As the new year begins, I’m always thinking about the calendar. It’s probably because of the yearly planning we all tend to do. (Got to get after those goals, am I right?) Or maybe it’s because every year for the past 16 years I’ve received a wall calendar for Christmas from a dear friend. Whatever the case, a good wall calendar or even a digital calendar that you keep up-to-date online can help you prepare for the year to come. Here’s how keeping a calendar helps me figure out when it’s best for me to write to the child I sponsor.Continue Reading ›
I think of a preacher from Chicago in the 1950s who saw the ravages of the Korean war. In the war-torn alleys of Seoul, he saw orphans huddled in rags trying to keep warm in the bitter cold through the night. In the morning, soldiers would come, shaking the piles of rags looking to see who did or did not make it through the night. As this man sat on the plane home to Chicago reflecting on the tragedies he’d witnessed, God moved his broken heart with compassion.Continue Reading ›
Those of us from an instantly gratified and constantly moving culture do not always understand the fire started by masters. This is extremely evident in fighting back the cold reality of extreme poverty around the world. We often prefer a quick relief style of change. A magic bullet. But those fires go out as fast as they start, and can even injure folks in the process.
For years, I feel like I’ve wrestled with the question “how much is enough?” – with wanting more. Thinking my contentment will be measured by things I fill my day or home with. I measure my success against the success of others – how they have defined what enough is and what to say yes to. Even what experiencing God looks like in comparison to others.
Time used to dance slowly for me. I remember my creeping countdown to Christmas break. Spring break. Summer…The beginning of our lives was marked with seasons broken up for us, with rest. Then there was college and marriage and all the responsibility that piles itself high. It feels like a new kind of time that believes you’ve exchanged wonder for a number. An age. I’m wide eyed in disbelief that it is almost 2015. This year, I’ve told too many people that I am 26. When in fact, I turned 30.
As you reflect back upon the blessings and trials of the past year and pray about what the Lord has in store for you in 2014, we want to thank you so much for your commitment to children in poverty.
Prayerfully choosing one word that embodies the promise of the upcoming year is a discipline we’ve shared with you for many years. This practice of asking God for His yearly theme in our lives endows us with strength in the tough times. It renews the spirit and imbues us with purpose.
Receiving a word for the year from the Lord is not a New Year’s resolution. It’s more like a gift from Him.
Instead of focusing solely on places to send our money, let’s take a look into ways we can give of our time, money, and talents—in every season.
Zoom Koom is a cool, refreshing drink from Burkina Faso, West Africa. Zoom means flour. Koom means water.
Is there ever a wrong time to be generous?
The last two months of the year have traditionally been known as “the season of giving.” Whether it is the good cheer of the holidays or the appeal of potential tax deductions, the year’s end seems to prompt charitable giving . . . This year, I expect that end-of-year appeals will feature a double plea for generosity. Not only will they rely on the tried and true annual “season of giving” sentiment, but they will also likely include some version of the nearly ubiquitous theme:
In these tough economic times…
Now more than ever…
In today’s climate…
. . . But what are we really saying? If we are saying that this is the season for giving or that current economic conditions merit increased generosity, aren’t we implying that giving is unnecessary at other times of the year or when the American economy is strong?
I’m not much into New Year’s resolutions. I find it an odd tradition. If you really want to change your life, why wait until January 1 to start? But perhaps it’s a positive thing if it helps us to truly focus on being better human beings — even if our New Year’s resolutions only last a few days or weeks!
Take a look at some of these popular New Year’s resolutions for 2009:
- In 2009, I resolve to eat better.
- In 2009, I resolve to keep my home in better shape.
- In 2009, I resolve to take better care of my body.
- In 2009, I resolve to be better about what I spend my money on.
- In 2009, I resolve to look for a new job.
Any of those look familiar?
Now, go back and read those resolutions again … but this time, from the perspective of a person living in poverty.
Imagine a little boy in Kenya who resolves to eat better because he’s tired of going to bed hungry. Imagine a single mother in Peru who resolves to keep her 6’x6’ shack clean. I’ve seen families that sweep their dirt floors just to try to keep their humble homes presentable.
Imagine a little girl in India who wants to take control of her own body instead of falling prey to the men who abuse it. Imagine the family that scrapes together spare change to eat today. Imagine the father who is desperately searching for a job so he can give his children an education and a shot at life.
This year, I urge you to resolve to do something about global poverty. Get involved.
Here’s a list of suggested, revised New Year’s resolutions for you:
- In 2009, I resolve to go on a mission trip.
- In 2009, I resolve to help my church start a food pantry — or donate to an existing one on a regular basis.
- In 2009, I resolve to pray for children trapped in poverty.
- In 2009, I resolve to support a ministry that cares for the poor.
- In 2009, I resolve to think beyond myself and truly make a difference in the life of a child living in poverty.
And let’s try to make these New Year’s resolutions last.