When Poverty is More Than a Statistic

I hate poverty.

More than 30,000 children will die today, most of preventable diseases, most living in extreme poverty.

THIRTY THOUSAND. It’s unfathomable.

And today, it’s more than a number.

It’s someone I know.

My beautiful Maureen, who has worked so hard to rescue her immediate family from the clutches of extreme poverty, first using her small University allowance from Compassion and more recently her salary from Mercy House, has suffered a devastating loss.

Her family unit: her mom, her sister, her two brothers and her 7 year old nephew. She’s lived with them her entire life. Loving and guiding, looked to as the leader of her family.

I’ve spent time talking to her mom, brothers and nephew. A few weeks ago, I offered to bring “snickers” in June (the chocolate candy) and the whole house cheered. It turns out it’s the same word for tennis shoes.

Our family had a blast shopping for shoes.

Dimmy, Maureen’s sweet seven year old nephew has been sick. I’ve prayed with Maureen, talked at length, watched her watch him suffer.

Yesterday, Dimmy died of a preventable disease.

And while I want to shake my fist and ask why, and ask the world to stop, so we can mourn that beautiful boy, I know he is with Jesus. And to be absent from the body, is to be present with our Lord.

Poverty is more than a statistic. It’s someone’s son, daughter, a nephew.

29,999 other children died, too.

It won’t make the news.

Your friends won’t mention it.

Your church probably won’t either.

And I can bet, you won’t read about it on a blog.

PLEASE PRAY FOR MAUREEN AND HER FAMILY. They are struggling and are facing the unthinkable.

“You and I, we are the Church, no? We have to share with our people. Suffering today is because people are hoarding, not giving, not sharing. Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. Give a glass of water, you give it to me. Receive a little child, you receive me.” -Mother Teresa

Poverty is more than a statistic. And that’s why I cannot keep quiet.


  1. 2


    I don’t even know what to say, my heart aches for this family, and the many families. I feel like I have so little to give, when in truth I have so much. Thank you for the reminder of who it is I’m giving to and why.

  2. 3



    Thank you for your courage. For your obedience. For following God’s call – as impossible as it may have seemed. Thank you for your persistence. For your hard work. For your transparency. For introducing all of us to Maureen. What a blessing it has been to watch God work through this whole process. What a blessing it has been to watch this online community come together in support.

    Thank you for changing me. For opening my eyes to the truth of the poverty in this world. God has used you and Maureen to drastically change my world view. I am praying for Maureen and her family – and for all those others who are dying daily because of poverty. I am excited to see what God continues to do through you. Thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for rocking my world. Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of changing the world.

  3. 5


    Thank you Jesus, that Dimmy is with you. Please comfort Maureen and her family with your peace. Make this loss gentle on their hearts. Somehow.

  4. 6


    Kristen, I am so sorry. Please don’t lose hope. The church I attended this morning *did* talk about it…on Palm Sunday, none the less. I am so sorry. I am praying for you all. I love you, even though I’ve never met you, and I wish that you didn’t feel the pain, carry the burden. But I can’t take it away, so I will share it with you. I will walk beside you, and I won’t shut up, either. Together, you and us (your blog readers), we will stare darkness in the face, and we will shine the light of Jesus Christ as far as it will reach. And in the end, we can be sure that Love will remain.


  5. 7


    Sweet Jesus, for Maureen and her family, I ask you to be palpably real to them. May they know the peace of your presence and the presence of your peace this day and in the many hard days to come. Please do the same for Kristin and her family. Encourage Maureen and Kristin as they do their part in the war against poverty. Touch hearts and lives with this glimpse into a world we are part of but don’t share. Help each of us to remember that the smallest gesture to the least of these is done unto you. Amen.

  6. 11


    sigh….my heart is breaking because i have my own stories and faces behind the statistics that tear me apart at the seams…and to hear of another family torn and hurting is just ugh there are no words. and yet that is why we keep on telling the stories, sharing the heart, showing the world the faces, and mostly doing what we can even as one person to change the tide and empower and make a difference for even one of those numbers.
    praying alongside you all.

  7. 12


    My heart is so heavy for Maureen and her family. May God comfort them….

    I am at a lose for words. I did blog about Dimmy yesterday. Also on fb. YOU are right…. though. We have much. We do not realize the little things that matter.

    My life has been changed by YOU… by connecting the dots as you called it.

    it is so sad. My heart hurts.

    much much love to you.

  8. 14


    Yesterday I “friended” Maurine on FB and shortly after she started chatting with me via FB. Let me just say, it was one of the sweetest conversations I had ever had. She is truly a woman of God, a blessing. My heart hurts for this dear sister in Christ. I am so glad to call her “friend.”

  9. 16

    Tyler says

    This is why I love you (though I don’t even know you personally)…because you are speaking messages that need to be heard. Keep up the good work. Thanks, Tyler

  10. 18


    I’ve had this same thing heavy on my mind as my son was sick (right at this same time) with just a common stomach bug and ended up in the hospital for 48 hours on IV fluids that he easily could have died without and most likely would have died without if we didn’t live here. The whole time I watched him all I could think about was how lucky we were. Here’s the link if you’ve got time to read it.


  11. 19

    Fiona says

    I live in an African country, and we are only too aware of the dangers of preventable diseases.
    Life is so precious, isn’t it? You of course see all this first hand too..
    I am so sorry to hear of this tragedy.
    Offer prayers for you all.

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