I caught malaria once. It came during a season when I was a missionary serving overseas among the poor. To this day, I’m not sure how or when I contracted the disease. I simply remember the pain and fatigue which overwhelmed me for weeks until I did one crucial thing.
I bought medicine—a tiny pack of four pills costing the equivalent of eight dollars.
This action seems logical, and indeed, it was. What complicated it was my awareness that the majority of those I was ministering to would have died long before being able to afford the life-saving treatment.
Yet my understanding of this, as well as hundreds of conversations with the poor, made poverty no less easy to define. Initially it was a lack of money, space, and resources, and certainly the poor experience the deprivation of such. However, poverty encompasses much more than physical shortages. Rather, to be poor is to dwell in an existence without options and in circumstances without escape.
Quite frankly, the poor do not have the luxury of making choices.
As a believer, I can’t help but consider the greater significance in having the ability to choose. The Bible’s first book gives witness to Adam and Eve roaming the confines of Eden with opportunities at their fingertips. To name this, to go there, to eat that; this remarkable human propensity to make decisions existing before the fall of humankind signifies divine approval. Perhaps free will is a significant and foundational component of not only what it means to be human, but also what it means to be in perfect communion with God.
So what does this mean for us, and more importantly, for Cambodia? It means ushering individuals and families into communion with God again through restoring choices to the poor. And this restoration is what CGI is passionately pursuing.
For the most vulnerable women and girls of Cambodia,it means. . .
– she can choose to send her brother to school tomorrow because of the meal she cooked at the Green Mango Café tonight.
– she can choose to accept a higher paying position because of the fluent English she learned as a cgiDaughter.
– she can choose to buy the medicine that will save her mother’s life because of the purse she sewed for byTavi.
She can choose.
Think about those words. Then join CGI in the fight for the poor and for their freedom to choose.
by Bethany Rivera