own daughter in the face of the orphan. The two girls shared the same “smile, spunk, and ineffable glow”. (p.23) The main difference between the two was this: “My daughter … will most likely never face certain evils and injustices that are the daily reality for hundreds of millions of children in the world.” (p.25)


Greer briefly outlines numerous issues which most Westerners need never worry about, at least not to the same extent as the developing world:


Hunger

Child Mortality

Drinking Water

Toilets and Diarrhea

Education

Health Care

Life Expectancy

Washing Machine and a Change of Clothes

Women’s Rights

Employment

Financial Services


In describing these things, Greer explains, “It is not our intention to suggest that Americans suffer no pain or hardship or that the Church should not be helping those in need in our own cities. Rather, we wish to emphasize the extreme and immediate needs of people living in poverty in developing countries. There are people who struggle to survive every day of their lives. The extent of this global poverty is staggering. According to the Pew Research Center, 71 percent of the world’s population lives on less than $10 a day—the threshold considered necessary to avoid falling back into poverty:

• 949 million live on $2 or less a day.

• 3.4 billion live on $2.01 to $10 a day.” (p.29)


Greer sees hopeful signs that the Church is getting more thoughtful and intentional about its biblical mandate to minister to the poor:


“The Church is beginning to combat extreme poverty in a new way. This movement is radically different from traditional charity. It focuses on long-term systemic change and lasting employment patterns, not short-term quick fixes. It emphasizes the importance of partnerships and local champions, not external “saviors” descending to solve the problems of those considered less fortunate. The hope of the Gospel is integrated through tangible acts of compassion that have long-term reach, rather than simply providing handouts that keep people in a position of dependency.” (p.30)


From its beginning almost two decades ago, Mission Resource has been a part of this “new way” to fight poverty. When you partner with us, your donation is never used as a “handout”. Instead, it becomes an investment with “long-term reach”, lifting up families, churches, and entire communities.

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