It's been a couple months since I've posted anything on this blog. I hope I haven't lost you, my readers. However, I suppose if I'm writing about intentionality, it would be good if I had something to be intentional about. Thus, this week (on Facebook, starting with this post) will be all about something I'm intentionally trying to get the word out about: bringing an end to extreme poverty.
In an effort to read 3 books this year that I already own (one of my year's goals), I decided to begin that journey by reading (and honestly re-reading part of) "Hope Rising: How Christians Can End Extreme Poverty In This Generation" by Scott Todd. I started a few weeks ago when we traveled to St. Louis by train, and finished a week ago today on the plane back from Memphis.
Scott Todd was formerly a professor at K-State and was actually the person that inspired me to first become a child sponsor through Compassion back in 2003, I think. I got to help clean his house when he and his family left Manhattan, KS to move to Washington state and begin working with Compassion International. He's quite an amazing individual and has helped people all over the world in person, through Compassion and other ministries he's been involved with, and oh yes, by helping cure Hepatitis C (for which he holds a patent for treatment).
All this to say, his book is a good one for shedding light on the fact that we can end extreme poverty worldwide in our lifetime - and not just within our lifetime, but hopefully by the time I'm 50 years old. To quote Scott's book (these facts are a couple of years old now), "Today there are about 1.2 billion people living in poverty. And that's good news. In 1981 [the year, I, Shalinn was born], 52 percent of the developing world's population lived in extreme poverty. Today that number is 21 percent. If we were still at 52 percent, then an additional two billion people would still be suffering in extreme poverty. We have already cut the percentage of people living in extreme poverty in half! And we did it in one generation." Scott's not the only one recognizing the potential here. Government leaders, NGOs, philanthropists, and even the United Nations are all in on this goal. But are you? Have you ever even considered the idea that children across the world would not have to die from preventable or treatable diseases? Have you considered that people worldwide could gain access to clean water sources and no longer have to drink water that makes them sick? Access to education for all? Gender equality? Do you even have the mindset to believe that such a thing is possible? And soon?
It's easy to think that giving money or supporting organizations doing this kind of work is lofty, that the money's not going to be spent wisely, or that it will never really have an affect on the people you want it to help, but that's simply not true. No one organization or effort is perfect, but government, along with private business, and the church have a role to play and have been playing it for years. We still have a role and we're needed. Would you like to join in the effort? Would you like to at least learn more?
I've been a sponsor with Compassion for 14 years now, and I started sponsoring in college, before I had any notable disposable income. It's not about how much money you have and just like with most things in life, if you wait until you have "enough," you'll never get there. You're never too young to give, and my young friends in KidsCOR at Resurrection Downtown have shown that recently. A couple of months ago, I presented to them about Compassion's Water for Life program, and showed them the UN approved water filters that Compassion provides to families to give them clean water for life (when community wells aren't an appropriate or an available option). The kids willingly gave their offering in the month of March to providing clean water for a family. Together, they collected $152, enough (with a little extra help) to provide clean water through Compassion for two families for the rest of their lives. Kids in Kansas City, MO are helping the effort to end extreme poverty in the world. Will you?
I know that I have many friends who are passionate about their support of other various causes and I know I have friends that are just doing their best to get through life on a day to day basis, but are you someone that would like to join me in spreading the word and becoming active with me in ending extreme poverty? If it's not your passion or you're not interested, that's fine, but I'm hoping that some of you are. You don't have to be a Christian, you don't have to have a lot of money, you don't have to have any degree or amount of knowledge to help. Just let me know that you're "in" this with me, and let's work together! Leave a comment here or on my Facebook page. Check out the resources below and let's help actually improve lives around the world!
p.s. I'd like to thank my friends like Emily Selby who has spoken all of this previous week about her passion - foster care, and my friend Mat Thornton who's raising funds for the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Thanks for speaking up and acting, friends!