Saturday, October 30, 2010

When Teaching Hurts

I have very few memories in Haiti from before the earthquake. We were only here 14 days, so there was not really a lot of time. However, one of the most important conversations I had in Haiti was during that time. Corrigan, the former Bible teacher here, gave us some awesome unsolicited advice about Haiti, saying that the more we tried to love like Christ, the more it would hurt. Friday I got a solid first-hand experience from my students.

One student, often well-behaved, called me a "loser" for the extra effort I had put in researching for class. When he said it, I felt like a fighter who had just taken a strong combo from their opponent- my head was swirling and I couldn't breathe well. I wanted to scream at the class. I wanted to lecture them on respect. Swear at them for being so spoiled. I did none of those things. All I could think was, what?!

I deeply care for these young people because I deeply care about Haiti. I think what I do here is important because I think they are the future leaders of this place, and despite the different opinions people have about Haiti, most would agree it could use better leaders- in business, in the community, in government.

But just because I care does not mean that they care. Few students understand why we are here and fewer still care. Similar to privileged teenagers in other countries, they take many things for granted, including people from other countries that teach them. I do not mean that to sound cynical and jaded. Rather, this is just a reality that I have known for some time and which was reinforced to me this week.

Being unappreciated and unwanted is an interesting aspect of doing mission work. Radical by David Platt is a book that is popular right now in some Christian ciricles, and it should be - it is a wonderful book. But something that book does not talk about, something that few people in missions talk about, is when the people missionaries work with treat them poorly. They rarely talk about the correlation between trying to be Christlike and being hurt. Which is interesting because it was regularly a topic for Christ.

However, being hurt because you are trying to love like Christ is not a reason to stop your work, and I don't plan on changing anything either. My wife (who is awesome) reminded me that our enemy would love it if we were guarded and withdrawn in all our conversations, or, even better, if we just packed it up and went home. That is unlikely to happen. We both continue to live with an abandon that is bound to hurt us a few times, but our hope is that it brings life and newness into countless other relationships.

One closing thought. When I was a sophomore in high school (go Rams) I had an amazing history teacher, Ms. Stacy, one of the best teachers I have ever had. Early in the fall semester I made an careless and critical remark to Ms. Stacy about teaching as a profession. I do not remember what spawned the comment or what the comment was. I just know that I was in detention for a few days (it wouldn't be the first, or last, time my mouth got me there). I am sure the emotion Ms. Stacy felt was similar to what I felt yesterday afternoon, but it did not do long-term damage to our friendship. I would have Ms. Stacy again as a senior, and we grew so close that I was invited to her wedding as a freshman in college. We keep in touch occasionally. In fact, after school on Friday I emailed her. All of that to say, despite the knee-jerk reaction to close myself up to keep myself from getting hurt, these events can be used to grow amazing relationships.

-Ben

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Seguin: Part 2

As the hike up to Seguin with the senior class progressed, we began to see just a handful of tiny, ramshackle little homes. You can see this perched on the cliff, overlooking a few goats.
This was the only house I saw that was painted. It has an outbuilding or two. That's laundry drying on the bush- that's the way they do it (no laundry lines).
Pouring rain and a little stick shack.
Finally, we reached the last hour of the hike- dense fog and the pine forest. At last, walking on pine needles instead of big wet rocks!
We made it! The joy was palpable.
Chill time at the house at Seguin. There were two bedrooms where the adult chaperones stayed, and the 12th graders stayed in tents outside.
Silly games galore. This is Fabrice trying to act out "mermaid".

Hiking to the river.
Crossing a scary tiny bridge over a river in the pine forest.
A gorgeous river in the pine forest. We paused here for awhile while some crazy students decided to get IN the freezing cold river.

Ok, now for the craziest part - the hike back.
Misery, yet laughing. You know when you are in a situation, and it's just so, so bad, and you can do nothing about it, and so you just laugh? That was this moment. Pouring rain, stretched to my max physical ability, in the middle of nowhere, wet, tired, falling up and falling down mountains. And then...
The rain got so bad that we could not go on. We walked up to a Haitian family's tiny wooden one-room shack and I said, "Eske, nou kabap?" which means, basically, "Can we....?" It's all I could come up with. They understood, thankfully, and invited us to squat on the dirt floor with the 5 of them. I took just two photos, sneakily, out of the pocket of my coat, because most of the people we met that day were really not welcoming our photo-taking. There were 4 or 5 adults and 1 or 2 babies, including this guy. There were two chairs in the house- one where the mother was sitting, and one more....
It was the oldest, most rickety chair I've seen. It was breaking under her, so she had to half sit/half squat. They were so generous to offer it. I've never been in a house like that- just a few little clothing items hung from the rafters, no pantry, certainly no water or electricity, just a bucket or two. When we left, we gave them all the food we had- several pieces of candy.

