Monday, September 20, 2010

It's a Small World after All?

Hi...Stephanie Newton here.  My husband arrived home from Tanzania, Africa this week after a 27 hour trip home.  He and a 17 member team from our church spent a couple of weeks on a mission trip there at the base of Mt Kilimanjaro.  They had an amazing trip, beginning construction on a new school and building relationships and wells, hosting a basketball camp and VBS for kids, among other things.

My 14 year old daughter wanted to go so badly.  She has a heart for people and for missions and watching her dad leave without her was tough.  So while he was away, we spent some time talking about things that we could do to help people here and overseas without ever leaving home.  Here are a few of our ideas...
  • Give the gift of food through Heifer International. (I, of course, began teasing her that she was getting a goat for Christmas)
  • Buy yourself a cool bag and feed children around the world through FEED Projects.  My daughter bought an awesome reversible burlap bag, which will feed one child in Africa lunch for a year.  It's a remarkably small price to pay and a child who is hungry gets at least one meal a day.
  • Use coupons and stockpile.  Take your extra items to the homeless or battered women's shelter in your area.  Or collect inexpensive items to make health kits which can be sent to people who need them by various mission organizations like this one or this one.
  • Donate $10 to Nothing but Nets to help fight malaria in Africa.
  • Write letters to people who are alone...shut-ins, soldiers, etc
We came up with lots more ideas...most involved buying something cool, like coffee (my idea) or T-shirts (hers).  But there are some ideas like writing letters or volunteering time that don't take money to make a difference in someone's life.  I know that all of you have lots of ideas from your own areas and churches.  Would you share some of the things that you do to help, even when you can't travel around the world?

Thanks!

Stephanie Newton lives in Northwest Florida with her husband and two teenagers.  Look for Holiday Havoc, the next book in the Emerald Coast 911 series, in retail stores in November.

7 comments:

Stephanie Newton said...

We have a group of ladies at our church who make lap quilts for the Wounded Warriors project. Stockings are a great idea! (I'll pass the word along to our sewing group)

We do Operation Christmas Child, too. I had such a good time last year with my kids filling shoe boxes and thinking about children on the other side of the world opening them. It's a little humbling though, to think about what my kids get for Christmas, and then to look at the little gifts that fit in a shoebox and think it's the only gift that child will get.

What great ideas--thanks!

Catherine Mann said...

Hi Stephanie! As you know from visiting my house , I foster motherless puppies and special needs dogs for my local Humane Society until they're healthy enough to be adopted into forever homes. Anytime you foster one animal, that frees up space for another to be saved. Other ways to help at your local shelter.... donate a bag of pet food or offer to walk dogs. Shelters are so short staffed that often the only time an animal gets out of the kennel run is if a volunteer can give it a walk or time in the play yard. A friend of mine says, "While saving one dog won't change the world, it will change the world for that one dog."

Stephanie Newton said...

Thanks, Cathy! The dogs and puppies that you foster always find amazing homes, too, because they've had lots of love and socialization at the Mann home. Not to mention we get amazing puppy kisses when we visit!

For dog lovers who don't want a long term commitment, in our area and others around the country, there are Puppies Behind Bars programs(or similar ones). Inmates train the dogs to be service animals, but they need helpers to take the dogs a couple of times a month for visits in the community.

Merrillee said...

The past two years at Christmas time my family, instead of giving gifts to each other, have used that money to give to mission projects here in the US or overseas. The first year we told our daughters and sons-in-law that we were giving a goat and two chickens to a family through World vision. A couple of months after Christmas, my one son-in-law asked how his goat was doing? At first, I didn't get it, then I realized what he was talking about. :)

Stephanie Newton said...

Merrillee, that's such a great idea!

Tom's Shoes make great Christmas gifts, too, because when you buy a pair, they give a pair to a child who has no shoes. We love Tom's!

Stephanie Newton said...

Barb,
Don't ever doubt that the things you do at home make a big difference for others!

God has a way of making our small gifts into big blessings.

Love,
Steph

Tina Peterson said...

You had some great ideas on your post. I'd like to share them on my blog - http://familyliteracyandyou.blogspot.com

There are some really good ideas for families to do together.

Thanks! Tina "The Book Lady"