What About Starving Africans?

Beautiful child with flowers in her hair.

We posted Bible verses about the blessing of children, encouraging parents to consider having another. Judging from some responses, we were asking too much. Consider this one:

This blog is so judgmental and condescending. You can say that it isn’t meant to come off that way, but it does. I think you know it does. That said, what about people in Africa or extremely poor countries where children suffer their entire lives and die a slow, painful death from starvation?

We’ll ignore the first half, and instead focus on the “starving Africans” argument. This isn’t the first time we’ve heard people use this reasoning to explain why another child should be avoided. The syllogism goes like this:

  1. God is calling me to love another child.
  2. God certainly wouldn’t be calling “starving Africans,” too.
  3. Therefore, God must not be calling me to love another child.

You see how this doesn’t flow (technically a logical fallacy called a non sequitur). We can’t let this argument get into our heads and control our decisions. It would be clinging to the world’s most extreme circumstance  and placing ourselves in the same situation. In this case it is starving Africans, but it could be a myriad of other circumstances — none of which are ours — and using those as reasons to justify our personal choice.

Besides, we’re not blogging with starving Africans in mind. We cannot imagine parents from “extremely poor countries where children suffer their entire lives and die a slow, painful death from starvation” logging into when considering birth control options.

Here is who we do have in mind: web-surfing parents who somehow got into their minds that another child should be avoided. We’d love to have them stumble across this post and read some of our reasons for loving another child. We don’t believe our reasons are extreme. We believe they are simple, personal, and loving.

They aren’t getting these reasons much anywhere else. They get illogical reasons to reject another child, like the “You’re so judgmental, what about starving Africans?” argument.

Reasons that assume that children are not blessings, accustomed to the idea that children should be avoided, thinking another child in their life would be a curse.

And it’s too bad. Another child in their family is avoided because (sigh) there are starving children in Africa. They seldom get a proper rebuttal like the one that we offered in the post, rebuttals we give ample time to in our book Love Another Child.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Lauren54321

    So I’m confused — does the Bible, therefore, only apply to wealthy American web-surfers who stumble across your blog?  I think this is where you come across as condescending — you consistently use the words of the Bible to make make it sound like Christians are only GOOD Christians if they follow those words (which makes no sense anyway in the year 2011, especially since the Bible is filled with contradictions, but that’s another story).  So what about those people around the world who truly can’t afford another child & make the logical choice not to have another?  Are they not good Christians? Can they never be?  Why don’t you hold up the Bible and use its words to encourage Americans to HELP those who are starving around the world instead of wasting the resources we’ve been blessed with.

    • Katie

      You aren’t thinking long-term.   If we don’t have any children who will be the future missionaries?  Who will be the future inventors and innovaters?  Who will be the ones to solve economic problems and create peace?  We will leave the world and the control of the world to those who *do* have many children, and the balance will be shifted most likely to Muslims.  Many in Africa are NOT starving due to lack of resources, but lack of peace.  There are so many tribal acts of war that when they do plant a field, it is burned down.  The world has just stopped caring and is acting as though throwing condoms at the situation is helping.  They are spending ALL their time and money trying to solve the problem by sterilizing the people, but the people are still poor and the wars continue.  The only way to help is to actually adress the real problem.  And large families are certainly not unable to help.  We can give financially and many of us do, but more importanly we can teach our children that you don’t solve problems by eliminating people, which is something the secular world doesn’t understand.  If the Bible isn’t relevant today then God is a liar, and if that’s what you are saying I don’t have any thing to say that except I pray for your soul.

      • Lauren54321

        I just really resent anyone throwing selective Bible verses at me & telling me that’s how I should live my life.  I could throw an equal amount of Biblical quotations at you if I wanted to defend ideas like racism, sexism, violence, abuse, war, etc.  Not to mention the fact that NOT everyone in this world is a Christian & not everyone is obligated to live based on one religion’s ideas of right & wrong.  If people WANT to build large families, fine, but don’t tell me that the reason to do so is because the Bible says so. That’s plain ignorant.