The funny part was that when I stood up to leave, I put on my backpack which had been sitting beside me on the dirt ground. I adjusted my rain jacket and then reached to brush off the dirt from my backside. The elderly Haitian grandpa took the opportunity to give me five or six good brushes on the backside, to "assist" me in getting the dirt off. He was laughing the entire time, as were the other adults there- he knew exactly what he was doing! I laughed and walked off. The price of staying dry.
I made it. Just barely. I'm so glad I went.

Katie

Monday, October 25, 2010

This Ain't the Oregon Trail...

When I was in elementry school we would go to the computer lab and play computer games. The game everyone loved most was Oregon Trail.

The purpose was to take your 8-bit settler family and travel across the United States in a covered wagon via the Oregon Trail. There were many perils: snake bites, dead oxen, broken wagons, flooded rivers and diseases like cholera.

I suppose that we are in the middle of our own peril here in Haiti.
This cholera outbreak hit while we were traveling. Honestly, I did not know anything about it because the first major stories came out while I was trying to not give in to my ADD while sitting on a plane. It felt very strange to have someone in America tell me about breaking news in Haiti.

Today at school it was very interesting. Many of the students had their own hand sanitizer and large bottles of water; two things that they did not have last week. A few more than usual brought their lunches saying that they did not trust our school cafeteria. Really?

Here is where I struggle. I want to be sensitive but I also want to encourage students to use common sense something that they are lacking since they are, ya know, teenagers. They have eaten every day at the cafeteria for months, no one has gotten sick. But now they are concerned. What changed? Did the schools food prep and sanitation become poor? Did someone in the elementary go down with the runs?

A few students tried to tell me that the school water wasn't safe. I answered by taking a long refreshing gulp from my Nalgene. School water. Filtered. UV treated. Safe. When I asked if it had ever made them sick before and got a classroom full of no's then I asked why would it make them sick now?

It was a topic of conversation in every class. I think many students are scared. And to be sure there is cause for alarm for some people, but I also wanted to get them to talk openly and to think about the cause and effect of epidemics. I asked my freshman class how many of them drink, "poo-water"? Riotous laughter ensued. Not to make fun of this very serious situation but the reality is that many of my students drink filtered water. Eat food prepared with filtered water. They do not live like average Haitians. The likelihood of infection for them is rare and as long as they are wise they will be fine. This is what they need to hear.

Katie and I and the rest of the QCS staff are taking this outbreak seriously we have all been briefed on symptoms and treatments. However, we are the adults and this is our job. Our students jobs is to be just that-students, to learn to be somewhat care free.

They have been through so much in the last 9 months that I think the fear mongering that they hear from adults does them more harm than good.

Ben

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Prayers Please

Hey pals.

Seguin pics part 2 and this weekend's whirlwind adventure to Baylor for the alumni award are coming soon. I just sent an email to someone with our current big prayer needs, so I thought I'd share with the class:

1. A big praise for this amazing last weekend. Ben and I were in Texas for a whole 3 days. It was the most affirming, encouraging weekend, and we tried to talk about Haiti nonstop, between eating Chik Fil A and Mexican food like it was our job.

2. The cholera outbreak in Haiti. There are over a thousand sick, with death coming sometimes only 24 hours after first symptoms. It's all completely preventable- just an issue of clean drinking water. 

3. Presidential elections about one month away- the week of Thanksgiving. Crime is not near the levels of a few years ago, but worrisome nonetheless. I think we're just going to lay low for the next month or so.

4. New student discipleship groups at our school, beginning this Friday. So excited to have a group of girls with 45 minutes of dedicated time each week to get closer to Jesus. I'll find out my names in the next day or two. The curriculum is up to me and the girls.

Katie

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Seguin: Part 1

Last Friday was the Quisqueya senior class trip to Seguin, a five-hour hike through the mountains of rural Haiti followed by two days of camping in a rare and beautiful Haitian pine forest. It was absolutely incredible. As the 12th grade sponsor, I was able to attend. I am so glad I went. But I swear I nearly died.

