I wonder if you are ever like me – ie a bit dubious about whether what I do really makes a difference to people. Work here, chat there, writing bits here, speaking there… But it’s all rather intangible, rather mushy on the results front isn’t it?
And giving to charity – I mean, it’s good and all that, but it just whooshes off from my bank and I guess I just hope it helps somebody somewhere. But does it? I mean, does it really?
Because we all want to make a difference. We all want to play a part in making somebody’s life better somewhere.
Recently, I have been lucky enough to see past the brochures into the real lives of some real people who have helped me to glimpse beyond my mushy impressions into a reality which is challenging but also has real hope.
Some of you know that a few weeks ago I flew to Ethiopia with Food for the Hungry (FH).
What a stunning country! What incredible people! And although I knew that FH employ hundreds of staff in Ethiopia alone, I wasn’t quite prepared for how professional, Godly, organised, compassionate and strategic those staff would be. I was overwhelmed at the systems they had in place, at how every community had a plan – created with and for the people of that community, and how child sponsorship played a crucial part in raising funds for those communities, but also creating meaningful relationships of hope and purpose for those children. I am not even sure now what my expectations were, but I know they were challenged.
This country, which I pictured in my mind from the famine of 1984 on my TV, might be poor, but is incredibly colourful, warm, friendly, hard working and has the best coffee I have ever tasted (not crucial information in the relief of poverty I realise, but delicious nontheless…)
And then, like I needed more challenging, I met Kiya, the girl who we sponsor.
I’ll be honest with you. It took a bit of financial juggling in order for us to be able to sponsor Kiya. We don’t have loads of money to spare. But, let me tell you – meeting her made any small sacrifice look ridiculous. She is the same age as one of my daughters. Her family home (grey mud house) has 2 chairs, a small table and a mattress on a floor, with a lovely family of 6 and a donkey in their scruffy yard, which I am guessing is their only income. Kiya is really poor. This family clearly have less than others I visited even in Ethiopia. But she has her times tables written up on the walls and she tells me she loves Maths – (just like my girls), and she was articulate, friendly and so excited to meet me. Bit humbled really. I will have a video to share soon about my visit with her, but it won’t really every convey how much I think about her every day.
I am not sure what £19 a month looks like to you. It might be a lot, or a little. But I am praying that I can find 20 people to sponsor a child with FH. I have some packs and some info myself I can share, or you can go to the web and tell them you have come via me. They are an established charity who are trustworthy. And there is a child in a community somewhere who is waiting to get to know you!
If you can, join me on the adventure of changing lives. It really is the best thing you can do with your life.