Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Gracias a todos

I want to say thank you for all of your support while I took an adventure that God brought me to. On this semester abroad, I knew that God was going to open my eyes to things I never knew. And, it was during these four months I gained a better grasp as to what it means to love people the way Christ does. I can't tell you everything, but I will tell you some of the lessons I learned...

Many times when we want to help others in need we treat them as though they are in need of immediate relief, like clothing, money, food, etc. But really, these people are not in a life threatening situation, they should not be treated like they just survived an earthquake in Haiti. What they need, is going to take more of a sacrifice on our part, they need a long term commitment of persons who are going to walk them through healing, help them find confidence, and challenge them to do things for themselves that they are able to.

An example of this, is a question that I always struggled with; whether or not to give people on the streets money or food. I learned and I can confidently say that giving money or food to a person on the street is not helping them, it is only enabling them to stay where they are at. A better option would be to point them to an organization that is equipped to really help them out of their situation. If you want to commit to helping these people, then join in on an effort that God is already blessing by donating your time or money to those who have a grasp and a plan to treat the root causes of the situation.

With that said, make sure to take a closer look at where you are putting your money and time. It is a good idea to ask these questions; How much money is the organization actually using on those in need? How does the organization measure there success? Are the missionaries you are supporting being responsible and faithful with the money you are giving them? Is sending your children on an expensive mission trip the best way to help those in need with your money?

I want to challenge you, as I have been, to ask these important questions. To hear the stories of those who have been helped from mission organizations. To read books from and talk with those who are experienced in the field of poverty alleviation.

When I first began learning about these things, I almost felt discouraged to help and leery of doing something wrong. But, instead of leaving it at that, I searched deeper and did my research. There are many ways that I have changed my approach to serving and loving others, and I found that there is a deep need for me to be giving more of my time and money, I just need to make sure I am smart about how I am doing that.

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