On Friday we drove two hours from the school up the mountain, until the cars could no longer drive on the roads. The 20 students hired 2 donkeys to carry some bags, and then off we went. The entire economy of this remote mountain area depends on physically carrying packs of vegetables and other goods- usually on top of one's head. I hiked by this onion and carrot seller early in the day.
Here we go! Throughout the hike, we would run across little... villages? towns? hamlets? I can't think what to call them. Little pockets of three or four wood one-room homes, a market stand, a common fire. The trail was unpaved, sometimes mud, sometimes fist-sized rocks.
The views were absolutely breathtaking. I kept repeating, "this looks just like Hawaii!" And it does- lush green mountains, nothing like the urban/ car exhaust/ burning trash experience of the big city. The air is crisp, maybe even chilly, and oh so fresh. Cows and goats nibbled on green grass on hillsides.
Early in the hike I ran into some kids. I was walking with my friend Art, who speaks good enough Kreyol to joke around with them, and they posed for a pic.
Here is the little pocket where the kids live.
Part of the view. You can see a bit of the terraced architecture and the random little houses along the trail.
Ladies walking over a little waterfall with their packs on their head- literally everything they eat or need has to come in or out of the mountains this way.
Even waaay out in the rural provinces there are election posters galore. This guy, Jude Celestin, seems to have the most posters, though I know less than nothing about the candidates.
A little market area we walked through. This shows what the people in this area wear.
The fog rolled over the mountaintops, creating an eerie "zoom" effect when you looked into the distance.


The rest of the adventure to come soon, including the half hour I spent in  Haitian home!

Katie

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Open Heart...

We are 48 hours from our jet-set, whirlwind weekend back in Texas.

I desperately want three things out of this weekend. They are the thing that I want out of everything I do, write, or say about Haiti. First, want to remind Americans that the struggle to rebuild still exists. I want to be a reminder, a siren, for the needs of this country. Second, I do not want to make much of my self. Third, I want to make much of the God I serve, the one with whom the restoration of this country is possible.

America quickly forgets about something if it's not told to them on the news, every hour on the hour. Just because CNN is not talking about tent cities, child hunger, and spikes in election-related kidnapping does not mean that they do not exist. My country has not been great at nation building since the Marshall Plan, so I want to talk about Haiti's needs, flaws, and how individuals and the government can make a difference.

My heart is to see this place restored. I know what Haiti is like now, and I want to see Haiti in 20 years and hardly be able to tell the two apart. I want the Haiti of the future to be a place of opportunity so that my students feel they can be more successful here than in the states. I hope some of those students can be involved in civics that are not corrupt, instead of telling me, like one student did this week, that he won’t vote because it won’t change anything. I want  to be abe to bring my kids to this country (or maybe even raise them here, shhh don’t tell our families I said that) and show them a place where there is semi-regular electricity and a decent education system for all kids.

None of those things happen overnight, and we cannot have an "out of sight, out of mind" attitude about Haiti.

Katie and I have a fear: that people will see our blog, or things we write in other places, or articles people write about us, and think it is all about us. That we do this to show off, that we like the attention. The truth is I would spend a hundred lifetimes doing what I am doing now and I couldn’t care less if anyone knew my name or what I did. I only care about impacting the lives of the students I teach, making a difference in this country, and serving my God.

I know that God gives us resources to use for things beyond making our lives better. I believe that because, despite what a certain pastor in Houston would tell you, it is in the Bible. Jesus’ whole ministry was meeting other peoples' needs. Real needs, like being mistreated and needing a Savior. Not perceived false needs, like a new car or a bigger house. So I pray to be someone who points to Him.

When you see us posting a blog, linking to an interview or accepting an award I want you to know that our heart is not, “Look at me, Look at me!” Our heart is "look at this place, look at this devastation, look at the God who cares about it and demands that we do something".

These are the things that I pray about, think about and obsess over. And I hope that less than 96 hours in Texas makes them a reality a little bit more than they are today.

Ben

Monday, October 18, 2010

Internet, WMU and Plywood. It's a beautiful thing.

The internet at our apartment has been... nearly nonexistent. The internet is partying like it is 1999, so unfortunately it is over a decade behind. It moves with all the speed of turtle and, despite what we tell kids, slow and steady is not winning this race.

I know when I am addicted to something. I am addicted to caffeine. I am addicted to Haitian Coca-Cola. I am addicted to the internet. When I am without it I obsess over all things I need to be doing. I need to enter grades and comments for report cards. I need to email family. I need to write donors. I need to know the Rangers score. All of these things are important... err, most of them anyway.