        • Katie

          If you are truly helping missionaries, then good for you.  Your mindset on that at least is right.  The problem is that many people who use birth control do not do it for unselfish reasons and in general are indifferent to the plight of the poor, and this isn’t just an opinion, there is real evidence for this.  They do it accumulate stuff.  The more I look into it the more I realize that on the whole, the small, excessively wealthy families are destroying the planet more than anyone else – they drive more cars, buy more products, take more boat and airline trips, and have more and larger houses, and they care little about lowering their water and electric bills.  I have read that people like this use 20x the resources of people who live more in harmony with nature.   Next to the big corporations with unethical practices of course, which they also own and work for.  If we are truly concerned about the environment, then it’s greed, not population, that we should focus on.  Secondly not all large families are poor.  Sometimes having another child is an incentive to work harder. The most important thing is that they are raised with the right attitude and heart towards God and others.  Even with some who are poor I personally know of a few who do not believe in birth control and have started and run  large charities which help exponential numbers of people.  I’ve also heard of many who have raised preachers, teachers and missionaries who have gone on to reach hundreds and thousands. I know of people who came from extremely large families who have gone on to impact entire cultures for the Lord, and I could name names you would recognize.  How can you even call yourself a Christian if you don’t believe or follow the Bible?  How can you claim to love others then value some people more highly than others based on economics?  It is true that not everyone is a Christian, and part of the problem in Africa is also people who don’t follow Christian morality in HOW they create children, and this in itself leads to a lot of misery and suffering, particularly with the AIDS epidemic that is just out of control.

          • Chris Jeub

            On “destroying the planet more than anyone else”…

            My friend John Fuller (dad to 6) explained that he measures his autos at “Miles Per Person.” I bet our family would totally win comparing our 15-passenger van with an environmentalist’s 2-seater. Good thoughts!

            • RM

              And when your children are grown, they will log 16 times more Miles Per Person than the environmentalist.

              That’s 16 cars compared to one car.

              Your analogy falls apart once your kids leave home. In fact, since you already have 2 out of the home, you already log more Miles Per Person than an environmentalist.

              • Michael

                And thall shall not log more miles per person than the environmentalists says is good.

                The Creator can make the earth and fill it with the people he creates, but not make sure the two exist together?

              • Joseph

                I think you misread– no one made statement was made about how many miles per person was acceptable according to an environmentalist. The initial example referred to an environmentalist’s choice to drive a small car (I’m assuming one of those little SMART cars because I can’t see an environmentalist driving any other two-seater), and the follow up was merely referring back to the reference of the environmentalist as a driver of a two-seater car and not as an environmentalist.

                Do you look at environmentalists as bad? I’m not saying driving cars is bad, but is it so wrong if someone is concerned with polluting the clear air that God has given us? Maybe I’m misunderstanding you. Look at a city like Beijiing. Their air quality is terrible from all the cars on the road. Before the Olympics, they restricted driving in the city to allow it to clear up some. I  wouldn’t want to breathe air like that. There are cities here known for terrible smog, too. (This is not to say that the few families who have a bunch of kids are ruining our planet– not at all. China’s one-child policy is well-known, and they also have over a billion people). Water shortage could be an issue in the coming years. People have to restrict water usage in some areas of the country already. Again, nothing to do with large families, but this is towards the point that God will make sure people and Earth can coexist. Does that mean that we should go dump chemicals in oceans and or allow chemicals it to seep into our groundwater because God will take care of our careless actions? Of course not. God want us to take care of this planet. 

              • Katie

                Well I have 4 kids and my husband and I don’t drive AT ALL.  We use public transportation and walk.  Walking is good.  More people should try it.  Want proof that people who have fewer kids are polluting the environment?  Look around you.  Are the cities full of people with lots of kids, or not?  The 2 biggest forms of pollution in this world are beef cattle and airline exhaust.  Who uses more of this – big families or small ones?  Look at the average home size, it is bigger than ours and we have room to spare!!  Look at the average # of cars, boats, and vacations.  People are living totally for themselves!  Look at the average amount of energy a family of 1.2 kids uses.  There are online calculators for this, we use much much less than average and teach our kids to do the same.  Some big families aren’t as concerned with this but I will say that most are concerned with helping the poor, and it all ties in.  No one does anything for anyone unless they CARE.

              • Katie

                Have you studied environmental science at all?  I’m studying it right now.  It’s very interesting.   First of all water is never ever lost, it simply needs to be cleaned and we already have the capability of doing so, and our technology is improving rapidly. What past gloom and doom predictors have forgotten and what is going to really save this planet has nothing to do with family size, it has to do with innovators and free thinkers.  Teach your children to do care and use their brains and talents, and they will do more than we can even imagine.  Did we dream that hydroponics would be a reality?  Nope, but it is!  Plus, you are assuming that low birth rates will mean less war/plagues etc, which we can’t assume at all!  And you’re also assuming that we know how much time this world has left – news flash – only God knows that!  This whole conversation could be meaningless. 

