Number of Pages: 95
Publishers: Direct Concept
Available at: Compassion International Offices
Reviewer: Maximus Attah
Authored by: Padmore Baffour Agyapong
The Poor in Our Midst deals with a fundamental societal problem, which has often been overlooked or scratched only on the surface.
The most dreaded and hardly practically tackled taboo subject of poverty has been captured from a real life perspective by someone who has dedicated his entire life to fighting social injustice and the liberation of children.
This must read seven-chapter book has already received endorsements from world acclaimed child rights activists and church leaders.
The Poor in Our Midst combines the pure word of God and the passion for the welfare of needy and vulnerable children, a cause that has been the burden of Padmore Baffour Agyapong and Compassion International.
The book presents a great reminder of God’s invitation to individuals, churches and other organisations to partner with God to liberate the poor in the society.
It demonstrates the author’s deep insight as a child development officer and what it means to empathise with needy children and what it takes to be of service to needy and vulnerable children.
“…Some members are struggling to make ends meet, yet the church spends so much money on advertising, huge infrastructural development and a host of others without seeking to provide for the needs of the poor among them”.
This is a quote in the book that hits a reader really hard, a reminder that we all seem to have lost the plot for our call to save the lost.
The Poor in Our Midst emphasises truths about God’s heart for the poor and how we are to treat them. It provides a very detailed and practical understanding of the Church’s mandate towards the poor and needy. The narrative captures a horrifying scenario of how a generation is being destroyed because of poverty, by dilating on the menacing child prostitution in the country.
The vivid description of Lazarus and the rich young man to illustrate the rewards of the rich but stingy and the poor but Godly people who are pure in heart.
The first chapter dwells on the Church as the body of Christ. It notes that “…there is so much poverty in the Church. The gap between the rich and the poor is so clear but people do not seem to care enough to offer support.
Christians are comfortable amassing wealth and leading extravagant lifestyles, without doing anything to bridge the gap between the haves and have-nots.”
The next chapter brings the story further alive with a true life story of Agyeiwaa, the intelligent house help of the author’s family. After convicting himself of his initial apparent lack of concern for Agyeiwaa,the author admonishes us that, “…sometimes we are so focused on our wealth or lack thereof that we do not realise what we have in hand that will bless someone else”.
Chapter three gives us another reminder from Luke 2: 52 “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man”.
This chapter is titled, Children – a Gift from God. The chapter weaves in stories of biblical characters to sync with our call to duty to serve in today’s perilous world. It highlights how the author took it upon himself to go and witness the horror of life in a classical brothel setting in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest and only Garden City.
Chapter four is what I term as the author’s description of ministry as corporate social responsibility. It encourages us to give back to society. “…Compassion is the inner feeling that moves one to take action on something that has to be done but is not mandatory. Without compassion, one hardly takes an initiative to help others, especially those in need”.
The fifth chapter takes us on an interesting journey about how superstition has blinded and is preventing us from being a blessing to others.
It uses the vivid description of Lazarus and the rich young man to illustrate the rewards of the rich but stingy and the poor but Godly people who are pure in heart.
The penultimate chapter teaches us to act like the Shunemite woman. It encourages us to give willingly to others because that is what touches the heart of God. The story of Tabitha (Dorcas) was also used to implore us to remember that we are remembered for what we do to impact lives and not how much wealth we amass for ourselves.
The final chapter is a very interesting devotional where the author leads the reader in knowing God’s word and the power of faith in the word.
To conclude, I use Rev. Dr. Joyce R. Aryee’s words, “…The Poor in Our Midst is a must read book for everyone who seeks to understand the real meaning of Christianity”. Padmore has given his entire life to fighting for the poor in our society and his organisation, Compassion International is arguably the most prominent child rights non-governmental organisation (NGO) helping the poor kids in the society by taking care of their educational and moral training, two factors I believe are key to liberating our future generations from the shackles of poverty and moral degradation.
I can describe this book as a practical nugget of wisdom for saving a perishing generation. The book is very well organised and the thoughts are spirit-filled and so fulfilling to read.
Please grab your bulk and individual copies from the Compassion International offices and Trinity Baptist Church, Accra. Contact the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org and reviewer at: email@example.com