Home > Family, Lessons > Youth Ministry Lesson: Third World Apology

Youth Ministry Lesson: Third World Apology

My brother has been in Sierra Leone in Africa working with the raining season for the past 6 weeks with The Raining Season at their orphanage called the Covering.  I am always struck by most American’s apparent indifference to our brother and sisters throughout the world who struggle daily to live.  But before I throw stones let me say that I’m astounded at my own ability to ignore those in need.  I am grateful for this opportunity that my brother has been given and excited to see how it has changed him, because it has.  You can not encounter God in the eyes of the improvised and be the same.

Is this why we walk by on the other side and we don’t look hungry men in the eye?  Because we know we’ll see Jesus?

My brother’s reflections from on his blog (choose2B) give me hope and make me think.  My brother is a wonderful youth minister.  His best trait.  He leads by example.  His kids see Jesus at work in his life.  Yes, I choose2B proud.

Yesterday, a youth ministry friend sent me a poem by Joyce Rupp – a cool old catholic lady who likes to pray.  As we seek to get our students to reflect on their brother and sisters around the world, I thought I would share a sample of the poem and encourage you to get the rest (I don’t have copy right permissions – link below) and some questions to use with your youth.

Apology to My Brothers and Sisters in Developing Countries

To my brothers and sisters in developing countries:

While I was deciding which oat bran cereal to eat this morning, you were searching the ground for leftover grains from the passing wheat truck…

While I was choosing between diet and regular soda, your parched lips were yearning for a sip of clean water…

While I scanned the ads for a bargain on an extra piece of clothing, you woke up and put on the same shirt and pants that you have worn for many months.

While I built a fourteen-room house for the three of us, your family of ten found shelter in a one-room hut…

My brothers and sisters, forgive me for my arrogance and my indifference. Forgive me for my greed of always wanting newer, bigger, and better things. Forgive me for not doing my part to change the unjust systems that keep you suffering and impoverished. I offer you my promise to become more aware of your situation and to change my lifestyle as I work for the transformation of our world.

“Apology to My Brothers and Sisters in Developing Countries” taken from out of the ordinary: prayers, poems, and reflections for every season, by Joyce Rupp Copyright 2000.

Discussion Questions:

How does this poem make you feel?

What line struck you?

What things do you take for granted the most?  Food, Water, Clothing, School, A Shower?

Should we apologize?

How do we respond?

A great response would be for your youth ministry to sponsor a child with Food and Water, Schooling, or Medical Expenses through The Raining Season or World Vision.

Need a great justice tool?  Check out http://www.stepsofjustice.org/ and their 30 day Free Prayer and Action Guide.  It’s worth the look.

Growing Together:  What tools have you found helpful from a social justice and liberation perspective to use with youth?  Please comment.

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