          • LoveOneAnother

            “The problem is that many people who use birth control do not do it for
            unselfish reasons and in general are indifferent to the plight of the
            poor, and this isn’t just an opinion, there is real evidence for this.”

            I would love to see the evidence you speak of, please. 

            I also find Chris arrogant.  Love one more child, but what you really mean is love one more child with my DNA.  How about loving one more child who was born to an addict, or into an abusive  or neglectful home?  You don’t have to go to Africa to take care of those kids, they are right in your county.  And even more than that, their parents need love, mentoring and real support so that they can eventually be good parents too. 

            The Bible says all children are a blessing.  The Jeub’s brand of Christianity says only biological children are a blessing, and even then so far as they tow the party line. 

      • Nancy

        For the record, we believe the Bible to be true. We have also chosen to limit our family. With the resources we have left through careful budgeting and being thrifty,after our needs are met, we are able to bless missionaries in other countries who go where we cannot go, sponsor many children in countries where there is starvation, poverty, death due to hunger. I know the Jeubs sponsor one child, we sponsor many in different parts of the world. We are able to help food drives, give to disasters when there is need for money rather than clothes.We have not chosen to adopt, but many of our friends do and adoption costs money and we help with that.  Most of these would not be possible if we had a large family to clothe and feed as we would be needing those resources ourselves. How is this eliminating people ? How is it not loving children ? Does ‘loving a child’ mean only your child  that you give birth to ? Being born in a rich nation makes me believe I need to share those resources with those less fortunate. As Matthew 25:40 says ” 40And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

    • Joseph

      Thank you, Lauren. This is EXACTLY what I meant, and you expressed it much better than I did.

  • Jessica

    So well said! You always give me interesting things to think about.  I love reading your blog and always feel uplifted and encouraged! I am a 37 year old mom of 3 who has always felt called to have more children but just haven’t been blessed with more in 14 years of marriage.

  • T. Gates

    I think that all chris and wendy are really trying to say is that Christians should make whether or not they have more children a matter of prayer and not just assume they’re are done after having one or two.  Christians should pray about EVERY area of their life (jobs, houses, etc.) including children!  And, that goes for poor people in other countries as well!   

    • Joseph

      I agree with you on the Christians should pray about children and everything in their lives, but I feel like Chris is saying that you aren’t really praying about it if you ever stop having kids before you are biologically unable to. If that’s not what he’s saying, then I’ve been wrong. And I would be totally fine with being wrong on this.

  • Michael

    The Bible teaches children are a blessing, period. It doesn’t put exception clauses on that blessing.

    Also, someone should ask those African women what they think about children.

    • Joseph

      The original post also referred to scenarios even more disturbing than starving children.

      And of course children are a blessing. I’m sure if you asked them about their children, they would say they love their children deeply. Of those women, I’m sure there are many who would love to keep having children. There may be others, though, who also love their children, but desperately wish they could prevent another from suffering. 

      • Michael

        Stopping a child from being born has never prevent another child from suffering. To assume a child will automatically suffer because of the environment he’s born into is assuming the role of an omniscient God.

        And we need to clarify this amorphous group of “African children.” Where is the proof they are in the condition suggested? I wager the problem isn’t having children at all, but having them out of wedlock, therefore not being able to provide for them without a father around.

        Therefore, to really prevent them from suffering would be to stop having premarital sex. They don’t suffer simply because they are born, but because they don’t have fathers.

        • Joseph

          “To assume a child will automatically suffer because of the environment he’s born into is assuming the role of an omniscient God.”
          And to assume a child will not automatically suffer is also impossible to know. This is an extreme analogy, but you would never walk across a busy highway and expect that God would save you from being hit at 60mph. That would be testing God, which is obviously wrong. But where is the line between testing God and trusting in Him? I don’t think any human can know that. I trust God, but I also believe He helps me make responsible decisions.

          “And we need to clarify this amorphous group of ‘African children.’ Where is the proof they are in the condition suggested?”
          Really? You believe that there is absolutely NO ONE in the situation I described? 

