Restoration of Broken Relationships Key in Responding to Poverty

Restoration of Broken Relationships Key in Responding to Poverty

by Rachel Thornton 


It’s a term with which we are all rather familiar. Some of us can recall our parents cautioning us against wasteful behaviors as young children at the dinner table and read of U.S. cities and other nations around the world where “enough” has rendered itself unattainable. Our own perceptions of poverty may range from that of the single mom barely scraping by with meals on the table, unable to keep the lights on to that of the ghetto of India with dirt-covered children traipsing through garbage littered streets. Did you know that in certain parts of India families subsist on a mere 56 cents per day (Biswas, 2012)? Concrete thoughts to imagery. This is where my mind goes when conceptualizing poverty.

But what if poverty doesn’t start at not having groceries or the materials necessary to shower every day? What if it happened before a person was old enough to make the choices necessary to have those things in the first place? What if poverty transcends that which is tangible?

As a team, we have been learning about poverty through The Chalmers Center curriculum. Their mission is “to equip churches to walk alongside people who are poor, breaking the spiritual, social, and material bonds of poverty” (The Chalmers Center, 2018). In their words:

Poverty is much more than an empty bank account.

It’s the collective result of sin and brokenness in the world—everything from broken individuals and families to broken governments and businesses.

But there’s good news: part of Christ’s mission on earth was to preach the gospel to the poor, heal the brokenhearted, and proclaim liberty to the captives (Luke 4:18). Jesus is in the business of restoring the brokenness that leads to poverty. (The Chalmers Center, 2018)

For many of us, it has been eye-opening and humbling. We recognize our own areas of poverty which increases our humility in our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Dungu. They may not have the financial resources we have here in the U.S., but they have strength, resilience and so many other non-financial resources.

Hopelessness lies under the surface of poverty. This knowledge is foundational for RHM’s ministry of restoration; training in vocational skills and post-secondary education; and asset-based development.

The church-to-church partnership between Cornerstone Church and CECA-20 in Dungu has been a gift of restoration and reconciliation–human being to human being. We have had the privilege of developing relationships with one another and deepening our relationships with our God. We are all beloved children of God.

If you’re interested in learning more about poverty and how to help, check out the following website: You can also join our monthly meetings live or via webex. Contact us at to learn more.


Biswas, S. (2012). Who are the poor in India? BBC News. Retrieved from:


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