A ministry gives some perspective on poverty

By September 14, 2010

USA (MNN) — The U.S. poverty rate has jumped again, with one out of
seven Americans considered poor last year.

1 percent, it's the largest year-to-year uptick since record keepers started
keeping track of the poverty figures in 1959. Since the bite of the recession began in 2008, according to the federal
government, the poverty level for a family of four has been set at $22,025 a

release of the embarrassing Associated Press report comes as U.S. President
Barak Obama is slated to address a summit of U.N. goals to combat
poverty at the annual ministerial meeting of the General Assembly later this

It's a "Poverty Summit," of
sorts. About 800 miles away, in
greater Chicago, Bright Hope International is focusing on a different Poverty

Bright Hope's Craig Dyer says,
"We really need to bring some perspective as we talk about poverty locally,
versus poverty internationally."

In other words, it's like
comparing apples to oranges. They're
both round, but their nature is not the same. Dyer says that while an American family living off of $22,000 a year
would be facing severe financial difficulty, the poorest in the U.S. are still
among the wealthiest in the world. "The top 16 or 17 percent of the richest population in the world
would earn $20,000 or more. So if
you're earning $20,000, you're actually doing better than most of the world."

Some say Americans should be
focused on helping the poor here. In response, Dyer says, in the Third World
there is no safety net. "When we look at poverty in the United States, it's a
completely different type of poverty. There are support mechanisms. There's the government; there's state
government; there's local government–even the church."

However, where there is hope,
there is change. Bright Hope partners
with and supports local churches as they reach out to their communities. "It
could be a food program, it could be education for their children, and it could
be a micro-loan program. Through those
efforts and the ability to communicate the Gospel, people are coming to

As a result, "Churches have seen
a raise in the people coming to the churches, because they want to know a God
who is transformational. Our God is a
transforming God. He transforms the soul, and He transforms us physically."

That's why Bright Hope is holding
its own Poverty Summit, October 5, 6, 7 at their headquarters in Hoffman
Estates, IL. They're celebrating the
solution of transformation.

Each evening, project developers
in a different region of the world–Africa, Asia and Latin America–will share
what they're doing. "What we are
trying to do is to get back and return to those that have been investing and
just say, ‘Here are some of the results that God is providing', and celebrate
those as well as the challenges forward."

Awareness, belief and charity;
they're the ABC's of being part of the solution. Bright Hope's Poverty Summit is free to the participant. Registration is ongoing. Click here.

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