The deepest human need is the need to be loved. As Mother Teresa said over and over again, "Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is truly the most terrible poverty."
In the developing world there are
millions of vulnerable and marginalized children. Each of those children is unique, but every single one of them longs to be loved, accepted and welcomed.
The poorest child in the world is not the child without an Xbox, or even the child without shoes, but the child without someone who believes in them, loves and walks alongside them.
Every parent knows that truth deep in our soul.
Yet the need for love is perhaps the hardest need of all to meet. For love cannot be bought or traded, pressured or forced. It can only be offered freely.
So we are faced with a dilemma. The old ways of bringing development and change using money and resources do not work to meet this deepest need of marginalized children.
To build a road or a well we can simply pay workers to accomplish the task.
To provide shoes or school uniforms or school buildings, we can use money to purchase what we need then distribute it to those in need.
But we cannot take such a TRANSACTIONAL approach to meet these children's need to be loved. We cannot hire staff to love them.
So, instead we must take a TRANSFORMATIONAL approach. We must appeal to the deepest stirring within the human heart, the place where the Holy Spirit is at work in each person. We must inspire, we must envision, and we must cast a Kingdom vision.
Alongsiders works with passionate young Christians in the developing world to accompany marginalized children.
Those young Christians are not paid for the hours, days, months, years that they journey alongside these children. They give of themselves, open their families, and welcome the kids into the wider support network of the church.
They do this because they are motivated by a vision, by God and by compassion.
This is the basis of a movement, rather than a development project.
This is what happens when the Holy Spirit flows through one generation to impact the next.
This is what love looks like.