life giving water

20 Sep

It’s not a secret that poverty is a massive international crisis. In North America, we are constantly exposed to the stats, stories and images of the more than 3 billion people in the world living on less than $2.50 a day. Personally, I find the issue so daunting that it’s difficult to even know where to begin. But I’ve found a non-profit organization that I truly believe has found the right approach. Through their strategy, Poverty Revolution, FH Canada’s aim is to eradicate poverty by empowering developing communities in impoverished regions around the world to become self-sustaining. Rather than simply putting a band-aid over the issue with short-lived handouts, FH Canada and their international counterparts partner with communities and work with them to implement a 5 to 9 year plan focused on reaching the ultimate goal of becoming self-sufficient – able to take care of themselves and each other. Yes, resources are provided, but it’s more than that. Instead of imposing our North American practices, FH Canada identifies what a community already has and offers training to the people on how to maximize their current resources while offering emotional, physical, spiritual and educational support along the way.

FH Canada is currently working in 11 communities in 10 different countries, one of those being, Sasiga, Ethiopia. The reason I mention this community specifically is because a few months ago the local Christian radio station, Praise 106.5, chose to partner with this developing community to provide support, encouragement and assistance to them as they strive to become a community that is self-sustaining. Currently, one of the greatest needs in this community is a clean, sustainable water resource. So FH Canada and Praise have joined forces to try and raise $20,000 to build and install 20 wells in Sasiga, providing life saving water for 10,000 people.

Thursday, September 23rd at midnight is their goal. And on Saturday, September 25th, Praise and FH Canada are hosting a Poverty Revolution Block Party to present the cheque for the wells to the leader of the community of Sasiga, Ethiopia who is currently visiting the FH Canada headquarters in Abbotsford, BC, and celebrate this huge step towards helping this community reach its goal. They have currently raised $16,000 – enough for 16 wells – and have $4,000 to go to reach their target of 20 wells. I write this with the hope that maybe we (me and those of you who read my blog) could please help Praise and FH Canada reach this goal. It doesn’t need to be a lot, anything helps. And then come celebrate with Praise, FH Canada, the leader of Sasiga, Ethiopia and others at the party on Saturday, September 25th at the new Bakerview Eco Dairy on Sumas Way in Abbotsford from 12 to 4pm.

For more information on the Praise/FH Canada Sasiga, Ethiopia water project and to donate, CLICK HERE.

a successfully installed well in a community in Ethiopia (image belongs to FH Canada)

Day 24 – defeat admitted

15 Sep

A wise person recently told me that sometimes silence is golden. This got me to thinking if I should press on for the next six days to finish this mini challenge that I bestowed upon myself perhaps writing content just for the sake of it, offering nothing particularly substantial or if I should just humbly admit that coming up with 30 days worth of interesting (I say this loosely) writing is something that I’m not quite up to task for and shut it down early. There is something to be said for seeing something through to the end, but there is also something to be said for stubborn pridefulness, and it’s not redeeming to say the least.

So I’ve decided to humbly admit defeat and close out this challenge at 24 days. As trivial as it might sound, this was actually not an easy decision to come to. I’ve enjoyed this challenge and really don’t like to lose… even if it’s to myself. I went back and forth on it a fair amount, but realized that too often throughout my day I’m thinking about what to write in the evening’s post rather than just letting each moment sink in, allowing the writing to come to me, and it was cutting into my reading and writing class time. Plus, writing a blog post everyday is just too frequent. Not many people want to read a post everyday… especially if it’s a long post. So there you have it. Blog challenge over. I will still post blogs, just not everyday, so please keep checking in and thanks for bearing with me over these 24 days.

Day 23 – feeling a bit defeated

14 Sep

I’m exhausted today and have been sitting here staring at the ‘add new post’ page on my computer screen for what feels like hours (but has probably more like ten minutes) and haven’t the slightest idea what to write about today. Seriously, I got nothing. It was bound to happen eventually in this 30-day challenge and even up to this point some of my posts have been a stretch to say the least. I’m not going to lie, I sit here feeling a little bit defeated.

