Friday, May 24, 2013

Giving back

"We try to be too reasonable about what we believe.
What I believe is not reasonable at all.
In fact, it's hilariously impossible. Possible things aren't worth much.
These crazy impossible things keep us going

Madeleine L'Engle

I've been thinking a lot lately about what I believe. I have a hard time being decisive most of the time, but about this, I know. I believe in Jesus. He's a pretty crazy guy. I believe in his mission. To reach the lost, to show mercy, to love. I choose to love the Lord my God with all my heart and love my neighbor as myself.
One of the ways I want to do this is by giving back. There are so many people who are less fortunate than I. And I don't just mean people who live in a smaller house or maybe can't afford a house and live in an apartment - no I mean people like Katie Davis talks about in her book Kisses from Katie.
On page 104 she writes of some children in Uganda,
"In their small mud hut, the children sleep on an old, rotting cardboard box, packed together under piles of old dirty clothes and rags, like rats. A pet chicken walks in and out of the bedroom freely, defecating wherever she wants to. No animal should ever have to live in such a filthy condition, not to mention a human being....We scrubbed the little house with bleach and then filled it inside with the new things we had brought: straw mats to replace the cardboard they had slept on. Sheets and blankets to replace the clothes they had burrowed under. A new outfit for each of the members of the family, Auntie and Grandma included. We washed all the dishes with soap that we had given them and left our basins for washing. When Auntie and Grandma finally came back into their home, it was a new place. It actually looked cozy. Their eyes shone with tears. For just that look, just that expression of thankfulness, I would do it again. I would treat scabies and burn clothes and get covered in poop and mud and maggots every single day just to see Jesus in that old grandmother's face. I would."

I'm not saying my great mission in this world is to drop everything and move to Uganda to help the poor and needy. I'm not saying it's not either. However, at this time of my life, I'm here. In Charlotte, NC. I stay home the majority of the time with the littlest Littles. The other part of the time I spend working at the library helping at-risk families by providing literacy which can lead to knowledge, which can lead to a better life. I serve at my church to help people grow in their relationship with Christ. But I want to do more. 

I'm still praying about this and working it through, but for now I know there are some simple, yet practical ways to give back, too. If I'm going to be a consumer (which I am) and I'm going to buy gifts and necessities (which I will) then I want to choose organizations and products that reflect my mission.
I've been checking into this and here is a list I've come up with:

I haven't personally bought from all of these companies, but I hope to at some point. I have purchased gifts and accessories from Joyn India and I just love it. If you have another company or product you know of that's ethical, free trade, and gives back, please share!

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