As we start a new year, it can be filled with fear and uncertainty but it doesn't have to. Every day I want more and more to be like Jesus. To make a difference in a world that seems to be full of darkness. One of the latest books I have read was by Louie Giglio, "Don't Give the Enemy a Seat at Your Table". That book is life-changing! I only want my savior to be sharing that space with me. The one sentence that I keep coming back to from that book is, "The work Jesus did on the cross defines my life"! If I can remember this going into the new year, it will be an amazing year.
It's a snow day and I am two years behind on our family photo albums so today was the day. As I looked over all the things, sickness, new friendships, death, grandchildren born, joy, and sorrow, it all had a purpose. You can't climb a mountain and see the amazing views without the work of getting there. I would not change my view over the past year or the work it took to get there for anything. It's what makes us who we are.
I am currently reading 'Hiding the Light' by Rifqa Bary. If you need a reminder of how blessed we are to be able to go to church, worship our God, and read His word, read this book. Rifqa was not raised in a Christian home and gave up everything to follow God. She would rather have died and gone to be with her Lord than to deny Him. I needed this reminder. I'm so easily frustrated with the day-to-day things that need to happen even in ministry. Does folding clothes for a refugee family matter? Does washing dishes to put in a cabinet really make a difference to anyone? Are the hours of packing up furniture, raising funds for clean water, or working through a nonprofit's accounting do anything to represent Christ well? YES. It does. Everything we do for others and our family allows us to be His hands and feet to a hurting world. We are light and life to those around us and around the world. But only if we choose to be.
I have never felt the need to share this, but as I spoke with one of our ministry partners in Africa this morning, I feel like it will help someone. My husband and I live on limited funds. His family owns a small family business and I run a non-profit, so we never expect to get rich. We have learned to live on little and be happy with all we have. A roof is over our heads, we drive dependable cars and have plenty to eat. We are rich when looking at the world. Our goal is to get out of debt, not to buy more or get a bigger house, but to be able to do for others. The money we have does not belong to us so why would we feel like we get to make the decisions on how to spend it? For 35 years, we have made it a priority to give to God first and live on the rest. We started sponsoring a child when our kids were young. They were able to choose her and we were even able to meet her years ago and see what sponsoring means. For every bill we have paid off, we add a child to our sponsorships. We have five precious children that are now family. They are prayed for daily, provided for monthly, and thriving. Their basic needs are taken care of at a cost of a meal out to us. Yes, we have had to give up some things to be able to do this but out of all the things we do with our finances, this is the one that is the most important.
I want to challenge you this year to be a blessing to others through your finances and time. You will not regret it. As Village to Village grows, so does our volunteer base, and I promise the time you give to move families in, sort clothes and wash dishes is making a difference in our world.
I don't want to end this post without you seeing one of our blessings through child sponsorship. We love our own children and grandchild so much and we love these kids as our own. We may never see them in this lifetime, but we know the little we are giving is huge in their lives.