I think most of us are guilty of becoming disgruntled when the power goes out during a thunderstorm. We complain that "there's nothing to eat" when it's time for our weekly trip to the grocery store. Or, we have "nothing to wear" when our closets are actually full of clothes. This should be completely embarrassing for us to admit. But, we live in such a spoiled and self-centered dream world, that it doesn't even register with us that there are people who actually don't have electricity, food, or clothes.
My sister-in-law and her family recently participated in the Meals With Hope 5-Day Challenge. Do you think you could survive on rice and beans for 5 days, no electricity, running water, wearing clothes two days in a row, no shoes, and sleeping on the floor? Heidi gave me permission to share her family's story.
The 5-Day Challenge
This has been an enlightening week for me, participating in the Meals with HOPE 5-day Challenge. Although substituting rice and beans for my normal meals hasn't been particularly difficult (though for hubby and kids, it's been a different story), I was surprised to find that by eliminating snacks between meals, I would get so hungry at times that I felt like I was fasting! It breaks my heart to think there are countless people in the world who live that way every day! I have become painfully aware of the luxury with which I am surrounded.
I'm embarrassed to admit that most of the extra daily challenges we just couldn't do. I tried to go without shoes one day, but didn't even make it a quarter of the way to the bus stop before I had to go back for flip flops. I was going to wear the same clothes two days in a row, but just couldn't bear to put on that smelly shirt again. Today we're supposed to go without running water, but I just couldn't make myself do it. And I got voted down pretty strongly against sleeping on the floor as a family one night. (Patrick claimed he wouldn't be able to sleep, and he had SOLs this week; Marty foresaw being in pain for days afterward...) Only I went without electricity one evening (from sundown to dawn), and ended up doing dishes by candlelight. Our collective wimpiness puts me to shame. There are SO MANY in the world doing these things because they don't have any choice! I'm not sure my 9-year-old son is getting it.
At every mealtime and bedtime, I have prayed with the kids that we would have compassion for the people of this world who don't have enough, and that God would show us how we can help them. I'll start by "giving the gap," between what I spent on our simple groceries this week and what I would normally spend, to a hunger relief organization. We already sponsor a girl in Columbia, and we frequently pray for her as a family, but I'd like to get the kids even more involved. I hope that this week has made a positive impression on my children, and that they will be enthusiastic and creative about helping those in need.
I hope this inspires you, not only to become more aware of those in need, but to do something about it! Maybe you're not sure where to start. My husband and I sponsor a little girl in Tanzania monthly through Compassion International. Sponsorship allows children who are living in poverty to receive an education, to be healthy, to develop self-confidence and social skills, and to hear about the love God has for them. We enjoy writing to our little girl and sending her stickers and pictures.
Our parents have always told us that there are "starving children in Africa." But the truth is, there are people in need all around us. One in ten households in the United States are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger. That could mean someone in your neighborhood.
What are you going to do?
The generous will themselves be blessed,
for they share their food with the poor.
1 John 3:18
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.