We are so blessed here in America!
Blessed to be free.
Blessed with clean water pouring out of our faucets.
Blessed with free public education for our children.
Blessed to walk into church on Sunday without fear of being arrested.
Blessed to tuck our children in bed without worry that our village will be attacked by rebels in the night.
Blessed in most places with electricity, garbage collection, and police protection.
Blessed to have opportunity and hope for the future.
This July 4th, what better way to celebrate America's birthday than to give to people who do not have all the blessings we do as a country?
Because I am thankful for the men and women who fought for our country, who sacrificed for me, it makes perfect sense to honor them by sacrificing something myself for the good of others.
I've been talking all week about sponsoring a child in Ethiopia. But, why the particular link I've given (http://www.hopechest.org/community/ketma/sponsor/)?
Yes, I agree there are many wonderful organizations doing child sponsorship and doing it well. We participate in three other programs. But this one is a particular care point in a very needy community in Ethiopia. Partnering with this Ketma Community (near Awassa if you are familiar with Ethiopian geography), you and I have an opportunity to not only change the life of one child, but to transform an entire community! Children's Hopechest has done these care points in a few other places in Ethiopia (see this blog for more info. on the Kind Hearts and Trees of Glory CarePoints). And after a few years, they have made a tremendous difference in the communities they are located. Children are going to school, they have uniforms to wear, they are fed, they are learning about Jesus! Schools have been built as well as water wells that the entire community can use instead of walking for hours each day to get clean water! Elders in the community just marvel at the hope they now have for their once very impoverished areas! Through the giving of regular people, God has transformed so many lives! And now this Addis Ketma community is just getting starting and there is great hope for similar transformation and an opportunity for us to join in on God's work there. I dream of clean water wells and a school for Ketma, but first we need to get more children sponsored!
We sat our kids down this past January and said, "You know some families save money for a boat or a lake house, but for us this community in Ethiopia is it. This is where we want to invest. And instead of someday being able to take our grandkids to our family home in the mountains or at the beach, our dream is for you to be able to take them to this place deep in Ethiopia and stare into the eyes of a community transformed, of children, now grown who got to go to school, babies who were able to grow up, to escape the 1 in 6 odds of dying before their 5th birthday because these children, God's children, were given food and medical care and clean water, all because we took fewer trips to Disney, drove older cars, bought fewer things, committed to no cable TV, and other life adjustments that pale in consideration to the struggles of so many people around the world.
And so we are, giving enough that it hurts a bit, to this community in Ethiopia, so that they might live, while also planning a trip for some of our family next summer to visit this community, to hug those children and tell them of God's great love for them!
Tomorrow we will celebrate our great nation's birthday with our 4 kids, including our youngest, a proud flag-waving Ethiopian-American, and as we reflect on all the blessings we enjoy, we will also remember those outside our country who are without those blessings!
Find more Thankful Thursday here.