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Fellow Residents of Cyberspace,
When the trials of this life consume me, I am often tempted to look upon others’ blessings with a covetous heart. If I succumb to this temptation, the resulting bitterness only drives me deeper into depression. I have found that one of the best ways to gain true perspective is to examine the flip side of the coin.
No matter what I may be facing, chances are I won’t have to look very far to find someone worse off than me. Serving the least of these renews my spirit and provides me with a healthier mindset. It shifts the focus away from myself and to God, as I strive to be His hands and feet.
This past week I struggled to keep my head above water. I felt like I was drowning beneath the weight of my responsibilities and was racked with an overwhelming sense of anxiety. I was fighting a losing battle against self. On the brink of a meltdown, I absently sifted through my mail. Tucked between bills and junk mail was a letter. As soon as my eyes fell upon the return address, excitement pulsed through my veins. I hungrily tore open the envelope, eager to drink in the words.
The message was simple: a line of thanks, a brief glimpse of life, a call for prayer, and an outpouring of love. In an instant my suffering dissipated, replaced by a fierce joy. With five short lines my hope was restored.
The letter was from a nine-year-old girl named Esteysi, who lives in the poverty-stricken Dominican Republic
. Esteysi captured my heart when she was only three; a little girl with a huge personality. Six years ago, as I shuffled through countless photos of earnest faces, Esteysi’s struck a chord. Her hands were planted firmly on her tiny hips and a hidden secret resided in her eyes. Despite all the hardships her young spirit has been forced to overcome, her words resonate with joy, hope, and love. We have never met, and yet I love her dearly.
I sponsor Esteysi through Compassion International
, a non-profit organization that aims to break the cycle of poverty. It serves as a child advocacy ministry that frees little ones from spiritual, economic, social, and physical poverty. Today Compassion aids more than 1.2 million children in 26 countries. The token of Compassion’s work is one-to-one child sponsorship. Sponsorship allows children to participate in a church-based program offering life-changing assistance in areas such as education and health care. This program allows children to witness faith in action, hear the gospel message, and participate in discipleship training.
The following are just a few issues facing children in poverty today:
More than 1.4 billion people in the developing world live beneath the international poverty threshold. That’s less than 1.25 USD per day!
Children under five account for <10% of the global population, but suffer from 40% of the diseases attributed to environmental factors.
Approximately 12% of the global populace do not have access to safe water.
Globally, 161 million preschool children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
Roughly 1.2 million children are trafficked globally every year.
In the least developed countries, 30% are employing child labor.
Compassion works tirelessly to combat these and many other issues that plague the developing world. They acknowledge the God-given worth and potential of each child and have found that changed circumstances rarely transform lives, but transformed people undeniably change their circumstances.
Will you be the change in another’s life?
Next week I reflect upon my struggle to become more than the sum of my mistakes.
Until Next Week,
May You Live Each Moment As If It’s Your Last,
Sources: http://www.compassion.com/; www.unicef.org; www.who.int; www.un.org
Weekly Reflections: (Disclaimer: The great depths of my sorrow can only be justly compared to the impressive heights of my joy. If you stay tuned in long enough you’ll begin to see the silver ray of hope in even the darkest of my reflections.)
God’s Forgotten Angels
Their smiles and glassy eyes,
Do little to disguise,
Their fear of life in vain,
So silent, under pain.
They’re born to just endure,
Without the hope of cure.
The cry of precious souls,
That long to just be whole.
Their dark expressions tell,
Of life within a cell.
This world has clean forgot,
About this helpless lot.
We keep them out of mind,
There’s none left to remind.
Forgotten angels die,
And yet we fail to cry.
They are not all the same,
They answer to a name.
They all have vivid dreams,
Despite how bleak it seems.
No one to stand and fight;
No light in bitter night.
Don’t let them slip away,
Before they’ve had a say.
They’re born in steady gloom,
And raised to meet their doom.
Please let your kindness show,
And be their strength to grow.
Do choose to be the one,
That points them to the Son.
And offer them the chance,
At last to truly dance.
Embrace with arms of love,
And hope sent from above.
Decide to put them first,
Decide to end their thirst.
Allow their souls to shine,
And witness the divine.
Verse Of The Week:
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ – Matthew 25:40
What I’m Reading:
Inheritance – Book Four In the Inheritance Cycle – By Christopher Paolini