Monday, September 02, 2013

It's not even 10 AM

People who know me at all know that I enjoy sleeping in if at all possible.  Part of this is due to the fact that I tend to be a night owl and do a lot of reading and work during the evening hours when it's cooler, quieter and there are fewer interruptions.  So that's my excuse of sleeping in anyway.  
     This morning I got up and was roaming the house by 9 AM and found some visitors waiting for me.  One was a young woman who had a head cold who was waiting under my gazebo in the front yard.  After greeting her and sitting down, she proceeded to tell me about why she had come and this urgent need she had, that her child was in the hospital and needed medications.  I listened and looked at the prescriptions she brought me.  Now, while not unheard of, most people do not come up to folks they don't know looking for help.  I honestly don't recall ever seeing this mother before in my life.  Normally in this situation (where I don't have a relationship with the person), I will encourage them to go to people in their neighborhood or their church and ask for help there.  When I asked her where she attended church, after starting to answer, she glanced at me and told me she goes to the same church I go to.  While I doubted this,  I looked at the receipts she brought to support her claim of need, I noticed that they were dated more than 6 weeks ago.  I told her this.  To me it seemed that she probably had a real need, but was trying to mislead me as to what it was.  Then I told her the cold fact that my husband is traveling and I don't have extra funds available to help others, just to provide for my own household right now.  It's always easier to hide behind the spouse, when you're a sucker like me.  She said she understood, and I tried to treat her with dignity, but I'm not going to hand funds over to someone who is not telling me the truth.  I hurt turning people away but I don't want to be a sucker either.
     A few minutes later, after I poured a cup of coffee I found someone I did know.  Eddie is a former student who graduated a few years ago from our high school and from our sponsorship program.  He had a donor who subsidized his tuition and allowed him to be the first of his family to finish secondary school.  He has come by to see me every once in a while to tell me how he's doing and what he hopes to do in the future.  Initially he found some help to try dental school in the capital city.  He did okay but then the help ran out.  Since that time he periodically comes by to see if I've heard of any opportunities of help available.  Sadly, the answer has been, "no, I haven't".  His needs are real and he is becoming increasingly discouraged.  At about 23 years of age, he says everyone is looking at him expecting him to do something but there are no jobs, no financial assistance programs and no help available from his family.  I told him the only thing I could, that I would be praying and hoping God would open a door.
     I hate not having better answers or more resources to help people.  Not everyone should be helped.  I would not advise helping petitioner #1 due to her attempts to mislead, but I know #2's needs are legit.  I want to scream and kick something.   It's not even 10 AM and I would like to finish my coffee.
     A bit later I get to my home office and find an e-mail message from someone who'd like to help a young student attend school this year.  This is an answered prayer.  I send off an introduction to a student on our waiting list and am grateful.  Why can't they all be helped?  It makes sense to help this younger student who is too young to work.  I'm reminded that while I can't do everything, I can help do something and try not to scream.  

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's been awhile...but wanted to share an important link

Okay, okay, so it's been awhile since I've posted anything.  It's not because things aren't happening, but rather, it's been hard to sit down and write.  I'm trying to get more organized and am even putting an app on my phone...we'll see.
The reason I'm posting today though is just to share a link I've been waiting for...
I've read alot of critiques of child sponsorship programs for years, especially since I started volunteering with one ten years ago.  I was a reluctant volunteer.  To be honest, I wasn't completely sold that it made much of a difference to students and it seemed a little bit exploitative.
Then I began working with the families.  I realized quickly it wasn't just about helping the kids, but providing relief and a helping hand to the families who were struggling just to send their kids to school.  I've seen mixed results from my viewpoint.  Mixed in the sense that I don't always get to know what happened to certain kids.  Most would advance and graduate, as several are this month.  We had kindergarten students finish today, and more are taking national exams in the next 6 weeks.  The results don't always come right away or at once.
I had a friend send me a link on facebook asking if our stats reflected what Christianity Today reports below.
 http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2013/june/want-to-change-world-sponsor-child.html?paging=off

Sadly, I've had neither time nor funding to do a similar study or analysis, but still it's nice to have this kind of data for those who appreciate it.  What I know is that sponsorship or wisely investing in the education and training of the young, makes a huge difference.  I know because of the families I talk to day by day, the way I see them praying for their donors, and the majority of people I see making a difference in the community in which I live.  Those who are making a difference in the lives of others, paying it forward so to speak, are those who have likewise received targeted help in the past.  Don't tire of doing good people, it does make a difference from my viewpoint.  (Today's grads featured below)