My Brother’s Keeper

This past week my heart has been breaking. This may partly be aided by that time of the month. Three pimples and feeling moved to tears at the drop of the hat are not just coincidence. However I hope it is mostly because my heart is growing. It is difficult to want it to grow. It is already filled with many things that require so much of it. Can it really take much more? If I say I want my heart to be like God’s, then the answer is simply yes. It must.

A friend posted an article about North Korea publicly executing 80 people whose crimes may have been as little as owning a Bible or watching a video. The friend also referenced Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), a non-profit organization working to rescue North Korean refugees into safety. I watched this video first, read through the website and then started a fundraising campaign. However I did not immediately post my fundraising page. I know people including myself sometimes get weary of all the requests. I know people including myself are thinking of holiday spending and feeling unable to give anything extra. Then I watched this Ted talk from one of the refugees helped by LiNK. You have to watch the whole thing including the last couple minutes. Afterwards, I posted my campaign. Every single person reading this is wealthy in comparison to the global majority. We may not feel like it, but we ARE in more ways than one.

When I first created my fundraising page, the default goal for set up was $250. It actually takes LiNK $2,500 to fully fund one complete rescue. I thought $250 sounded so small so I went a level up to $500. It has been less than 24 hours, but my tiny sole donation is looking lonely. I started to doubt my ambitions. I know I cannot force people to give or for that matter care. I know how annoying it is to see someone on a soapbox blasting your ears with their megaphone message when you are just trying to enjoy your life without the guilt. I cannot force people to join me, but I can raise the next generation to give and care.

That night I sat the boys down in the living room. I had been rocked by the stories and images in the Philippines and the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. They had already heard me speak of it a little and had learned that it was distinctly different from their biblical stories about the PhiliSTINES. 🙂 This time we sat with the computer and used the digital age to bring the global perspective into view for my little men. They love maps; we looked up the Philippines. They love weather; we saw aerial meteorological views of the typhoon. I spoke through the pictures of the ground views. We discussed what Albuquerque would look like if all buildings and homes were pummeled to the ground. We talked about how we would feel if nothing was left but our bodies. All our food, our home, our toys, our books, everything gone. We talked about how our hearts would hurt from friends and family not making it. We talked about how we would want God to help us and what we would pray. We talked about how we would want others to help us and what we could do.

Then the three of us held hands and prayed. It was the sweetest thing for me as a mother to hear my boys lift up strangers across the world into the throne of grace. My most eloquent intercessions could never compare to the innocent sacred voices of these children earnestly asking God to give shelter and food. After our “Amen” we talked about how we could act. We could not go over there and point to a house like my younger son suggested, but we could give to those who are there already and help provide needed things. We brought out their piggy banks and counted their totals. Connor had $17.26 and said he wanted to give $5. I was so moved. He had no difficulty whipping out almost 30% of his total assets.

ImageThen there was my little money-loving Ethan. I have no doubt that one day Ethan will be successful financially. He may end up supporting his generous little brother even. He loves his money. He counts it. He wishes for a money machine. He groaned when we brought out their piggy banks because he had a sense of where this family night was going. He did not like it one bit. At the same exact time Connor had easily declared his $5 donation, Ethan had reluctantly uttered that he could give $4. Ethan’s total was $88.52. We did talk percentages. Ethan complained that if he gave more he would never be able to buy a house one day! I truly believe he is saving for the future. When I hugged Connor after his pledge, Ethan groaned again because perhaps he felt a little guilty. I looked at my type A older son with such love. I could totally understand him, and I venture to guess the majority of us can. We talked about how God loves a cheerful giver. I recognized his difficulty with giving. I told him that he did not have to because I would not want him to give with groans and negativity. I would not want him to feel forced; I would only want him to do it if he truly wanted to do it. He had an out. And I would love him and hug him regardless.

ImageI am not sure what happened in his little heart and why. Somehow his death grip on his bills loosened. He looked at me and with sincere desire said that he decided he would give $10. He handed me his wad of ones and 20 dimes with as much joy as an Ethan can muster as he parted with his beloved. He actually said, “Bye, money!” I had agreed to match their donations, and we filled out the online form together.

ImageI want my boys to love the world. It may mean that their hearts break over and over again, but I would rather have their faces stained with tears than their hands stained with inaction. I want my boys to give generously. It may not be easy, but it is undoubtedly worth it. I want my boys to be world changers. It may require the hard work of stopping in the busy times and getting on their knees, but I want them to mobilize God’s power and compassion through their simple act of faith. When they look back on their lives, I want them to be able to say they did what they could to make this world a better place. It is more than NOT doing evil but by sacrificing a part of themselves to do good. Were they living in Civil War times, I would want them to think it is not enough to say slavery is wrong and not own people, but I would want them to be the ones risking lodging for the runaways. Were they living in World War II times, I would not want them to think it enough to verbally condemn Hitler, but I would want them to be the ones fighting for their Jewish friends. As they are living in these current times, I do not want them to just say that human trafficking is bad or disasters are horrible, but I want them to know that they have the power to act for good and the responsibility to follow through. When they look back on their lives, I want them to know that they did what they could to bring His kingdom on Earth because their hearts were that large.

P.S. If you feel led to give for disaster relief in the Philippines, you have many options. Here are just a few:

1) Kids International Ministries a la Beckett boys: http://www.stayclassy.org/fundraise?fcid=285637

2) World Vision a la their mama: http://www.worldvision.org

3) New Tribes Mission a la their Aunt Jenny: http://usa.ntm.org

4) Compassion International: http://www.compassion.com/typhoon-hits-philippines.htm

5) Red Cross: http://www.redcross.org

6) UNICEF a la the NBA: http://www.unicefusa.org

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