Haiti: An opportunity to help our children understand the blessing of sacrificial living

The widow in Luke 20:45-47 has always stood out to me. Here is a woman who gives not out of her abundance, or who decides to live a life less extravagant to give generously, here is a woman who gives all she has out of obedience. It is this woman that Jesus applauds for her sacrificial giving and it is through her that he highlights that the gift is secondary to the heart of the giver. In light of the crisis occurring in Haiti right now I found myself once again reflecting on the heart of the widow. I have to admit my initial response was far from what it should have been. Watching images of the crisis and hearing reports of the victims I found myself quickly trying to separate myself from the tragedy. This was the easiest thing to do, I would pray for the victims, but I could not give of my time with three young children at home, and certainly not of my financial resources at this time when medical bills are threatening to drown us and our income is not consistent month to month.

I am always looking for ways to give that don’t involve cash donations because finances for our family are so very tight. In the past we have been able to give out of our grocery savings by stockpiling items that are on sale and then donating them to local shelters. But when a tragedy such as the earthquake occurs often such medical stockpiling is not as helpful as cash donations. HOWEVER we are taught through the example of the widow to give generously and not always out of our excess but simply out of obedience to God). In the wake of this earthquake that has taken thousands of lives and that occurred in a country whose infrastructure was ill equipped to handle such tragedy the best way to give at this time is cash rather then resources. As a missionary not only in our town but to our children I found myself wondering how to involve our whole family in this process of giving, both to encourage in our children (and ourselves) global compassion and awareness but also increase our capacity to give sacrificially not out of abundance. Our family took inventory this week and tried to think of some ways that we could give generously together for the victims of Haiti. Here are some ideas we had to raise and “find” money to donate, some of them “hurt” our budget more then others, all are helping us grown in the spirit of sacrificial giving.

Give out of our “abundance”: I always thought that giving meant giving up things you do that aren’t necessary for survival, such as coffee or treats, or going out to eat, or perhaps television. Our family does not have anything in our budget right now that falls under such categories so cutting out the “unnecessary” was not an option (although this is a wonderful way to sacrificially give!) so we had to think a bit outside the box. Our girls have piggy banks in our room they have been saving, when we explained what happened and watched some edited video footage our 2 and 3 year old gave 3 of their quarters to the cause. This was about 1/2 their “savings” a generous gift indeed. Jon and I decided to eat more food out of our freezer this month and trim back some of our meals to vegetarian to trim our grocery costs for the month.

Give out of our talents: This was a fun area to brainstorm in. We are spending all day tomorrow baking sugar cookies and decorating them. We are then individually packaging them and selling them to co-workers, and taking them in to stores and places we frequent asking if they can “sell” them with a sign that says, “all proceeds to help the victims of Haiti”. I am doing similar things with some of the items the kids and I have made together such as homemade sidewalk chalk, and picture frames. I am also working on several sewing projects which I will sell and donate all the profits.

Give our “stuff”: We are in the process of going through the kids room (and entire house) to find items we can sell for some extra money. The girls went through their toys as well. These items we are hoping will not only bless another family but the cash earned from selling them will be able to provide some much needed medical relief to some of the victims.

Give our time: We thought of this idea and though it isn’t practical for our young family a family with children older then three may be able to donate their time to local relief organization. Often they need help processing funds, or packaging items for victims. Your donation of time enables more of the incoming funds to go to the victims and less to staffing needs.

Recycle: My husband went through his garage and was able to find some metals to recycle for some extra money to go toward our fund.

Using your blog / read a blog to help donate! Money Saving Mom has challenged blogger to use their blogs to spread awareness and challenge others to give, she and many others are offering to donate for every comment made on their posts to help Haiti. The best part is that you don’t have to own a blog just click on her post and you will see a whole list of blogs that are donating an amount for every blog link or comment saying how you will give. This blog post alone has raised over $40 to the cause!

Once we are done collecting the funds we are sending them in all at once to the organization we chose to help distribute them to people in need, World Vision. It is helpful for you to send in your items all at once to save on processing time for the organization. We chose World Vision for a wide variety of reasons, the main one is that they have been working in Haiti for quite some time and our a local organization we have worked with in the past within our own community.

Please join in the discussion! What are some ways you involve your children in globally and sacrificially giving? Is it important to you to reach out beyond your immediate place of service or do you feel that spreads you too thin? What are ways you give not out of your abundance but out of obedience and teach your children to do so as well?

Helping Haiti victims can be delicious!

(Post by: Amie)


7 Responses to “Haiti: An opportunity to help our children understand the blessing of sacrificial living”

  1. 1 Ashley L. January 21, 2010 at 11:54 am

    I really love your ideas and so appreciate you sharing with us on the topic of generosity. I feel like I of course want my children to learn to be generous and I try to instill that in them, but I haven’t been as intentional to teach that value as some others, probably because they don’t have much of their own (money, etc) that is theirs to give, and I don’t often think outside of the box in that area. Anyway, I love you ideas and how regardless of whether our kids can give anything of magnitude in the world’s eyes, the Lord looks at the heart, and my kids can certainly learn to give from the heart. Thank you for encouraging us not only to help those in need, but to help our kids become people who have their eyes turned to the needy. Also, yes, we too want to be involved in helping the hurting in Haiti. I can’t believe the tragedies that we read about every day and my heart breaks to see such sadness, destruction, and loss. Lord, have mercy on them.

  2. 2 Addie January 21, 2010 at 4:00 pm

    These are wonderful ideas, thanks for the reminder that we are called to teach our children in this way as well.

  3. 3 Amie January 21, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    What wonderful ways you ladies shepherd your children. My three year old is quite convinced at this point that our “Haiti jar” is going to buy cake and ice cream for hurting Haiti (after all what else can help you feel better?). She also offered to send me down there to give them kisses.
    Our bake sale and bread baking thus far has turned out to bless us very much as we realize that so many people long to give but don’t always have the resources so by allowing them to “spend” their bread money on haiti (and still get bread) we are helping others give too!
    Even if monetary contributions to Haiti aren’t possible at this time for your family you can help your kids give generously from their time and help them express their hearts of concern through prayer. The power of prayer is a gift that cannot be measured in earthly standards but is needed now more then ever in devastated places such as Haiti.

  4. 4 Shilo January 21, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    Thanks for the practical ideas!

  5. 5 Amie January 21, 2010 at 8:14 pm

    Brooke sent me an email with another fabulous idea. Their kids are drawing pictures of hope and sending them down with missionaries in the area or relief workers. What a great idea! Thanks for sharing Brooke!

  6. 6 montyandmarie January 22, 2010 at 3:35 am

    LOVE the ideas, Amie! I’m bookmarking this to return to in few more months. Currently our girls don’t understand what is going on, so we are giving out of our grocery money to WV, too. However, every night during dinner the girls ask to pray [“pay” while holding their hands] and we pray for Haiti. Who knows if they understand that either, but, it’s a start 🙂 May God multiply our gifts abundantly for His people in Haiti…

  1. 1 1st Blogiversary! « Missionary Moms Trackback on February 8, 2010 at 5:06 am

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