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Request for recommendations

August 2, 2007

A few months ago I felt God was moving in me to learn even more about what it means to give myself and my life away. I have to admit, I am failing in that area of my life, and I could really use your help. If you have any recommendations or advice for me in these areas I would love to hear about them.

1) I felt convicted to give a significant amount of money away. I went to my pastor but was told that my church was not ready to deal with a donation like this and it would be better to find other organizations to give to or work with. I want to give the money to organizations that don’t just meet a need, but work to build an infrastructure that trains people to live differently and to move out of their place of struggle. I also want to make sure the organization is financially sound and uses the majority of their funds to directly impact people, not for administrative or marketing activities. Do you have recommendations of credible organizations?

2) I am committed to giving of my time and energy by going on a mission trip in 2008. Do you know of any great organizations that hold trips a single female adult could join? Again, I want to find a credible organization, but I also am willing to go beyond the ordinary and to travel wherever God leads. I would prefer going a trip where we don’t just provide social service support, but where those on the mission actively walk out their Christian beliefs in their service. I would also love for it to be an organization that I could develop a relationship with so I could bring others (youth, adults, and maybe even families) on future trips.

All recommendations are welcome. Thanks.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 4, 2007 8:52 pm

    Hi Sherie,
    During the years that I was a Christian I gave away many thousands of dollars, and finally came to the ironic conclusion that it is almost the worst way of giving there is. Many people are poor because they manage money poorly. Once I gave several thousand dollars to a friend of a friend who was a street sweeper so he could clear his credit card debt. The guy spent all the money (plus a bit he had to borrow) to go to Africa to preach the gospel. The end result was he was even more in debt afterwards than before I had given the money!
    There is a poorer suburb of town close to where we live, and I have several christian friends who work with these people. They all advise not to give them any money – they will only waste it.
    I have also seen christian organisations over the years tear themselves apart over finances. It really highlights just how different the kingdom of God really operates!
    My personal recommendation would be World Vision and/or direct child sponsorship. I like everything I have seen about this organisation.
    Re 2), Over the years I have spent 12 months in full time missions. It is very difficult not to just become a “spiritual tourist” where what you are doing is all about you and what you are learning. I think the very best place to start is with an organisation that is not overtly christian, but focussed on “social service support”. I know that’s the opposite of what you said above, but there you go. IMHO you are far better off being a pinch of salt in a pot of wordly soup (where the real action is at), rather than jumping into christian salt-shaker and becoming just another grain in the christian machine.
    My 2 cents worth.
    I admire your aspirations!
    Jon

  2. Nicole permalink
    August 5, 2007 3:41 pm

    Hi Sherie-
    I find it out that your pastor would decline a donation.
    Anyway, a few years ago I worked for an organization that helped people who had low or no vision. Through that experience it was brought to my attention that there are a lot of people who have a need in that area. Most of the clients were senior citizens who were experiencing age related macular degeneration(ARMD). Most were in no position to afford the tools needed to remain independent. The organization provides occupational therpay to help with mobility, specialists in the field for proper diagnosis, social workers to help with the emotional impact of loosing your sight and an adaptive aids store that sells things to help people remain independant. This is a non-profit and has helped countless people. Let me know if you want any more information.

  3. Nicole permalink
    August 5, 2007 3:42 pm

    That was supposed to read ” I find it odd” not out 🙂

  4. August 5, 2007 5:53 pm

    Jon, I agree with your assessment of not just giving money away to anyone in need, and your recommendation of World Vision. Their world head quarters is near where I live. They are a great organization that tries to put systems into place that change things, or train people to live differently. That is exactly what I am thinking of. My church does some work with World Vision. Thank you for the information and opinions.

    Another organization I have supported for a number of years is Mercy Corps (http://www.mercycorps.org). Maybe this will help people know what I am talking about.

    Mercy Corps:
    Mission: Mercy Corps exists to alleviate suffering, poverty and oppression by helping people build secure, productive and just communities. Purpose: Mercy Corps has learned that communities recovering from war or social upheaval must be the agents of their own transformation for change to endure. It’s only when communities set their own agendas, raise their own resources and implement programs themselves, that their first successes result in the renewed hope, confidence and skills to continue development.

  5. August 5, 2007 5:59 pm

    Nicole, thank you for the information. This organizatio isn’t quite what I was thinking about, but I might follow up with you for more information.

    My church is trying really hard to find ways to be involved with reaching out to the community and world and not just keep money themselves. The reason the pastor said they weren’t ready for such a donation was all the work it would take to research organizations and make sure they were using the funds wisely. The reason I had approached the pastor was the thought that a church might be a place to bring people together into valuable discussions around these topics and leverage our funds together to make an impact. I understand why the church isn’t ready….I just got lazy about following through on doing this on my own without others holding me accountable and hope to improve on that soon.

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