The Poverty Experience

Extreme poverty makes no distinction of race, creed, or religion when it claims its victims.

The dusty, Kenyan air attacks our lungs as we pull into a rural village outside of Narok. As I exit the truck, my eyes are immediately drawn to the vast, empty countryside. Dry weather and overgrazing have molded the landscape into barren fields of dirt with small clumps of grass sprinkled across the terrain. Cracked mud huts the size of my kitchen are at my back.

I run and see children running and playing as kids do and I hear a crunching sound as I walk. I look down to see small pieces of glass and feces covering the ground. I wince as an 18 month old waddles to her father in bare feet. I imagine my own son playing on the filthy ground, avoiding the glass and thorns.

A child runs by, laughing, beckoning me to chase him. As he turns around his feet miss a step and he falls on knees and hands. He slowly stands up, leaving a tattered shoe on the ground, trying to hide his tears from me. I see a sore start to bleed on his knee from the fall and immediately begin to pray that God eliminates any and all infection.

You see, there is no Neosporin in this village; there are no Band-Aids. There is no hospital or 911, no antiseptic or antibiotics. If this small scrape on his unwashed skin becomes infected, his family will need to make a decision. Do they all face starvation by selling their few goats to treat the infection, or do they allow the infection to grow unrestricted, killing their son?

Extreme poverty makes no distinction of race, creed, or religion when it claims its victims. It shows no discrimination when forcing tens of thousands of families to make decisions like this every single day.

In Matthew 25, Jesus gives a story about The King separating sheep and goats. The King welcomes the sheep into the kingdom prepared for them (Spoiler alert: The sheep are people, Christians, who follow Jesus). What separates the sheep from the goats?

Matthew 25:35 "…I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” (NIV)

Shocked, the sheep asked, "When did we do all of this?"

The King replies "Truly I tell you, whenever you did this for the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did them for me."

As Christians, as people who are obsessed with Jesus and dive after His heart daily, it is imperative that we open our hearts to the least of these brothers and sisters of ours. It is imperative that we attack poverty with such an outpouring of love and generosity that it has no choice but to subside indefinitely. It is imperative that we care.


-Jayson Simonson

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