Students learn about poverty during alternative spring break
During spring break, 26 people from the Reinhardt University community traveled to Lineville, Alabama, to learn about the complex global issue of poverty. SIFAT (Servants in Faith and Technology) hosted our four-day stay. We imagined what it would be like to live in an urban slum or in rural poverty around the world. We subsisted on rice and beans and worked hard to meet our most basic needs of food, water, and shelter.
No one starved to death, but we did go hungry. And we gained a new perspective of the world and our role in it. At one point, we were feeling sad and guilty about the privileged lives that we lead. None of us had to walk miles to get clean water, or drop out of school as children in order to help meet our family's most basic needs. We acknowledged that we were born into privilege and did nothing to earn it. Likewise, many in this world are born into poverty and did nothing to deserve it. They are malnourished and dying from preventable diseases, while we bemoan the fact that we haven't yet upgraded to a smart phone. All of us felt convicted and guilty for living privileged lives while so many suffer through life.
Our SIFAT host told us not to feel guilty, but instead, responsible. He warned us that responsibility demands more from us than guilt. Guilt is merely the indicator that things aren't as they should be; while responsibility is actively doing something about the injustice without regard to borders or nationality. We see people in our own community and around the world of equal value as children of God. They are our brothers and sisters. Even though they aren't monetarily rich; they are people of inherent worth. Just like our own brothers and sisters, we didn't choose them. We were all born into the family of God.
SIFAT's motto is "Sharing the Love of God in Practical Ways." By joining faith and technology together as a demonstration of God's love and blessing, SIFAT works to improve the quality of life around the world.
Participants were: Aaron Avera, Jessica Brown, Sam Bryant, Phoebe Budd, Trenn Carnes, Elizabeth Coe, Donna Coffey, Alesa Constien, Thai Cromer, Laura Grove, Courtney Holcombe, Stephen Karafa, Courtney Leal, Luke Leightner, Rachael Mack, Leigh Martin, Jillian Matthews, Zach McElveen, Claire Moore, Susan Scrivner, Jasmine Simmons, Stephanie Summers, Phil Unger, Heather Watson, Alex Wilson and Andy Worsham.
Check out a short video that recaps our week in pictures. We would be happy to share our experiences – email Leigh Martin at email@example.com.
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