There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land. (Deuteronomy 15:11)
Last week, Amanda Jones, who is the daughter of the much loved Bible teacher, Beth Moore, wrote a blog that rocked my world. Amanda, who is also the wife of Pastor Curtis Jones and a young mother of two, spent five days in Guatemala on a mission trip with Compassion International. Amanda wrote about her experiences through this highly impoverished area while she was in country and moved me to tears with every entry. I believe that God worked in mighty ways in and through Amanda on this trip.
I don't know about you, but when I read statistics I tend to think, "Wow, how awful" and move on. Those are merely numbers and very difficult to translate into human reality. Amanda, through her beautiful, heartfelt writing, along with those of other Compassion bloggers really brought the human factor to life for me. The statistics on childhood hunger are truly staggering: "In 2008, nearly 9 million children died before they reached their fifth birthday. One third of these deaths are due directly or indirectly to hunger and malnutrition. The current global economic recession has pushed between 100-150 million people into poverty".(www.bread.org) One hundred fifty MILLION?
We live in the most prosperous country in the world and there are almost 17 million children in our own country that come from families who are struggling to put food on the table. That is one of every 4 children! If you have a child in school imagine his or her classroom of 28 kids. Using these statistics, seven kids of your child's class could be going to bed hungry. Can you look into those little faces you know and do nothing? We have the power and ability to facilitate change both here at home and across the globe.
What can you do? The options are almost endless. You can purchases a couple of extra non-perishable food items each week and deliver them to the local food pantry or homeless shelter once a month. You could start or help keep stocked a food pantry at your church. Our community food bank has a backpack program where people can go to the food bank and pack bags of healthy food for kids to take home from school each Friday. Without these small bag some kids would go without food at all. Heartbreaking, but a harsh reality for more kids than we are comfortable imagining.Volunteering to help ready these packs is a simple way to help feed the kids in our community. I would imagine there are similar projects in your community. If there isn't, maybe you are the one to light a fire and get one started.
There are two wonderful programs that provide food, clothing, shelter and Christian education to children all over the world. World Vision and Compassion International are two well-established, legitimate organizations that provide services in many countries. They offer sponsorships in which you can specify the location, gender, age and even birth date of your sponsor child. Typically sponsorship is about $40 a month. If you sacrifice one meal out a month a child can receive Christ-centered education and food for an entire month. You could literally save a life. The delightful addition with these two programs is you have the ability to communicate via regular mail with your sponsor child(ren).
God did not request or suggest in an offhand manner that we give to others, he commanded. Prayerfully consider how you and your family can make a difference in the lives of others.
I encourage you to read the blogs of the folks that went to Guatemala. Compassion has a site with excerpts from many of their mission trip attendees here. Amanda Jones posted on her own blog, Baby Bangs, be sure to back track and read all her entries from her trip. I believe you will step away from the computer with a whole new perspective.
I pray that God moves you to act. I pray that in your action you then will strive to move others to help those in need as well. Even a small pebble can make a large ripple. Do this so we may all someday hear,
"Well done, good and faithful servant"
In His Peace -