Wednesday, June 09, 2010

20,000 Breaths, 20,000 Deaths

I've been reading a book... Jesus be near as my heart breaks for what I am learning, for the way my eyes are being opened... The book is "Too Small To Ignore", by Wess Stafford. That book is too truthful to ignore. The following has been on my heart since I began to read this book:


Would you do something with me right now?

Take a deep breath.

Did you do it? You did? Thank you.

Now, exhale.

Somewhere in Africa, South America, or Asia, a child took a breath at the same time as you and I just did.

For that one child, it was his or her last breath. Poverty took that child's breath away.

With the next breath you and I took, yet another child lost his or her life to poverty.

The reality is that in the time span of every breath we take, a child in a developing country dies of completely preventable causes. A cold. Lack of clean water. Diarrhea. Malnutrition or starvation.

Poverty renders them helpless to survive things that you and I all too often take for granted.

If these deaths were at the hands of someone we could blame -- a terrorist, a serial killer, a gunman, Hitler, it would be all over the news, we'd sit there stunned, the wind knocked out of us. Many of us would be angry and seeking justice, we'd want to blame someone and make them pay...

But... What if I am to blame, for not doing something?

If 20,000 children died today in North America, and another 20,000 died tomorrow, and again the following day, and every day thereafter without fail, since poverty never takes a holiday... would we feel any differently than we do when it's in a child "half a world away"?


Because the death of "one of those children, way over there..." isn't "our problem"?

Oh, but it is.... it is our problem. To think otherwise is a grave mistake, literally and otherwise. The children of the world are dying. It is our problem. In fact, we were explicitly told by Jesus that it is our problem, our priority, and our responsibility to do something about it. He was serious.

For as long as I have breath, I will not be silent, not in my beliefs, nor in my actions. I can no longer keep breathing my 20,000 breaths without considering what each one represents.

I will ensure that Bessy, Lizbeth, Suwanna, Noah, Novet, Caleb and Leo have the best chance possible not only to survive, but to overcome poverty completely and to survive well. With the help of Compassion, these children WILL grow into productive, successful adults who will in turn help others overcome poverty.

I will also ensure that I do my best to help Compassion meet the needs of other children both in the program, and waiting for sponsors.

I realize that I can't do everything... but I can do something. If I'm not doing something, what am I waiting for?

I have over 20,000 reasons a day to be called into action.... if that's not enough -- what is?


We're all led to make a difference with our own gifts and our own passions, some of us it's on a local level -- with the elderly, the homeless in our neighborhoods... for some, it's more global -- children dying of extreme poverty around the world. Perhaps it's being passionate about protecting animals or raising awareness of the environmental issues. We all have our own ways to make the world a better place, ways that directly use our personalities and what's close to our hearts. I encourage you all to seek the ways in which you're called to make a difference in this world. What matters is making a positive impact on our world.


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