          I agree that part of the problem is having them out of wedlock, but I’m sure it is considerably more complex than one issue causing such a huge problem, not to mention the fact that premarital sex as a sin may not even be a concept to them. Men can have multiple wives, leaving resources spread thin. Men also have absolute power in some parts of the world, and even sex within marriage is not always consensual, and then these men, like you said, don’t take care of their families. Disease and infection is also more common, as is constant civil unrest in some place. Famine is a HUGE problem now. And these things combined with generally low status of women in these places (not just Africa), does not make for a good combination. I’m sure these things don’t account for a huge percentage of pregnancies, but there are certainly women out there who are in these situations and cannot continually provide for more and more children. 

          I think I got a little off track here, but I think no matter what, we are going to disagree and not convince the other of anything.

          • Michael

            Joseph you’re argument here is flawed. Nowhere in God’s word does it say walking across a busy highway is a blessing. It does say children are a blessing and go forth and multiply. There we do what we’re commanded and trust God.

            Premarital sex is a known sin in all cultures. Checkout Romans 1-2. As I suspected you don’t seem to accurately understand the poor in Africa. It’s not a result of one man with multiple wives, but one man with multiple partners in the prostitution rings. It’s not tribal cultures but slums that are the issue. what they lack is the Gospel message and clear Biblical teaching.

            • Joseph

              I think you missed the point of my analogy.

              “ALL cultures” is a pretty big statement.

              I don’t think you understand the poor in Africa either. Or in other parts of the world. You also can’t just make a generalization that it’s all about prostitution rings. 

              I think you’re wrong, and you think I’m wrong. You’re not going to convince me, and I’m not going to convince you. 

              All I want is the best for all people, and I’m sure you feel the same way. We just disagree on what “the best” is, but understand that that is ultimately where I am coming from.

              I’m done with this argument.

    • RM

      Food is a blessing also, but that doesn’t mean I should over-eat.

      Husbands are a blessing; does God want us to have more than one?

      The Scritpure the Jeubs cite say nothing about having as many children as you can. In contrast, Scripture tells us to be good stewards of our body. Having 15 pregnancies is not a way to be a good steward.

      • Michael

        Over eating is bad, the Bible talks about that. And the two shall become one flesh is quite clear. But where does it say having many children are bad?

        You can find no Biblical proof that having 15 children is bad stewardship. If this is the case the very first couple would have been bad stewards as it is likely they had many children in their 900 year lifespans. Also all the families in early Israel would have been likewise bad stewards. Was Abraham bad steward? Moses? God must have forgotten to mention it to them! Jesus’ mother had at least 8 children. How many is too much before it is considered bad stewardship? And who gets to decide what that number should be?

      • RG

        Not trying to gang up on you or anything, but actually pregnancy is good stewardship of your body. Yes, it is draining and such, but there is clear scientific research that indicates ladies who have children improve their health in the long run, to include reducing their chances of several types of cancer and etc. Also, this is something that God purposefully designed a lady’s body to do. Pregnancy is not a pathology but a normal course of things that God ordained.

  • Joseph

    Hold on… The part about that being a logical fallacy wasn’t my logic at all. My reason for not having another child is completely independent of starving children in Africa. My purpose for bringing that up (and the other situations that I mentioned that are even more disturbing than starving children) was to give a situation as to why some form of birth control isn’t ALWAYS 100% wrong because people were talking about how there is NEVER any reason to NOT have a child. I was simply trying to provide an extreme situation wherein I felt that maybe someone on here would think, “Okay. I couldn’t fault a woman for wanting to prevent watching their newborns killed before their eyes.” As is the case sometimes with sex trafficking or during war. I think that was an important part of my original post. Starving children in Africa, while horrible, I could still see a woman wanting more children. Their day-to-day stress may not be has high as a woman who is in the other situations I mentioned. They have more control over their lives. If they want to prevent pregnancy in order to prevent the suffering I mentioned, though, I think some form of non-murderous birth control should be permissible. IF they want it. Someone made a comment somewhere here that implied that those women were being forced to not have kids, and yes, that is true, but on the other hand, I am sure there are women who just don’t want to see another baby suffer, even though she may very much want another baby. She should be able to limit her family (again, not via abortion) IF she chooses. I can’t see how anyone could think that forcing a woman to have a baby she cannot take care of and will only suffer terribly is a reasonable thing that God would want. I just don’t understand why the option for her to prevent this horrific situation for her child (IF she wants to) is unreasonable. And that’s not an attack. I just literally cannot comprehend why. 

