Social Justice

Opening My Eyes To Enough: Awake Book Study, Chapters 3 & 4

Awake_main_edited1

Chapter 3: Eyes Glued Shut

The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing. – Sarah Groves

I think I’ve lived my entire life with my eyes glued shut.  Not intentionally.  But perhaps out of fear of getting involved, or allowing myself to become moved so deeply emotionally that I would not be able to remove myself from the situation.  I am guilty of turning the channel, looking the other way and filling my life with so many distractions that I never have to face reality.  My eyes need a good flushing so that I can once again see what He desires me to see.

In Chapter 3, we meet Rani.  Rani was from a poor family in India.  Her parents struggled to provide the most basic of needs.  Approached by a relative who offered to provide Rani with an education, her parents agreed.  But the day Rani left her home was one of the last days her parents saw her.  Rani was sold into slavery and mistreated and abused until she was sold again.  But this time, she was sold into adoption to a woman who brought Rani home to America.

Today,  Rani, as founder of The Troni Foundation, is determined to save other children from the life she endured.  The foundation focuses on anti-trafficking eduction, policy change and restoration for trafficking survivors.  Every year, 1.2 million children are trafficked, and human trafficking has become the second largest source of illegal income worldwide, exceeded only by drug trafficking.

Noel shares that she knew about slavery and trafficking before she met Rani.  But after she met her, it became real and personal.  Noel saw her and she saw the need.

This statement strikes a chord in my heart.  Am I taking the time to stop, to listen, to see what is going on in the world? Sadly, I admit that most of the time I turn my head and shut my eyes, and my heart, as the task appears overwhelming.  How can one person with so little influence change the world?

I am realizing that changing the world is God’s Job.  My job is to allow Him to open my eyes to see, to truly see, and to partner with Him to change the world!

Chapter 4:  The Meaning of Enough

Once posed with the question, “What would be the reward for the person who knew the meaning of enough?”

Noel responds,

“If we really understood the meaning of enough, we would choose to live differently. We would use our resources to help more people instead of buying more things for ourselves.  We would be satisfied with what we have instead of always wanting more. We would lead a very different life.”

Here are some shocking statistics:

  • You need about $2,140 to your name (assets minus debts) to be counted among the wealthiest 50 percent of the world.
  • Worldwide, 1 out of every 2 children lives in the most desperate poverty conditions.
  • Over 925 million people worldwide suffer from malnutrition.
  • The world’s poorest 1.4 billion people live on less than $1.25 a day.

Noel shares about visiting a dump in Guatemala where desperate children and families come searching for food.  When they can’t find food, they look for broken pieces of glass to fill a bag which they can sell for a quarter.  Thankfully, World Help has been able to set up a feeding center at the dump each week to provide food for the families and children who live nearby.  The are fed a nutritious meal — one which costs less than $1 a day.

“One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove.  But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child.” – Forest Witcraft

How does one define poverty? We tend to define needs by things we want, not by things we need just to survive.  We feel “poor” when we cannot afford everything we desire. I have struggled with the feeling of poverty in my own life.  After losing our home due to years of unemployment, having to sell cars and other items just to make ends meat, I felt poor, hopeless, as if I didn’t have enough. Shame on me. True poverty has never come near my door, and most likely never will.  Absolute poverty is a “condition characterized by sever deprivation of human needs, including food, safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health, shelter, education and information.”

Noel shares the story of the yellow purse.

There was a woman who just had to have a new purse.  A yellow purse.  Even though it was far more expensive than she wanted to pay, she convinced herself that she had to have it, purchased it, and brought it home.  A few months went by and she realized she had not ever carried the yellow purse.  It was actually too big and the shade didn’t really match anything she owned.  It ended up sitting on a shelf in her closet.

The yellow purse became a symbol for her of all that she had and all that she did not need.

I am realizing that even in my loss, I have enough.

Noel finally answers the question: “What would the reward be for the person who knows the meaning of enough?”  She says, “I think the person who knows the meaning of enough is rewarded by the feeling you get when you finally ask a new question: “Is that all it takes to make a difference?”

This post is part of the book study for Noel Yeatts book, Awake: Doing A World Of Good One Person At A Time. I would love to have you join in the discussion, even if you haven’t read the book.  Leave your comments and let’s discuss.  

