Monday, January 30, 2012

Making a Difference: It Really Works

I get frustrated with the news. They are kind enough to bring us news of things happening around the world, of people who need our help. But then, a few months later they come back with more news of how our help was screwed up and things aren't better or are worsed.

So here's a little encouragement for the day. I'm a Compassion International sponsor. My husband and I sponsor a boy in Uganda and another in Rwanda. So when I heard about the drought in East Africa, naturally I was worried about them.

Compassion has a magazine that goes to all the sponsors and often has news of needs and, even better, news of how those needs are being met in tremendous ways. While it's not always a bed of roses, it's certainly more positive and hopeful than our media's focus.

So here's some good news. I'll summarize some things in the most recent issue.

Emilda, a girl from the Philippines who was born when her parents lived in a graveyard, won a bronze medal at the Special Olympics in Greece last year. Even poor girls have Olympic dreams.

Because of a food security program put in place by Compassion International in 2009, there is enough reserves to help families survive two to three years of poor harvest.

Because of a 20 acre farm at a Compassion International Child Development Center northeast of Nairobi, Kenya there are vegetables, fruit, and honey for the children and their families.

In Ethiopia 748 mothers and caregivers run a profitable dairy and vegetable farm with help from Compassion International.

Last year, Margaret Makhoha, a former Compassion sponsored child and graduate of the Leadership Development Program, was elected to represent her district in the Ugandan parliament. Her community told her father that is was pointless to educate a girl. But she has silenced her critics and brings hope to the women and girls of her community.

Last year, Sony Fleurancier, a former Compassion sponsored child and graduate of the Leadership Development Program, is using his civil engineering degree to help rebuild schools built to international seismic standards.

There's more, so go read about it. We all need good news and to know that our help and financial sacrifice are being used to make a difference.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Life Map

I'm part of a women's mentoring group at work and for our next meeting we've been asked to create a life map. Basically it's timeline of your life with significant events listed in order.

Then, over the top of it we've been asked to create a zig zag line connecting points that indicate how close we felt to God at each of those times in our lives. I finished my timeline done and found that it really made some things stand out. They were things I already knew, but suddenly I feel like I understand them better.

1. The word MOVE is in most of the significant events I listed. When I noticed that fact I decided to list all the moves I had experienced and made a startling discovery. I moved about 18+ times the first 18 years of my life and I've moved 30+ times in the 45 years I've lived.

2. I've had 3 times in my life that I consider to be the worse. So much so that I've named them. The Year of Fear, The Year of Repatriation, and The Time of Great Grieving and Loss.

When it came time for me to put my points with the connecting line to indicate how close I felt to God I really struggled. I've always known God was there for me and I don't describe it (to myself) in terms of closeness. I realized that I describe it in terms of Psalm 23. So that's what I used.

For one end I wrote Valley of the Shadow of Death. That's where the dots for the worse times of my life are. For the other end I wrote Green Pastures/Still Waters.

It's been an interesting exercise and I would encourage you to try it. What stands out for you? What brings some clarity to how you see yourself and the patterns of your life? Can you see what might have influenced you to arrive at where you are today?