Saturday, February 13, 2010

Giving - the best gift

I sponsor a child in Uganda through Compassion International. Since I have them take the funds electronically from my checkbook, I don't probably think about him as much as I would if I actually wrote the check each month, but then again, this way I also don't forget to ensure the funds are there.

A couple of times a year I have the opportunity to do a little something extra for him and for his family and I always do this with great joy, knowing that this helps more than what my normal funds do, which support a community of which he is a part.

Today I got a thank you letter from him and the woman who wrote down his words listed some of the things his mother was able to do with the money. After reading this, how can I not continue to support him?

With a small Christmas gift that I sent to him, his mother purchased pants, shoes, vaseline and something that I can't read. It made his day memorable. With a gift that I was able to give to the family, his mother invested some into a business for the family, tithed to the church, bought shoes, slippers and socks for the family, a church photo, a crate of soda, 5 kg rice, 20 kg posho (a maize flour), movit jelly (petroleum jelly that protects the skin), and a packet of salt.

I have to say ... these are items that additional funds coming into their home afforded them the ability to purchase. They aren't extravagances by any means which is what we come to believe Christmas gifts should be. The difference in what is important to each of us in opposite ends of the world sometimes strikes me to the core.

I've been seeing a lot of posts on Facebook about what a shame it is that we have spent so much effort caring for the people of Haiti when we have starving people, etc., here in the United States. That bothers me more than I can say. I am grateful that we open our hearts in times of extreme tragedy. And for those who complain about this, I certainly hope that they are giving like crazy to local charities and doing all they can to help. But a disaster of the scope that we see in Haiti is always something that we need to respond to. It's the human thing to do - not an American, not a Christian - a human thing to do. As the country struggles to pull itself back together and rebuild, the people of Haiti will take on the responsibility for their challenges much as anyone does after a disaster of that magnitude. Little by little the countries of the world will back away and return them to their independence. And you know what? They will then have to deal with homelessness and starving children, orphans and horrendous social issues - just like every other country in the world, including the United States.

Do you know that over 100 countries and international aid organizations offered assistance to the United States when Hurricane Katrina hit? It was the human thing to do.

Today I received a thank you note that filled my heart and reminded me why it's better to be generous than critical, giving rather than selfishly stingy. I'm going to close this and open another screen to write Asiraf a note encouraging him as he grows up in a community that supports him and his family.

You know what his last words were to me in the letter?

May the God of Abraham, Jacob and Isaac continue to bless you abundantly and may God multiply and enlarge your territories.

God already has ... He filled my heart with the words of a little boy in Uganda.

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