Monday, January 19, 2009

forever changed

So, I haven't been to Africa...YET. However, I have been changed, FOREVER. As I shared in my previous post I NEED AFRICA MORE THAN AFRICA NEEDS ME. Need I say more? The more I learn, the more I am changed. There's a deep transformation going on in my heart that is so profound. It leaves me so incredibly humbled. I am so thankful for all that God is doing in my heart.

I have a new awareness of not only the blessings I have been given with on a daily basis, but the suffering that goes on daily in the world around me.

I catch myself adding ice cubes to lukewarm water, rather than tossing it down the sink and getting "fresh water." I understand that safe, clean water is a true luxury. Forget about the fact that I am able to walk a few feet to my refrigerator and pour a fresh, cold glass of water any time I want. I won't even mention that the water is especially clean because we install a $36.00 filter every few months.

When Geoff and I were in China, adopting our youngest, we experienced the critical need to boil our water before consuming it. The water in China has all kinds of little bacteria (aka bugs!) that can make a person significantly ill. I'll spare you the gory details on that. ;-) It was a slight inconvenience, but the water came out of a tap and wasn't found in a murky body of water that has also been used for washing laundry and bathing in.

When our family spends a week camping every year, we are able to experience the "challenge" of walking further than two feet to pump our water and then carry it back to our campground. Even that, I know, is nothing compared to drinking muddy, bacteria-laden water like many people do around the world. Or walking mile after mile while carrying the water on my head. I have to say, though, that working a little harder out in nature, than enjoying the conveniences of our home, does in fact, make us more appreciative for all that we have.

I know that I have a long way to go in being changed. I also know that some people may find the changes I am making in my daily life ridiculous because I live in America (the land of abundance). However, it makes a difference to me. Every time I stop myself from overusing or wasting my resources, I am reminded of those who are much less fortunate than I am.

I have also begun to rethink all of the expensive products and pre-packaged foods I used to buy. Do I really need them? Are they a good way to spend my money? If I choose NOT to spend our money on them, is there a better place my money could be spent? Do I really need to buy this book (I have a love...aka addiction...for books and reading!), or, could I find it at the library?

Tonight I found a book series that my oldest is reading called "Christian Heroes: Then & Now." At the beginning of our school year, I bought her three. She loves them and asked for more. When I checked out the prices online ($6.99 a pop, plus s&h), I decided to check our local library. I put six on hold for her and saved enough to sponsor a child for more than a month.

Not only am I making different choices myself, but I am also gently teaching my children to ]think outside of themselves, to perhaps be less "picky" about their food choices and to pray for those who are suffering around the world.

If you click on the above banner, it will take you to the Mocha Club's 2009 Mission page. It is my deepest desire to spend time (hopefully YEARS) serving in Africa. We'll see what God has planned, but until then, my goal is to raise awareness. If a trip to Africa is too far of a leap for you, will you please consider joining the Mocha Club. They also have a link to stories shared by last year's missions teams. I encourage you to read the stories, look at the photos and watch the videos. Wow.

My family and I have started our own "team" and would love for you to join us in changing lives. The $7 you donate monthly goes directly to the Mocha Club and will help bless orphans. There are five other projects that MC supports. If all you do is start by watching the video on their homepage, you will be blessed and changed as well.

Can I save the world? No. But I most certainly can save my family--from living a live smothered in things, living for our own comfort, distracted by excess and missing out on ALL that God wants to do through us.

I stand in awe of all that God has done for me and am incredibly, incredibly thankful to be LIVING A BLESSED LIFE!

Sweet blessings,


Charlene said...

Girlfriend, I just love that we're thinking on the same pure thoughts! God is doing a mighty work in both of us and I am glad He chose us to walk together in this journey.

Love you!

Becki party of 5 said...

Isn't it so cool how God puts these things on our hearts, each unique to us? I totally relate to everything you are saying - especially the part about simplifying!!!
But I love how your heart is in Africa, and my heart is so enmeshed in China. What a great example of the body of Christ!
Love you friend!!