So, practically what can we do? What can we do to help those in our community around us and even those around the world?
Here are a few things we do as a family:
Sponsor children- we currently sponsor 3 children (2 through Compassion International and 1 through an organization called Gospel for Asia). They are:
Jossiel- He is 10 and lives in the Dominican Republic. Filipe and I visited him in 2004. We went on a mission trip with a team of college students that summer and spent a week in his village. We spent a lot of time with the children in the community and did some construction work on one of their school buildings.
Jishan- He is 9 and lives in India. We’ve only interacted with him through pictures and letters.
Keren- Our latest addition who we’ve sponsored in Lily’s name. Keren is 4 and lives in Indonesia. Lily likes to draw pictures and pray for Keren. She hopes to go visit her one day.
One of the most important things we do is to pray for these children on a regular basis. There’s something special about praying for someone by name, and to have a relationship with someone in different parts of the world. It allows their needs to become more personal and gives us more of a heart for what they are going through.
Ezra– He is 28 and a missionary in India. We also sponsor him through Gospel for Asia.
These are just a couple of things we’ve done on a regular basis (monthly) since early in our marriage.
Something we plan to start next is lending money through micro-finance loans (through either Kiva or World Vision). Loaning money to those in third world countries can help give them a “jumpstart”. This is an excellent way to help lift them out of poverty and help break the cycle.
Deuteronomy 15: 7-8, “If there is a poor man among your brothers in any of the towns of the land that the LORD your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward your poor brother. Rather be openhanded and freely lend him whatever he needs… Give generously to him and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the LORD your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”
Here is something we’ve done through our church most recently.
Over the summer we did a message series called Life Apps based on the Fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5. Three weeks ago Pastor Andy talked about the goodness of God and how God does good things for us. He defined goodness as being “active benevolence” toward others.
At the end of the service we, as a church, did something “good” for someone. One our most committed volunteers is a single mom of five- her husband died about five years ago. She is an incredible example of a servant. There are many weeks she spends working the night shift on Saturday nights and comes straight to South Bay to help set-up and serve on Sunday mornings. Talk about commitment! Well, one her greatest needs is transportation.
Throughout the summer leading up to that message, our staff, leaders, and small group members gave money to buy a van for her. When word spread what we were doing I was amazed at our church’s generosity and how God laid on people’s heart to give. It seemed every time they would find a van more money would come in and were able to get something a little nicer and a little newer. On top of the vehicle purchase, there was enough money to pay the gas, maintenance, and insurance for the next year. It was an incredible act of generosity by our church.
You can see Pastor Andy presenting Tiana with the van by clicking on the link below called, “Tiana’s van”.
Maybe these things seem big to you, maybe not. I think the most important thing is our heart and aligning our hearts with God’s. There are verses all throughout Scripture that talk about these things I’ve shared this week, and I think it can be easy to look over. Most of the time we are so concerned with what’s going on in our own lives we can barely look up for a moment to notice those around us.
So now it’s your turn. What are some needs going on around you? What needs do you need to address…in your community or the world?