Sound familiar? Chances are if you've ever met Eric and Ginny or visited IHSI in Cambodia, you've heard this little proverb at least once. As founders of this ministry, the Hansons feel strongly about empowering those in need to provide for themselves.
Very often, families in poverty lack not only material provision, but also the confidence to try to change their situation. We encountered once such story this past spring, when our national director Theavy became aware of a family that was struggling to survive.
Their house was a ramshackle mess, flooding above a makeshift bed whenever it rained. Crippled by debt, jobless, and uneducated, the father and mother were trying to make a living cutting grass for neighbors' livestock and fishing in the nearby lake. But despite all their efforts, they could never seem to make ends meet. Five children and their parents had almost nothing to eat, and no way to overcome their seemingly hopeless situation.
With the help of donations from New Zealand and America, we began rebuilding the home, bringing food, vitamins, and hygiene supplies, and helping care for the children. We also helped the family pay off some of their loans, and counseled them on how to be responsible with their remaining debt.
When we found out that the father enjoyed working at the lake, we helped him set up a small eel-trapping business that is now bringing in more income than he has have ever earned before. Other men fishing nearby say they can't understand how he always catches so many eels! We know it is God's hand of favor as he demonstrates his love.
Meanwhile, the mother and some of her children have been coming to church regularly ever since, even bringing neighbors who used to persecute her. It is amazing to see others being drawn to God through "the least of these".
More often then not, the ways that God uses us to work are exceedingly practical: de-licing a child's hair, thatching a roof, or offering a tuk-tuk ride to church! No matter the task, we take joy in acting as the hands and feet of Christ on behalf of those in need. There is still much to be done as we walk with this family, but we are confident that the transformations we have seen are just the beginning of the great things God will do!