Archive for the ‘Poverty’ category

Help Me Read

July 9, 2011

Whether you are visiting my blog, tangiblethoughts, on purpose, or you are surfing the net and have stopped here just to check me out, may I ask you to do something for me?

May I ask you to scroll down on this page until you come to the category “Books” in the right-hand column? There you will find two links. One is to Monergism Books, the other is to WTS Books. When you click on them you will be taken to the on-line book stores of Monergism.com and Westminster Theological Seminary. At each of the stores you will find excellent conservative and Reformed books and resource material for your head and heart.

Each time you click onto the stores from my blog site I receive credit for your visit. When I have earned enough credits, I receive a purchase certificate which enables me to purchase books for my head and heart.

So, linger here a moment longer … scroll down and click  … and peruse the sites.

Thank you for your great help.

China’s Migrants and Ministry

December 21, 2010

I have recently read an interesting article about the number of internal migrant workers in the People’s Republic of China. In the article, “China’s Migrant Workers at Record High” (July 26, 2010), a Chinese government report estimates that there are 211 million migrant workers in China.

Read here about the millions who have left their homes to wander the nation in order to find gainful employment to better provide for their families.

Ministering to the nation’s migrant worker force could be a tremendous ministry platform for the sharing of Jesus Christ.

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Note: I took the above picture in 2008 through a fence surrounding a construction site in the town centre of a major city in Southwest China. The workers live, sleep, and eat on the construction site.

Loose Change

October 17, 2010

Okay, I admit it. I pick up loose change.

A penny, here. A nickel or dime, there. And, yes, the occasional quarter.

I find coins in the hallways at the school where I work, on the floor in classrooms under desks, and in the courtyards that separate the buildings on campus.

I’ve even started looking in the coin return slots of the vending machines that sell bottled water, vitamin water, and chocolate milk. Would you believe that I found a dollar coin in one last Friday? Took home $2.15 that day.

I started picking up coins late last semester. I’d take the coins home and put them in an old red plastic Folger’s coffee bucket. I glued the plastic lid on the bucket and cut a slit in it through which I drop the pennies, dimes, and quarters.

My original plan for the collected coins was to save them up and then take my wife out on a small date. Two cups of Costa Rica coffee and a slice of cheese cake at Jason’s coffee-house.

But my plans for the loose change that is slowly starting to build in value changed this summer. I read some pretty staggering figures about world poverty and homelessness that have caused me to re-think what I’m going to do with the money. Things like:

  • There are over 6,878,090,660+ people in the world
  • 1,155,439,635+ of the world’s population are overweight
  • 343,739,993+ are obese
  • $102,050,000+ was spent of food in the United States today and then tossed
  • 110,060 tons of food is wasted in the United States every day
  • $95,000,000+ is spent on weight loss programs in the USA every day
  • $218,900,000+ was spent due to obesity-related diseases today in the USA
  • $40,550,000+ (US) was spent on pet food in Europe and the USA today

And, then, there are these figures:

  • 1,028,626,457+ of the world’s 6 billion+ population is undernourished
  • Every 3.2 seconds someone in the world dies of hunger. 75% of these are children
  • 24 thousand people die every day from starvation or malnutrition
  • There are 2.2 billion children in the world and 1 billion of them live in poverty
  • 3 billion of the world’s population lives on less that $2.50 a day
  • 1,345,000 billion of the world’s population lives on less than $1.25 a day
  • $31,484,200+ would allow us to feed the world’s hungry for a day
  • Only 22,937 tons of global food aid was provided to the world’s hungry today

While Costa Rica coffee and chess cake is a good thing, and it will happen, right now the change that’s being saved in the Folger’s bucket is going to go to a better cause. At the end of the school year, the change that has been picked up at school is going to be dumped on our living room floor, rolled up in those paper wraps, counted, and deposited in our checking account. Then we’re going to write a check and send it to an agency that helps feed hungry people.

The amount may not be great, we’ll wait and see, but it may be enough to feed a family for a couple of weeks, especially if that family is one of those who are counted among the 4 billion people who live on less than $2.50 a day.

In conclusion, I have a couple of  thoughts that come out of all of this. The first is that people, that includes me, need to be better stewards of what money we have. We work hard for our money and every penny does count. So, when we drop a coin on the floor, pick it up. When we put money into a vending machine, be sure we get all of our loose change out. That’s not being greedy, it’s just being careful with what we have. After all, there is a severe repression in the land.

A second thought that I have is that we, Americans especially, spend too much money on ourselves – whether it be for bigger houses, more fashionable clothes, newer cars, or more snacks and munchies at school. In a world where the majority of the people have such great and life-threatening needs, to lavish upon ourselves the way that we do, without a thought for the poor and hungry among us, is a sin.