But I feel guilty just leaving the post at that… it would almost be like cheating. So I’m going to share Max Lucado’s mini daily devo from today (I’m sure he won’t mind), called ‘Why Did He Do It?”.

“Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows.”  Isaiah 53:4 NIV

Why did Jesus live on earth as long as he did? Why not step into our world just long enough to die for our sins and then leave? Why not a sinless year or week?  Why did He have to live a life? To take on our sins is one thing, but to take on our sunburns, our sore throats? To experience death, yes – but to put up with life? To put up with long roads, long days, and short tempers? Why did He do it?

Because he wants you to trust Him.

Day 22 – let it rain

13 Sep

As summer tucks itself away in routine fashion until next year, fall begins its gradual appearance in the cool, gray mornings and the changing colours of leaves. And just as we’ve gotten used to the long, dry days of summer, shorter, less dry days are right around the corner. While rain in this part of the country is something that anyone who has lived for a year or more has grown accustomed to, it can become redundant to say the least in its dreary gloominess. But my devotional today offered a different perspective on the rain – a brighter perspective. Maybe on some of those dreary days to come you can draw some encouragement from this…

“Grace is a good comparison to the rain for its purity, for its refreshing and revitalizing work, for the fact it is sent from above, and for the truth that it is a work of God’s sovereignty in either being given or withheld. May you, dear reader, have showers of blessing, and may the wells you have dug be filled with water! Consider what your efforts would be without the smile of heaven! They would be like clouds without rain and pools without water.

O God of love, open the windows of heaven and pour us out a blessing!” – Charles Spurgeon (Come Unto Me, Sept 13)

Day 21 – living with boys

12 Sep

As the oldest of three girls, I’ve always been accustomed to living in a house full of females. Sure, my dad was there, but as the only man living with four gals, it was more him conforming to our living habits rather than us to his. Heck, even our dog was a girl. Dad never stood a chance (but he loves it). However, in my current living situation with my aunt, uncle and their two boys (my cousins who are  8 and 10 to be exact) – I’m experiencing what happens when the roles are reversed and I must say, it’s both vastly different from a house full of females and highly entertaining. Plus, I’m learning so much about what it’s like living with the opposite gender.

Here are a few highlights (and for the sake of some anonymity, the boys will go by the screen names Green Bean and Peanut E – as chosen by them):

In reasoning with the boys one night when I was in charge of putting them to bed, Green Bean pointed out that I’m a young adult, I’m not a full adult yet. Although it didn’t help his cause any, I secretly appreciated that he referred to me as ‘young’.

I took the boys through the Starbucks drive-thru the other day as a little Friday afternoon treat. Green Bean decided on a smoothie, Peanut E ordered a Jones orange soda and I got my usual high maintenance grande, extra hot, half sweet, skinny cinnamon dolce latte. It was taking longer than usual for our beverages to be ready and from the back seat, I hear Peanut E, in a very nonchalant, matter of fact tone, ask “I wonder how long it takes the lady to take a pop out of the fridge?” It wasn’t the least bit sarcastic, just an honest to goodness question. If I asked that, it would be considered rude and another adjective that rhymes with itchy, but when an 8-year old asks, it’s hilarious.

Peanut E and I decided to watch Lord of the Rings on this rainy Sunday. As we were getting the movie going, I said to Peanut E, “I like this movie.” His response, “Yeah, me too. I grew up watching this movie.” He’s 8. Priceless.

I picked up the boys from school the other day. Having never picked up youngins from school before, I figured asking them how their day went was a good question. They both said “good.” But then Green Bean went on to tell me about this hole in his classroom and how he wanted to see how deep it was (why there was a hole in his classroom and how it got there, I don’t know). His solution? To shove pencils down it to see if he could touch the bottom with them. He lost three pencils that day.

I didn’t realize the sheer number of unique names there are for the male genitalia. ‘Jim and the twins,’ ‘twig and berries,’ ‘meat and veggies’, and ‘tenders’ are amongst a few of the new ones I’ve learned.

One evening when I was watching the boys, Green Bean came up with the great idea of sledding down a lengthy flight of stairs on a blanket. When I kiboshed the idea, he was shocked and later told his mom that I’m too cautious to look after them again. Oh man, so funny.

