It is now starting to feel like Christmas Eve! The excitement is rising. I'm staying up later and later just like I do on Christmas Eve as I fill the stocking.
The boys have packed their clothes. They continually ask questions about Ghana. For the past few days they have shared dreams they are having about meeting Overcomer. And they tell me how excited they are over and over and over! Love it!
A friend asked why we were taking our boys. Wouldn't it be better to spend the money elsewhere? Couldn't it be dangerous to be there with them?
We knew God was calling us to go to Ghana as a family so we have taken the plunge of faith to do so. This is an enormous monetary amount, but we can't think of anything greater than investing in our boys to have a heart for the world. God has been gracious to make this possible. Reid and I long for our boys to understand where their brother is from, to pulse with God's heart for every tribe, tongue, and nation. We desire them to each understand the reality of poverty in the world while embracing the responsibility God gives his followers. We anticipate God will do great things in all of our hearts. We pray none of us return the same.
As I'm typing this, Mason is sitting at our table preparing the devotion for his middle school in the morning. He and Franklin wanted to ask their peers to pray for them, and now they will be leading the devotion. Mason's planning to share some statistics and he's even done some math to make more impact. Reid shared these stats on Sunday and they make me stop. and. think.
According to the Consumer Price index in the United States, an individual needs to earn $9,800 dollars a year to stay over the poverty line.
Right now, 3 billion people in the world make an annual salary of $912 dollars.
According to the census of 2008, the median household income among all races in the United States was $61,521 dollars per year.
Today, if you took 567 million of the world's poorest people and combine what they have made in a lifetime, it would still be lower than what the 7 richest people in the world make per year.
The poorest 40% of people in the world account for 5% of the world's income. The richest 20% of people in the world account for 75% of the world's income.
Today, 22,000 children will starve to death (according to UNICEF).
Less than 1% of what the world spends on weapons development every year could put every single child in the world through school.
2.6 billion people in the world have no access to safe drinking water. Every five seconds, someone in the world dies from a water related disease.
America (population: 311 million) will spend $18 billion dollars this year on bottled water.
Doesn't this make you stop. and. think. too? Or are you able to continue reading without thinking about it to much. If so, go back and re-read them. Then again.
This quote has been running through my head,
Sometimes I'd like to ask God why he allows so much poverty, famine and injustice in the world when He could do something about it...but I'm afraid he might ask me the same question.
A neighbor was with us today helping pack suitcases. As he was looking at all of the supplies, he kept saying, "Wow! I bet this cost a lot of money." After hearing him say this a few times, I responded, "Yes, it did, but I can't think of a better way to spend money than helping a child who doesn't have a family." Really, what is a better?
While by American standards, I'm sometimes guilty of thinking we are fairly poor. Shame on me! I'm slapped in the face by the statistics above reminding me of the wealth we must steward for God. To borrow Stephen's words from his blog, our family is "uber-rich."
Wow! What a responsibility. Not guilt. Responsibility. Isn't that what God calls us to?
Recently, I was in the home of a missionary couple with three children. A young-ish couple who lives a life modeling simplicity. In groups, they never draw attention to themselves or anything they are doing. They simply follow hard after Jesus. On the wall of their kitchen hangs their family goal sheet. It's broken up into several areas, but one of those is 'giving.' (Remember - missionary couple - living fully on support.) Guess what one of their giving goals is? Ready? To give away at least one million dollars to those in need. One million dollars. Given away. Now that is a family goal! As I thought about it on the way home, it hit me that reading that everyday would be such a reminder. Never striving to be a millionaire - Only striving to love through giving. After talking to my friend, I have no doubt this couple will do it. Our family is hoping to take some "goal-setting" lessons from this amazing couple.
I'm now preparing my heart for the children in Ghana. I heard today that friends of ours who visited in December cried the first four days they were there. Simply weeping for the children. They were staying at a children's home and wept for the fatherless. Night after night, children longing to be loved and accepted within a family. Is God speaking to your heart to help these children?
I know God is preparing my heart for Overcomer. Today a precious neighbor brought us a baby gift for him. It was his first true "baby gift." (Is that the appropriate term for a 3 year old? For Adoption? Maybe I should say she brought him his first true "Three Year Old Adoption Gift.") Anyway, it was a monogrammed bag filled with toys for him. As the reality hit me, I stood on the driveway and cried. Yes, real tears. This is really happening! He is coming home! He will be playing with these toys! Oh, my heart leaps for JOY!
Another friend came over today and prayed on our driveway with the boys and I. She prayed Isaiah 52:12, "But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard."
So we pray the Lord will go before us and prepare the path for this trip! Break our hearts Lord, for what breaks yours!