Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Dec 2007 - Have Enough??

Hi all!
In this Christmas season, I am writing to ask that you would all take a moment to stop and look around at how blessed we are. Even those of us on a tight budget are still able to buy a little something for our loved ones, our friends, and sometimes - even those we don't even count as friends but feel an obligation to spend our hard earned money on. And next month, will you really feel you have made a difference in someone's life through your gift of fruitcake or just another Yankee Candle???

As an intro, I am now a Compassion International advocate. So - my job is to just let others know about the really awesome organization that our family has been involved with for about 2 1/2 years now. My job is to let you know the information, your job is to prayerfully consider if you can commit to helping and truly make a difference in someone else's life. Now that I have been doing this for a couple months, I have learned how quickly I can get people to change the topic when I bring up this topic! So instead of me talking, I wanted to share a few words from our Compassion liason in a recent letter to all Advocates.

""The young man said to Him, 'All these things I have kept; what am I still lacking?' Jesus said to him, 'If you wish to be complete, go and sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.' " Matthew 19:20-21

I think that when many people hear this, they are afraid that Jesus is going to tell them to do the same. Give it all away! Sell all you have and give to the poor! That is where I think the blinders come from – you know, the blinders people wear so they don't have to see poverty. I know I have these blinders. Every time I see someone asking for money at a stoplight, I have to face the decision again: do I give something or not? If not, do I at least acknowledge them and talk to them or just avoid eye contact altogether? It's difficult to know what to do every time. If we can just avoid seeing it or facing it, then we won't have to do something about it, especially something that may lead to hearing Jesus say "sell all you have".

However, in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, there is clear instruction that reveals that the call is not for everyone to sell all they have for the poor. It addresses those who are "rich in this present world" (that includes almost every American citizen by world standards) and tells them to "do good, be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share." Being ready to share and being generous is a far cry from giving all we have to the poor. These verses even say that God "richly supplies us with all things to enjoy". We are allowed to enjoyed things! That is comforting. But not at the expense of those who are in need. We shouldn't enjoy those things while pretending that there is no one out there who has need. We enjoy what God has provided but with an eye to share out of our abundance.

I've written this before but I think it is worth writing again: Bishop John V. Taylor puts it this way: Our enemy is not possessions, but excess. Our battle cry is not "nothing" but "enough".

We have a hard job cut out for us. We are trying to help people see that they have enough. That is hard to do when all around them are messages that say "buy this! Just one more thing! You need to have this too! Don't give that money to someone else – you might need it later!" It is hard to cut through all that with a message about a child in need."

So many of us are weary of the sponsored child "scams". However, we had the pleasure of experiencing our close friends recent trip to the Philippians to tour a Compassion site and visit homes of some of the served children. Our friends saw first-hand the renewed hope and love that these children were receiving. They saw first-hand the opportunities given to these children. They also saw the filth and poverty these children lived in absent of the project. When I asked her of seeing such children in poverty if it made her want to scream at everyone she met to do something, she replied, "I think if you are not on Welfare, you should try to help at least one child." Our own children are just blessed beyond measure and I am so glad they can be exposed to how much God has given us through our letters and correspondence with our 2 Compassion children. The most meaningful letter I have received from our little boy said that he "and his mother pray a lot for you because you are his second family and it is a great treasure for him to tell his friends about you."

These children are given the ability to learn, to grow, to play, to just be children. Through your letters, they come to understand that they are not expendable, they can be something, do something, and escape the lives they have been born into. They get to see and feel that someone really does care about them and want what's best for them. And most of all, they are exposed to and given the hope of a better life through Christ Jesus.

Please go to my website to browse and learn more about this organization and it's purposes. Please email me to talk more or ask more questions. Please remember that we do have enough...... especially this Christmas season.

Love to all,

Compassion Website

** Compassion was given 4 out of 4 stars by Charity Navigator for 7 straight years, an independent charity review group. That places them among the top 1% of thousands of non-profit charitable organizations they review. The American Association of Philantrophy ranked them higher than even Habitat for Humanity. Only 45 countries nationwide have their record of faithful use of your gifts.
** monthly contributions are only $32. Eighty percent of that money goes to the churches which help these children thru tutoring, Bible study, medical aid, supplemental food, field trips, and parental counseling. If you give a birthday or family gift for your child's individual needs, 100% of that money goes to your child. Our little boy chose to buy a new pair of sneakers with his birthday money, my friend's sponsored child bought vitamins.
** Our children write us about every 2-3 months. In 2 1/2 years, we have gotten many letters and many photographs of our growing and maturing child. The letters are very personal with drawings, questions for the boys, and replies to our child-like questions (what is your favorite color? do you like to play baseball? etc.) Our children know and pray for Hector, Rupa, and Amanuel every night.

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