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Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

starve Stunted missions


“ROME – Nearly 200 million children in poor countries have stunted growth because of insufficient nutrition, according to a new report published by UNICEF Wednesday before a three-day international summit on the problem of world hunger.”

You can gather some details around this grim news by reading an article here.

mr. jacques dioufMeanwhile, Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization through the United Nations has called on the world to join him in a day of fasting ahead of the summit to highlight the plight of one billion hungry people.

Mr. Diouf said he hoped the fast would encourage the deliverance of boat-loads of cash action by world leaders who will take part in the meeting at his agency’s headquarters starting Monday.

I certainly don’t mind participating in a fast. However, I do have some questions. And, perhaps this needs to be one of the points of this particular post. I’m skeptical enough people actually ask enough of the right questions before they take any form of action. We’ve all heard the saying: “Fools rush in”. So, let’s hesitate, review some easy to find information, and then consider some options.

So… Apparently most of this “stunting” occurs in Africa (and, Asia, to a lesser extent).

In my community Christian missions to Africa are currently all-the-rage. People from local churches raise a lot of other peoples money to go on holiday and build schools (with no teachers), aqueducts for farms (that have no seeds or education around seasonal planting strategies), and distribute condoms to communities that are led by men that punish their wives for breast feeding because it’s inconvenient taboo to have sex with women who do so (… and, are too stupid to sort out that unmanaged sex combined with moronic traditions equal starving children). Some people call this “rewarding bad behavior” – my Nana (Grandmother) would have. The evangelista’s call it “opportunity”.

This has replaced creationist-frenzied missions to China – that were all-the-rage two years ago when obnoxious Chinese started asking too many questions around logic, evolution, fossils, and accountability.

Perhaps it’s all that fasting that’s got people thinking non-strategically.

Aside from Darwinian-driven campaigns of genocide and various efforts towards ethnic cleansing, what has changed in-and-amongst these continents the last one thousand years? It’s called the “Dark Continent” for a lot of reasons, right? Well… Other than North America and Western Europe pouring billions of dollars into programs that are designed to prolong life and grow populations that exist in arid regions that were, otherwise, designed by God to support thirty percent of their current populations.

…shifting feet, now.

I’m told (only) hundreds of millions of dollars (ministries and non-profits often seemed challenged when it comes to accurate financial accounting) apparently go towards travel to foreign countries and the delivery of poorly distributed resources.

Lest we go too far without recognizing some programs of merit, I do applaud efforts like that of friend Oprah and Madonna opening schools, and making sure they have the resources to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining. I like education-oriented and self-perpetuating programs (because this is an indication they work), myself.

In any event, what about troubled children in North America? Remember that 60 Minutes segment on Mountain Dew (owned by PepsiCo) guzzling school-deprived children in the mountains of Tennessee? Their teeth are rotting out of their sugar-saturated heads. Mountain Dew is apparently less expensive than bottled water, and there is often no running water in several of those regions. That’s great profit for PepsiCo, but bad for children. Let’s educate the kids and be a real part of the solution, and not the problem.

It strikes me that boycotting PepsiCo would be both a healthy and noteworthy mission. Possibly more productive than fasting.

I could go into more detail through some of the touchy topics I’ve referenced above. But, I’ll add a short story, of sorts, so we can move and rap this post up…

I’m often approached by locals that want me to pay their expenses for mission trips to Africa. I always say no (I might even arch my eye brow when I do so). This scenario played itself out, yet again, late last week when “Phil” swung by my offices with such a request. When I declined his generous offer to allow me to pay for his family holiday, Phil went all rigid-like and advised me that I am “..not setting a Christian example”. I thanked him, of course, and then asked why he simply did not pay for the trip himself? He was clearly annoyed with me, to be sure, but told me it was not part of their “financial planning”, and they could not afford it. So, I suggested he drive up (I’m sitting next to Haley Anne as I prepare this post, and she assures me, with an emphatic finger pointed up, that’s the right direction) to Tennessee and build a water tower near a school. I offered to pay for the whole trip and materials. He didn’t even hesitate, as he actually looked me in the eye and said: “that’s not Gods will because we make a bigger difference in Africa, and my kids would get more out of the Africa experience any way”.

My first thought, as he said that to me was: “I have standing before me a great example of good money thrown after bad (a lot of bad)”.

Okay… My points are some times clear, and some times not so clear. I know what I mean. Some times people call me about them. I get a lot of emails because of them. Every now and then, I get visits around them. But, I hope this one makes a difference.

