The Resource Highlight for 20 February this year was Living Bread Ministries; specifically an interview with one of their co-founders, Barbara Hubbard. You can read the full text of that interview here.
Living Bread is an organization which exists to plant churches among the desperately poor. Having begun their work in South America, Living Bread is seeking to reach out to the poor in other areas of the world, as well. This includes a specific focus on victims of human trafficking. People in poverty live with a very high risk of being abused and exploited, whether sexually or through forced labor. As other posts have mentioned in the past, the best way to attack abuse is at its source: sin. We believe to assist someone physically but leave them without spiritual hope ultimately reflects a limited view of what people need. The whole person must be cared for physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually; the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate solution to mankind’s spiritual need.
One of the ways in which Living Bread meets the practical needs of children in poverty is through their annual outreach, Share Christmas:
Through this ministry our church plants seek to address a basic educational and health need in their communities while sharing the true meaning of Christmas. Gifts are distributed by our church plants among the desperately poor. As you can imagine, a child living in a majority world slum has many obstacles one of which is trying to get an education. When your family is struggling to find food, school supplies don’t seem that important. However, without them kids who are already struggling have almost no chance at doing well in school. Our churches have ongoing ministries to address the need for food, and through Share Christmas we are addressing the need for school supplies.
Eradicating poverty and battling the exploitation of children cannot be done effectively without giving those children an opportunity for education. Though Christmas seems a distant celebration, the opportunity to help children in need knows no set date. Consider sharing Christmas with a child in Brazil or Thailand. Just $15 will give a child school supplies and a medical kit.
…The primary reason I like Share Christmas is because it is implemented and executed by the Living Bread church plants. All of the school and hygiene supplies are purchased in country and all of the work is done by each local church. They assemble the kits, choose the recipients and distribute them at evangelistic services. They also maintain relationships with the recipients of the kits in their community.
This means that the families who benefit from Share Christmas do not look to a Western organization or church as the ones blessing and caring for them. Rather, they see the local church, the one just down the street, as caring for them in a comprehensive way. In this way Share Christmas is part of a long term church planting movement among the global poor. The ministry allows our church plants to invest in the lives of children from their own community, it allows local church members to have control over the outreach in their community, and it exalts Christ while also strengthening the local church.
This is why I like Share Christmas and I hope you will like it too! To learn more or receive a promotional kit please visit www.sharechristmas.org. If you would like to volunteer as a Share Christmas Coordinator and help needy children in Brazil and Thailand contact Living Bread Ministries.