Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Thank you note from Sarah Bizzu

Many from Memorial Drive Church gave money to help Sarah Bizzu, a very bright and talented 17 year old AIDS orphan at the Jinja Church, so that she could continue her high school education in Uganda. (See March 2nd post for more of her story) Enough money was raised to keep her in school the entire year. Her thank you note to all of you is below.

Well, I give my gratitude to you and all your church mates. Thanks to God who has kept you guys over those ends. Send my warm greetings to all those there.

I have two sisters and a brother and I have a foster sister called Edith. My real sisters are Ritah and Phiona and my brother is called Jonathan. They live in an orphanage in another district which neighbours the district I live in with my foster parents. I'm the first born.

Well, about my interests, I like volleyball, singing, dancing, making friends, chatting, reading novels and watching movies. I have no boyfriend, it's quite destructive in Uganda. The movies I like are Lords of the Ring, Parent Trap, Mickey Blue Eyes, Preachers Wife. I like Whitney Houston's songs.

I am 17 years and my birthday is 16th of September. Greetings one more time to you and your church mates.

I thank you alot for your donations.

I love you so much. God bless you alot.



Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Wasting Time

How do you spend your time?

Last month Wade Hodges preached at Memorial asking this question. He encouraged us to go against our culture and feel free to "waste time" in God appropriate ways. Spend time with your spouse, your children, your grandma, and your small group. Most importantly spend time with God. It may not be productive in our world's eyes or in a financial sense but we desperately need to just waste time more in these ways.

I'm trying to take this advice to heart. Last Saturday Easton, my 6 year old, and I wasted time playing chickenfoot (dominoes) with my Aunt Becky, Aunt Jessie and my 94 year old Grandma D (who beat me soundly!). Then we wasted time with my Mom and step-Dad over dinner. I delighted watching Easton waste time reading books with his Grandma who loves him so much. This week it is on my agenda to waste more time with my wife and with my four year old, Tyler. We have a park date this weekend just the two of us.

All of this reminds me of my African friends as well. Their culture is more friendly towards wasting time and is why I believe their relationships and communities (families, villages, etc) are so strong. Of course, wasting time can be taken to an extreme and I know many Africans who could stand a small dose of Americanism so they can be more productive. But many of my African friends do work hard - they just tend to work hard at chores we never have to think about. Chores like walking long distances to carry unclean drinking water for their families and then having to boil it. Another time killer is dealing with sicknesses that are easily treatable. This kills potential productivity and wastes their time.

We need more balance and justice here. We Americans need to learn how to waste time better with God and our family and friends. We need to sit at the feet of Jesus more. I'm convinced that when we do we will become more convicted to help Africans and other poor people across the world so they don't have to waste their time in extreme poverty.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Raising our Children For Service Or Privilege?

Words from Richard Foster's Freedom of Simplicity that make me wrestle with my every day Christian walk and how I raise my three awesome children:

"One specific means of identification with the poor is discovered in our approach to education. Do we see a college education, for example, as a ticket to privilege or as a training for service to the needy? What do we teach our teenagers in this matter? Do we urge them to enter college because it will better equip them to serve? Or do we try to bribe them with promises of future status and salary increases? No wonder they graduate more deeply concerned about their standard of living than about suffering humanity.

As we seek to follow in the steps of Jesus, we will be drawn to identify with the poor. As we do, perhaps a valuable question to keep before us is whether we are as willing to evaluate our living standards by the needs of the poor as we are by the lifestyle of our neighbors."