The latest trip to Ghana taught me something.  I learned that the people of that beautiful country aren’t looking for money or support, and certainly not pity.  They are looking for opportunity.  At the orphanages they want the opportunity to support themselves and not have to rely on outside help.  At the schools they want supplies to give students the opportunity to practice their skills.  The churches would like buildings in order to have the opportunities to grow their congregations.  Individuals want the opportunity to go to the University or trade schools to give themselves a better chance at success.  In both my trips to Ghana combined, I have had one person ask me for money.  One.

What a difference that was compared to my time spent in South America – or even in downtown Chicago.  People looking for the chance to give themselves a better life.  To make it easier on their children.  Ghanians understand hard work.  The difficulty for most of them is that they have no opportunity to make their lives better.  The president of World Vision, Richard Stearns, discusses this issue in his book, The Hole in our Gospel, when he says,

…almost all poverty is fundamentally the result of a lack of options. It is not that the poor are lazier, less intelligent, or unwilling to make efforts to change their condition. Rather, it is that they are trapped by circumstances beyond their power to change. Robert Chambers, a British researcher, has said somewhat indelicately, “People so close to the edge cannot afford laziness or stupidity. They have to work and work hard, whenever and however they can. Many of the lazy and stupid poor are dead.” I have found that the poorer people are, the harder they work, usually. In fact, their daily labor is more strenuous than most of us could tolerate. It is their circumstances that conspire to prevent their hard work from bearing fruit.

Richard Stearns. The Hole in Our Gospel: What Does God Expect of Us? (Kindle Locations 1547-1551). Kindle Edition.

That is where the Two Pennies Ministry can make a difference.  We are looking to provide opportunities.  Through schools, orphanages, churches and libraries we are looking to present opportunities one person, one school, one town at a time.

We pray for people who live in poverty, but so often that is faceless.  We now have faces. And names.  This is our opportunity.