Friday, December 5, 2008

Practicing His presence

I've been thinking. Ever since I watched this little video, the wheels have been turning. I have for many years now, tried to have what I considered a healthy view of gift-giving at Christmas. There was the year that Mark and I chose not to spend a penny. Sam was a baby that year. Mark wrote a song for each of us and played and sang them for us beside the tree on Christmas Day. (Unfortunately neither he nor I remember what I gave.) There have been many pre-Christmas discussions since then about how to not get caught up in all the commercialism. And there have been many handmade gifts, including more songs. But I don't know if we ever went far enough with our talks and intentions. Something was missing. Saving money and choosing simplicity...those are great things. But what if our efforts freed up dollars so that we could GIVE them away, so we could be a part of providing some basic needs for people living much harder lives than we are.

And so, since I've been so touched personally with this realization, and because I've been reminded day after day as of late of the suffering of so many people, I'm daring to use this post as a place to "preach" a little, a venue where we can share and challenge each other.

First of all, I want to provide some opportunities for you and your family to get involved in giving. I know that we all are burdened by different ministries, that our hearts get tugged by diverse hardships. So, of course, I'm not suggesting for a minute that what I'm posting here are the most important and pressing needs, but perhaps there are people out there that would want a place to start. I'll just get right to it.
  • This was just brought to my attention today, and I am very concerned and want to help. One way that I can is by bringing it to your attention. Please go here to read about the situation. If you want to get involved, all the info is there.
  • Every day more than 4000 children in developing countries die simply because they don't have clean drinking water. Proctor and Gamble, working in connection with the CDC, have developed the PUR packet that enables people to purify dirty water. Just one dollar gives a child clean drinking water for 50 days. $30 provides a whole family clean water for a year!!
  • We watched CNN Heros on the weekend and were particularly touched by this story. David Puckett started PIPO Missions to bring ongoing prosthetic and orthotic care to those in need. Since November 2000, he has helped more than 420 people in southeastern Mexico, free of charge. You can donate to help him continue his work.
  • Heifer International gives you a chance to give a flock of chicks or a goat or even a buffalo to a family so they can be self-reliant. World Vision is another organization that offers similar opportunities. If you don't know about them, please go have a look.
I know that things are not looking that good financially for most people this year. I know that some of you are having trouble making ends meet. But I would think it is fair to say that each of us has a roof over our head and most likely sit down to three meals every day. What must it be like to send a child to bed with an empty, grumbling stomach, knowing it was because you couldn't provide supper for him?? I can't fathom that!

I'm guessing that most have not read all the way down here to the end. If you have, please consider giving the gift of clean water, a meal, or even a loan. A new sweater is nice to have, but it's not really a necessity. And the $30 could go a long way to help someone LIVE.

And please come back soon and participate in sharing some ideas for wonderful DIY gifts that cost little or nothing. Maybe we can let the special people in our lives know how important they are with words or actions instead of $$$$.

P.S. Mark and I really love the message of this song, and it really goes along with the theme of this post. Please watch and listen to Albertine.