I recently returned from Guyana where I spent my J-term cross cultural experience. There are plenty of challenges in Guyana—there is no potable water source other than expensive bottled water, their city infrastructure is tenuous at best and poverty is everywhere.
My American eyes saw tragedy all around me… hardly the place where I would expect hope and faith to flourish. The people of Guyana surprised me and taught me about how, even in the absence of what we as Americans take for granted, valuable ministry can and does happen. It was a living example of the difference between a theology of scarcity and a theology of abundance.
Walter Brueggeman, a world-renowned Old Testament scholar and a prophetic voice in our time, says that a theology of scarcity says there’s not enough food, water, housing, etc., so hold onto what you have, hoarding it if you must. A theology of abundance, on the other hands, says you always have “enough” so it’s easy to give some of it away. Partnering with the people of these local parishes in Guyana has transformed my expectations of what can be accomplished with few resources. Their sheer determination not to be defined by their limited circumstances is an inspiration for the true meaning of service and outreach.