There was a big project we scratched off our to-do list this week. In the spring, we received a grant for $5,000 from WMU to build and furnish a house for some earthquake survivors in our community. We were very excited to start this project, but it was also a learning experience.

Getting things accomplished in Haiti is never easy. I often fear that a lot of harm was done after le quake because so many well-intentioned people came to Haiti to start projects, but then those projects encountered difficulties that arise when you are trying to do work in a strange place. People then got frustrated and gave up, leaving projects unfinished and promises unfulfilled. I do not want to be too hard to the well-meaning Americans, but there is a reason everyone in Haiti will say, once they have heard about your project, "someone is doing something like that- you should partner with them." It is because those who have been here before you and will be here after you do not want to have to clean up another mess made by a well-intentioned, albeit clueless, blan.

I digress. There were delays because of the summer, everyone's need for rest, and to Foundation Maxima (the manufacturer of the pre-fab houses) blowing up. Their wait-list is longer than an A-list restaurant on a Friday night. But now two families in the Delmas 75 area are living in new homes.

One family, the Espiril family, live near the school. Their house was completely destroyed in the earthquake. Their little four year old, Jude, suffered a broken leg from falling concrete and was splinted for days until he could be helped. Today they are putting the roof on their new house, and it will then be painted.

The other family also lives in the community, the Fednel family.  Their house was completely leveled in the earthquake. They have been struggling to take care of their very young infant while living in a tent- a difficult, muddy circumstance. Now they are in a house!
Kate and I, along with Quisqueya Christian School and the community ministries we partnered with, are so happy to make things like this happen. But remember, there are still 1.3 million homeless people in Port-au-Prince because of the earthquake. There is so much more work to be done.

-Ben

Friday, October 15, 2010

Seguin

Don't be confused, Texas friends, I'm not referring to Seguin-near-San-Antonio, but in fact to an area of Haiti. A mountainous area. And I'm climbing that mountain today.

It's the senior class retreat. As the senior class homeroom teacher and sponsor, I am dying to go and bond with the 20 seniors. However, a six hour hike up a mountain in Haiti, unpaved road, possibly washed out by recent rains? Nervous, to say the least. I'm not exactly known for my athletic feats.

The hike is the price of admission for a weekend with the seniors. It's a big deal- only two have ever done this hike before. One has never spent the night away from her mom. At a parent conference yesterday, one mom told me, "when I did that hike once, my legs... turned... to wood. Does this translate to English?"

Ben isn't able to go with me, since we didn't have enough substitute teachers. He helped me pack up my little backpack, which now weighs more than I do. Water: check. Rain slicker: check. Junk food and Things Fall Apart, which I am about to start with the freshmen: check. It's supposed to be really cold up there. And no mosquitoes - joy!

I'll be home on Sunday!

Katie

Saturday, October 9, 2010

We Got Spirit, Yes We Do

This past week was a time-honored high school tradition that I saw afresh with new eyes. As a student, it was the most fun week of the year. Now I understand why this week sparks fear and dread in the hearts of educators and administrators alike....

We speak,
of course,
of

Spirit Week.
Sitting so quietly in their desks, fooling you into thinking this will be a productive school week with no disturbances....

It all started with Pajama Day. We are a small, private, Christian school featuring a school uniform of white polos and navy blue pants, so I think the mayhem may have resulted from pent-up lack of teen self-expression. I mean, I can only express myself so much by my color of Chuck Taylors that go with my school uni, you know? I pretty much spent the day staring at my shoes, because I felt so very awkward that everywhere my eyes landed I was seeing way too much 15-year-old skin. Ugh tank tops. Then I got militant, fussing at every errant bra strap I saw. Mix and Match Day will be better, right?
A color explosion in the senior class. Actually Mix and Match Day might have been the best in terms of "silly yet appropriate" because so many people went for the layered look. It was really fun :) The Student Council organized a big game of musical chairs at lunch, with each class competing.
Freshmen get their mix on.

Wednesday was "Wannabe Day", with costumes ranging from bumblebees to Kesha to Lady Gaga to an authentic Haitian police uniform, complete with bulletproof vest. I had a Cyndi Lauper, some vampires, a mafioso, many pro athletes, ballerinas, the star of Avatar (the blue one) and all manner of silly things. I went as a cowgirl; my husband went as "a college student" (read: an excuse to wear a Tech tshirt and jeans to work).

Thursday was Formal Day, with my favorite costume being Bearded Tony's "Formal Definition of a Limit". Leave it to the math department.

