I am stuck
July 27, 2020
by: tancho baes
“I am stuck!”
That’s what Mario (not his real name) told me when I spoke to him during my visit to his community. With his wrinkled sun-scorched face looking away sheepishly, Mario shared with me how he feels trapped in the cycle of poverty and how deeply he feels stuck believing he is powerless over his circumstances. He remembered how at a very young age, he already tried to make sense of his reality and that of his family and his neighbors. Now at 34, with desperate resignation, he has come to believe that he will remain poor for the rest of his life, like his parents, not only because there are no opportunities in the impoverished rural community he lives in but also because he is uneducated and unskilled.
Shifting his gaze from the ground to the hills nearby, with his youngest malnourished two-year-old child sitting on his lap, I noticed a crack in his voice as he said, “I am stuck, sir! There is practically nothing for me and my family here. My heart breaks when my children cry because of hunger. Many times, my wife gets the brunt of my frustration. I am tired and I don’t know what else to do. I want to give up, but what will become of my children? I am thinking of going to the city to look for a job. But I don’t even have money for transportation.”
He looked at me quickly… then looked at his son and said with resignation, “Ginoo nala’y bahala ani sir.” (“It’s up to God now.”)
There are so many Marios in the rural areas who also feel trapped and stuck in their dire economic situation. They are hoping against hope, unable to see a light at the end of the tunnel, and feeling they will never come out of poverty or accomplish anything great in their life because that’s what they have come to believe about themselves all their life.
But what if someone comes along and helps them see their potential? What if someone shows them the flip side of their “powerlessness” narrative so they can tell a story of empowerment about themselves? What if someone with resources, expertise and opportunities helps them realize that they cannot only dream dreams, but they, too, are capable of making their dreams come true?
“We believe that we are in the precipice of something monumental coming out from the vision for the rural poor that the Lord has laid in our hearts.”
Hope for the Nations Philippines exists to be that “someone.” Through our transformational community development program called Hectares of Hope, we do not only envision the rural poor come out of untenable poverty in two years and attain a middle-class status within five years but we also envision them building strong and healthy families and having a deep love for God, a strong love for the country and a passion to serve. This transformational community development which involves spiritual, social and economic growth employs innovative and sustainable solutions to ending rural poverty.
We believe that we are in the precipice of something monumental coming out from the vision for the rural poor that the Lord has laid in our hearts. We are breaking barriers for the impoverished, risking it all for something extraordinary that has not been done before probably. This ambitious vision is not easy to achieve within the timelines we set. It will require significant effort, planning and courage. But with God’s help, we believe we can do it in partnership with those who believe with us that the impoverished are like oil deposits buried under the ground, waiting for someone to dig them out.
Picture Mario as being one of those being “dug out.” Picture him with a renewed hope and an unparalleled motivation – a man with a missional heart and contagious generosity, a man with a godly perspective on life and the world – a father who is building a healthy family, loving his wife and raising godly children. Imagine him contributing towards the welfare of his community and being a positive influence to his peers and neighbors.
And then imagine yourself standing behind him, helping him out and cheering him on as he runs on to become the kind of person the Lord has designed him to be, paying it forward by inspiring and helping others achieve their dreams.
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