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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Trying To Keep Things In Perspective

I have to admit I am feeling a little like a spoiled child this morning and feeling a bit ashamed of it...

I had what to me was a terrible day yesterday. First my oven finally went kaput on me. It has been dying a slow death for some time now. It takes about 40 minutes to cook a batch of cookies that should take no more than 10. Every once in a while it will literally shoot out flames at innocent victims walking by. Lately it has even been so powerful the oven door opens during the process. Why I continue to use it when it is obviously dangerous, I don't know, other than I don't have any other way to bake meals and treats.

Yesterday after two hours of baking a loaf of bread, the dough in the middle was still raw and it became apparent the oven is at least temporarily out of service.

While my husband drove to the local hardware store to try and buy some items in hopes of fixing the exploding oven, our water pump went out!! He came home and quickly fixed it, only to have it break again several hours later. I don't know whether it is fixable or not.

These are big problems, lack of water and lack of a way to bake food. A bigger problem is we don't have the money to replace either or do repairs that will cost more than a few bucks. We are struggling to pay our bills and often are a month behind on several of them, so something like this is a big deal!

I was in near tears would I prepare Thanksgiving Day Dinner? How would I bathe my children, especially the one whose burn requires the up most care to prevent infection?

Then my husband brings in the days mail. More frustration as I open bill after bill that we can't pay right now. Then........a letter from one of the little girls we sponsor through Compassion International.

She writes how she and her family pray for us daily and tells me a bit about her days at home and school, her wishes and dreams for the future and I realize how spoiled and fortunate I really am. See, for me my water and oven problems are for the most part temporary. For a child like Betty living in Uganda that is just the daily realities for her and her family. If they are like many families they don't have running water in the home and daily carry large containers, some times long distances to provide the family with the days water. I don't know whether or not they have an oven, but I doubt it from what I've read about Uganda.

Yet, in Betty's letters there is no complaining, no feeling sorry for herself, only hope and dreams of a better future, and offers of prayer for MY family!

I've written about Betty here before and how often she helps me keep my own problems in perspective. She and her family are thankful for our sponsorship of her and often tell us so. I am sure it has blessed and helped them in many ways. But it has also blessed and helped us in many. I think we have all learned to be thankful for what we do have, and to be more aware and concerned of the needs of others around us and in far away places like Africa.

I know times are hard for almost all of us these days, and may get worse before it gets any better. But I can assure you no matter how bad things are, someone somewhere else is doing much worse. Maybe even here in America, but I am fairly confident that I can say that our bad days and tough times are no where near as bad as the people, especially the young children living in parts of Africa, Asia and other developing areas. Our problems are most likely temporary. For me I can still cook in my crock pot and bread machine, and I actually have food to cook in them! In developing countries they often don't even have the food to cook but alone options on how to cook it.

There have been times I have considered giving up my sponsorship due to our own financial struggles. I haven't and Lord willing wont, as for me the cost per day to sponsor two girls is less than the cost of one of my Monster Energy Drinks I love so much, and probably shouldn't have anyway. For the cost of one of these silly drinks a day I can sponsor two children, helping provide them with education, food and perhaps clothing.

If you are a homeschooling family this is a great opportunity to really reach out and help someone else and makes great opportunity for learning. We are currently studying Africa for school and in hopes of learning more about Betty's world. My children can now name and locate most of Africa's 54 countries. They are learning about the customs, languages and struggles of Africa.

Perhaps as a Christmas gift you could consider sponsoring a child? This would certainly be a gift to the sponsored child, but also a gift for your own children. Mine love getting letters from the girls we sponsor, it is like having a pen pal! We were told to expect 3 or so letter exchanges a year, which may be common, but we get an average of one a month from each child! Compassion
is more than just sending your money in and hoping it goes to where it is promised. The money actually benefits the children and you will have regular contact and build a relationship with the child.

If you just can't commit to regular monthly sponsorship perhaps you and your children could make a one time donation to one of the special funds such as the Global Food Crisis Fund.

In many public schools out of 12 years of education children spend about 9 of those years learning about US History, and only 2-3 about other parts of the world. Even then it is usually Ancient History. There are 6 other continents in the world all rich with history and culture and as homeschooling parents we have the privilege to teach our children about them. Compassion is a great opportunity to do just that.

1 comment:

appleleaf said...

Yes, as I first started reading, I felt really sorry for you because our family can truly relate to yours. Tight finances and major appliances that are breaking down are not a good combination. But as I read on, I agreed that you're entirely right. We take a certain standard of living for granted, forgetting that others who have never had this standard can teach us heaps about graciously being thankful for all we have.
Thanks for this post,
PS Having said that, I admire you for going so long with that dodgy oven.