Crisis in Nepal: What would Jesus do? What should we do?

I am writing this on an airplane while on my way to Phoenix to speak at a conference about Business as Mission.  Also tonight my youngest daughter is flying to Nepal as part of a First Response Team for World Vision.  Certainly the results of the earthquake there have produced a humanitarian crisis of gigantic proportions.

Thousands have died and it may take months to find all who perished in this poverty stricken country, with its mountainous terrain, weak infrastructure and inadequate preparation.  Certainly it is a time to grieve the immense suffering taking place there. In times like this we must ask ourselves what our response might be – western governments, private enterprise or individuals?

For decades we have known Nepal to be one of the world’s poorest countries and the recipient of much foreign aid. But IBEC has realized from its beginning that what Nepal needs is enterprise, foreign investment, business development and jobs.  Job creation in the name of Jesus is the only solution to poverty.  That is why we have been active with business startups there since 2006.

One of our lead consultants (and former CEO of IBEC), Ken Leahy, has mentored multiple business in Kathmandu, the capital. Currently IBEC is involved with two other businesses (one is a coffee business and the other is in the IT sector) in an effort to create profitable, sustainable, job creating Kingdom businesses. The photo above is from Nepal Coffee; you can see more photos in the write up about this business on the Case Studies page or our website.

We believe that is what Jesus would do – and it is what we should do.  Don’t get me wrong – immediate aid is important in a disaster like we see in Nepal right now. It is right for people like Trudy to be there – serving long hours in an effort to save lives and bring some relief.  She is one of my heroes. The world needs the likes of World Vision, World Relief, Samaritan’s Purse and others like them.

But charity should not go on for years and when it does, it becomes toxic (see notes below).  Why?  Every human in crisis needs relief from the stress and hopelessness of the crisis, but then they need empowerment, dignity and resources to grow and develop.  Job creation does just that.  We think that in today’s world Jesus would bring both immediate help (like how he healed the blind man) and long term focus on life and faith.  The Good Samaritan of Luke 10 provided immediate aid, but he thought of the long term future.  Jesus said “go and do the same.”

We in IBEC ask ourselves – what is most needed to complement the relief services pouring into Nepal today?  If we take the long view from now until eternity, we should focus on job creation to alleviate poverty, social injustice and sickness.  In so doing we will certainly help people to know the “Jesus Way” and thus provide for them in this life and the next.

Notes: Moyo, Dambisa. Dead Aid – why aid is not working and there is a better way for Africa, 2009
Luptpon, Robert D.  Toxic Charity – how churches and charities hurt those they help, 2011

Larry W. Sharp, Director of Training, IBEC Ventures

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