Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Heart at Work

If you've been reading my blog for a while there's something I hope you've noticed. I try never to get too personal or sappy on here but sometimes issues weigh heavily in my soul and I feel the need to talk about them. It's that time again. For those that have really been reading my blog you probably expect some crazy remark to come out of left field right now that will turn this into a comedic post, but for those that really really follow my writing, you know I'm unpredictable and this time, I'm keeping things serious. As it has in the past ( Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C, Exhibt D ) Africa is on my heart again. I've never been to Africa. I don't even know that it's somehwere I desire to go. But I know that my heart breaks for lots of people there. AIDS, famine, malaria, polio, genocide, war, malnutrition, and perhaps worst of all, the ongoing feeling of being forgotten by the rest of the world. How can a heart not break? But despite all these hardships, hope remains and prospers.

I want to spotlight two blogs of people doing some amazing work in Africa right now. Both have been added to my links section but here's a few little details. First is a group from my church and an organization called Global Family Rescue. Working in Rwanda, GFR provides sponsorships to families - pairing Rwandan families with Chicago suburbanites - and helps provide food, clothing, and education to children and job and life skills to adults with the goal of helping the families to become self-sufficient. Secondly is my friend and former coworker Colleen and an organization she cofounded called Brick by Brick dedicated to building a school for autistic children in Tanzania. What's unique and awesome about both of these organizations and their subsequent blogs is that you will not see Americans coming in as the saviors of Africa. Rather you see Americans and Africans working together, fostering real relationships, drawing upon skills of local people, developing resident leaders, and working together for positive solutions in which people can be empowered to help themselves. In a CCDA book I read recently (And You Call Yourself a Christian) and again in End of the Spear, the point is made that doing for others what they can do for themselves is charity at its worst. Developing others to become self-sufficient is charity at its best and extreme kudos to Global Family Rescue and Brick by Brick for recognizing that and putting it into practice.

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