By Kelli Trujillo
November 17, 2011
Many children around the world live in poverty and are in need of food and clean water, clothing and shoes, medicine and shelter.
Other kids are surrounded by an exorbitant amount of food, have a closet full of brand-name clothes and shoes, and have never been without medicine or shelter. Yet they too suffer from poverty.
Spiritual poverty is not bound by borders, measured by GDP or limited only to obvious, visible needs.
“Spiritual justice is the basic human right to have access to God’s Word,” says Rob Hoskins, president of OneHope. OneHope creates and distributes Scripture-based print, web, audio and film resources in partnership with indigenous churches across the globe. They have touched more than 760 million lives in 74 nations, such as Nepal, Russia, Haiti, India, Ghana, Colombia and China.“We believe that seeing the Kingdom of God come to Earth should result in change taking place—in redemption of individual people, society and culture,” Hoskins asserts. This commitment to make a real difference drives OneHope to do more than just pass out Bibles. They recognize just because someone owns a Bible doesn’t mean it’s having any impact on their daily life. So, rather than defining success by “outputs” (such as the number of resources distributed), OneHope uses rigorous research to zero in on the outcomes—the resulting life transformation—in order to ensure their Scripture-based resources are truly impacting lives.
Thy Kingdom Come ... to Japan
Young people in Japan live under immense cultural pressure to succeed and maintain status. This societal burden has already led to Japan having one of the highest suicide rates in the world. But a new form of “living suicide” has also developed among young men. Dubbed hikkikomori (“shut-ins”), scores of young men are disconnected from society, often living in the same room for years by themselves in loneliness and depression. This same pressure drives 13 percent of teen girls to participate in enjo kosai (“compensated dating”)—a practice in which they’re paid to date much older men. In exchange for money to buy nice things and maintain their image, these young girls are often required to perform sexual favors.
“These are real, basic human needs that require justice to address them,” Hoskins says. “Every human has needs in their lives we need to address as Jesus would, through a holistic evangelism that touches the heart, mind, body and soul of a person.”
Shaken ... and Mobilized
“We were lucky to distribute even 500,000 copies of God’s Word over several years in Japan. People were very resistant to the Gospel,” Hoskins says. “But since the tsunami [in March 2011], Japan’s population has been asking deep questions about life’s meaning and the human condition. The Church in Japan has mobilized to respond, and Christians there are energized to share the hope of Jesus.”Soul-Searching Films In partnership with Toy Gun Films, OneHope has created award-winning shorts. En Tus Manos, winner of eight international film festival awards, explores gang life in Colombia. Paper Flower, winner of nine festival awards so far, delves into difficult issues like suicide, compensated dating and family honor in Japan. These films are being utilized by ministries across Latin America and Japan to introduce young people to the hope that can be found in Jesus.
The Japanese church is working with OneHope to distribute more than 800,000 copies of a resource they developed together called When the Foundations of Your Life Are Shaken. In addition, OneHope has produced a Japanese-language short film, Paper Flower, that’s sparking profound discussion among young people about some of the darkest problems plaguing Japanese society. OneHope’s Bible-based resources are being used to bring about true transformation in hearts and souls.
No More Either/Or
Young people across this planet face brutal realities: suicide, drug and alcohol addiction, abandonment, economic poverty, sex trafficking and more. “It should be as natural as breathing for us, as the Church, to meet both the physical and spiritual needs of people. It’s not an either/or proposition,” Hoskins says.
“We can’t answer these major, systemic issues facing the children and young people of the world without answering the most important questions of values and belief. Without those answers, there is no equity, there is no justice.”