Sometimes, we forget that serving the poor really is about more than just sending funds. Bread of Life Ivory Coast shares about a supporter’s recent trip to Ivory Coast.
His visit shows us 10 out-of-the-box ways to serve and bless the poor.
1. Go to them.
At the last minute, Richard’s pregnant wife and BOL co-founder, Brooke, was put on bed rest. With her history of complicated pregnancies and early deliveries on top of the needs of their two older kids, Richard wasn’t able to go.
Jason, pictured right with BOL Ivory Coast worker, Daniel, went anyway.
Just by being there, Jason was able to encourage Bread of Life workers and those they serve. Coming to them and their ministry shows people they are valuable.
2. Be Humble.
Jason’s servant’s spirit made a big splash in West Africa. The workers at Bread of Life Ivory Coast tell us, “Jason made it clear from the first day in Abijan that he came to Ivory Coast to serve people.”
3. Resist parts of the culture.
Jason’s no-task-is-below-me attitude is shockingly counter-cultural in Africa. It’s not often Africans see a person with white skin serving those without it.
Resisting the cultural flow can be a great way to show the poor they are loved.
4. Work Hard.
This one is so simple, and yet so effective.
Jason’s hard work on behalf of the surprised poor and suffering citizens of the war-torn country made a beautiful demonstration of the lengths Jesus went to serve us.
Jason poured himself out for the needy in Ivory Coast as many ways as he could. He taught them to throw a frisbee. He preached to encourage refugees. He equipped the local church in the area of finance. He valued the kids on the street.
Ivory Coast is a better place because of Jason’s sacrificial hard work on their behalf.
5. Teach them a skill that yields a simple joy.
Jason and Daniel delivered a gift of frisbees for a local Kindergarten. They took time to teach the kids and teachers how to use them. This Kindergarten is doing the best with what they can.
Jason teaches the Kindergarten teachers to throw a frisbee.
6. Provide something small that goes a long way.
Bread of Life Ivory Coast recently helped this Kindergarten by turning these sad, empty bars into a real swing set by providing a swing!
7. Value them by valuing their culture. Spend time learning about it.
One of the best ways to serve someone is to learn about, value and appreciate their history, culture and traditions. Part of Jason’s trip included some hands on learning about Ivory Coast.
A Cultural Center in the colonial town of Grand Bassam.
Visiting a local statue.
The Cacao, up close and personal!
A visit to a Ivory Coast must include a Cacao farm, because Ivory Coast boasts to be the first farmer of Cacao, the raw ingredient for chocolate.
To appreciate a culture, you must taste their food!
Fish and Fried Yams
…and wear their clothing!
Jason in traditional Ivory Coast wear.
8. Engage by serving food in person…don’t stand behind it.
Jason engages with the poor and suffering. He doesn’t hide from them behind a food table at the food distribution. Here he is serving food to a widow.
9. Tell them about Jesus.
Ok, so this one isn’t unexpected at all.
It’s what we do.
But it is still a great way to serve the poor!
The civil war took everything from the Ivory Coast widow receiving the food above. Her family killed. Her life turned upside down. She was left in this ravaged place to survive.
Through the ministry of Bread of Life Ivory Coast, she has come to know Jesus as her Savior!
Bread of Life has not only met her physical needs, but attended to her spiritual needs, too. Jesus cares deeply about both.
10. Partner with Bread of Life
Bread of Life is touching lives daily through provision and service to the poor and suffering. The foundation has expanded from Poland to Moldova and Ivory Coast as more and more people are catching the fire of Jesus’ love and concern for the poor.
None of this would have happened without people around the world who partner with Bread of Life to serve the poor.
Whatever you’ve got to offer, Bread of Life can convert into benefits for the poor. Is it time? Is it hard work? Is it prayer? Is it funding?
Only you know this. But what we do know is that whatever your involvement, it will be meaningful for the poorest of the poor.
Because when you’re poor, it doesn’t take much to be impacted profoundly!
All photos courtesy of Bread of Life Ivory Coast.