Thursday, February 2, 2012

Helping when they don't want to help themselves

There is one thing that I find very frustrating with some of the mindset's in Kenya. I am finding more and more often that people don't want to help themselves. They expect others to do it for them.

Maybe it is because they are so used to receiving aid from so many NGO's in the country that they feel like they don't have to work for it. I actually believe that Kenya is poor because many people have this mind set of "Poor me. I can't do anything. Everything is impossible. The government is corrupt. There is no work. Life is always and will always be a struggle." If you really think about all the money and resources that are poured into Kenya every year, it's a wonder why the country is still a third world country.

It's like people are taught to think that life is just one big disappointment.

To be honest, this is our biggest struggle with the boys (and other people in our lives).

We are really struggling with one boy in particular. He is one that we have sponsored. He keeps skipping out of school for long periods of time. Eventually he gets his head on straight and goes back only to skip again and again. When you confront him, its like he has this defeated attitude about life. He tells us of how he can't pay rent or buy food so he has to work during the days. He tells of how the schooling is too tough for him or he can't manage to walk there every day. Can you imagine constantly thinking that life is just going to kick me in the butt?

A lot of our other boys struggle with the same things but they reach out for help. They tell us when they can't pay rent or are struggling to find money for transport to get to school. We have actually helped many of them to find side jobs in order for them to make a little money. And they are all doing fine. Actually, most of them are thriving in schools. But they were the ones who took initiative and asked for some assistance and are making it possible for themselves to go school.

One thing I really want to instil in the youth is HOPE. Most of them just lack hope for their lives. The hope that things can get better and that it's not impossible. I want them to start thinking that, 'Yes this CAN happen' instead of "nope, this will never happen." And the fact is that it CAN happen if they are willing to work hard for it. Even without our financial help, I bet most of them could do something really great with their lives.

We are here and willing to help but why help people if they don't want to help themselves? I am not going to do everything for you but I am willing to help you. If someone offered to pay my college fees, you bet that I would do everything that I could to get myself to school. I wouldn't expect this person to register me, walk me to school, make sure all my papers are in order, etc.

Kelvin and I were walking through Kongowea the other day and Kelvin was explaining to me how proud he is of the boys. He said, "A year ago, you would have found most of them lazying around at this time of day. But now, they are all doing something. They are getting up and working and trying to make a life for themselves." He told me of one of the boys who showed up covered in paint from a small job that he had hustled to find so he could help out his mom. That's what we love to hear.

Pray for wisdom. I was asking myself today what would God do in this situation? Does God ever just say, "Well I have helped you enough yet you don't do anything. You keep being disobedient. I am not going to help people who don't want to help themselves"? Or does he suffer long with us and have grace upon grace on us even when we don't want to help ourselves? Pray for this young man that whatever strongholds or negative thoughts he has, they wouldn't hinder him from making something great for his life. Because I believe that they all can do something great for their lives, if they chose to do so.

1 comment:

  1. Stumbled upon your blog and had to comment. This is my opinion on the matter: The reason Christians should help others who 'don't want to help themselves' or lack hope is because that is the message of the gospel in its entirety. While we were still desperate in sin and living purposeless in sin Jesus took it upon himself to help us because we could not help ourselves. When he was crucified few appreciated what he was doing and made a mockery of him but in the end we gained hope as a result. The gospel is a message of the redemption of those who cannot help themselves and the hope found in the cross to empower us and give us synergy with the holy spirit to change our lives. The law couldn't have done that and no amount of aid to Kenya can redeem the lives of Kenyans but there is hope and power in the name of Jesus to break every chain. We were given hope and grace relentlessly (when we couldnt even fathom how it would transform our lives) and to move with compassion we must do the same for others. I agree it is a challenge and frustrating day in and day out but be encouraged greater is he who is in us than he who is in the world.