Thursday, June 10, 2010

Book Review by Sarah

"When Helping Hurts: How to Alleviate Poverty Without Hurting the Poor... and Yourself" by Steve Corbett and Brian Fikkert

In our journey of missions this past year, this book has been recommended to us by a few people and I felt encouraged to pick it up as we have experienced a BIG learning curve in our experience here in South Africa. I have been involved in MANY short-term mission trips (1-2 week mission trips to poverty-stricken areas) and obviously knew that I didn't 'know it all' before coming to SA to live, but honestly didn't realize we had SO much to learn. It is very interesting NOW living in a poor community and seeing regularly groups of 'white people' walking around and doing ministry events TO the people of MY community! I honestly am skeptical to these groups and see them as clearly outsiders. Lately a group from Switzerland has been doing work with the kids in our area and regularly use the church property. On some Fridays they will fill the yard and paint kids faces, play games, sing songs, and give out toys - and then leave them behind with a wave and a prayer. It just seems strange and makes you wonder what is the point of it all? We see that there is a need, and can be very well intentioned and pure at heart, but it is a time to really question what our 'mission trips' are really accomplishing and if they are even hurting more than helping. This book is a heavy look at poverty and the real need and vision for people to get rehabilitated physically and spiritually with God and themselves. Sometimes we can play a role in this and sometimes only those in their own community can come alongside to truly walk the journey. The book is a bit 'thick' in content, but if you are really serious about missions and have a heart to REALLY help the poor in your community or around the world, I challenge you to get this book and learn how you can do it right! It will take you a while to read through it but will provide profound questions to inform your mission work!

Grade: B+

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