They call each other Justin Bieber as an insult.

I feel much more enlightened on all things boys having had this time living with them and have honestly really enjoyed getting to know my younger cousins on such a real level. I even appreciate it when they complain about my ‘clutter’ in the bathroom, point out that I’m 27 and single or say “woah” when I wake up in the morning and my hair looks like a lion’s mane… I think it means they like me. Which is good because I like them too.

Day 20 – keep on keepin’ on

11 Sep

I don’t know about you, but today felt like the first official day of Fall. There was this coolness in the air that rather than disappearing into the clouds come mid-morning, lingered on throughout the day notifying everyone that those long summer days may just be gone for the season. And then it rained. Once the rain came all I wanted to do was cuddle up in my bed, the couch or any other cozy place I could find to read, write and watch tv (not all at once of course). And that’s exactly what I did bringing me to where I am at this moment – very sleepy. (I really need to start writing these blogs earlier in the day).

So tonight I’m simply going to post two pictures taken on a bridge over a river somewhere between Lynchburg, Virginia and Natural Bridge, Virginia. I like what they have to say.

sometimes, that's all we can do

truth

And a quote, because as we’ve established, I like quotes.

“Dear Child of God, in our world it is often hard to remember that God loves you just as you are. God loves you not because you are good. No, God loves you period. God loves us not because we are lovable. No, we are lovable precisely because God loves us. It is marvelous when you come to understand that you are accepted for who you are, apart from any achievement. It is so liberating.” – Desmond Tutu, 2004 (God Has a Dream: A Vision of Hope for Our Time)

PS: If you haven’t done so already, I’d really appreciate if you read my post from yesterday. It’s about a really wonderful non-profit organization that is quite dear to me.

Day 19 – to give

10 Sep

Today, Canada was named, in a tie with Ireland, as the third most charitable country in the world according to the 2010 World Giving Index. With a 56% giving index, Canada came up only 1% shy of the current world giving co-leaders – New Zealand and Australia. Also of personal interest, apparently the city of Abbotsford, BC (close to my hometown) is amongst the leaders of the pack when it comes to giving across Canadian cities. This index, the first of its kind, ranks nations by their global generosity, taking into account the percentage of a nation’s population that has given time or money to charity, or helped a stranger within the past month (Buckland, September 10, 2010 – MSN News). When I read this on the MSN homepage this afternoon, several thoughts came to mind including the following:

1. It is so refreshing to read such positive news, especially in light of all the recent talk about Quran Burning.

2. What would it take to get Canada into sole possession of first place in this category? (There’s nothing wrong with a little healthy competition in such a noble pursuit, right?)

3. Am I doing my part?

In contemplating thoughts number two and three further, I got to thinking about my favourite charity – Poverty Revolution. Poverty Revolution is long-term strategy backed by the good folks at FH Canada that has one goal in mind – to eradicate global poverty. As a quick aside, prior to leaving on my road trip, I was working for a marketing company in Abbotsford where FH Canada was my main client so I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to get to know them and their organization’s work very well.

With their headquarters right in Abbotsford, not only is FH Canada’s approach to overcoming poverty both innovative and effective, the people behind the cause are some of the most compassionate, driven, humble, people- and Christ-loving individuals I know. Rather than just giving handouts to impoverished people and communities, FH Canada’s focus is on building sustainable, thriving communities through empowering these people with the training, resources and support they require to reach this goal while coming alongside and offering them positive and encouraging relationships. Why do I share this? Well, simply stated, I just really believe in the work they do and feel strongly that more people should know about them and their mission. And maybe, just maybe, if enough people volunteer their time or give of their resources to this wonderful organization, others will catch on giving Canada that 2% boost (hopefully more) it needs to become the world giving leader. Plus, we’ll help sustain Abbotsford’s strength in this area. For more information on FH Canada and Poverty Revolution, click HERE or on the ‘Poverty Revolution’ button at the bottom of the right column on my blog’s homepage.

As for thought number three, that is something I think about almost every day and I don’t know if the answer could ever be ‘yes’. I think I could probably always give more.

Mbale, Uganda (picture belongs to FH Canada)