More than one billion people on the planet live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than one dollar a day. Every year six million children die from malnutrition before they are five years old. These and other statistics pose a challenge for Christians to not sit back, but stand for justice and get involved in combating poverty.
News headlines speak of disasters, but the ongoing disaster of poverty is often overlooked, according to UK Christian aid organization Tearfund. This video defines poverty as hunger, lack of shelter, powerlessness, and having no choices. It is also having to walk more than one mile everyday to collect water and firewood. And it means suffering from diseases that were eradicated from the West decades ago.
Behind every statistic on poverty is the face of a friend, family member, and person formed in the image of God. The challenge is whether Christians sit back and watch the world go by, or stand for justice and get involved through prayer, giving, and going.
One desperately poor country is Yemen, located in the Arabian Peninsula. More than half of Yemen’s adult population of 25 million lives below the poverty line. Unemployment stands at 40 per cent, with youth employment over 60 per cent. The economic and security decline continued in 2013, and suffering grew with attacks on oil and gas transport pipelines, electricity lines, and Internet and telephone cables.
Between March 2011 and March 2013, the economy lost $4.75 billion as a result of oil pipeline bombings and acts of sabotage targeting some installations. Al Qaeda has a stronghold in Yemen, the ancestral home of Osama Bin Laden.
A Christian expatriate in Bahrain said kidnappings in Yemen are popular: “People walk around with guns and machine guns, and you can purchase any weapon you want at the souq.”
The most urgent issues are lack of food security, malnutrition among children, a lack of safe drinking water (13 million people have no access to improved water sources), adequate sanitation facilities, a lack of access to health care (8.6 million Yemenis do not have access to basic health care), and human rights violations.
There are more than 500,000 internally displaced persons/returnees, and 243,000 registered refugees, the majority from Somalia.
The rank of Yemen’s UN HDI (human development index, which measures life expectancy, education and income) for 2012 was 160 out of 187 countries/ territories. To set this in context, the U.S. ranking is 3.
Pray against the suffering in the world caused by poverty. Pray for solutions to be found that will break the cycles of poverty (The Bible, Psalms 12:5).
Pray for God’s wisdom for the Yemeni government to overcome the country’s battle with poverty (The Bible, Proverbs 3:13).
Pray against the bombings and acts of sabotage, and for the power of Al Qaeda in Yemen and the Arabian Peninsula to be broken and replaced with the power of Christ (The Bible, Psalms 34:16).