Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Poverty: How you can make a difference.

The economic downturns have impacted us in various ways. Gas prices were up, now they are down. Food prices have gone up. Restaurants are going out of business because costs have gone up and customers have quit coming in. The stock market drops out 2000 some odd points in a month and gains back 900 in a day. All in all it is hard to be optimistic about our future.

Chance are if you are reading this and you are in America you own a computer, you live in a house, you ate some food today, and you're probably going to a job tomorrow. In short you have it better than some 95% of the rest of the world.

I'm not here to make you feel guilty, I'm here to make you think. The government has many programs to help people here and abroad meet their needs on a daily basis. However the same government has run up a 10 trillion dollar national debt. As much as we would like to look to the government and multi-national corporations to do their part in saving the world, true change will not happen unless we are involved as well.

If you are a Christian this is more than a good idea, it is to be a part of who you are. There are at least 2000 references to poverty and children in the Bible. We are created in the image of God. God has a lot to say about poverty, how He handles it, and by example how we should handle it as well.

Today I would like to highlight some opportunities for you to help out and contribute. First off is Compassion International. Your monthly donation will help a child and the community the child lives in. Compassion goes further than just taking care of the physical needs of the child, they also help to educate each child so they have hope for the future. If you cannot give you money, please consider giving your time. If you have a blog, please take a look at Compassion Bloggers.

Another option is to join up with Advent Conspiracy. Each year Americans spend 450 billion dollars on Christmas every year. Let me repeat that last part. 450. BILLION. EVERY. YEAR. I know what you're thinking, it's October 15th and its too early to start talking about Christmas. It isn't. Christmas will be here before you know it. Did you know that lack of clean drinking water kills more people than anything. It is estimated that 10 billion dollars could provide clean drinking water for everyone in the world. The idea is to spend less this Christmas season. Spend more time socializing with friends and family. Give more time to those who need it. Make memories. Consumerism has run rampant for too long now. Have we not learned from the past few weeks that more stuff doesn't equal happiness? And while you aren't spending on gifts that will probably be forgotten, you can be giving some of that to help out the world.

A similar idea is behind Blood Water Mission. Founded by Dan Haseltine to help provide clean water and clean blood to villages in Africa. They are currently 340 wells into a 1000 wells project and could use any and all help you can give. According to their website 1 dollar will fund clean water for one African for a whole year.

These organizations, as well as many others, need your help. It is my hope that what has happened in the world around us has given you pause to meditate and see the blessings in your life.