    Again, none of the above has any bearing on our decision to not have another child. My point was to propose a scenario wherein I genuinely do not understand why limiting the number of children one has would not be okay. And again, I brought this up because people were saying that there was absolutely NO reason at all to not continually have children. 

    Now, like I said earlier, our reasoning for stopping at two children has nothing to do with children in Africa or the babies born to women who were kidnapped and forced into the sex trade. I can’t see anyone actually sitting down for a serious discussion and saying, “Oh, there are suffering children elsewhere. Let’s not have another baby.”  That’s absurd. I agree with you on that count. It makes no sense.
    Ours was a personal decision. We did pray about it. After my wife had severe preeclampsia with our first, we prayed about a second. She and our second child nearly died the during the birth. We are so thankful that God has blessed us with the two children that we have, and we don’t want them to have to grow up without a mother. Even if she survived a third pregnancy, according to your rules, she would be required to have a fourth. Her body simply cannot take it, and our children need their mother. Many of you may disagree and say we need to pray harder, but that isn’t how we feel. My wife has had two very difficult, life-threatening pregnancies. If she were healthy, it might be different, but it’s not. Our other reason is that my wife and I come from families of ten and nine. I don’t fault my parents for not having time to work and spend one-on-one time with seven kids, but I didn’t have the close relationship with them that I have with my children. I don’t know my parents like my kids know me. We are lucky that we have the two that we have, and we feel that two is the perfect number for us. And at this point if we were ever to pray about having another child, it wouldn’t be for a biological one. 

    You love your children. We love ours. 

    • Kate

      Why do you care so strongly about what you think the Jeub’s think about you?

      • Joseph

        I admit that I should have calmed down before I posted my first couple responses so as not to sound so accusatory.

        The comments weren’t directed ONLY towards them, but also to other people who seem to not respect other Christians because they interpret one thing differently. I care about what an entire sect thinks about the rest of us. I don’t understand, and you don’t understand me. And that is why I posted.

        • Kate

          Oh I totally agree with you!  I’m a devout christian too and have my opinions on both sides. I plan to get married and have many children in the future, but I also know if my health was like your wife’s I would pray long and hard about the issue and cross that bridge when I get there.
          I enjoy reading your posts and all the other comments. They are great! I like hearing both sides!
          You should be proud of your family and not have to defend your way of thinking.

          I actually read this blog more for the occasional entrepreneur encouragement.  I also enjoy how the Jeubs show how God provides through their modest income for their large family. I’m a 25 year old entrepreneur running my first start up, so  I relate to Chris when he blogs about family business and being an entrepreneur (twice the work/ half the pay).  By the way Chris, I love the Venture academy DVDS, they are the best resource for christian entrepreneurs out there. Thanks for posting about them!

          • Chris Jeub

            Cool! I’ve got a couple good posts in the queue coming up.

    • Chris Jeub

      I’m sure you love your children. You seem a decent fellow, even though you call us judgmental and condescending. We’ve been called worse.

      But not so fast about our misunderstanding your logic. Your personal story adds some depth to your original post, but Wendy and I just couldn’t let your rant alone. We listed Bible verses to encourage couples to consider another child. We thought that was pretty harmless, especially on this blog. You used starving African families as an example to justify your choice. You went on and on at some length explaining the extreme poverty of these poor people, as if we needed to answer for them.

      That’s not fair, Joesph. Wendy and I don’t need to solve the moral dilemma of world hunger in order to encourage couples to love another child. It’s veering the purpose away from the entire post: “Bible Verses for the Blessing of Children.”

      Think of it this way. Atheists will often reject God because human suffering exists in the world. Until the dilemma of human suffering is figured out in their little human brains, they refuse to accept that there is a great and mighty God in the universe (who probably does have it all figured out).

      In much the same way, Wendy and I don’t need to solve for impoverished children in order to believe that children — every child, whether it’s your first or fifth or 15th — are blessings. Always.

