Sunday, November 16, 2008
Hard Times and a Contest
Many of us here in the United States are facing an uncertain fianancial future... The Holidays are upon us and, if you are like us, you may be worried about how you are going to come up with the money you think you need to participate in the normal exchange of gifts within your own families... much less finding the resources to give toward the needs in your own communities...
I pray that you took the time to watch the video above.
Two years ago I taught Geography to a small group of homeschooled high schoolers. I had taught the same group of girls U.S. Government the year before. I chose not to use a prepared curriculum for either course. Yes, me, the community college drop out. The Geography class was a bit eclectic in what I chose to bring into it, including political issues. When we got to Africa I became obsessed with trying to figure out what the answers might be amidst a heavy realization that the second largest continent (land mass and population)contains 54 countries, many of which are racked by war, starvation and disease. There are cultural issues that I don't think we in the West can truly comprehend. Many of the principles we find at work in our society may just not be possible on a wide scale in Africa. At least not yet.
Personally, we are sponsoring a boy through World Vision. He is fortunate in that he is in good health and both of his parents are living. The money we give each month actually goes to the community in which he lives and is used in many different ways that benefits the community as a whole. It is my hope to develop a relationship with him through letters and to play a part in the shaping of the man he will become. He is at an advantage above the orphans and I pray that he will someday be a leader that will affect true change within his country and ultimately bring relief to many.
Although we sponsor a child through World Vision... this post is about the ministry of Children's Hope Chest. Just as there are many churches, there are many relief agencies and ministries servicing Africa. The need is overwhelming and the suffering is great. Africa is a continent of orphans. Malawi, Somalia, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi and Tanzania are all African countries that are listed among the top ten poorest countries in the world. There are those that have given their lives to be the hands and feet of Jesus and step down into the world of these forgotten ones. They need help.
But... times are hard. Things are... uncertain. Christmas is coming and there are just too many organizations with their hands out and a bell ringing on every corner. What about the needs of those in our own backyards? I don't know. Only you can answer those questions for yourself.
I know the above video can spark and emotional response. It did in me. It is so easy to feel guilty when you see something like that. I know there have been times for me when, remote in hand from my comfortable perch on my couch, I've quickly moved past infomercials of this nature because I just didn't want to deal with those feelings. And then felt the guilt anyway. The guilt of willingly turning away. I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel manipulated by such images. Will you step away from the emotion of it with me for a moment?
I know how it is. We've got bills. We've got a kid away at college and another one that wants to start going to the local community college in January. We've got repairs that need to be made in our home... a rotting deck and a fence about to fall down. We've got health expenses and debt. There are other ministries in our town that need help. You may not be in a place where you can help. You may not be able to commit to a monthly payment but... you might be able to give a one time gift of $10. You might not think it is much but when gathered together with the $10 from other people like you it could be a lot.
Or... you can multi-task your gift giving. Saint’s Coffee is a small-batch, micro-roaster offering specialty blends and unique varieties of 100% Fair Trade Certified™ and organic coffees. But beyond being the freshest, finest,and fairest of them all—Saint’s Coffee is transforming the lives of orphaned children by investing over 1/3rd of net profits from every sale into organizations helping children. Purchasing just one pound of their coffee will also feed an orphan for a month. World Vision has a gift catalog where you can purchase life changing necessities for those in need in the name of someone. Maybe this is the year your family can join together in pooling those resources normally spent on one another to reach out to one of the least of these...
Or... maybe you can truly be thankful... joyful even, for the life you have been given. We all face difficulty. We all experience pain and sorrow. But maybe... just maybe, we can take a moment to see all that is good and wonderful in our lives and just. be. still.
Tom Davis of Children's Hope Chest has partnered with Patton Dodd (isn't that a cool name?) of BeliefNet.com in an effort to raise money for orphans in Africa this month. I'd like to help them get the word out so if you post the below button on your blog I will enter you into a drawing for a pound of Saint's Coffee. Just let me know in the comments if you do. Tom is also offering up a free trip to Africa with him in 2009. You need not donate to be entered.
I believe the answer to the problems in Africa are the children of Africa. Africa is their home. I believe God loves these children. I believe God will use those of us that are willing to care for them.
Will you join me in praying for these children?
Will you please join me in seeing how many people we can reach in the blogoshpere?