Monday, October 19, 2009

Thankful for Every Little Bit

What amazes us the most is not the people who donate large sums, though we are very grateful to them, but those who really shouldn't be donating at all in this economy and, stepping out in faith, do so anyway. 

We know that these are difficult times.  It is very hard to ask, and yet we ask, and boldly, because we know that there is no comparison between the hardships most of us suffer here and what we see daily in Zimbabwe and other parts of Southern Africa.  There, they ask, "Is it true that in America, even the poor people own cars?"  Yes, we answer.  And i-Pods and cell phones and satellite TV. But more -- we can walk into any Costco or Fresh n' Easy and get free food -- enough to sustain a person for a day if one were truly hungry.  Here, we have government dole programs that some say are much too easy, too available.  Here, we have social services to protect the rights of children.  In Zimbabwe, the street children are cracked on the heads with clubs carried by the police officers, who consider their presence in the town square to be undesirable.  I've witnessed the children, crying, clutching their bleeding heads.  Here, out of our own surplus, we have garage sales to raise extra cash while we unload some of our clutter.  There, at least in 2007, the currency had an expiration date.  Yogurt had a longer shelf life.  Now, the currency is dead.  Useless.  Not even legal tender in their own country.

So we know that what we are asking, in today's economy, is a lot.  And we do so, unapologetically, bolstered by those who are giving small amounts, amounts which are, even so, painful and sacrificial.  And we thank you for every dollar, for the pinch that it puts on your own budgets, for the fear that is always clinging to the back of our necks, and pray that it all gets returned to you a hundred-fold.  And we know, because we have also seen it, that the joy in the faces of the children, halfway across the world, makes every dollar given worth the sacrifice.

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