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Keeping up with the Urban Shift

By 2050, a full 80 percent of the world’s population will live in cities. That’s four out of every five people!

Young boys in Quito, Ecuador shine shoes to support their families.

The prediction comes from a recent Financial Times report called “The Future of Cities.” People often migrate from rural to urban settings because cities offer new jobs. But these growing cities are also producing vast slums. The Financial Times used Lagos, Nigeria as an example of the downside of urbanization. Lagos is “a city that forces us to confront our fears of what will happen if we do not sort out our cities,” because it “has become the cipher for the urban nightmare – a city without structure, infrastructure, social provision, amenities, or basic property rights for its citizens.” In short, “Citizens have to work to carve out their niche in a city that does not care.”

It’s interesting that in the Bible, Jesus’ disciples used a strategy of evangelism that focused on cities. By going into urban areas, they could reach large concentrations of people who could then spread the Good News into the countryside. Today, those cities are bigger than ever, and they are full of people hungry for the Gospel. They are places where extreme wealth exists side-by-side with overwhelming poverty, and where row upon row of tin and cardboard shanties extend for miles.

Cross International Catholic Outreach is continuing the mission of Jesus’ disciples by reaching out to slum communities in developing nations with food, shelter, education, medical care, and the message of salvation. We want poor families to know that, even if the city doesn’t notice them, God loves them and so do we. Their cries are not unheard.

Right now, we’re working with Fr. John Halligan in Ecuador’s capital city of Quito to help the large numbers of young boys who have been forced to work on the streets to support their families. Fr. John provides three nutritious meals a day for the boys and their families while inviting them to get involved in education programs and other services that will empower them to escape the cycle of poverty. Click here to learn more about this awesome opportunity to share God’s love with the poor!