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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Let My Heart Be Broken

About four years ago we began sponsoring two children through World Vision--Dushankini (11, Sri Lanka) and Juan Carlos (11, Guatemala).  Beginning relationships with these children made me aware of the very real need in this world, and it showed me that though I couldn't meet every need, I could meet their needs.

In early 2012, we had been wanting a baby for several years, but were yet childless.  "Alright," I thought, "If I can't care for my own baby, at least I can help more mommas care for theirs!"  So I became a World Vision child ambassador and began sharing sponsorship and the stories of dozens of children with the people in my community.  Praise God, I was able to connect six children with sponsors last summer--that was six lives changed.

About that time, the Lord blessed us with a baby!  We were pregnant!  My focus shifted to my child and preparing for him, and once he was born, I was overwhelmed with meeting his needs.  Recently, though, as I've finally settled into motherhood, the needs of World Vision children began pressing themselves upon my consciousness.  As a new mother, it broke my heart to think of mommas all around the world who could not meet the basic needs of their babies.  I wanted to help them care for their children just as I would hope someone would help me.  It was time to get back out of my bubble and share their stories.

So that's what I've been doing.  I've been telling as many people as will listen that sponsorship not only changes the life of a child, it impacts the lives of their families and communities.  That World Vision works hand-in-hand with a community's leaders to cast a vision for the future and take steps to make that community self-sufficient, so that its members can live lives of independence and dignity.  That over 20,000 children die every single day from preventable causes related to poverty, and we can help lower that number if we work together, changing one life at a time.  That World Vision has been working towards this goal for over 50 years, helping over 100,000 people in more than 100 countries around the world.  That you can trust World Vision to use your gifts with wisdom and integrity, because 85% goes directly to the people in need, with only 5% going to management and 10% going to fundraising.

Needs such as a community well, new or rebuilt schools, public latrines, agriculture, animal husbandry, prenatal & baby care, improved nutrition, health care, literacy programs, and assistance with starting small businesses are being met every day because of people like you.  People who aren't "rich" in society's eyes, but have so much to give to people in need.  People who have decided to make small sacrifices in their monthly living so that an entire community can be impacted, so that Christ's love can be shown to the poorest of the poor.

Because Christ loves the poor.  This is evident throughout the New Testament, and throughout the Old.  Should our hearts not be broken by the things which break His?  Will you be the one to change a life today?

There are several ways you can sponsor a child.  I have picture folders of children around the world who need sponsors, and for the next month it is my responsibility to find sponsors for 30 of them.  There are also two websites you can visit:

Pray about this, and know that though $35 a month may seem like a lot to us, it means even more to these kids.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

On Disconnecting

I got my first Droid at the end of 2010.  It was great.  I downloaded all these apps, stayed on top of things on Facebook, found my way around with Google Maps, discovered geo-caching and Yelping, calorie tracking, Instagram, Pandora in my pocket, etc.  It became like a third arm or something.  A tool for my life.

But over time I noticed that it was stealing my life.  In little 30-second blips.  Ten-minute breaks.  A check-in here, a tweet there.  Tick, tick, tick.

I considered getting rid of it before Charles was born, but then when he arrived, I absolutely relied on it to get anything done at all.  He was a very "in arms" baby, and my days at home were spent in our ugly but oh-so-comfy plaid rocker, holding him as he nursed and slept, with phone in-hand.  It was great, and I'm glad I had it during that time.

But as he started needing more interaction, more eye-contact, I started to realize that I was putting him off so I could scroll a bit more through Facebook or finish watching that YouTube video.  But I didn't want to give it up!  I used it to upload pictures of him to Instagram, right?  And to stay in touch with other mommas and get advice about him, didn't I?  So really it was good for Charles that I had it... wasn't it?

Yet the feeling that I was loosing moments of his babyhood to this hypnotic screen kept nagging me.

It didn't take long for Charles to become preoccupied with the screen too, and to reach for it and stare at it right along with me.  I didn't like that at all.  I didn't want him to be like all those kids--even toddlers--with the iPods glued to their hands all day.  I didn't want it to be a digital pacifier, an easy way to keep him quiet while ignoring whatever real need he wanted met.  I don't want him to be the two-year-old that's fluent in touch-screen-ese.

So last week we bought a used flip-phone on eBay.  Today we went to the Verizon store and "down-graded" my account.  And I am now the proud user of a Samsung Convoy 2.  I feel so free--it's such a relief to be un-tethered.  It's been a strange afternoon; I keep pulling it out to "do something" with it, but there's nothing to do except text folks (because who actually uses to a cell phone to call people anymore, right?) and take the occasional picture with the okay-camera.

I want to be fully present with my family, just as I want them to be fully present with me.  It will definitely be an adjustment, but I feel I've made a good decision.  

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