You don’t need to fast. But, you can do your homework. And, while your at it, save hundreds of millions of dollars that could then be leveraged into schools in our own backyard, as we develop young and great minds that can then come up with better solutions than holiday junkets to far away lands, visiting with people that think it’s perfectly fair and reasonable to starve their own children, who would rather not fast in such a fashion, if given the choice.

For a lot of reasons (but, probably not why you might think), I’m listening to Only You as performed by Alison Moyet (and Vince Clark) while she was still with Yazoo (They were only known as “Yaz” in the United States). Then under the causality of “why not”, go take a peak at Flying Pickets covering the same arrangement.

Think different. That’s a good point, eh.

Peace be to my Brothers and Sisters.

Brian Patrick Cork

4 Comments to

“starve Stunted missions”

  1. Avatar November 13th, 2009 at 4:54 pm BB Webb Says:

    I appreciate your post Brian. Stepping back, waaaay back can give such an entirely different view.

    P.S. I like this version….

    But, that’s just me!


  2. Avatar November 13th, 2009 at 6:36 pm Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    I like that version as well.

    Radin does good cover work.

    And, to your point, we need to step back and pause if we want to really represent and reflect Gods will. It’s that gift of discernment, once again, rearing it’s brilliant head, and helping us make the best difference.


  3. Avatar November 13th, 2009 at 10:45 pm Billy Cerveny Says:

    Hello, Brian. I’m a friend of George Landolt here in Nashville. He passed your blog along to me.

    While I appreciate your libertarian-grade approach to practicality in missions and what seems to be your charge to deal with situational realities rather than the emotional draw to a region, practicality and efficiency aren’t always the highest calling when you are trying to serve the poor. Wouldn’t you agree? What about relationship? Sure, there’s a huge African bandwagon that lots of people are jumping on. It’s hip to champion an issue alongside Bono. It’s sexy. But 12 million AIDs orphans…That’s serious business and if someone feels God’s call to serve those people on a 5 day mission trip rather than the kid who drinks too much Mountain Dew…well, that’s legit. (And if personal responsibility is such a huge issue, why would you want people to spend their time and money helping people that let their children destroy themselves with Mountain Dew over people that don’t have clean well water, are infected with HIV/AIDs and are orphaned?).

    I hear you about Phil. He sounds like a noodge, but you can’t use him as the gold standard by which you measure all short term missions to Africa (you can’t use Oprah either). But, by the standard you seem to be using, you would have given the Apostle Paul very low marks. I mean who would want to pay for his buddy and him to take road trips around the world when there were so many people in Israel that needed to hear the gospel?

    On a different note, the UN is ridiculous and I find any call to action by them ironic, as they are the patron saints of inaction.

    Enjoyed reading your stuff and would love to meet you one of these days.

  4. Avatar November 16th, 2009 at 4:42 pm Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    Hello Billy.

    And, welcome here.

    I’ve been away to a soccer tournament all weekend and just now addressing this Blog. We don’t let many comments through (they are very time consuming). But. I feels yours is particularly fair and relevant. I’m going to touch on some highlights and like circle-back in the next few days with additional thought.

    Straight off, I simply prefer that all the funds being directed into Africa stay here in the United States. I’ll agree that the issues in Tennessee have accountability elements attached to parents as well. But, at least in Tennessee, the culture and traditions are more in-line with the rest of our own people.

    For thousands of years populations in and around what we recognize as Africa today were under reasonable control. It might have begun with Belgian Missionaries, but as soon as Catholicism got hold of those people their numbers exploded. We obviously (and with a hint of irony) need to include medicine as well. But, in much of Africa there exists a system of traditions and beliefs that, fueled with Western intervention, have made for a formula based on naught less than disaster. All of those African HIV/ AIDS orphans are the very direct result of my foundational point. That continent has neither the industrial or (and, or thus) agricultural infrastructure to accommodate the number of people that are trying to survive there.

    Now, factor in a tribal-minded government system (where they both literally figuratively and literally) want to exterminate one another. This means corruption at levels that most people can’t comprehend exists.

    Anther horrific situation abounds with well-meaning missionaries, of widely diversified faith, trying to teach and change the African people, even though they simply aren’t qualified to do so. Most people on missions are very young, or dissatisfied with their own jobs. So, the ugly truth is, we have too many unqualified people using someone else’s money to attempt to change a culture that stubbornly refuses to actually see true light, or can help themselves.

    This is, admittedly, very broad. But, I can fill in a lot of details.

    I’d rather see us invest in our own culture and then use it as a much better example for the rest of the world.


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