Let’s think about, and be grateful for, the many blessings that we have and the provision that most of us are able to make for our families. But, don’t stop there. Let’s think about the billions of hungry, malnourished, and starving in the world and about how we can be involved in meeting their very real life needs.

Prayerfully consider writing a check to an organization that feeds the hungry. Or, simply stop, pick up that penny, and start a “feed the hungry” bucket at home.

Hey, I may look like a beggar or a scavenger to people who see me picking up loose change on the floor or out of the coin return slots of the vending machines at school, but that’s okay.

Run For Compassion

April 8, 2010

Every day an estimated 24,000 children under the age of 5 die from preventable diseases.

Compassion International is a Christian organization that exists as a “child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.”

Every year a Run for Compassion event is conducted in College Station, Texas to help raise funds to support the ministry and work of Compassion International.

This year’s Run for Compassion will take place on Saturday April 10, 2010 at 8am.

100% of all registration fees will go to Compassion’s Child Survival Programs in both Ethiopia and Haiti. These fees will help provide food, medical care, and other necessities required for children to live, grow, and develop during their critical early childhood years!

Please consider participating in this weekend’s Run.

Walk or run as if a child’s life depended on you.

(Click on the logo for information about the Run for Compassion and how you can participate.)

World Water Day

March 22, 2010

Today is “World Water Day.”

“World Water Day” is a day that is committed to informing self and others about the great need for clean, safe drinking water and sanitation that exists in our world today.

Water.org,  a non-profit organization that exists to provide clean, safe drinking water and sanitation to people in developing countries, helps us to understand how very critical it is that people have safe drinking water and clean sanitation. You can find extremely valuable facts, statistics, and information about these needs on their website here.

Some of the facts about water and sanitation that you’ll find on their website are:

  • Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water is readily accessible for direct human use
  • 3.575 million people die each year from water-related disease
  • 84% of water-related deaths are in children ages 0-14
  • 98% of water-related deaths occur in the developing world
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the typical person living in a developing country slum uses in a whole day
  • Only 62% of the world population has access to improved sanitation – defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact
  • The majority of the illness in the world is cause by fecal matter
  • Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease

As I am writing this post, I am remembering my trip to a developing nation almost two years ago. We were cautioned while there, and we heeded the cautions, to never drink water from water fountains or faucets, even in our hotel rooms. In fact, there were signs in the hotel bathrooms warning us that if we drank water from the tap, we needed to either boil it first or use water purification tablets to insure the water’s purity. Every- where I went in the country, I drank bottled water purchased in stores or from road-side vendors.

Having read the statistics on Water.org’s website, I have been convicted about my use, abuse, and waste of water.

Hopefully, and prayerfully, the information and conviction that I have received today will cause me to be more appreciative of and careful with the water that I have, and that I will do more to help ensure that the people of the world have one of the most essential necessities of life – safe, clean water.

Quick Notes

March 15, 2010

Here are three quick missional update notes:

  1. Devotion and Prayer Time at school – As of Friday the 12th, the last day of school before spring break, I still had not heard from school administrators about an assigned room in which to meet for a devotion and prayer time. The Lord did raise up a teacher who offered to let us meet in her room the first day back to school after break. Praise the Lord. (Please scroll down on this blog for previous posts on this ministry.)
  2. Backyard Bible Club – My family and I are going to be involved in a Backyard Bible Club in a low-income housing community each day this week (spring break) from 12-3pm. Sack lunches, games, music, Bible teaching, crafts, kids, and hugs. Pray that the Lord will open hearts and homes to the Gospel and that He will bind our family even closer together as a ministry team.
  3. Brunch Club – We are hosting a brunch at our home this coming Sunday morning the 21st. We have invited a number of unbelieving friends and the couple who host and facilitate the missional community that we have recently started attending. It is our desire to create a casual, non-threatening environment where we will do what we all do – eat (an everyday “rhythm”) – and develop meaningful relationships that will give us the opportunity to “Gospel into” people’s lives.

The Next Five Minutes

February 25, 2010

What took place in your life during the last five minutes? What do you expect to happen to you during the next five minutes?

Watch this video that tells us what will happen, and in what numbers, to people around the world over the course of the next five minutes, and is happening to people every five minutes of every day. Inhumanity, injustice, and tragedy.

Perhaps, after watching this video, you will agree that “the greatest tragedy is none of these (the tragedies documented in the video),  but instead, allowing the next five minutes to be like the last five minutes.”