The world has significant needs to address. There are wars, diseases, oppression and issues surrounding poverty and lack of basic things like water. We took a trip to Gabon in 2008 and saw some of these things first hand there. The pictures on this post are from that trip. This week I have been reading a lot about some of these world needs because I want to be involved and I am thinking about how to keep our teens engaged in what is going on around the world.
Two years have passed since the devastating earthquake in the country of Haiti. As I understand it, Haiti has enough problems without mass destruction and death to deal with. When this occurred two years ago, I made the appeal to the youth group to give to CAMA Services for their relief efforts. They gave about $300 in a single offering for the cause. I thought that was a real good response. We then gathered some supplies and sent those with a coupe of people who were going to help. That was awesome, but to me it only hit on part of the problem because it was such a temporary part of the solution. You see, here we are two years later and there isn’t much of a mention of Haiti anymore. It seems like the media is interested for a short time and then they move on to something else. But, the needs in Haiti are very real today and should not be ignored.
I read this blog today on the Compassion International — When Will Haiti Be Back to Normal? This article asks the question about how we can do better than just normal for Haiti. After all, poverty is high, education is low and death from diseases are far more prevalent than they are here. So many people are pouring their lives into these places, which is commendable. But, could we do more?
I know I received push back from a few of the teens at the time we took the offering because they could not get past the fact that there are people in our country who have needs. There are people in our communities who don’t have enough food, or money for shelter. In fact, just this afternoon I went with a man to a gas station to put gas in his car for him. Yes, the needs are all around us. Even so, does that mean we just stand by and ignore the needs of other parts of the world? I don’t believe we should forget the poor no matter where they are.
Another place that isn’t getting a lot of headlines, but has real need is in what they refer to as the Horn of Africa. There is a famine going on that is said to threaten something like 13 million people. This is something I can’t even fathom, as I look at pictures of children who are malnourished. I wonder how I would handle being in that place of poverty, trying to provide for my children. Even if the media is not interested in it, we need to be because these are valuable people in need of assistance. They don’t just need money thrown at them to attempt to pacify a situation, they need solutions. I don’t know how to fully solve the problem, I just know that more of us need to be involved in it. The resources are available if we just are willing to help.
Another area that has been well published this week on social media sites is regarding human trafficking. I can’t wrap my mind around the horror for these young people trapped in that life. In our modern living here in the United States, it is hard to even understand how this is allowed to happen. But, we know from various organizations that it happens far more often than we would care to think. Organizations like the International Justice Mission and people like Zach Hunter are taking this issue on. Again, this is another way for us to all step up and fight for children around the world that need a voice.
All of the suffering and poverty in the world can be overwhelming, but the truth is we all be part of the solution. We don’t need to feel guilty for having food, but we can do out part to bless others with what we have been given. Lives are literally depending on it. We made this a priority this year for Christmas. Instead of getting gifts for family, we bought some food for the famine portion of Africa in their honor. It is not the same as getting something for someone, but in my heart I knew that I was not only helping a group of people, but I was also sending a message to my kids about what was valuable. It would be wonderful for them to catch that early and be a part of making the world a better place for whomever they can. Helping others is rewarding and I believe that God is honored in that.
“A generous man will prosper; he who refreshes others will himself be refreshed.” Proverbs 11:25