In the previous post, I talked about my honest reaction to the famine in Africa.
What is a MOPS mom in suburbia USA to do when she sees the image of a mother of preschoolers, about her same age in famine struck Somalia and feels a strange but familiar connection?
She can relate to their shared mother’s heart but cannot begin to relate to the struggle to provide food and water for her children. She cannot imagine walking (especially without her cute exercise attire, smooth rolling stroller and no-drip sippy cups handy) close to one hundred miles to give her children the chance to survive. She feels helpless, yet connected; burdened yet compelled to know more. She is aware of the scale of the crisis yet unable to turn away. She senses a deep desire to do something…
But what can she do?
How can she take action for such a huge issue all the way around the world, in the midst of her kids’ play-dates, her relational commitments, her long but oh-so-worth-it Starbucks lines, and her never-ending grocery lists?
How can one mother love another mother across the world and offer compassion instead of ignorant silence?
Below are a few specific response ideas from our household. This is not to claim that we have done anything unheard-of, nor that what we are doing is “world-changing”. It is simply what we know to do for now, and it is my hope that sharing it here jump-starts your imagination for how you can respond in your own compassionate and creative ways.
Giving – We went online and donated to World Vision’s emergency relief for the Horn of Africa plan. Such a simple action that can enable much good to be done. Click here to find the link to their donation page. World Vision Donations:Horn of Africa Food Crisis. There are many great organizations of all faiths and backgrounds at work for the poor in the Horn of Africa. It is a dangerous place to be an aid worker, and I appreciate them all. From what I have experienced personally, I deeply admire the work of World Vision. Do some research and find an organization that fits your liking, read about their work and find out how to support them.
Prayer- We have been praying for these nations. Praying for wisdom for the leaders of these nations as well as our own, and for the terrorist groups that are oppressing these people and preventing food and relief from reaching the people of Southern Somalia. I have been praying that the closed doors of the terrorist groups would no longer be a hinderance to aid. Praying that even they would turn and experience God’s healing love and transformation. Praying for strength, aid and relief for the families that are hungry and that their help will be quickly delivered. Praying for protection and grace over the aid workers.
Personal Awareness- I try to consistently read about the crisis to continue learning about the issues at hand. Reading online and newspaper articles keeps the issue from becoming just another devastating current event that passes by without much notice.
Family Awareness- Talking about this crisis with our family creates a missional mindset that helps us take seriously our call to love the least of these. To foster this, I cut out an article about the crisis and put it on our world map that we have in our kitchen. Having this article in plain sight reminds our family of their faces, their dignity, and their burden, and reminds us that we are called to help them carry it. By seeing them daily, we are carrying them in our hearts and carrying them to the Lord who loves them and is sending out His aid to help them. We are carrying their burden into our spheres of influence and trusting God to take our two fish and five loaves and multiply what little we have to offer, in order to impact those who are in need.
Serving the Local Community- I try to remind myself (in the midst of all my self-inflicted busyness) that we are all a part of a global community, and that that community starts with my neighbors. I did a quick google search and learned about the poverty stats and the outreach programs in my town. I wanted to involve my kids in this process, so I called them into the kitchen and we stood at our map, looking at Africa and talking about the hungry people there. I then asked them if they realized that there were also people here, (I pointed to where we live in Va) who are hungry. We talked about how God wants us to always care for those who are hungry and in need. When I asked them if they wanted to help people who are hungry in our own city, the kids jumped with excitement. Together we loaded up a bag of goods and took them to a church nearby that has an awesome outreach to the hungry of our city. Kids are more than eager to learn and to act on the tender compassion that is so readily flowing in their hearts. It did me good to stop and sit on the kitchen floor with my kids to reflect on God’s heart for the world from their innocent and simple perspective.
Our God is the source of all creativity and compassion. I am excited to hear how He inspires you to act on behalf of your neighbors, both near and far. I know I am not the only one who feels a heart connection to these people and this issue. Please share your responses and ideas in the comment section below so that we can encourage each other in this journey to becoming global citizens…global moms, connected to and serving our suffering world.
35 Jesus said, I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me’…
‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ 40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’