Sunday, March 13

Poor and Needy

Recently Lisa and I have been convicted about using our incomes and what we donate each year to spend a little more towards helping and feeding the poor around the world. I bring this up not to make us seem more holy or something, but because there are SO many poor people around the world, some who even lack basic drinking water, that I felt it was also my duty, as a blog with a readership, to share with you what we are doing so that perhaps you can join us, and together we can make a bigger impact that just the little Lisa and I are doing.

Children of the Nations International is an organization we've been supporting for a couple years through a contact we have there by the name of Fraser Ratzlaff. Both he and his wife are friends of ours. Children of the Nations does a kind of different and interactive way to get people involved with feeding people in other places. They get a group of people together (church groups, school groups, etc) and bundle rice and beans and other things into a container, everything one person would need for a day. Those things get bundled up and shipped off to places like Sierra Leon. I am sure Fraser could explain it better than I am. We support Fraser to go around and make those groups happen and talk about what it's like where the food is going.

See Your Impact is something that Lisa and I have just gotten involved in, however a good friend of ours is on staff (which is how I heard about it). The idea here is donations to a goal. Something like a water pump, a wheelchair, schooling for a day, etc. SYI also seem like they try and keep the prices fairly manageable. There is a lot you can do there for 20 dollars. Once you have donated money to an item that item is delivered to someone in the world and then you actually get a "followup report" with pictures and text about the people(s) or places your donation helped. So you can literally SEE YOUR IMPACT from something like twenty dollars. 100% of what you donate goes to the project you donate it towards as well. As you are checking out you can choose to donate a bit more to support the office and staff. Lisa and I look forward to sitting down each month and deciding where our money is going to go.

Kiva has been kind of high profile in the past few years for their nonprofit "micro-lending" service. You can browse the Kiva website and find people around the world who are looking to start projects, many business related, and you can read up about them, how much of a loan they are asking for, and if they have any history with Kiva or not. At that point you can choose to donate however much money to the loan. The interesting thing about Kiva is that when you donate there is a chance the loan will be repaid, which means the money you gave will be returned to you, so you can then donate that money to another project. Lisa and I are planning on giving a small amount to various projects each month and it'll snowball the amount of money we have in Kiva as people start repaying loans we can start loaning bigger numbers to people around the world. It's an interesting idea, and we look forward to seeing what types of businesses we can help. (Again, their offices are also funded by additional donations above the amount donated for the micro-loan.)

World Vision is an org I am sure many of you have heard about based on their sponsor a child campaign. Lisa and I decided to sponsor a child. We don't have too many details yet, but she shares my birthday and lives in India and is 2 or 3 years old. It's a very "flat rate" per month to sponsor a child through World Vision. Odds are good (because we do) you spend more on Internet, a night out at dinner, or gas for your car, in a month. We're excited to start a relationship with her.

As I said before these are all just small ways Lisa and I have decided to redirect some of our monthly incomes to helping people. We also know lots of missionaries (growing up in the church and working for a missions org) that are also doing some great things around the world and who will continue to be funded as well, but we felt that helping the poor was a pretty big mandate from Christ, and with today's technology we can be closer to really reaching out and using our resources to help people who really need it to survive, and perhaps even thrive, and perhaps, live long enough to hear about what Christ has done for them.

[ Got a prayer request? Email me and let me pray for you! ]

1 comment:

  1. Good information Ben! We've been contributing to World Vision for many years...currently sponsoring 4 kids and several ongoing projects. We've had several sponsored children grow out of the sponsorship program and on to other things...graduating! It's nice to have those connections. WV has a top notch administration to direct aid ratio...85% going to direct aid. Because of this it is often eligible for matching aid funds from other foundations and the government...multiplying your gift many times. We also like it because it uses local (indigenous) people to work in the projects...they have organizations in over 100 countries that are established already if there is a crisis (ie Haiti and Japan). Plus they teach the Gospel. We're big fans.

    We also love the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland Montana...serving the Northern Cheyenne and Crow Nations. Education is power against poverty here in this country too. The days of "re-education" of Native Americans are thankfully gone, but the need for real eduction remains. Children on Indian reservations have this nations' highest poverty level, highest infant mortality level, lowest education levels...on and on. And we've received good reports about their work from friends who are also Native American.


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