I Think I’m About to Be Angry.

27 04 2008

My friend Shaun has been in the Dominican Republic this week, shooting videos for use with Compassion International.   These videos will be used at concerts and festivals to share what Compassion does for children and their families.  In the process of all this video production, he’s had the opportunity to visit homes and villages of children who are in Compassion projects.  He’s also seen some very disturbing problems, such as this and this.  Like him, I don’t know what to do about it all either, but something MUST be done.  These precious children suffer enough with poverty without having birth defects heaped on them for the sake of cheap U.S. goods.  Please pray for wisdom, discernment, understanding, and perseverance.


Just a Little Bite?

19 04 2008

Spring has finally made it’s appearance here in North Dakota. It’s been here for a few days and seems to have overpowered winter for the time being. The first year we lived here, it snowed on Mother’s Day, so it’s not out of the question, but the white fluffy stuff seems to have retreated for now. With the arrival of Spring, and then of course summer (otherwise known as “road repair” here) brings the inevitable; the flying pests; mosquitoes.

I am not particularly bothered by mosquitoes most of the time. They don’t usually bother to bite me for whatever reason. Maybe it’s because they know that even though I’m old, I can still swat with a vengeance that will surely leave them dead. Maybe I’m just not “sweet” enough. On second thought, I’m sure that’s not it because I am indeed sweet. My girls, however, are another story. Not in the sweet department ’cause they are Webster’s definition of sweet; but in the “bothered by mosquitoes” department; they are especially prone to attacks.

They can spend 10 minutes outside and come in looking like they have the chicken pox. I’m not kidding. One, small bite swells until it is 3 to 4 inches in diameter and it spreads from there. We purchase Calamine lotion and Aveeno Oatmeal bath by the case during the summer. They itch and complain and itch some more and look like walking polka dots afterward. It’s a bother to say the least, but it ends there.

The CDC reports that there were 1,337 cases of Malaria in the US in 2002. All but 5 of those cases were imported from Malaria invested countries. Those 1, 337 cases resulted in 8 deaths. Officially, Malaria has been eradicated in the US, but because the variety of mosquito that carries the parasite causing Malaria still lives in the US, an outbreak is possible. It’s not likely though and not a worry or even a thought for most Americans unless they travel.

41% of the world population isn’t so worry-free. Each year, 350 to 500 MILLION cases of Malaria are reported worldwide resulting in over 1,000,000 deaths. The vast majority of these deaths occur in young children living in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria kills more people every year than AIDS.

In areas of Africa with high malaria transmission, an estimated 990,000 people died of malaria in 1995 – over 2700 deaths per day, or 2 deaths per minute.

Do you think if something was killing over 1 million of America’s children each year, something would be done to stop it? How would our government respond? How would the health care system respond? How would the church respond? How would YOU respond?

While it’s true that the children affected by Malaria are not American, they ARE God’s children. Created in His image and loved as much by Him as all others He created. These children, the least of these, are dying by the millions, and we MUST do something in response. God has mandated that we ALL care for the least of these. A mandate is not an option; it’s a command. We either obey or disobey. There’s no in between with a mandate.

First, pray. Seek the answer to exactly how God is calling you to carry out this mandate. Maybe He is calling you to go into the mission field and work with those suffering from Malaria. Maybe He’s calling you seek out new treatments or preventions. For sure He’s calling you to pray for those who deal with this disease in any way. He may be asking you to do this:

Click Malaria Intervention Fund and find out what you can do to help intervene where it’s needed most. This is one small, but extremely powerful impact that you can have on those who are affected by this deadly disease. I hear lots of people say “I’m just one person. I can’t change the world.” Maybe not, but just one person can start to change the world. If even just one person choses to be obedient and fight the spread of Malaria, that same person CAN change the world of someone who could otherwise die from this preventable disease. Let that one person be YOU! I promise you won’t be disappointed. Click on the link, give to the Malaria Intervention Fund, change the world. Then add the link to your site so others can be a part of the change too.

“Any Day Above Dirt Is A Good Day”

8 04 2008

That’s the reply I heard from a client yesterday as he was asked by my receptionist, “how are you today?”  I stopped to think about that response for a minute and realized how an outlook such as this can really determine the direction of one’s day.

He was simply saying that just being alive (and therefore not “beneath dirt”) is enough to make it a good day.  The success of his day was not being determined by how much money he had, or didn’t have, what he ate or if he ate, what the weather was like, or any other material thing.  After all, this man was in a tax office picking up his return.  He was not at Disneyland or Bonanzaville.  He was some place people do not generally visit when seeking out excitement, fulfillment or overall “having a good day” feelings.  Circumstances are not what determines this person’s outlook.  Do circumstances determine yours?  I admit they do determine mine more often than I’d like.

I’d like to be able to respond to each day with the same outlook as this client, but some days I am just too caught up in my temporal wants and comforts, my shoulda, coulda, woulda’s to be content in my did’s can’s and will’s.

I battle clinical depression, and have done so most of my adult life.  So much of my battle is waged in faith and lack of faith; between contentment and desire.  I’m not unique by any standard in this respect, but sometimes my battles leave me feeling so tired, lost, and just plain lonely and hopeless.  I can tell myself that God will see me through (He ALWAYS does), but living like He will is way harder.  I had a pastor tell me one time to “fake it ’till I make it.”  He was saying that walk my walk as if it matched my talk.  In God’s time, they actually would match, or at least look very similar.  Right now, I’m faking it, and the walk and the talk are miles apart in many ways.  Is it possible to be “genuinely fake?”  I think so.  I hope so.  If not, I’m not sure what I am right now.