A Different Kind of Beautiful

08 Aug

Picture of beautiful African landscape
Even in the midst of great poverty, great beauty is to be found

A Different Kind of Beautiful

A personal letter from the director

Dear Family,

For a change of pace, here are some thoughts from my heart over the past few months.

Life is full of contrast. In my travels to various places, I’ve found this reality to be stark and resonant, yet bursting with color and wealth far beyond material riches.

As a westerner, it’s natural to focus on the lack of physical comforts that our impoverished brothers and sisters in foreign countries have to deal with every day. Viewed through the lens of our “soft” western culture, raw beauty can be overshadowed by the panorama of hardship before us: children without parents, mothers trying in vain to coax milk from shriveled breasts, teenagers prematurely entrenched in a life of hopeless toil. Poverty has many sad and painful faces.

There is more than one way to be rich—real wealth isn’t measured by money, possessions, or comfort. When materialism and its “mantra of more” have no voice, true riches stand ready to be mined. Veins of gold are revealed in the hidden ground of hardship. They shine through a sense of community that “developed” nations unwittingly forfeited generations ago.

When we no longer need each other to survive, we lose so very much.

One hour in an outdoor kitchen in a remote village amidst the bustle of eager hearts ready to serve their very best to unwitting foreigners can quickly adjust one’s thinking about what matters. Just a few minutes of melodious African voices in the dark open air around a smoky fire can cause the western soul to burst with joy.

There is a beauty to be found in the overarching pain of poverty when we catch a glimpse of the hidden values to which we are so often blinded.

These thoughts are not intended to convict or condemn—but to give a glimpse of what went on inside of me as I journeyed last year through Kenya, Rwanda, DR Congo, and Uganda. Cocoons of comfort can easily isolate us from the harsh realities faced by those an ocean away.

Thank you for reading this, it shows that you genuinely care. Thank you for that care, thank you for daring to look outside the norm and risk the representation of your life which is broken down into the hours you work and the money you earn. For those of you who support the Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry, thank you for the trust you show every time you give.

Picture of woman making food in kitchen in developing nation
Esther, like many women in developing nations who don’t have access to a modern kitchen, spend hours mercifully preparing food

These pictures of simple life in Africa speak to me through the beauty of the landscape, the natural community of life, the little things all around. They show me that God is at work. He is not hiding from these beautiful people. He manifests Himself through you—His family—Heaven’s Family.

May God bless you with all the things that truly matter,

Patty Forney
Director, Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry

A few thousand more words…

Picture of little boy in Africa
This little man makes a bright contrast to the colorless sand that surrounds him

Picture of people gathered in Africa
Community is everywhere

Picture of people gathered in Africa
Burdens abound, but look at the beautiful colors which reflect so much life

Picture of people gathered in Africa
The stately Rwandan hills stand as a poignant backdrop to the business of everyday life going on below

Click to donate to the Victims of Sexual Violence Ministry

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