I read a lot of recommendations from others. After a discussion on how Invest Hope was trying to do missions a slightly different way, my friend Megan from Ohio suggested I read "Toxic Charity" by Robert D. Lupton. She so much suggested it that she bought it for me on Amazon and had it next day shipped to my house so I could have it before returning to Haiti. She obviously really wanted me to read this book.
So I did. And I have to say that I was agreeing out loud and found myself thinking that the author must be living right here in Haiti with me with the problems he talked about that are faced on the mission field.
My favorite quote of this whole book was,
"Giving to those in need what they could be gaining from their own initiative may well be the kindest way to destroy people."
That's why my budget reports to my board seldom have expenditures such as food bought for the poor or candy given away to children or shoes bought for barefoot people. I could spend 1000 times my budget every month on these 3 items alone in the one little village I work in.
Does that mean Invest Hope never provides food for the hungry or parties for children or shoes?
Nope. It just means that we rarely do.
We believe in giving people the tools to support themselves.
Toxic Charity says it best with these Compassion Rules:
"Give once and you elicit appreciation.
Give twice and you create anticipation.
Give three times and you create expectation.
Give four times and it becomes entitlement.
Give five times and you establish dependency."
I encourage everyone who is on their church mission committee or is going on a short term trip to read this book.
When you live among the poorest of the poor, your view on how to help them changes. I know mine did. Dramatically.
Don't get me wrong. I know none other than the Lord first and foremost can help them. That never changed.
But how I do my job in helping the poor did change. Dramatically. And "Toxic Charity" hits the nail on the head.