      • Joseph

        I think I’m just not wording this correctly because I absolutely wasn’t trying to say that you or anyone needs to solve world dilemmas.  And really, my original post was written after having read comments on that posting and others and just not understanding how people could think that there was absolutely no reason to not continually have children, so you’re right, it was a little off-topic. Those were situations I could think of where I absolutely couldn’t imagine continually having children. I just can’t imagine. That’s all. If anything, I would think the comparison to those women and families might make someone on the fence think, “Well, if they can do it, why can’t we?”

        Maybe I read your first blog incorrectly, but what I got out of it was that if someone reads these verses and doesn’t go have more children, he or she is a bad Christian because a person is only a real Christian if the person keeps having children. And I know that is not what you said, but it did feel like that. And maybe that wasn’t your intention at all. But that is why I got defensive. We prayed about these things before getting pregnant both times, and we feel that God has led us to only having these two. From what you wrote, it seemed like you were saying it wasn’t possible for God to be okay with a couple only having two children, and I just don’t understand that because we truly believe that what happened to us was God’s way of making us appreciate what we have: each other and our children. And the thought of someone telling me, “No, God wasn’t telling you that at all,” is upsetting. But, again, maybe that isn’t what you meant. And if it isn’t, I’m sorry.

    • Jackie

      ” I can’t see how anyone could think that forcing a woman to have a baby she cannot take care of and will only suffer terribly is a reasonable thing that God would want. I just don’t understand why the option for her to prevent this horrific situation for her child (IF she wants to) is unreasonable. And that’s not an attack. I just literally cannot comprehend why. ”

      By assuming that we have a ‘choice’ to have a child is us trying to take power from the Lord. He is the giver of life, and it is not up to us to ‘choose’. Also, you say you cannot comprehend why God does the things He does, but that is not always our place. It does not matter that we understand why God creates things the way they are. He knows the reasons and He is all knowing, we just like to think we are all knowing :)

      When you read through the Old Testament, you see how God’s hand is working. Sometimes it is by wrath and sometimes it is blessings. Everytime a nation is disobedient, we deserve His wrath, but through His grace only, He blesses us. The conditions of the world today are no different than they were during the days of Moses, or the days of Adam after the fall for that matter, and if we would use the Bible as God intended, we may not reap as much wrath.

  • Rebekah

    I can’t help but wonder why people that obviously don’t agree with a blog’s purpose like to go on there and argue.  What is the point?  If you don’t like it, than don’t read it.
    And, on the “starving children in Africa point”.  Yes, there are starving children in Africa, What I would say to this person’s argument is, “What are you doing about the starving children in Africa?”.  Are you going to adopt an orphan?  Are you giving money to help feed them?  It seems like Apples and Oranges to me.

    • Joseph

      What I said in the original post wasn’t that “Oh, there are starving children in Africa, so no one should have more than a few kids.” This whole rebuttal post was written on a misinterpretation of my first post. 

      And yes, my family and I do what we can to help others less fortunate than us.

  • Miguels Helpmeet

    Love this post! AND love these comments. its really great that we (as Christians, because why else would we be reading this blog!??!?) can have a friendly debate and choose to love and learn from eachother. :-)

  • Jackie

    If someone was worried about the starving children in Africa or the children born within the sex slave trade, then why don’t you do something about it? Adopt one of the children from Africa…….Stop the slave trade of women……. send money to help feed some of these children, or clothe  them, or have them adopted into families that can and will take care of them. There isn’t a child that has been born that was a mistake by God, and I doubt there ever will be! Those children are here for a reason!

    • Joseph

      I didn’t say that any child is a mistake nor did I mean to imply that. Perhaps the reason for those children is to bring attention to these serious world problems or to keep a woman going when she has no one. But as a parent, if I knew any future child of mine would going to suffer terribly… I just can’t imagine.
      And why don’t I do something about it? Why do you think I don’t? My family and I care about these things, so of course we’re going to do what we can, just as I’m sure you do, too.

      • Jackie

        I wasn’t necessarily insinuating you Joseph, I meant my statement to include everyone. I think these women in Africa have children for the same reasons you or I do. We don’t stop having children because something might happen to our children, we have faith and know that everything is the Lord’s plan. These women want these children and they love them, even if it is difficult or impossible for them to take care of them. I wonder often why the Lord chose to put me and my family in America and not somewhere else, like Africa. We are such a selfish people as a whole and we should all be helping somewhere somehow.

        Do you and your family support a certain ministry?

        • Joseph

          We are the same way– wondering why we are so lucky to live in stable country with so many resources.

