by Tom Atema
People love to help solve a problem. However, we often times don’t recognize or celebrate opportunities to prevent a problem from ever occurring.
When we give to solve problems, we tend to be drawn into the need by our emotions. We can count the people we have helped and we can quantify the impact – it’s measurable. Trust me, there is a need for this kind of giving.
However, to maximize your impact you should consider investing beyond solving an existing problem. Personally, I love to engage with organizations that are equally committed to preventing the problem from occurring. Prevention is future-oriented, it’s reaching beyond the visible need into the root cause of the issue. Prevention is harder to quantify, its success is in the pain, hardship, and suffering that never occurs.
Heart for Lebanon is addressing complex issues; poverty, domestic violence, human trafficking, and extremism just to name a few. The root cause of these issues is extensive, and is often generational. So, we understand the importance of investing in prevention.
For example, Heart for Lebanon financially invests in children who are at risk. One program we accomplish that with isHope on Wheels; an educational fun truck that goes to tent settlements on a regular basis (and even to some public schools) where the children (and some parents) have fun with a purpose. They learn Truth about their value, identity in Christ, and God given potential.
We can count the children (approx. 1,200 every month) who attend the two-hour program. We can take pictures of their living conditions that will hit your emotions. What we cannot do is count how many children that have been saved from extremism, human trafficking, abuse, etc.
We do know children are less likely to be involved in the problems mentioned above if they live in one of the tent settlements where we work. However, we cannot count specifically how many children in each area have been prevented from suffering through those problems. Over time what we do see is a behavior change.
Your investment into the ministry of Heart for Lebanon is working to both solving existing problems and prevent future problems from occurring. We use the word investing because there will be (and you should demand) a return on what you invest. It’s a transparency and an accountability issue for us.
It is because of your investment and partnership in the ministry that we are able to influence current and future generations in the Middle-East for Jesus Christ.
Thank you for all you do to make your community and the world a better place!