Warning: This post is going to contain religious content. If you do not like that please pass on this post, but if you will take the time to read you might just find that you agree with most of what I am going to say.
Before we even get started. If you shop on Amazon you can elect to have a small portion of your purchases donated to many charities, including Samaritan's Purse for more information follow this link http://smile.amazon.com/.
Get ready...I am sure this holiday season we will be inundated with those depressing commercials. You know the ones I am talking about, "For only X dollars a month you can feed a starving child". I understand these commercials from both a marketing as well as a humanitarian point of view. We as a people want to help those in need, this desire is natural for most people. I am sure some of these organizations are honestly trying to help people, but I do have some concerns. Here are some:
Are they only feeding the children and allowing the parents to starve?
Are they actually feeding the parents also and just not telling us?
Are the parents eating all of the food and allowing the children to starve? If this is the case there are a lot of other problems.
"Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day,
Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime"
Anne Isabella Ritchie 1800's
The above is a very wise saying even if it really wasn't coined by a wisened Asian philosopher. The heart of the saying is that just giving a person what they need instead of helping them learn skills to do for themselves keeps them in the same situation. What if there were an organization that actually helped those people who are in desperate need with a way to provide for themselves?
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule:
"The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat."
2 Thessalonians 3:10
I have heard people say that questioning a person's ability to work was un-Christian. We have just proven that not to be the case. If we can take both of the above statements and make them work together do you not think that the ones we apply this to will have a better future?
Samaritan's Purse is most widely know for Operation Christmas Child. This is a program where people all over the world can pack a shoe box sized container with small gifts and things to be given to a child that would otherwise not have a Christmas gift. I love this program. We have participated in the past and will continue to do so. I am certain that these small boxes of gifts, hand packed with small toys and other items like action figures, trucks, cars, dolls, card games, and even personal hygiene items bring great joy to the children that receive them. But do they help them? Do these gifts really change their situation? They do teach the child that someone cares about them even though they have never met them, but it does not improve their everyday life. Again, let me state that we will continue to support this ministry.
Last week we received the Samaritan's Purse catalog and to my great surprise there is so much more to offer. There is a way to help the families of these children in their everyday life. There is a way to help teach them the value of work and personal responsibility while sharing the love of Christ.
I do not mention my beliefs very often, but I hope they show through. My wife calls me a very hard person and to be honest I probably am. I believe what I believe and I do not apologize for it, but helping others is important.
What I found as I was thumbing through the Samaritan's Purse catalog made me sit straight up in bed. An opportunity I can believe in and an opportunity that I think many of you can believe in as well. Are you ready? Let's go.
That's right. I said chickens. For $14 you can send a dozen baby chicks to a family in need. Not only are they given the birds, they are taught how to care for them. This provides a family with food and an opportunity for income by selling excess eggs and offspring. Each family gives one baby chick from their first clutch to bless a neighbor. This could create an atmosphere of mutual benefit, imagine that.
Yup, you see where this is going. Dairy goats are actually something I have thought about adding here. For me it would be a way to help improve the quality of the food we consume. For someone in the less fortunate countries in the world a couple of dairy goats can mean the difference between surviving on whatever someone gives you or being able to provide for yourself and your family. Not only do dairy goats provide milk and the ability to make cheese, but they also produce other dairy goats which can then be sold to pay for other things you family needs. Talk about a cottage business. For a donation of $70 you can help someone work toward self sustainability. Not only does Samaritan's Purse provide the animal, they help build the animals a place to stay and provide training and basic veterinary care.
For a donation of $350 you can send an ox, donkey, or even llamas to someone in need. The ox or donkey can really help lighten the load of a family trying to provide for themselves on a small farm. If you have ever tried to ploy a donkey or even an ox you will know that it requires a bit of skill, trust me I have done both, but with their help you can accomplish so much more than you could without them. I don't know much about the llamas, but I do know they are used as pack animals and they produce fiber that can be used or sold.
Alright all of you permaculture folks. Just imagine teaching a family in need how to harvest rainwater, how to better irrigate their gardens, how bees can improve their food production and provide income at the same time, how to better raise fish, what types of seeds to plant if you are in an area prone to drought. How about providing tools to help someone produce more food on the same amount of land? We are not talking about tractors here, we are talking about the tools that many of us take for granted. There are many opportunities to help someone provide themselves with a better future and not just help them stand in a soup line day after day.
I didn't know all of the wonderful things that Samaritan's Purse did for people around the world. If you are going to give to a charity this holiday season, consider sending a give to Samaritan's Purse through one of these programs. This is something great. Remember
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Matthew 25:40 NIV
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This post contains NO affiliate links. I was not reimbursed in any way for the writing of this post. I only wanted to share the incredible things that Samaritan's Purse are doing for people around the world in the name of Christ.