          We usually do things through our church, but outside of that my wife is particularly passionate about the A21 Campaign (and has really pulled me in), and our kids and their friends got involved with mycharity: water within the last year, which they’ve been really excited about. If you have never heard of the latter, I would highly recommend it as a really great way to teach kids about helping others. They can actually see how they are making progress towards a goal, see the number of people they help, and eventually get photographic proof of where their money went.

          • Jackie

            Wow, that is great. My husband worked with a church last year that was raising support to dig water wells in Ethiopia. We are currently in the process of raising funds to go to Liberia. My husband and I along side a very dear friend from Liberia have started a youth foundation to serve the people of Liberia, it is called the Bill Rogers Youth Foundation. Our family will serve as missionaries there. If you ever need another cause to support, let me know, we are trying to take care of all of the less fortunate children in Africa, by feeding them and educating them and trying to help them learn to be self sufficient as well as bringing the love of Christ and strenghthing the Church. I like the water charity. Where are you guys located at? In Athens Tx the church has the water campaign to build the wells in Ethiopia, it is called Hope Springs, they sell bottled water in the Brookshire Brothers grocery stores to raise their funds.

            • Joseph

              All of that sounds great! Sounds like you are very dedicated. We are in the Washington DC area, but that bottled water thing is interesting.

  • Haraphiyo

    I am married to a man who was, in his youth, one of those Starving African Children.  He remembers stripping bark off trees at one point, to eat it because there wasn’t much else.

    Interestingly enough, he wholeheartedly agrees with the concept of “Love Another Child”.  To him, children are ultimately far more important than physical comfort or even a fat belly.   No he does not think starving is a good thing, and he works extremely hard to make sure his children are well-fed and well cared for.  And he is working towards building the resources to allow us to go back to his own country in order to do some starvation-lessening work there.

    However, if people would take a look back in history, they would recall that starvation and suffering has been around since the beginning of time.  At minimum since the beginning of recorded history.   How small is a small enough population to prevent suffering?  2? 10? 1000?  Given that most suffering is a result of human choices, selfishness, greed, and violence, I’m not sure there is a “small enough” population.  And neither my husband nor I believe birth control is the cure for Africa’s troubles.  More like trying to stop an arterial bleed-out with a cute little bandaid.   Or a hundred bandaids.  Not gonna work.

    • Chris Jeub

      Wow. Now THAT’S a testimony!

      • Haraphiyo

        Honestly, he needs to write a memoir someday.  He has an incredible story.

        • Chris Jeub

          Here’s a start: Guest write on this blog. See Would love to hear more!

          • Haraphiyo

            Oh cool. :)  I will talk it over with him and see if he has time sometime soon.

  • Melissa

    We’ve been to Africa, seen the starving children…adopted two of them…. we also saw the MASSIVE billboards advertising for birth control ALL OVER the place.   The problem:  The people in Africa that have the starving children that we are speaking about here, cannot even begin to afford birth control…or even the transportation into the city where the birth control that America subsidizes is available.  Not only that, the more well off, that do use birth control are attempting to attain to the western standard of living,which in my opinion  is not necessarily a good thing for many reasons that have nothing to do with this particular topic.   I cannot even begin to count the people we spoke with who wanted the American dream in Uganda.  We encouraged them to run far away from that dream…becuase the American dream is not all it is cracked up to be…as is evidenced by the current break down of marriage and family as well as the abhorrent fiscal situation we find ourselves in. Those who still hold to more traditional values in Uganda would not use birth control, they see children as a gift and as their greatest resource.  Birth control is not the answer to any of the world’s problems, least of all the starving children in third world countries.  

    • Kelli- AdventurezNchildRearing

      Yes, they need Jesus & food – they need healing that comes from the heart that only Christ can give.  They need clean water and love -Personally,  I don’t believe I’d have a child if I was suffering like the very very poor in Africa are because I’d feel unable to protect them- but I’d have to do all I could to help others & the children around me – not because I’m some great person, but because I have the love of Christ to give – those who do hold “traditional values” just like you say- of course see children as the gift they are – it’s too bad we cannot just stop the world in its tracks and make everyone realize that doing things God’s way is the answer. It could all be healed- well, it will be – I look forward to the day when He restores the earth to its former perfection before we went and messed it up! We have an adopted son as well- not from africa, but from “one of those” drug addicts.She has also continued to have children. Sadly, they have problems because of her drugs- but, my son is no mistake. God is healing him and blessing our family.  God bless. 