Friday was Spirit Day.
Middle schoolers on Spirit Day
Clash of the Classes on Friday afternoon. The championship round of the juniors vs. seniors tug-of-war.
Middle school girls prepare for battle.

My boss, our high school principal Rod, and The Other Ben (middle school math and science) throw their weight in with the middle school girls. 
Leaping over other standing people is apparently a hot high school boy trend. No joke. Google it.
Seniors
Juniors
Sophomores, victorious champions of the Clash of the Classes
Just us :)

Those three pictures above? Those 75 or so teenagers? That's our life here in Haiti. Add in another 24 squirrly freshmen, and that's my whole job, my mission field, my herd of sheep, my constant source of worry and prayer and effort. The reason I love my job; the reason I pull out my hair. If this is what it feels like to parent, I will a) never have the emotional energy, I swear, and b) love every minute of it.

Spirit Fingers,
Katie

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Woogina

When Katie's mom was here in September we went on a special trip to the TeacHaiti School of Hope that Saturday. Susan was going to be offering advice on financial planning for a few of the teachers that we work with at QCS so we had to make an early morning visit and then get back home.

Most of the parents would be at the TeacHaiti School of Hope without their kids, just to pick up some school supplies and receive information from Miquette. However, one family was there for something special; one little girl would be meeting her sponsor.

Katie's parents are sponsoring a student and Miquette had arranged for the little girl and Susan to meet on this Saturday. She told the parents to make sure and bring their daughter so she could meet the woman who was making school possible for her.

We had to get up uncomfortably early. Saturdays are special to me because I try and catch up on my sleep deficit from the week. but it was surely worth it. When we walked out of our gate, Miquette's brother Dan was waiting for us with his Tap-tap and an employee of the school, Bellamy. Miquette and TeacHaiti sponsor 4 or 5 current and former Quisqueya employees' children.

I told Bellamy to ride up front with Dan and the 3 blan (Katie, her mom Susan, and me) climbed into the back of the tap-tap. Off we went. Susan is a brave lady, but watching her bounce around the in back of Dan's tap-tap caused me to laugh so hard I teared up a time or two. Imagine a silver-grey tap-tap with 3 white people in the back. One of whom is a 6 foot tall blond woman. When Haitians would look into the tap-tap as we passed they had to do a double take!
The ride to the school was brutal. The three of us were bounced and flung all around the bed of the tap-tap.  As we neared the last turn before the school we slowed to a stop. A Haitian family of four jumped in the back with us: two parents and their two children. One was a girl dressed in the poofiest-frilliest-pinkest dress I have seen in Haiti. With pink shoes and socks to match. Probably the best outfit the little girl owned. The father and I exchanged pleasantries in Creole and bounced, literally, toward the school.

When we got to the school, Miquette gave us a tour and took us to the roof to show us where the kids would be playing soccer. As we stood on the roof, sweating like it was our job at only 9 am, Miquette excused herself and went back inside for a moment. She returned with the pink princess from our tap-tap ride: Susan's sponsor child, Woogina.
Miquette translated while Susan and Woogina talked.
Well, okay mostly Susan talked and Woogina muttered something we couldn't hear. But it was special!
What could we have expected from the little one. Up on the roof of her school, in her best outfit, meeting 3 white people, two of them taking pictures the whole time. The woman who runs your school asking you questions... Look, if you did that to me I might have tried to jump off the roof!

All kidding aside, this was a great opportunity to do something most of us will never get to do. Put a specific name and face with poverty, and sacrifice. Woogina's story is personal to Susan, she now has someone to think about when considering her giving to TeacHaiti and other causes.

I have many friends whose families support a child through World Vision or Compassion International. Few have visited their sponsor child in their home country. Those who have say it made their monthly donation come alive to them. I know this was the case for Susan, Katie and I.

And we will be praying and thinking about little Woogina as she starts third grade TODAY on the first day of the inaugural year of the TeacHaiti School of Hope. Over 200 kids are sponsored by TeacHaiti for the upcoming school year, and over 60 of them will attend the TeacHaiti School of Hope just down the street from us. Will you join us in praying for them?

We love you, little Woogina!

Ben

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dear Senator Coburn

When I lived in the States I was a news junkie. I always needed to know what was going on. To some extent that changed when I moved to Haiti. A lot of the things that pass as "news" in the states isn't really worth getting worked up about in the broader, global context.

