It’s just three words–Keeping Families Together–that brings to mind a simple notion that, in a developing country such as Myanmar, is beset with an extraordinary set of interrelated challenges. We wanted a byline, a concise statement descriptive of LFM’s overall mission. In its most straightforward form it can be condensed to one equation: strong families=strong communities=strong country.
Trip after trip into Myanmar, we encountered parents heartbroken from their decisions to send their children to far away cities in hopes of better lives, and the equally humbling sadness of children separated from their parents and families for reasons not yet understood. Perhaps you know how it feels to think you have been abandoned. Perhaps you know what it is like to be disconnected from the love and security of your family. We wanted to develop our ministry and its programs around the belief that children prosper best–physically, socially, spiritually–when they can remain with their caring, nurturing families.
However, it is difficult to care and nurture when you are parents faced with the seemingly never-ending challenge of every day survival. There’s seldom enough food, only the clothes on your backs, a shaking bamboo hut, minimal job prospects, and sickness always in your midst. Hopelessness casts a long shadow over many families in Myanmar.
At LFM, we realized that we have no right to share the Gospel with a hungry person, a person rightfully preoccupied with trying to survive each day. So, our programs are designed to first address the humanitarian needs of the people with whom we come into contact, and secondly, to share with them about the greatest story ever recorded.
“Keeping Families Together” is about fighting poverty, providing relevant education, creating jobs, and empowering people–poor people–to believe they can take back their dignity and build a promising future. From our perspective, their promising future rests upon the strength of the country’s families. Each family is a culture unto itself with different values and unique ways of realizing its dreams. But, when you can “keep families together” long enough, provide them with realistic hope, we are convinced they will begin to think beyond themselves as individual families, they become concerned with one another collectively…as a community, a village.
Visit LFM’s web site at loveformyanmar.org, and discover how each of our programs are connected to the conviction of “keeping families together”, to helping forge true communities, villages which share a common vision. Programs that fill stomachs and open hearts. Programs that protect the abandoned and seek the lost. Programs that restore dignity and erase despair. Programs that educate the curious and ignore oppression.
It all starts with the family where an individual’s character, potential, and spirit are discovered and nurtured for the benefit of all. If we can just “keep families together” long enough.