Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Turn- The 40 Day Fast


Today it is my turn to fast and pray. Please also join Adam who is also posting today.




Let me start with this: I don’t like fasting. There, I said it. Now that that’s out of the way....

I don’t like fasting because it doesn’t feel good. It’s not comfortable. I’d really rather have the feeling of calm, slight sedation that a belly full of good food gives than the empty, hollow, gnawing, light-headed feeling that fasting brings. I like comfort. I like knowing what to expect. I don’t like surprises and I don’t like anything that makes me feel yucky or ooky in the least.

Of course, you know that expression about the box: think outside the box, get out of your box. Well, I will be the very first to admit- I like my box. I like it a lot, actually. I was thinking that maybe a better metaphor for my life would be that I like to live inside a bubble. But that really doesn’t fit because in a bubble you can presumably look out and others can look in. But in my box, I can avoid looking out, I only see what’s going on inside my box. When I take a peek out, if I don’t like what I see, I can close up the box again. And others can’t look through my box to see what’s really going on in here. Oh I might give them a peek through an air hole or something, but they’ll really only get to see what I want them to see, not too much, not enough to see what life is really like inside my box.

Like most of us, I don’t like thinking about the things that really go on in the world. It is too uncomfortable, too painful. When I really look at the lives that most people on the planet live, I realize that I pretty much live like royalty. That sounds silly to the average American, since I don’t live in a mansion or castle, and I don’t have servants (not even a cleaning lady once or twice a month, and believe me, it shows). But tell that to the couple of billion people who live on less than $2.00 a day. Think about it. Take your monthly expenses and divide them by 30 and see what you get- hundreds of dollars?

So anyway, this is the kind of stuff that I don’t like to think about here in my box. Because when I do I am faced with the responsibility placed on my shoulders through the Scriptures- From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48 Uh oh..... How am I going to live up to that responsibility? How can I, “just” a mom, “just” a wife, “just” a regular average person, change the world? The answer is, I can’t. I can’t change the whole world. But I am responsible to do what’s in my power. And it turns out that that’s way more than I ever imagined, anyway.


I am posting today about World Vision, specifically about their gift catalog. I love the gift catalog because it helps provide a tangible connection for the donor. If I write a check to an organization’s general fund, I know that it will be well used but I don't really know where the money went. Through the gift catalog, my family and I can choose how we want our money to be spent- livestock or seeds for micro-enterprise? Education for a child in Africa or China? Clothing and school supplies for a child in America? Clean drinking water? Medicine and medical supplies? The gift catalog is one stop shopping for life saving and life altering donations. And donating in someone’s name makes a great, meaningful gift for the special people in your life. If you request it, World Vision will send the recipient a nice card telling them about the gift donated in their honor.


For a couple of years now, I have been making wool pins and donating the money through World Vision’s gift catalog to buy sheep for poor families around the world. A sheep provides wool for warm clothing, milk for nourishment, and lambs for market. It is literally life saving for a family with no means of supporting themselves. This is a sustainable livelihood for the family, with tremendous ripple effect. Children are healthier, have the opportunity to go to school, then contribute significantly to their families and communities- you know what I mean. It starts so small, so seemingly insignificantly.......

The physical metamorphosis that takes place in a family which is given the opportunity to support and sustain themselves is unquestionable, but in speaking to Jeff Eichenlaub, New York Area Director for World Vision, I discovered something even more significant. Jeff frequently uses the term transformational to describe what micro-enterprise does, but he is speaking of something much deeper than the physical and financial benefits. In giving a gift of $105 to purchase a sheep, or $30 to purchase 5 ducks, or in purchasing some other form of livestock or micro-enterprise supplies, you can “send a little package of hope to someone. For people that the government and no one else cares about, it is like Christmas a hundred times over. It makes them realize that ‘I am not worthless, somebody from America cares enough about me to send me this gift, this hope.’”

Hope. For the cost of a couple of pizzas, I can not only help bring dignity to a household and affect literally generations of people, I can give real, honest to goodness HOPE. I guess that kind of is changing the world, isn’t it?

And isn’t that what the Gospel is all about?







Nik is a hard working man, but life is hard if there is not a stable income. Both Nik and his wife have been unemployed for fifteen years now. They live on what the land produces. Many times Nik and his sons have had to migrate to Greece and Italy for seasonal work, leaving the rest of the family behind. However, life for the Doshi family has been much better since the family received four sheep from World Vision's gift catalogue. Each of the sheep produces one litre of milk a day which Nik's wife uses to make cheese, butter and yoghurt. Some of the goods they sell, and the leftovers go to the family for daily consumption. With the income brought in by the four sheep, Nik has bought five more sheep. "It has helped our financial situation and it has kept the family together," says Nik.



Photo and story provided by World Vision

7 comments:

  1. What a wonderful gift you have given me this morning! I will be thinking about your mission today and praying some myself!

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  2. Thanks for highlighting this giving option, provided by World Vision! I think it's a wonderful way to provide hope and share the blessings we've been given.

    Praying for you today, as you fast.

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  3. Great post. We all like our boxes a little too much, don't we? Thanks for doing what you can. I'll be praying for you today.

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  4. What a great idea! I didn't know about this, so thanks for sharing.

    MB

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  5. I'm praying for you today, that despite the grumblings in your tummy and thumps in your head you will have an extremely meaningful and productive day.

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  6. Really great post, and I'm sure that this is how a lot of us in America live our lives, "inside our boxes," I am glad that you choose to step out of your box and join the 40 day fast!

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  7. A great supporter of World Vision is AIDtoCHILDREN.com.

    AIDtoCHILDREN.com is a dual-purpose site for building an English
    vocabulary and raising money for under privileged children in the most
    impoverished places around the world.

    Check it out at http://www.aidtochildren.com

    ReplyDelete

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