  • Carole

    Ironically, the person who is calling your article “judgmental and condescending” is “judging” your very personal decision to have children in a way that can easily be taken as condescending. In a world of “my lifestyle decisions are none of your business” being heard everywhere, there’s an awfully free hand critiquing the lifestyles of people with a more conservative bent. Let’s be consistent.

  • LF

    Personally, I’d love to hear more of your story! Those “western eyeglasses” you talk about really do blur our vision. I heard a statistic once that if every one in the world lived the lifestyle that most of us in the developed world do, it would take the resources of 4 planet earths!

  • Anonymous

    It is the Lord who opens and closes the Womb. If starving children in Africa (3 of whom are blessings to my family) shouldn’t be born; take that up with God. 
    Is it worse for a child to live with insufficient food or for them to grow up with no Biblical discipleship, hungry for God’s Word? Should we also say that non-Christians shouldn’t have children either? The whole argument is ridiculous. 

    • Saturn500

      If God didn’t lift a finger to stop the Holocaust, He sure as heck ain’t responsible for your ability to get preggers. If you knew anything about your own body, you would know that the womb opens and closes on a semi-fixed schedule, the exception being when you’re pregnant.

  • Roddma

    “Is it worse for a child to live with insufficient food or for them to
    grow up with no Biblical discipleship, hungry for God’s Word?” That is a inane statement. Have you guys seen the new food pyramid guide? I am safe to say a large portion of America does not meet the requirements in their diet even in those that limit family size. Just think if everyone threw away their birth control and stopped using sense.  We would be a third world country. Children from third world countries suffer from rickets scurvy and calcium deficiencies because of the lack of resources. The US. doesn’t have to be one of them. A child’s nutritional needs shouldn’t suffer because of their parents inability to use control.

    • Chris Jeub

      Basically what you’re saying: “Children from third world countries suffer … because of the lack of resources.”

      Simply not true. See Very insightful.

  • Lynn W.

    Even in poor areas of the world where food is scarce, children are a blessing.

    • Roddma

       No one said children are not blessings in poorer countries. Poverty isn’t bad thing but I am sure none of them would ever say it is great. Children suffer at the hands of irresponsible grown ups. I will use a drug addict parent as an example.  If this parent keeps having children because they think kids are blessings,, they are making them suffer as well. Even one child will perhaps lack basic needs because the parents fund their habit with all the money. Adding more kids will not make the drug addict stop. I see no point in creating needless suffering. It is thought the wrong messages about s-x cause teen pregnancy. But couldn’t’ this line of thinking be the cause? The teen may believe a baby will fulfill them somehow looking at all the big family reality shows..

      • Lynn W.

        “Suffering” is a very relative term.  What one person might consider suffering, another person might consider living the easy life.  The line of thinking that says, “I see no point in creating needless suffering” in relation to not bringing more children into a poor living situation often concludes that the human race should stop having children altogether, since the whole world is full of suffering.  Certainly we should not go that far?

  • Arlene Fox

    And who is to say (just to neatly tie up this unfortunate match) that one day in the not so distant  future one of these additional blessings aka children might be out there in the field helping the African children in need or solving other serious issues? People really need to expand their horizons…

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  • Kelli- AdventurezNchildRearing

    Maybe they should bring some of those starving children home and love them! We are supposed to do what we are called to do- I haven’t been called to have 16 children – I thought I was only called to have 2 boys, turned out we were meant to adopt boy #3! I love the idea of a big family – I’m waiting on God to heal me :) I know He has it in the works – I have suffered from RA for 10 years now – I’m giving it to Him each day & working to glorify Him in our home and Homeschool & reach out to others with His love. I’d love it if He called us to have more children – He’d have to provide the way, but He’s good like that! So sad that some people don’t know Him a little better. He loves each of us and wants to bless us. I believe children are a huge part of that blessing! (mine are my favorite part) :) I haven’t read anything here that comes off as condescending on your blog – if I do, I’ll be sure to mention it :) God bless you and yours! 

    • Chris Jeub

      Beautifully said, Kelli. And I love your blog!

    • Saturn500

      I’m pretty sure that’s what the comment meant in the first place. Trust me, I speak Sane-glish.