How NOT to Do International Aid

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This blog, 7 Worst International Aid Ideas, is from a couple of years ago, but I just came across it recently. It will be a great read and reminder for all of us who want to help.

I am not against charity and donations for emergency help, but there is a lot to learn about the difference between relief, rehabilitation, and development.

The first example outlines three basic questions we should consider when giving to any kind of poverty-related cause:

  1. Is there a real need for this?
  2. Is there a more efficient (though not as easy) method?
  3. Are you undermining local, long-term efforts with your distant, short-term aid?

Keeping that in mind, here are the candidates for “the worst attempts at helping others since colonialism”:

  1. T-shirts for Africa
  2. TOMS Buy-One-Give-One
  3. Machine Gun Preachers
  4. Ransoming Children in Africa (Extortion)
  5. Donor Fund Restrictions
  6. Food Aid and Munitions Confusion
  7. Making Aid a Foreign Policy Tool

Be sure to read the full article.

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Not “Bigger and Better”

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It was last day of working at the Boys and Girls Club, a program that I helped re-launch at the beginning of 2011. Just weeks earlier, I made a decision to leave that job, even without knowing what I would do next. (PS — God did come through for me with these four jobs.) But I did know that my wife and I were committed to the well-being of children in Allendale County.

On this final Club day of the semester, the children led a special Christmas-themed program, in which we invited parents and organization leaders. The children did a fantastic job, of course.

Near the end of the evening, one of the organization leaders spoke to the audience. She thanked me for my work that year, and wished me the best. But what she said next infuriated me, and it was only by the grace of the Holy Spirit that I did not react immediately.

She said, “Mr. Joey is moving on to bigger and better things.”

The rest of this post is bigger and better. Click here to find out…

Helpful Resources

I’m always recommending books and articles, based on what has helped me the most. If I had to go back 3.5 years and start over again (which is sort of what we’ll be doing next), I would be sure to start with these.

If you are thinking of moving to Allendale (you should), or doing something similar to what we’ve done, these resources may help you.


I will either link to the books on Amazon, or to a review I’ve done.

A Slave of Circumstance (James Brewton).  Though specifically written about Allendale, it may help provide insight to other similar communities.

Poverty-ASCD-Cover-75pTeaching with Poverty in Mind (Eric Jensen).  The number one book I recommend for teachers, and for anyone who works with children who are growing up in poverty. I’ve referenced this book over and over and over and . . . .

A Framework for Understanding Poverty (Ruby Payne).  More well-known than Jensen’s book. Payne’s book is not as good, in my opinion, but it has given us exactly what the title promises, a basic framework.

Fatherless Generation (John Sowers).  If you read this and are not motivated to get involved in the lives of children and youth, you’re either heartless or gutless. Period.

Click here to see more

The Big Announcement

microphone_retro everystockphoto FlashInPan

image courtesy of FlashInPan via everystockphoto

Here we are. After months and months of questions, we finally know what we’ll be doing next.

Actually, we’ve known for a few weeks, but finally the timing is right for us to communicate.

Are you ready for this?

But before I say more, I want to just say “Thank you” again for all your support, prayers, and encouragements. We have had an amazing adventure over the past 3.5 years, and we could not have done this with the people that have gone ahead of us, walked alongside us, and spurred us on.

Click here to learn more…


declaration_of_independence_stone_630 archives_govHappy Independence Day!

We would do well to remember these words:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”


“It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery.”  (Galatians 5:1)

“Having been liberated from sin, you became enslaved to righteousness. ”  (Romans 6:18)

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**image courtesy of

New Blogging Schedule

Blog Dashboard

I tweeted this the other night:

Let me explain. I LOVE that some people (All six of you! Sometimes even my wife!) read my blogs. And for those who leave comments, I love you even more (and I love you, dear wife, even when you don’t leave comments).

But when someone starts talking about a post I wrote, my stomach gets queasy. Immediately, I imagine that they will tell me how I was:

  • Unclear,
  • Unkind, or
  • Just flat-out wrong.

Or maybe all of the above.

Amazingly, people are usually complementary. But even when they’re not, I am happy to know that you read this. Even more, I am excited to learn how my writings are helping you.

(And it really is OK if you want to question or correct me. Honest. I need help more than anyone!)

Upcoming Changes

As I wrote on my other blog yesterday, I will be starting a new blogging schedule next week.

I will be now be posting on Mission: Allendale (here) on Mondays and Thursdays, and on A Different Way (my parenting blog) on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Also, since we are leaving Allendale this month, I plan to end this blog by the end of July (or early August), and start a new one around the same time.

Speaking of which . . .

I should have more about that transition, especially the details about the next step in our adventure, within the next week. Stay tuned!

For now, if you have any questions about this transition, check out this post.

Jeremiah’s Choice

forked path foter pjohnkeane

I’ve always felt bad for the prophet Jeremiah. First, he had a terrible nickname. Many theologians call him “the weeping prophet.” Terrible for a grown man. It’s like saying, “Jeremiah the Crybaby.” Ugh.

Second, I get why he was so weepy and sad. He faithfully preached, but few listened — and definitely not the ones who had the power to change the course of the nation. He preached God’s message of judgment and repentance, but was ignored (at best) and persecuted (at worst).

God sent him to call the people back to Himself, and the ruling authorities sent him to a dungeon or a deep cistern. His faithfulness to God was met with ungratefulness from the people.

Unfortunately, his prophecies came true. Judah did not repent before God, nor surrender to Babylon. So God kept his promise to destroy Jerusalem and to send the people of Judah into exile (Chapter 39). Jeremiah’s ministry was to help the people return to the Lord and to His ways. And from my perspective, he was an utter failure.

That’s why I feel bad for him. If I was him, I would be frustrated and worn out. I’d probably weep, too.

Click here to keep reading…

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