Last weekend we went to Asheville, NC for a few days. It was so nice to get out of the heat, to see something different, to get out of the usual rut. When we left our restaurant after supper we passed a homeless man and his dog. When I saw him, them, I felt guilty. I was ashamed of how full my belly was. I was conscious of the money we had spent on that meal. And I looked at that skinny, dirty, man and his equally skinny dog and was moved. I gave him a small amount of money and rejoined my family. It didn’t seem like much – but I simply could not walk by them and avert my eyes.
It’s so much easier to avert our eyes. To not see the dirty. To not see the poor. To not see the need. I’m not sure why we don’t like to see it - but seeing need makes most of us uncomfortable.
Perhaps it’s like a foreign language…
Have you ever sat near a group of people from another country and heard them speaking their native tongue among themselves? You might catch a word here or there but mostly their words flow over you like a river of sound. At some point they will laugh and you’re left wondering if they told a joke or if you have toilet paper on your shoe. (Or if they told a joke about you having toilet paper on your shoe…)
For many of us lucky individuals -- we interact with poverty like it’s a foreign language. And frankly we don’t want to learn it. Then there are a few magnificent souls (like Mother Teresa ) who see need, “Hear” the dialect, and can translate the need into action.
The Dominican Republic is a tourist destination with diverse ecosystems that provide an abundance of recreational opportunities. People can raft, hike and bike in the mountains while beach lovers can snorkel, dive, kayak, kite board, and sail. Sounds idyllic, right? Well…
More than a third of the country’s total population lives in poverty, and almost 20 percent live in extreme poverty. In rural areas poor people constitute half of the population. The Dominican Republic is Habitat Cabarrus’ sister affiliate and tithe partner.
Did you know if you Google tithing you’ll get 540,000 results in 0.53 seconds? Let me save you some reading – tithing has been around for thousands of years and is part of all Judeo-Christian religions. Tithing is also part of Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. In fact, pretty much every major religion recognizes the importance of freely offering support via financial means.
Habitat affiliates are encouraged to donate a tenth of undesignated funds to support housing solutions in another country. Habitat Cabarrus shares its funds with our sister affiliate to repair or rehabilitate homes in the Dominican Republic to safe and usable conditions. It only costs $4,500 to fund a housing solution in the Dominican Republic.
It’s incredible to note that Habitat Cabarrus has tithed nearly $250k in its 25 years simply by sharing a portion of what is raised in our community with the Dominican community. Our goal is to fund a housing solution there for each home we build here. Since 1990 Habitat Cabarrus has served an estimated 79 families in the Dominican Republic through our gifts and through yours.
Matthew 25:40 says, "The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"
Thank you for supporting Habitat Cabarrus through your financial generosity for 25 years and beyond. We’ve been able to do a lot of good by working together. Thank you for not walking by and ignoring the need right here in our own community. You’ve heard the “language of poverty” in two countries and responded by helping to shelter those in need right here and in far-away communities too.
Click here if you are interesting in making an online donation to our program.