What if the whole world changed?

Garba Tulla main street

Its hot today when we pull into the Garba Tulla region. The security was tight here on this road that leads to Somalia, here where guns were being smuggled. Here where the rain didn’t fall for three years. Here where life has been hard. The people here are pastoralists, they herd their flocks over 40 km sometimes to find water and over these years of no rain more than half the cattle has died.

Imagine you are a muslim, a single mother in the midst of this.

When the water stops flowing.

When the rain stops falling.

What would you do with three starving daughters?

Sponsored child Khartoom and her mother

The whole of your life you have been told that Christians have horns and tails, but the people who come to your door that call themselves World Vision don’t seem to have horns (though they could be hiding their tails). You are not the first of your community to be approached, and you know that these people will make no demands of you, they put no conditions on the help they are offering. It isn’t long before you accept the assistance.

They come to visit your child once every 90 days. They are kind and gentle and when food is short they bring some, when medical attention is needed they help figure out a plan. When your daughter misses school they notice and help you figure out how to overcome whatever barrier there is.

The trek to the fish farm

And it isn’t just that. They tell you of other opportunities for your future. They mention a women’s collective that is forming. Together you sit with this group of strong and brave women and you dream of a future together. World Vision comes to some of these meetings and they mention the idea of a Tilapia farm. The fisheries department of government comes too and they agree to train you and oversee your operation while World Vision will support the build and supplies.

So much of the livestock have died these last years and there is a need to diversify assets, to find other food to eat.

Suddenly you find, that your children are well fed, that there is something in you that feels like hope and things start to change.

Child sponsorship might not change the whole world. But to you? It feels like it has.

Won’t you consider being a world changer?

Learn about the communities we are visiting here. We will visit Garba Tulla (a new project just a year into development) as well as Masharu (a village that is 12 years into its World Vision development cycle).

You can follow our Flickr photo stream here.

Or sponsor a child from Garba Tulla here!

We will do our best to update this blog frequently as well! See all World Vision related posts here.

Planks

It was in the airport that it really got to me.

The people next to me in their matching mission trip t-shirts. Those that would come to this land cloaked with a pity that serves to only disenfranchise people further. Those that would come with simple solutions for the worlds most complex problems, those exactly like me.

Suddenly and without warning my whole body cringed. I wondered,

“What do you think you are doing here?”

Mercifully the paleness of my skin illuminated the plank in my eye.

So Kenya? I just wanted to tell you something. I know there is nothing about you that needs rescuing by a doofus like me. I am here hoping that the brokenness in you and the brokenness in me can come together to do something that looks like kingdom work. That Jesus can weave us into something beautiful. I’m dreaming that my time with you might just loosen the white knuckle grip that I hold to the material. Perhaps in that I will someday be able to climb through that needle hole.

I’m imagining my conversation with Emily someday when she is 14 and full of teenage self-righteousness, questioning my integrity in the face of famines past I will be able to say I stood beside you.

But today? I am just here to listen to what you have to teach me.

 

And just a note? We started reading “When Helping Hurts” by Corbett and Fikkert. It is an extraordinary read. Not just for the traveling in the majority world but for EVERYONE. SO good.

Learn about the communities we are visiting here. We will visit Garba Tulla (a new project just a year into development) as well as Masharu (a village that is 12 years into its World Vision development cycle).

You can follow our Flickr photo stream here.

Or sponsor a child from Garba Tulla here!

We will do our best to update this blog frequently as well! See all World Vision related posts here.

 

On Saying “Yes” to the things I can’t Un-see…

I’ve been hesitant.

These thoughts ravaging my brain?

The ones sneaking into my dreams, habituating my thought life, taking over my reading time?

I wondered, ‘what could happen to my heart if I saw them in thin flesh and only bone?’

Could I keep my head and heart together with the things I can’t unsee?

I’m still not sure.

But when a burden lands square and sure on the middle of your chest, you can only do one thing.

Say “YES”.

Yes to the things you can’t unsee, the ones which might very well turn your world upside down and inside out and rip your narcissism out at the seams. Yes to even these things.

I am learning to trust the things I can’t unsee to the one who is Unseen, because isn’t He big enough? I sure hope so.

We said yes to Africa today. And not just Africa, but yes to her Horn. To the land where the soil blows on the wind. To the place where the land is as thirsty as her people. We will be just hours from one of the largest refugee camps in the world today. We will be in the village  we’ve made it our dream to support.

We are going. I can hardly believe we are going.

Please join me on our journey with World Vision Canada as we seek to bear witness to the atrocity that is occurring. As we seek to use this burden so heavy on both of us, to bring awareness, hope and help to a hurting region. We leave January 2, 2012. Feel free to get your prayer on starting now…

Also…if you feel so inclined…

Still…

I still remember sitting in the middle of that shag green rug, my seven-year old legs feeling the tickle. I remember flipping through the pages of that tattered National Geographic magazine looking for pictures of fish for my collage when I came across somethings else. I remember bellies all bloated, eyes all wide, pleading with me. My heart shook, the earth quaked. Children were starving to death, the Ethiopia famine raging, the world just shifting their blind eyes toward it. Later, in nursing school, I would learn all about Eritrea and politics and all about mans inhumanity. I couldn’t understand it then…still can’t.


And now again, STILL, children are dying. Still while my coffee budget is higher than the cost to sponsor a child. STILL while my gas to drive my children to lessons and to play at bright green parks greater than what it would cost to feed a child in the developing world. STILL while we buy ourselves clothes we don’t need and ANOTHER housewares item. STILL while people spend their money on outfits for their dogs for alcohol and for beauty treatments children are DYING.

Still as I flip channels quickly when the images assault all my senses…STILL it hardly seems real.

But it is…So real.

I want to do something about the drought in the Horn of Africa, the babies starving, now, today, in East Africa. Don’t you?

Our youth group currently sponsors a village with World Vision called Garba Tulla in Kenya…it is hard hit, right in the midst of the drought. This project is just starting and needs plenty of support. And our government is DOUBLING whatever you donate.

Or what about something proactive? What about buildings engineered to conserve water when it finally does fall? What about teaching young men about drought resistant farming? My friends are in the midst of this ministry doing AMAZING work. Won’t you think about sponsoring them for the next year? Help them design a future of hope so that our children aren’t using the world STILL a decade from now?

USE THIS if you ever have questions about a charity. It rates charities based on all sorts of factors including administration fees etc. For your information eMi score 5 stars out of 5 on this rating system. In the event you need anymore motivation? You can watch this…I can’t.

(Linking today with Gypsy Mamma and her five minute prompt “STILL”)