Guest Blogger Jessica Irvin from Defending the Fatherless guest blogs today. She and her family support Africa Windmill Project in many of ways.
As the 2012 Christmas season fades into another year of memories, I continue to be bothered by a brief, 6 or 7 second news clip that my husband and I saw late one night in early December.
By most accounts, it was a heart warming moment-the result of one women’s kindness to a child—a child she would never meet, but was thoughtful enough to consider. We’ve seen it played out before, probably participated in a similar activity at one time or another. And, please don’t misunderstand my point-this woman was doing nothing wrong-in fact she was doing everything right by our cultural standards and norms. Yet, the words that she spoke have stuck with me in a way that I can only describe as nails on a chalk board. It stopped me in my tracks.
The scene was of a jolly middle aged woman, hands full of shopping bags loaded with Christmas treasures, happily donating a gift to a child via a local charity who may otherwise not receive a gift on Christmas morning. The phrase that made my heart beat a little faster, “It feels good to give to a child in need.”
Seems harmless enough and it’s true. It does feel good to give to someone in “need.”
What got me is that we had just returned home a few weeks prior to viewing this clip with our little son from Ethiopia, once in “need” of a family and now forever in our arms.
I had just witnessed NEED beyond understanding. True need—like for the basics—for things like water that doesn’t cause illness, food that satisfies a hunger that has often been growing for days, clothing and shelter and access to basic medical care to treat diseases easily treated here that devastate whole nations across the world-need for the things that so many of us (myself included) so often take for granted.
I looked at my husband and said, “We think toys are a NEED in America.”
We bought (literally) into this myth somewhat as each of our children received a couple of new items this Christmas, and with the exception of the toothpaste in their stockings (and I suppose one could make a case for whether or not that is truly a need), none of the new items were necessary for their health, well being or physical development. None of the items sustained life or gave life. None of the items had the potential to impact families or even whole communities.
Just as the Father loves to give good gifts to his children, we too enjoy seeing the faces of our children light up when presented with a gift. I’m not trying to take away from that, but to instead call to our attention that others suffer when we chose to add to our excess instead of, as the bible commands, share with God’s people who are in need (Romans 12:13).
And there are so many around the world in true need of the most basic resources, with probably the most important of these being clean water.
When I return home from Africa, I’m always a bit shell shocked upon reentry. I always say it is harder to return home than to return to Africa. I catch myself thinking thoughts like, “the water I shower with is cleaner than what they have to drink” or “I wash my clothes (well, technically the machine does) in cleaner water than they have available for cooking” or “I simply turn on one of my six faucets and clean water pours out while they hike 6 miles a day to the nearest water source.” And, none of it can be reconciled in my head except if I am willing to do something to make a difference.
I have seen first hand how life changing access to clean water is for a child, a family, and for entire communities.
Africa Windmill Project (AWP) works along side the people of Malawi to equip them to make these changes available to them. By educating and supporting rural farmers on how to irrigate crops via simple and affordable water pumps, Malawians are able to work to feed and care for their families. AWP also works to educate and train the local people on how to maintain clean drinking water, sustainable agriculture practices, and community development-all with the focus of Malawians being self-sufficient and duplicating the model within their own country.
Now, that’s something to feel good about.
To learn more about or partner with AWP as they help empower the people of Malawi to meet their NEEDS, please visit Africa Windmill Project.
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." Luke 6:38