"No matter where I am, your teachings fill me with songs." - Psalm 119:54 (CEV)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


Those of you dear, dear friends searching my homepage looking for my usual Wednesday post,

(Or any visitor who did not expect a post about poverty)

Read through this one first and you will find it right below.

I posted on Tuesday this week because I will be busy Wednesday (speaking of which, don't get your hopes up for a post next week),

And I was given a prompt from Compassion for Tuesday also,

So there are two Tuesday posts,

And I posted this one second so it would be seen first

Because I consider this to be very important

And didn't want it to be hidden.

I saw it in my email inbox this afternoon,

The last message received,

With the subject line:  "Blogger Assignment:  Can You Survive on $1.25?"

I didn't have time that very moment to work on a post,

So instead I spent my lunch thinking about how much money I spend.

I'm a big fan of shopping,

And a bit of a health food nut.

(By that I mean that I avoid high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, and hydrolyzed oils, although I allow myself to splurge every now and then . . . like on that Rollo McFlurry I got from McDonald's a couple of weeks ago . . . it is "limited edition", after all.  Anyway, the point is that foods that don't contain those ingredients tend to be more expensive.)

The two pieces of leftover pizza I ate for lunch had cost about a dollar each when we bought them at the restaurant last night.

That's over $1.25 right off the bat.

That also doesn't include the glass of milk I drank,

The roasted chickpeas I snacked on,

The strawberry I popped in my mouth,

The piece of homemade bread I ate.

I probably spent somewhere between three and four dollars on one meal.

Granted, I don't know how much food costs in other countries,

How much I'd need to spend on other expenses like shelter and clothing

But I can't imagine how I could possibly live on only a dollar and twenty-five cents a day.

I finally sit down to read the email I received.

It directs me to a game:


I click on a link, hit the start button.

I make decisions -

Imaginary decisions, but terrible nonetheless.

I will live in a slum so that I can earn an extra 64 cents a day.

I can't heat my home because firewood is so expensive.

We eat moldy food in the rainy season because I can't afford to buy more fresh food.

My child becomes sick from the dirty water.

I miss three days of work to take care of her.

It costs me 96 rupees - a dollar and seventy cents.

I manage to earn enough to keep my oldest daughter from working at a factory,

Knowing the factory owners may be linked to human trafficking,

But I can't pay for medicine for my mother, who is very ill.

I have to pay a 300 rupees ($5.31) to bribe some thugs.

Reporting the thugs to the police would've cost 50 rupees more.

I accept a ten rupee bribe to vote for a particular candidate in the next election.

I have to remove my son from school every three days

In order to get clean water for my family to drink.

I am sexually assaulted on my way home from work one night.

I don't have enough money to be tested for HIV.

When my sister dies in childbirth and her baby is orphaned,

I send the child to an orphanage.

I can't afford the extra expense.

I have to leave my home when my estranged husband threatens me and my children.

A kind friend takes me in and tells me about HOPE International.

I meet with someone in the organization,

Hoping that they will help me better provide for my family.

I have to pull my son out of school because he's outgrown his uniform and I can't afford the 500 rupees for a new one.

Some kind person sponsors him through Compassion International.

Now he has the opportunity to get an education.

I make it seventeen days -

Nineteen -

Only once do I make it through an entire month.

For me, it's just a game.

For 1.3 billion people in the world, it is reality.

Will you play the game?

How long can you survive?

The email also contained a link to a video -

"The Poor Will NOT ALWAYS Be With Us".

We have the ability to make a difference.

When Jesus said "The poor you will always have with you", He was talking to Judas,

Not us.

Watch it?


Prayerfully consider how you might help?

Maybe support one of the organizations in the 58: Alliance -

Part of an initiative to end extreme poverty in our lifetimes

And fast the way God told us to in Isaiah 58.

Isaiah 58:6-7

New International Version (NIV)
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
    and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
    and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry
    and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter —
when you see the naked, to clothe them,
    and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

God has given us everything we need to end poverty.

The question is, will we do it?

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion


Melody ________________________________ said...

No income whatsoever right now, but as soon as I get a job, this is one of my top priorities.

Sylvia R said...

Wow! Powerful post, Mary! Hits right home! We don't get it, in all our abundance. A game's just a game, but this one does get us closer to reality. Thank you for writing this!

CynthiaJSwenson said...

God bless you Mary for considering the poor! Love & prayers, Cynthia

Mary said...

Oh, Melody, that sounds kind of like where I am. I'm hoping I'll be able to work something out soon. I would love to sponsor a child with my own money. At the moment, though, blogging about this is all I can really do, so even though it doesn't feel like enough (a little hypocritical even), I'm going to do it.

Mary said...

Oh, thank you, Sylvia. It does hit right home, doesn't it? It was kind of weird, just being a game, but it did help me to realize just how much need there is, how many impossible choices people in extreme poverty have to face. I'm glad I had the opportunity to share this.

Mary said...

Oh, Cynthia, God bless you for caring enough to read it. Love and prayers for you, too, friend.

Christina said...

I thought this month's Compassion blogging assignment was powerful. I decided to have my son join me in playing the game. We only made it to day 17. A great lesson for him and for me. Thanks for helping spread the word. Blessings!

Mary said...

Hello, Christina!

Yes, I thought it was powerful, too, though this is my first time, so I have nothing to compare it to. I had to play the game a few times to make it all the way through. Many great lessons here that many people could benefit from.

Thank you for your post about this - great honesty and transparency. Thank you for helping to spread the word. Blessings for you, too, friend!

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