14 What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone? James 2:14
I’ve been thinking about the Sunday sermon today. Pastor Phil talked about putting our faith into action by using a strategic plan. He said that many times Christians will see an injustice in the world and spend a year praying for God to fix it, not realizing that maybe God put them there to do something about it.
To be honest, this has never been my problem. I’ve always wanted to save the world and I’ve been trying to for as long as I can remember. I collected pennies and nickels from my classmates after lunch to buy up some Guatemalan rain forest and help stop the ozone layer from disappearing. I harvested pumpkins in my backyard to raise money for Christmas gifts for needy kids. I sent dozens of letters to celebrities asking for autographs so I could sell them and raise money for leukemia research. I never thought much about this tendency towards action until lately.
My pastor has been talking about how so many Christians fail to turn their faith into action. They live their lives, filled with car pool, yoga class and grocery shopping, rarely taking the time to put their faith into action. They start their days with pumpkin spice lattes and end them snuggled up in bed with a Max Lucado book, all the while forgetting that that is not why they’re here. That’s not why I’m here.
So because my pastor says until you write something down it really doesn’t truly exist, that’s what I’m doing. The Lord has significantly put two things on my heart over the past few years. I see the importance of both helping in my own community and also helping those suffering around the world. Here are two things the Lord has broken my heart for.
Local- Homeless Population: Let me first start with the burden I have for my community. While working as a reporter I did several stories on homeless people. I was inspired to help one initiative in particular called Reedy Place. It gives about a dozen chronically homeless people a place to live. They are given an apartment and they can stay there as long as they want, provided they stay drug and alcohol free and get jobs. Some friends and I have “adopted” these men and women for the past three years to give them Christmas gifts. My hope is that it is an encouragement to them to stay clean and make a difference. But since Christmas only comes around once a year I wanted to do more. I decided to use my new passion for couponing to collect items for Miracle Hill Ministries.
Over the past five months I’ve donated $434.12 worth of stuff like toothbrushes, shampoo, and food for Miracle Hill to hand out in their homeless shelters. The cool thing is I’ve only spent $23.94 on those items. To continue this ministry the Lord has prompted me to offer a free coupon class in my community to try to urge others to use this simple task as a way to reach out to those in need. The goal with the class would be to inspire others to donate their good deals and freebies to ministries like Miracle Hill. Who knew that couponing could actually be a ministry? I certainly didn’t! But as you can see with the amount of food and products I’ve been able to donate, even getting just a few other people inspired to do the same would make a big difference!
Global- Water Missions: While homelessness is a terrible problem, I believe every American has access to assistance that people in third world countries can’t even imagine. Millions of people live without access to clean water, which causes health problems and high death rates, especially among children. I first felt a burden for water missions when Steve and Jennifer Lorch, founders of Hydromissions, visited the church I was attending several years ago. They shared their story and showed how they were able to bring clean water to remote parts of the world using simple mechanisms often made out of bicycle parts and common hardware. For months Hydromissions would come into my mind, a repeated nudge from the Lord I believe. I wanted so badly to do something to help them. I told my husband and we devised a plan called 2 Wheels 4 Water. We drove 2 Vespas nearly 1200 miles across North and South Carolina to raise money for Hydromissions. The amount we raised, roughly $3300, is enough to fund eight deep wells in India. That was last summer and even now our trip is still getting publicity when just last week the official Vespa Facebook page posted photos of our trip.
People involved in water missions continue to cross my path. Just today I read about a Carolina organization that was recently putting in a well in Peru and when I heard about the work they were doing I cried. My heart is so broken for this mission and I want to be a part of the solution. Although I’m not exactly sure how I will be used I have a couple of ideas I’ve been thinking about and praying about. While I don’t know if this classifies as a strategic plan, it’s definitely a place I will be putting my faith into action and you can be sure I won’t spend a year sitting around waiting for God to do something because I believe that’s exactly why he put me here.