- Created on Sunday, 18 April 2010 09:29
So many wonderful things have come to Refuge for use in Guatemala!!! We continue to be blessed everyday with equipment and supplies that hospitals or clinics no longer need. Right now, we are preparing a full dental clinic for shipment to Chocola that was given to us by a wonderful group in Arkansas called CURE. Thanks to many volunteers, but specifically a group of wonderful men from Hiway 80 Mission in Longview we almost have it all crated. From here it will be shipped to Knoxville, Tennessee where our good friends at Vine International will ship it to Guatemala.
One of the burdens to struggle with is determining where the gifts are to go once we receive them. Daily we take steps of faith in determining where these gifts need to go to help the people that they are intended for. It is not an easy thing to be responsible for the gifts or 'talents' that we are given to grow. Please know that this is never taken lightly.
All of the great religions advocate charitable giving.
Zakāt or "alms giving", is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is the giving of a percentage of one's possessions to charity, generally to the poor and needy. It is often compared to the system of tithing and alms, but it serves principally as the welfare contribution to poor and deprived Muslims, although others may have a rightful share. It is the duty of an Islamic community not just to collect zakat but to distribute it fairly as well.
Those of the Jewish faith practice Tzedakah, a Hebrew word commonly translated as charity, though it is based on the Hebrew word meaning righteousness, fairness or justice. In Judaism, tzedakah refers to the religious obligation to perform charity, and philanthropic acts, which Judaism emphasises are important parts of living a spiritual life
Those of the Vedic tradition of Hinduism are encouraged to give according to their ability and position – which for a family man would be up to 50%.
The Sikh code of Conduct advocates that 10% of income should be given to charity.
In Christianity, there is the parable of the widow that guides giving. One day Jesus was in the temple, talking to the disciples and others who were gathered round in rapt attention, hoping to learn from his wisdom. In those days, Jewish people were expected to give to the temple and to the poor as part of their service to God. Jesus told his followers to observe how people were putting money into the offering box. As they looked they noticed the different amounts which were being put
in the box, and the manner in which it was given. They observed how some people gave their money in a flamboyant manner, so that those around would register their generosity, whilst others appeared more reluctant, and resentful at having to part with their cash. As they watched an old widow woman,dressed in black ragged clothing hobbled into the temple. She looked completely out of place amongst the rich merchants. Indifferent to their snobbish gazes, she emptied out her money bag, and put the entire contents into the offering box – just two of the smallest coins of all (which in those days were called ‘mites’). Jesus’s disciples were not impressed, but when they commented on the insignificance of her contribution, Jesus told them that she had given far more generously than all the other people that morning.
Refuge has had an incredible supporter of our projects. She is in her 70s and is not able to leave her house very often. She is the primary caregiver for her husband who is totally dependent on her for his care. She has never been to Guatemala and it is doubtful that she will ever go. But month after month, she sends a check to Refuge to support our work. I sit in awe of this wonderful woman!! I understand why others are reluctant to give to something or someone they cannot ''see'' for themselves. It is much easier, I think to give to something that you can watch grow or provide servuces that you can see with your own eyes, such as a children's playground or a local charity providing meals. I get that. I give freely of my time and resources to help the people of Guatemala because I have SEEN the need. But I am eternally grateful for people such as this wonderful woman who gives in faith...without seeing the children and families in Guatemala who need her help. Her faith is so much greater than mine!! Whenever we spend monies on projects, I ask myself if it is something she would want to support. Your gifts are not taken lightly.
May all of you who support Refuge with your work and donations find peace. Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.
- Created on Sunday, 11 April 2010 09:25
"Remember, we are playing to an audience of only one."
Dr. Ken Eveland, Vice President of Refuge International, shares this message with me often. Since hearing this the first time, it has given me pause on several occasions. Spiritually, it reminds me that my actions are not for those of this world to judge but of a power much greater than any of us....AND...that it is not up to me to judge the actions of another.
On another level, in the work that is done through Refuge International, the one who is in front of us asking for our help is the 'audience of one' we are playing to. Each patient we see in clinic or perform surgery on is that 'audience of one.'
It was in this spirit that our Saul project was born. By the end of April, we hope to have with us Alejandro, an 18 year old young man, born with bilateral club feet. We first met Alejandro 4 years ago and began working on getting help for him. However, he is an orphan, and was not able to receive a Guatemalan passport so we could not get a medical visa for him to come to the US for surgery through Scottish Rite hospital where other children sponsored by Refuge have been helped to walk again. It was only after he turned 18 in February was he able to get a Guatemalan passport, but by that time, he no longer qualified for programs at Scottish Rite as he was not a child.
Graciously, Dr. Jordan Stanley, an orthopedist in Longview Texas, and Good Shepherd Hospital have committed to helping Alejandro at no cost. He tells me that he has prayed for 4 years for this and has prayed for the success of Refuge International's programs. God willing, he will receive his Visa on April 26th and will come to East Texas for life changing surgery that cannot be provided in Guatemala. We are playing to an 'audience of one."