Dan Pearson, Director of International Programs for Unbound, considers what we have learned during this difficult year.
This has been a very difficult year. Each of us has lost things. We have been united by our shared suffering. It is easy to lose hope right now. After decades of steadily reducing the percentage of humans who live in extreme poverty, we are now experiencing the worst return to poverty across the globe in at least 50 years.
Unbound’s work is to organize and empower families to escape poverty. We cannot ignore the fact that our work has gotten a lot harder.
But remember, we can do hard things. In Unbound we say that we are students of the families we serve, and they have been teaching us for years how to do hard things. They have taught us how to get back up after life has knocked us down. They have taught us how to create opportunities where no opportunities exist. They have taught us that, although the world is filled with injustice, it is also filled with joy and possibility.
Now it is our turn to remind the families we serve about the things they have taught us. We must remind them that, despite all the unjust systems formed against them, they have survived. And they have refused to surrender their dignity. We must remind them of how they have overcome enormous obstacles in the past. We must remind them that, although they may be quarantined, they are not alone. Your reminder may come just at a moment when they have lost all hope. That reminder may make all the difference.
As Paul wrote to the Romans,
We even boast of our afflictions, knowing that affliction produces endurance, and endurance, proven character, and proven character, hope, and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
This has been a very difficult year, but our work to end poverty has never been easy. We cannot choose the circumstances of our lives, but we can choose how we respond.
Lord, may we respond to this crisis with the kind of courage, love, and hope that we have learned from the families we serve. May we remind them that they have immeasurable value. And may we continue to do hard and even impossible things together. Amen.
Copyright 2020 Dan Pearson, Director of International Programs at Unbound
Image copyright 2020 Unbound.org. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Unbound is an international nonprofit founded by lay Catholics grounded in the Gospel call to put the needs of the marginalized and vulnerable first. We build relationships of mutual respect and support that bridge cultural, religious and economic divides. We bring people together to challenge poverty in 18 countries. We invite you to join us. Find us on Facebook or Twitter.