Neal and I are World Vision sponsors. We sponsor two different children, a boy, Jose, who lives in the Dominican Republic, and a girl, Rahel Juju who lives in Tanzania. Each of them are the same ages as Ethan and Victoria respectively. We do help these children, our support makes their world different, and World Vision is an amazing organization. At our church our pastor is currently doing a series on the book "A Hole in Our Gospel," which is written by the president of World Vision, Richard Stearns. But the fact is, I don't even see my payment go to World Vision. It's an automatic payment that it withdrawn monthly from our bank account, it's just a part of our budget, and I don't even give it much more consideration than being aware of it when I balance our checking account. It by no means diminishes what the money does for those children, but I am realizing it has diminished what it does in my heart.
It was only for 24 hours. Eat an early dinner on Thursday night and a late dinner on Friday, and honestly it was only two meals we were asking to say "no" to. The goal was to take whatever money you would have spent on eating out or groceries and donate it to feed children in the Philippines instead.
I was excited because for the first time in 20 years Neal wanted to participate in a fast. I was so excited when I looked over in church a couple weeks ago and saw him check the box. The truth is, the things we've been hearing on Sunday mornings lately have been stirring both our hearts. We're coming to realize that maybe our faith hasn't been all it could be. Maybe in the "circle" of our lives, we were a little more center than either Christ or others, and that is, in essence, the HOLE in our gospel.
We decided to participate as a family. Giving up food isn't easy. Headaches, crankiness, but we were being asked to catch a glimpse, a tiny little glimpse of what millions experience daily. I couldn't have my 9 and 10 year old go to school without food. The reality is, I don't think the school would allow them to go the whole day without. I have on more than one occasion been charged for a $6 "emergency meal" because my kids forgot their lunches on the counter at home. So the children's breakfast and lunch were going to be rice and a little but of canned tuna. It was the closest I could come up with to be the equivalent of what the kids in feeding centers are finding to be a blessing and a bounty. I was hoping to create a little gratitude in the heart of my kids. As for their part in the challenge, the children's ministry was participating in a canned food drive for local families who are battling their own form of famine and need.
There were two things that really stuck with me about the day yesterday. The first was late Thursday night when I was preparing the bowls of rice for my kids. As I tried to find a balance of not giving them "too much" to diminish the insight for them, I thought about what it must be like for the mother finds herself wondering how to find enough. Here I was trying to figure out how not to give my kids too much. I can't imagine what it must be like trying figure out how to make something from nothing.
The second thing that really struck me was how hard it was to avoid food. Jacob came to work with Neal and I that day, and the thing I was most aware of was how much food there was to say no too. There was popcorn and chips to choose from on top of the refrigerator, a salad and yogurt inside of it. There was a box of Gingerbread Men in my desk drawer that I joked about them mocking me all day. It was hard to avoid food. I can't even begin to comprehend what it is to live in so much lack like the children we were trying to help.
I'm a little embarrassed to admit the revelation I was having. I'm not a cold-hearted or insensitive person. I DO care, that's why we are World Vision Sponsors, but my compassion lacked awareness. I'm excited to be a part of a place where I'm not allowed to be blinded to the needs of others any longer. There is pain in opening eyes to a light that it has been shaded from for many years, but it is better to see. Because only when we see can we make a difference. I feel like yesterday, my and my family's eyes were opened a little further to the truth of the needs of the world around us. I just pray I keep them open.
We when we gathered to break fast with communion last night, all of us were challenged to pray a prayer, "Break my heart, with what breaks Yours, Lord." I am praying that prayer now, and I hope it makes me a better tool in the hands of God to touch the world for Jesus. A small group of people raised enough money in a single day with a modicum of sacrifice to feed 185 children for a month! Why wouldn't we want to do that more?? We have the power to change the world, in Jesus' name!
but the wicked have no such concern.
*** Want to help feed a starving child? Check out crosspointechurch.tv where you can click on "give" and designate to "Manna" or consider sponsoring a child at worldvision.org***