Reviews & Giveaways, Social Justice

Awake: Book Review & Giveaway!

awake (photo credit)

Several months ago, I began asking the Lord to break my heart for what breaks His.  I needed to be moved, to truly feel the weight of a lost and dying world.

For some time, my heart has felt numb to the intensity of needs I see, at least on TV and video, all around the world.  I would see a newsflash come through about starving children, or human trafficking, or living conditions so unimaginable that my mind could not comprehend, and I would become so overwhelmed that even interceding on behalf of these needs would become painfully difficult.

How does one person take an issue so overwhelming and help to bring change?  How does one voice, in the midst of many voices, rise up and stir the waters of change?

One person at a time.

“If I look at the mass I will never act.  If I look at the one, I will.” – Mother Teresa.

A few months ago I joined a team of bloggers for World Help, and was blessed with the opportunity to read Noel Brewer Yeatts’ book , “Awake: Doing a World of Good One Person At A Time” during her re-launch.  Although sickness prevented me from actually getting my review posted during the launch, I wanted to take the opportunity to share with you my thoughts on this book, which is truly helping me to see, really see the needs of the world around me.

1235359_10200550907350883_1571921598_n

Awake is filled with the very personal stories of what Noel Yeatts encountered during her travels all around the world.  I could not help but gasp and cry and pray while reading the book.  The stories are heartbreaking.  To think that children are literally thrown away by their parents, or buried alive, or left for dead, or sold into prostitution at ages as young as 5 is too much for my heart to take.

But interlaced with the stories of heart break are testimonies of new life and victory, of children rescued and given a second chance to live, of lives transformed, of slaves being set free.

“The concept of poverty can be overwhelming, and the thought of making a difference daunting.  So we must narrow our focus.  Instead of picturing masses of hurting people, we must begin with the one suffering child.” – Noel Yeatts

This quote really undid me.  For so long now I’ve been saying I wanted to do something, something tangible like sponsor a child, or go on a mission trip or volunteer my time for a humanitarian organization.  Yet, I have become so overwhelmed while looking at the masses, that I was not able to see the one hurting child that God would have me to see.

“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house.  God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives.  God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war.  God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”  – Bono

I want my eyes to be open. I want to be fully awake, to see the one.  If every person presented with a world problem continues to close their eyes, nothing would get done.  But what would happen if together we allowed God to wake us up to the one?  I see one, you see another one, she sees another one.  Together we help three.  What if the world woke up to the fact that it’s not really so overwhelming when we choose to see with new eyes, when we choose to see the one?

The Giveaway

I am blessed to be able to give one reader a signed copy of Awake!  Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don’t win?  Don’t worry.  You can purchase the book here.

Consider joining our on line book study where we will meet every Friday on a private Facebook page to discuss each chapter of the book.  Be sure to download the study guide here.

Would you like to join a community of storytellers, using their voice to help change the world?

Become a World Help Blogger. Find more information here.  Sign-up here.

Together we can make a difference, one person at a time.

Social Justice

World Help: Christmas for an orphan

I can hardly believe it’s September already.  I get a little anxious this time of year, thinking about gift giving on a limited budget.  My children aren’t spoiled by any means, but since money is tight all year long, it is our hope to be able to gift them with not only things they need, but at least one thing they want for Christmas.

As I sat pondering Christmas and all it truly means in my living room one day, my thoughts turned to the entire world. There are so many children in need who have no gifts to open at Christmas.  It’s a sobering thought, and all of a sudden my own situation paled in comparison.

How can God use me and my limited resources to make a difference in a child’s life this Christmas?

Guatemala_Jul11_cf0424

I was so excited to have found the Christmas for an Orphan program through World Help. Christmas for an Orphan provides a way for you to say, “Jesus loves you and so do I . . . and I would like to pray for you and give you this small gift.” It is a simple gesture that means more to these children than you can possibly imagine.

Would you consider being the gift to a child in need this Christmas? And what’s even better is that you can provide Christmas for an Orphan gift boxes filled with love to children in need all around the world. This is a year-round project, so it’s never too late to get involved and make a difference.

You can request boxes here.