LCU encourages students to be involved in purpose and service beyond the classroom by focusing on Thinking Critically initiatives each year. This year LCU will be Thinking Critically about Poverty through a series of events and speakers.
“In this initiative we hope to study what it means to be Christian servants in helping the poor and not hurting in our efforts,” Dean Susan Blassingame introduced the theme in chapel.
She added that the scripture for this initiative is 1 John 3:18: “Dear Children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”
The first guest speaker to speak at LCU for Thinking Critically about Poverty was Robert Carrillo, CEO of HOPE Worldwide. HOPE Worldwide is an international charity active in over 60 countries, working to provide hope and sustainable, high-impact services to the poor.
Before working for HOPE Worldwide, Carrillo grew up in poverty, but he went on to attend school at the University of San Diego and San Diego State University and graduate with a bachelor’s in history and social work. Later, he received his master's in divinity from Pepperdine University and entered the mission field.
Blassingame believed Carrillo was the perfect speaker to start this year’s initiative. “Because he knows firsthand all the issues that people in poverty face, he can offer the LCU community wisdom and discernment about how we think and act when we want to help those in need,” she said. “He has a heart and mind for the poor. His words – to be Jesus and to remember that God is love – call us to think and act more deeply about our world and our role in the world.”
Thinking Critically about Poverty served as the very first Thinking Critically initiative in 2011-2012 will be featured again to reach a new group of students. Blassingame said that many students took action as a result of the series, developing projects and going on mission internships.
As an example of the initiative’s impact, Blassingame recalls in spring 2012, hundreds of LCU students joined in the annual Collide service project to prepare the location that became Tent City.
"I think awareness is growing for poverty,” Carrillo explained, “especially in a time such as this when the world is filled with such suffering. I believe this generation is especially equipped to care – to make a dramatic difference on history, affecting the poor and the world in general. So, I think we're in a watershed moment."
Carrillo described the current generation of students as a generation that cares deeply for people, for injustices, and for the world.
“As Mr. Carrillo stated, our students are the hope of the world,” Blassingame said. “I believe Mr. Carrillo is right; I'm hoping and praying that our students will use this initiative to enhance their study at LCU and prepare them for lives of service.”