Monthly Archives: December 2012

Chapter 11 Caught in the Web

Spider_web_with_dew_drops04This is one of those chapters that has stayed with me throughout this year after reading it for the first time. This chapter to me is a symbol of hope, of how one little thing called hope and it’s cousin, empowerment, can change an entire family, community, town.

This quote by Rich set it all up for me

Perhaps the greatest mistake commonly made by those who strive to help the poor is the failure to see the assets and strengths that are always present in people and communities no matter how poor they are.

The story of Rodrick changed my life. I have been involved in some micro-lending projects before and really didn’t think much about it. But now, now I am wondering if maybe this is one of the main ways I would like to get involved. To give people a chance to not just have a handout, but a small micro-loan to start their own business. To empower them. A small loan to purchase bolts of cloth ended up getting paid back and ELEVEN businesses were formed. Eleven. The entire community was changed.

I am inspired by a man I have never met who lives in Zambia.

Here are a few options in case you are interested in getting involved:

World Vision Microlending.

Hosean International Microlending.

Kiva

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Chapter 10 What’s Wrong With This Picture

I’m struggling with this one a little bit this morning. In a few ways really. Rich did a fantastic job setting the stage and discussing his love/hate relationship with statistics and how statistics really begins to obscure the humanity, the dignity, and worth of children. Statistics take away their names and stories and cheapens the value of each individual child. He was so right. They do. I don’t know that I can do just a quick review and what I have taken away from this chapter justice. I was convicted on many aspects and to try to summarize them all may seem really disconnected and not get across the point of what we can learn through this amazing chapter. But, I will try.

A research study in 2006 highlighted a fundamental flaw (my opinion, not Rich’s) in us as humans and how we process suffering, how we compartmentalize it and still be able to function with what is seemingly an overwhelming problem. Individuals were divided into three groups. One group was told the story of a little girl in Africa, the second was told about four million people in Africa who were homeless and suffering. The third group was told both. At the end they were asked to donate to the cause.

Who gave more?

The first group. The group who could identify the problem with a person. The third group gave only slightly above the second, who ultimately gave the least amount.

I think, this is why I so believe in child sponsorship. It takes this massive problem, and breaks it down into a soul. A soul I sponsored-kidscan love on and pray for and who’s story is now a part of mine. “They” are no longer a statistic to me. “They” are mine. Not technically, but they are the way I can make a difference. I think the other reason I believe so heavily in it is because it is much like the proverbial question, “How do you eat an elephant?” At a task that seems so overwhelming you feel like walking away, the answer is “One bite at a time.”

How do we even begin to make an impact on the 26,575 children who die each day from preventable causes?? One at a time. And it matters. Do something. It matters. The three over here on the right are “ours”. Our loveys we get the privilege  of praying for, of following through school, of letters and pictures (from the youngest), of meeting one day.

There is much much more I can and want to comment on. But I just come back to having to make it personal. What would I do as a Mom if our circumstances are not what they are now? Living in middle America in a time where my family as a multi-racial family is welcomed and accepted (by most people – by all the ones who matter). With the chance of an education and a chance to do something with it, with water that comes from the tap when I turn it on. What would I do? Anything. Everything. There is no limit to what I would do so that my children would survive, the hope they would one day thrive.

who-lives-on-what The other big take away is actually a stat. But beyond, it is what the stat  means. The average income in America is $38,611 per person. And that’s just the average. But it equates to $105 a day. This is what it means to the rest of the world. This is OUR country and how we compare just on average to the rest of the world.

The biggest take away to me is that as someone who takes my faith seriously. What will I do about this? God did not leave us with the option of doing nothing. Not if we are who we say we are. I really want to quote the entire passage from 2 Corinthians 9:6-15 but it’s kind of long. Please go read it. If you allow it to, it will change your perspective and perhaps actions.

My favorite one-liners from the passage:

Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good word.

Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else.

It’s action. Faith not through works, but accompanied with works. Works that make a difference. This is how the world will stand up and wonder, “Who’s this Jesus guy they speak of?” The talk without the walk will make no difference.

If you are curious about ways to help I did put a few options (just a few out of the many many out there) on my blog. You can access that here.

I think the main point as always is to not feel bad about what we have, our circumstances. We are just where we need to be and should never be made to feel guilty or convicted about what we have accomplished or been given. We do have an opportunity to help someone else however and ultimately we will be asked by the God of the universe what we did with what we were given. I don’t want to be nervous about that conversation.

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Chapter 9 One Hundred Crashing Jetliners

three-hundred-dollars1I cried by the end of this chapter. Kids are so personal to me, they grab my heart and don’t let go. The sheer numbers of the people who are dying everyday and ever year (10 million children – preventable) are of course mind blowing. Rich said when discussing why the world is not taking notice, why we have chosen not to help although we could, “Perhaps one reason is that these kids who are dying are not our kids; they’re somebody else’s.” My heart stopped for a moment.

The story of Vikas, a little boy who’s legs had both been amputated after his house fell on him during the earthquake in India in 2001. The story of a desperate mother who rushed toward a car pulling away because she heard an American was in town and hoping he could help. Help her son. It made me want to weep. Rich made is to personal with these two sentences:

Believing that He could help – isn’t that what all grieving parents did when Jesus passed through their village? Like the father who approached Jesus, knelt before Him, and said, “Lord, have mercy on my son”? (Matthew 17:15)

If that were Prayse or Xavier I’d do anything. Anything and everything. Desperate to give my babies a life they deserve living.

It cost $300.

$300 to allow this little boy another surgery and then prosthetic limbs. Did you get that? Three. Hundred. Dollars. I have more than that budgeted this month to finish up Christmas shopping.

I have read this before and yet I am still stopped in my tracks. Thinking here in the US this would be thousands upon thousands of dollars and there is just no way I could help. Oh but I can. Three hundred dollars.

God can take anything and make it big, he can change a life which will change the world. We just must do something. It’s still that simple message. Do something. Do anything, as long as you I am doing something.

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