Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Purposeful Giving

This Christmas season I've been seeing a lot of people talking about giving more than we're receiving. Giving more to people outside our families than within our families.  Giving to make a difference in people's live, to help to improve situations for people in hardship, to be the hands and feet of Jesus.

I love seeing this kind of heart for giving growing more and more in the church and body of Christ in America. I have often been told by folks that they WANT to give and are able to, but aren't sure which organizations are trustworthy, which ones make a difference, who does what, etc.  So here is a list of organizations that we as a family would recommend you look into if you're in this category of wanting to give, but not sure where to start!

-World Vision: An organization that does a bit of everything.  Medical needs. Education.  Rescuing women from exploitation. Child sponsorship. Disaster Relief. Advocacy.  Meeting basic needs with water.  View their Online Catalog to choose from an array of gifts that will change a life.  Read testimonies of receiving a couple of goats or chickens has improved the lives of people in Africa.

-Compassion International: An organization that focuses on freeing women and children from poverty.  You can do almost anything through Compassion: give mosquito nets, provide medical supplies, education help, sponsor a child or woman, provide clean water or other basic needs.  Possibilities are endless.  There is so much need.

-NeverThirst: An organization that conducts water projects across the world to provide clean water to as many people as possible.

-Word Made Flesh: This organization focuses its energies on the poorest of the poor in countries around the world.  Financial gifts go to support their staff on the ground in multiple countries seeking to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the outcast, poor, the lowest of the low that most ignore.

-i-India: An organization that rescues children from the streets of the city I live in.  They have a portable shower bus that kids can bathe in, rescue children from walking and working the streets and provide them with education, safety, stability, food.  This is near and dear to my heart.  Please consider giving to change the life of children's faces I may have seen. You'd be surprised how far your money goes... $10 to feed 50 children, $40 buys a bed, $100 pays a teacher for a month...  See more

-imb Connecting:  Giving to their Lottie Moon Christmas Offering goes directly to support staff around the world reaching out to millions of people, being the light of Jesus in dark places.

-The Voice of the Martyrs: For followers of Jesus, consider giving to this group who reaches out to our brothers and sisters around the world who are enduring intense hardship and persecution for their faith in Christ.

-Children's Hopechest: Give a child a future for $34 a month. Or give a one time gift.

-Show Hope:  This organization gave us a grant for our adoption.  Consider donating to help other families bring their children home.

-International Adoption Guides: This is our adoption agency.  They sponsor several schools and orphanages in Ethiopia.  Your donation to them would purchase desks and chairs for a new school building, provide a computer for students to use, clothes, formula, food for orphans in their care.

This is a scratching-the-surface-sampling of options.  You can find plenty more on the world wide web. : )

And, if you'd like to buy gifts with purpose, be a responsible consumer, or buy handmade items that provide jobs for the poor, consider these online stores:

Sari Bari-beautiful handmade textiles, made by women in India who have been rescued from exploitation

Ergon Handicrafts-cards and journals made by women in India who are under-educated and very poor, and would otherwise not have access to employment or income. (Currently low in stock on cards, but journals are there!)

Bead4Life-Beautiful beaded jewelry made by women in Uganda.  I bought all the women in our family Christmas gifts here this year.

Home for Christmas: Go crazy here!  A master list of families selling all sorts of things to raise money for their adoptions.  There is something for just about everyone.  I bought all our Christmas presents for our entire family off this list last year! : )

So many more where these came from as well!

Happy giving!  And Happy Birthday, Jesus!

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