The Voices of Hope

City garbage dump where people search for food in Recife, Brazil.

City garbage dump where people search for food in Recife, Brazil.

Brazil… the home of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. I imagine that in the months ahead the media will fill our TV screens with all the beauty and majesty of that marvelous country. Unfortunately, the daily struggle that defines life for so many of her countless people will be lost in the process. Today, for just a brief moment I want to give you a small glimpse into their world; one filled with poverty, desperation, and the daily struggle for survival. But even amidst all of the despair and desperation the voice of hope can still be heard if we just learn to listen…

Never underestimate the power and allure of hope in economic and social analyses. Increased urbanization throughout the world proves this to be true. In many developing nations, such as Brazil, slums are on the rise as people flee rural areas in the hopes of improving the quality of their life. The extremely overcrowded conditions give rise to incredible poverty, disease, and deprivation. Why would people willingly move to such places? Why would they risk losing everything? Because of the principles of “incentives” and “trade-offs.” For these migrating people the potential gains exceed the guaranteed costs, the hope of a “better life” and the ability to sustain themselves far outweighs any difficulty or adversity.

I continually remind myself that the world is filled with hurting people. Their situations and circumstances seem beyond repair, beyond any viable solution. And as I consider their trials and trauma I find myself suddenly feeling very small… very insignificant… very impotent. But in those moments I remember that there are no hopeless people, no hopeless situations. Even in the slums of Brazil, hope has a voice.

As we watch the World Cup this summer I “hope” that none of us become blinded by the glamour and the spectacle of the games. I hope we all remember that behind the facade lies a nation in need of help… in need of repair… in need of hope. Listen carefully and you too will hear their voice.

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