ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something
about it. But I'm afraid He might ask me the same question.
How well will you sleep tonight?
Does this strike you as unfair?
Can you turn your back and ignore this face?
Does this break your heart?
I can't ignore this. I can't imagine. It hurts. Tears sting my eyes. I asked for it. I prayed for passion. I prayed for compassion. I prayed for a broken heart.
I got much more than I bargained for.
I recently came across this blog. I didn't want to read it but yet I couldn't turn my eyes away...
We are wealthier than 99 percent of the world. Did you know that if you make $50,000per year you are wealthier than 99 percent of the world? Yet how many times have I flippantly uttered the words that we are "broke". Or claimed that I couldn't "afford" to give anymore right now? Did you know that 93 percent of the world's people don't own a car? I have 2.
Richard Stearns says in his book, The Hole in Our Gospel, that "we don't believe we are wealthy, so we don't see it as our responsibility to help the poor. We are deceived."
Look at that first photo again and tell me if these numbers don't make you uncomfortable:
Americans spend $705 billion a year on entertainment and recreation, $65 billion on jewelry, $31 billion on pets, and $13 billion on cosmetic surgery. Not Millions. Billions.
Do you know what it would cost to bring basic health and nutrition to everyone in the world?
$13 billion. Yep. Just $13 of those $814 I just mentioned.
Here's what I know deep inside of me.
The bones of that 7 month old baby are not visible because of a lack of resources in our world -
famine or no famine.
That 7 month old baby weighs 7 1/2 pounds because of me.
You might think that sounds harsh or even ridiculous. The truth is harsh and often even ridiculous. The even harder thing to say is this: That baby is starving because of my sin. Ezekiel wrote that Sodom's sin was that she was "arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy." Maybe you would be appalled at anyone suggesting that you are arrogant, overfed, and unconcerned.
I am quite ashamedly all three. This is why I sob.
It is so very easy here on our American island to forget that we are a part of a GREAT BIG WORLD. Americans make up less than 5 % of the world's population. How did we become so arrogant?
Nearly 9 million people a year die from hunger or hunger related causes.
I can often be heard whining about my pudgy waist.
Nobody likes being deceived. World Hunger is often presented as a problem with no real solution. I think that's a lie. Maybe I'm crazy, but is it possible that a good start to the solution would be for those of us who are overfed and unconcerned to become concerned and start eating less? I'm not trying to be funny. I'm serious. We have so complicated things that we can't see what is right in front of our faces. $13 billion dollars. It's estimated that the total income of American churchgoers is $5.2 trillion. And again the tears flow.
Changes are coming to this house. I wonder how much money we could save and therefore share if we limited ourselves to dessert only once a week? If we shared more meals in restaurants? If we just cooked less and ate smaller portions? It sounds so incredibly ridiculous even as I type it. That's not even a sacrifice! We eat dessert pretty much every day. While people die. I'm tired of pretending that's not a problem.
For the record, I am not suggesting that we shouldn't be able to enjoy our food. I am merely suggesting we need to stop enjoying more than our share of it. The truth is, I love to cook and I love to eat. I know that for many people it's a gift and for many an art. Sharing a meal at a table with family and friends brings us all great joy. I have no intention of drowning in guilt every time I put a bite of food in my mouth. I will thank God for what he has given me... but I will also acknowledge the great responsibility he placed upon me - the wealthiest 1 percent. I intend to stop thanking Him for how richly he has blessed my family while simply pitying those He hasn't chosen to bless as richly as me. That's just another lie. I don't believe He withheld his blessing from the 9 million who died last year. I believe he entrusted it to us and we withheld it.
Through this amazing journey, I have come across some websites that have brought me to tears and down to my knees. Little ways to help. We can't all adopt or travel to 3rd world countries and do mission work.
But we can do SOMETHING.
One thing Lee and I learned about was the unfair trade coffee crisis. Companies here in the US are buying coffee from Ethiopia (known for their unique beans and wonderful flavors). The problem is that they are paying the poor Ethiopian farmer pennies for a cup of coffee they charge 4+ bucks for in America. Companies like Starbucks and Nestle (Kraft) have monopolized the coffee industry. They have directly contributing to the poverty crisis in Ethiopia. This has led fathers to give up their children. This has exacerbated the orphan crisis. Don't believe me? Check out this documentary. It will change your perception on coffee.
So what can you do about it?
Watch the movie.
Join their mailing list.
Boycott Starbucks. (I haven't set a foot in there since I watched this. And if I do, I'll not be purchasing anything).
Buy fair trade coffee.
A good website to order from is:
Another really cool website I've discovered is one that sells hand crocheted hats. Two crochet-loving guys began to educate women in Africa how to crochet hats to make a living. Their stuff is hand signed and proceeds go to them. What a novel idea. Teach someone a skill that will bring them out of poverty. I can't wait to get my hat. :)
Another similar site:
And lest we not forget Tom. Tom began to make and sell shoes, promising to donate a pair for every pair purchased. My pair is truly my absolute favorite pair of shoes I own. Not only are they comfortable but wearing them reminds me that a poverty stricken child in the world is also wearing a new pair of shoes.
This incredible site asks only for a dollar and helps to fund African adoption.
And then there is Katie. The girl who left her life in America to run an orphanage in Uganda. And adopt 14 kids. As a single girl. And write books and create and organization called Amazima. You too can buy some handmade jewelry or sponsor a child.
And then there are the regular contenders. Ways to sponsor a child, provide education, nutrition, and sharing of the Gospel.
And of course Compassion International
And my personal fave (partly b/c the organization is in Colorado Springs and my dear friend Sarah works for them).
And then there are the books I've read.
Here is one: