As most of you know, I was privileged to spend time ministering in Haiti this past summer. My journey took me to a place unfamiliar to me in the midst of the most intense devastation I have ever witnessed. Some 6 months after the earthquake that claimed the lives of so many, our team was sent to help be part of the rebuilding effort. Our training told us that while everyone may not have lost a family member in the earthquake, everyone knew someone who was effected by the severity of this earthquake. We were there to do some rebuilding working alongside Haitians which was wonderful. What we quickly learned is in the midst of such earthly devastation, God was awakening the hearts of His people to Himself for His glory even through the tragedies of the loss of home, property, loved ones, and stability. We met Haitian after Haitian proclaiming the goodness of God to spare them their life and praying that God would use the earthquake to turn the hearts of the people of Haiti to himself. This is what I continue to pray as often as God brings it to mind.
So, how is this relevant today? While we were there, I was again reminded of the excess in which we live, of which I live. I have been richly blessed in virtually every aspect of my life and not only that, I have been blessed for a reason; for a purpose. Psalm 67 remind me that we are blessed to be a blessing as the Psalmist says, "May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that your way may be known on earth, your saving power among all nations." Catch the significance of this passage, the Psalmist prays the blessing of God upon himself that he might make God's ways known on earth to all the nations. I am blessed and in being blessed I am to be a blessing. In recognizing the excess of my life, I have decided this year and by God's grace for years to come, to use occasions where people have the desire to give me gifts to encourage family and friends to partner with me in being a blessing to the nations for the cause of Christ in the lives of those around the world. Below are several ideas of a few things that are on my heart right now as opportunities to invest in the Kingdom of God, and I hope by making them known to you they too will become things you care about at different seasons of your life. I hope to add to this list as time permits more research and as God leads.
One Verse (http://www.oneverse.org/) is seeking to translate the Bible into languages where there are no known copies of God's Word available. How many bibles sit unused and unopened in your house? I know I have plenty that are unopened and unused while I have several that I use with regularity. Imagine not even having access to God's Word in a language you can understand? Best part, you can give a donation to help this cause as a gift and that would be a wonderful gift for me.
We are in the process of adopting children internationally and there are great costs involved in that as well. Sometimes people give money as a gift. Please know this year any money you give to me as a gift will be helping to bring home a child or children from Ethiopia and in that you will play a part in the process for which I am grateful. God's heart beats for orphans and widows in a unique way and for all those redeemed by the blood of Christ, you too were once orphaned but God has adopted you as a son or a daughter and given you the right to be a child of His.
99 Balloons (http://www.99balloons.org/index.php), a great organization started by dear friends of ours (Matt & Ginny) after the loss of their son Eliot who lived 99 days on this earth before being united with his Creator in heaven for all eternity. They are doing some wonderful work with and to families who have children with special needs both here and internationally. This would be a wonder way to give a gift knowing the invest you make has eyes that are not fixed on the temporal world but on the world that is to come in Christ.
I have been blessed and I want my life to be a blessing but for a purpose--spreading the fame and the glory of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ here and to the ends of the earth. This is one small way, but it's a start and a continuation of some of what God is teaching me as I broach my 34th year of life.