This is an interesting excerpt from one of Rick Joyner's email letters. I believe it would be good for every person who wants to help others--especially those who are giving handouts to the poor in our nation--to read this and contemplate its meaning. Even when our hearts are right, it doesn't mean that our actions are in the best interest of those on the receiving end.
Christian Missions and the CIA
Christian Missions and the CIA
A few years ago, I had an interesting conversation with a couple of CIA agents. They told me of a study by the agency that focused on Christian missions. They knew how much Christians had spent on missions in virtually every nation, and they knew the results. I was amazed that they had done such a study, and I was just as amazed by the results. I felt that every church and missionary organization needed to hear what they concluded.
These agents shared the story of South Korea after the war. They said Christian missions swarmed South Korea supplying the devastated country with an abundance of resources. The CIA went to the State Department to ask them to stop these missions from giving so much, because no one was motivated to produce anything if they could go to the mission and get items for free.
When this charity was finally cut off, the South Korean economy kicked into gear. Now it is the sixth biggest economy in the world. Even more importantly, South Korea had the highest conversion to Christianity in the world over the next half century. Some of the greatest churches in the world, and some of the greatest Christians, were raised up there.
This common saying is true: If you give a man a fish, he will have one meal, but if you teach him how to fish, he can feed himself for the rest of his life. Even though it is usually given with the best of intentions, unlimited and unconditional charity can be destructive.
We learned this when we started digging fresh water wells for villages in Africa. The leader of our ZAO missions made a deal with the first village that if they would dig the hole, we would supply the stone, pipes, and other requirements for the well. When our team got there ready to complete the well, it had not been dug. When they asked why, the leader of the village said that the missionaries always did everything for them. Our team started to leave and the leader protested. However, the team said they would only do their part if the village did theirs. The leader got some men and dug the well. Because they had their own time and energy invested in it, they had ownership and were careful to maintain the well.
We found out later that there had been about 8,000 wells dug in that region of Africa by various missions and charities, but few were still working. Many wells were not functioning due to the lack of just a $5 part. No one maintained them, and no one had shown the natives how to maintain them. Not only was about $10 million wasted, but this also had tragic consequences for people who might have been better off if they had not been given the wells in the first place.
When we partnered with a village, we taught them how to dig and prepare the well or water source, and also how to maintain it. The whole tribe experienced an important pride of ownership in the well that was elevating. This could be transferred into building schools and church buildings. When people get engaged in the work, it is transforming. When we do everything for them, we are hurting them.
As we learned at the Katrina disaster, though we had to provide everything for people at first, it was important to get them working and doing something quickly. Although this was hard to do because we felt sorry for people who had lost so much, it was crucial. If people sat in their grief all day, it was much worse for them. They could become very volatile. If they were given something constructive to do, it was amazing how quickly they would start recovering.