Paying Bills

Last night while I was making some soup and grilled cheese, somebody knocked on the door.  Jesse looked out the peephole and came back to tell me there was some Chinese man at my door. I went to answer it and he just let himself in as he told me he was here with the “Power & Water Company.” As he made his way through my house unannounced, he went into the bathroom to check the water meter. He then found his way to my kitchen where our power meter is located behind our kitchen counter. After I took everything out of the cabinets (that have no back!), he decided he couldn’t see the meter well enough and we had to pull the entire counter off of the wall so that he could check the meter.

Once all of that chaos passed, he sat himself down at the kitchen table and started to write some stuff down in his handy dandy notebook.

I continued to cook.

A few minutes later, he called me to the kitchen table to explain to me how much power and water we had used over the last six months followed by the total of our bill. I was expected to have this money on hand and pay him right then, so I did. After I paid him, I asked for a receipt to which he said he didn’t have any. He told me that I had signed my name in his notebook stating that I had paid and that was good enough for him. I told him that I have 2 roommates who I’m sure would like to see a receipt, so he ended up writing everything down on a ripped piece of paper that I gave him.

Then, he told me what he thought about my apartment complex and that he would be slightly scared to be a foreigner living here (no idea why- our complex is completely safe) and then he left.

This was my first experience paying an electric & power bill and China and my conclusion is this:

Why yes, that DOES seem like the most effective and efficient way to manage power and electrical bills. Good job, China.





What does poverty mean to you

What does poverty mean to the poor?

I’m currently reading through ‘When Helping Hurts‘ by Steve Corbett & Brian Fikkert and it is truly challenging me to reexamine my interpretation of poverty and my approaches to help those in need. In the beginning of the book, you are challenged to write a few words or sentences describing what poverty means to you. This is what I wrote: 

sickness. starvation. death. malnutrition. homeless. shame. When I picture poverty, I see a very vivid picture of a freshly orphaned, young child trying to process their mother’s passing as they watched her body slowly grow weaker day after day as she only had enough food to feed her children; leaving herself to starve.

I’m not sure what poverty means to you, but I know that it sows far deeper seeds than a lack of material possessions. This book goes over different responses from poor people living in impoverished countries of what poverty means to them. Here is a response from someone in Moldova:

For a poor person everything is terrible- illness, humiliation, shame. We are cripples; we are afraid of everything; we depend on everyone. No one needs us. We are like garbage that everyone wants to get rid of.” 

Can you imagine those words [humiliation; cripples; fear; unwanted] defining your life and defining who you are?

It is obvious that material possessions play a substantial part in poverty, but the overarching theme that I see in so many of these responses that I’m reading is so much deeper than that. It is that they feel worthless. They see themselves as inferior– every day. THAT is there life and THAT is what they are struggling with.

BUT, so often, we simply send food or write a check and seem to think our deed is done. If what they seem to be struggling with is this life of shame, how much more would it help if we gave them something worthwhile; something that they could pour themselves into and find worth in it. Perhaps, a project to teach them skills & show them a way to a sustainable life.

What if we introduced them to a Savior that is the definition of their & our worth.  

I challenge each of you to examine what poverty truly means to the people who live with that reality everyday. After that, I challenge you to carefully think through something you can do & do it. It’s not a question of if the Lord has called you personally to it. He has already commanded His body as a whole. 

Stop waiting. 
People are living without hope. RIGHT NOW.
People are dying without a Savior. RIGHT NOW. 

What will you do?