However, when I was home during the summer I was dying to know what was happening in Haiti while I was gone. Call it separation anxiety. During that time I established a daily email of news stories about Haiti (thank you, Google Alerts!) this has led to some interesting readings. Rarely do they move me as much as this one.

The $1 billion that the US has pledged to rebuild Haiti is tied up in Congress due to one senator's disagreement about how $5 million of the total package will be spent: on an adviser to USAID. He feels the current advisors are enough.

I admire Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn's commitment to fiscal responsibility but he is holding up the entire rebuilding effort of Haiti over a tiny fraction of the bill's budget. To me that seems morally irresponsible.

Today, in my Comparative Government class, I will be sharing this story with my students and inviting them to join me in emailing Senator Coburn's office asking him to stop obstructing this piece of legislation. I have already emailed him and I would ask that you do the same.

Click here. Then fill out your information and ask Senator Coburn to stop blocking the aid that the USA has promised to rebuild Haiti.

Goodness, you could even copy and paste that previous sentence into the comments section! It is mindless and would take you less than a minute.

Perhaps if Sen. Coburn, who is a doctor and says he's a Christian, came to Haiti he could see how much the country could benefit from the money. Mr. Coburn clearly could use a face to go with all of the poverty and need in Haiti right now. I would love to introduce him to Woogina, Sarah, Keishna, and everyone living in the Champs de Mars and Place Boyer in tents and tarps. Maybe then he would not stall the rebuilding efforts, because he would see how great and immediate the need really is.

For further reading: AP News. I also liked this blog's take, if only because it provided a link to a Daily Show clip, a show I dearly miss here in Haiti.

Ben

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Go Ask Do: A Guest Post from Mom


I’m home from my Haitian trip to visit Ben and Katie. It was a quick opportunity to be part of their
world for a few days. And it was six days that may have permanently changed the ways I see fairness.

I’ve always known that life isn’t fair. It was the mantra at my house growing up. But all my life I’ve struggled with answers to questions on equality: Why do I have more than other people? Why does God allow some people to struggle for basic survival and some people to have comfortable lives? What am I called to do with my resources? How much “giving away” is enough? How much “keeping” is enough?

Unfortunately I don’t have the complete answers to these questions, but I do know that God has a plan for those of us who have something….anything…..we can share. Here’s what I think it looks like:

Go.

We need to step outside our comfort zone and go to where the less fortunate live. It’s too easy to look the other way and not think about the poor and the hungry. Honestly, I don’t really like to think about poverty. It makes my heart hurt. And frankly it’s a lot easier for me to minister to people in my neighborhood. They look like me, think like me and act like me. I also know it’s not possible, or practical, for all of us to go to Uganda, the Sudan or Haiti on a mission trip…but we can all go into the poor areas of our city and see what the needs are. Once there is a face on poverty, once you’ve seen the hardships and the difficulty some people live with, it changes the way you view your resources.

Ask.

It’s hard to know what God wants us to do in response to the poor. Sometimes it is downright paralyzing because there are just so many things you COULD do. Where do I volunteer my time? Where should I contribute my money? With so many choices….and the desire to be a good steward of your resources…it’s easy to put it off or decide to do nothing. Ask God for direction. Ask him to tell you specifically what he’d like your response to be. Then keep your eyes and your mind open for his direction.

Do.

Here’s the hard part….do what He asks. I firmly believe that when we ask God to show us what to do, He will provide opportunities. But then we have a responsibility as Christians to act on those opportunities. And it may require sacrifice. It may involve rearranging my purchases so that I have a little bit less….so that someone else I don’t even know can have a little bit more. And I may have to ignore the part of my brain that tells me I deserve to have things because I’ve worked hard for them. The bible reminds me that I am to love my neighbor as myself….I am to take care of the poor and the widowed…..and that where my treasure is; there will be my heart also. It’s not my stuff that is sinful….it’s the priority I place on my stuff.

I read a study recently that had this quote on the amount of food our planet grows:

“If all foods are considered together, enough is available to provide at least 4.3 pounds of food per person a day. That includes two and half pounds of grain, beans and nuts, about a pound of fruits and vegetables, and nearly another pound of meat, milk and eggs.”

So it’s not a matter of scarcity….it’s a matter of distribution…..of sharing. No one on the planet should have to go to bed hungry……or worse, die of starvation…..simply because I’m not willing to share
my resources. I guess the big question remains…..will I do it? Or will I simply settle back into my comfortable life and assume someone else will do it for me?
Susan (aka Mom)

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