Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Little Help


If you read this blog with any regularity, you know how often I write about change. In fact, about every other post has been change related. The reason: I believe that this life we live is simply a progression of changes that takes us from birth to death and beyond. From the physical changes that occur with our bodies as we age, to the mental processes that allow us to “mature” and function in a society that expects a certain level of civilized behavior; as I’ve said before – change is constant.

Then there are the moments of lucidity along the way that enable us to gain a little traction on our journey. Oprah calls them “breakthrough” moments, I’ve heard them described as “ah-ha” moments as well. Those times when we see things clearly and are able to change a behavior or understand how things are really affecting us. Usually, those times are life changing, because we finally see something for the first time and fully realize the impact it’s having on us and our lives and because of that new point of view, can make a course correction that forever changes us. Counselors and therapists are trained in helping you discover those. I purposely write this blog to hopefully get you thinking in those kinds of directions.

But today, I write about a different kind of change – changing someone else’s life. What if you could radically altar someone’s future for the better, would you? What if just a little money, the cost of a meal out, could help someone be successful at the work they do, would you help? Read on……

I have long believed in helping others, it’s a central point of the faith I profess. But I must tell you that I often wrestle with the effectiveness of the help I give. I work in an area that often sends teams of missionaries around the world to underdeveloped countries to help build or give medical treatment, or just spend time with orphans; you know – being Jesus in the flesh, meeting people at the point of their need. However, I have always had trouble in my own mind reconciling the amount of money it takes to get a single person from this country to another, to spend what amounts to a few days laying bricks or driving nails, or whatever the scenario is; and how helpful that really is. Listen closely here: I am not condemning those who do this or the ministry that comes from it, I’m only saying that in my own mind I have trouble justifying it, period. There is no doubt that lives are touched on such trips and I encourage you to do that if you feel led.

A dear friend of mine told me years ago to “maximize my ministry”. In other words, spend your energy on those things that have the greatest impact. For some time, the thoughts in my mind have been that if there was a way to put that money (the cost of getting me somewhere and back) in the hands of the people I was going to help, it could change their lives even more. So today I want to share with you something I’ve found that does just that.

Kiva.org allows individuals to make $25 loans to low-income entrepreneurs in the developing world (it’s called microfinance). By doing so, people like you provide affordable working capital for the poor (money to buy a sewing machine, livestock, etc.), empowering them to earn their way out of poverty. These people are already working at changing their lives and most would pay exorbitant interest rates if they were able to obtain loans from sources in their countries. The money you loan is offered to them at greatly reduced interest, enabling them to succeed. I encourage you to check out the website and educate yourself about it, I think it could change the world, or at least offer a little help to someone.

Kiva.org will take the top spot on my link list to the right. You choose whether or not it has place in your life. My family is pretty excited about this too. We spend an evening now and again, choosing who we’re going to help, we keep their names in a journal and pray for them regularly. For me and my house, this makes sense in our minds at this point in our lives, and if you know me at all, you gotta know that could change, right? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this.


Peace……

2 Comments:

At 12:05 PM, Blogger Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. said...

Thanks Tom! I've been hearing a lot about microfinace. It keeps popping up in a lot of places. That's interesting, huh???
I will check out that website.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Jennifer of Dog.Yarn.Knit. said...

... also ...

I like The Heifer Project. A person can buy a "share" of or an entire animal, pair, flock... and a family or community is able to use those animals as a source of income or food. For instance, last Christmas I bought a "Knitting Basket" in honor of my knitting group, "The Knitters".

 

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