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Sometimes a Penny Saved...

What can you buy with a few pennies now-a-days? You can't even buy a pack of gum, but maybe a stick of gum? Yet a few pennies can be a world of change for organizations and individuals serving others and changing lives across the globe.

I recently published a hub regarding changing lives in your community and in the United States. I firmly believe that mission work starts in your home and your community. But if we only focus on our community and country, we miss the blessing of changing lives throughout the world.

One of the great joys of modern technology is having access to distant lands at your fingertips. Suddenly India is not so far via internet, while Haiti and the Dominican Republic is just a short flight away, and a letter can be sent to nearly any place in the world. Again, I could write thousands of hubs about each worthwhile organization to support, yet I will highlight those with whom I have direct experience.

Church in Guatemala
Church in Guatemala

Love in All Languages

If you are reading this, you are amongst the most blessed people in the whole world. We often take for granted the ability to read and write, and have access to so much information in a language we understand. You are especially blessed if you have access to your most sacred book(s) in your own language.

For me, the Bible is the most sacred book in the universe, and yet there are 4430 languages in the world who don't even have a portion of the scripture in their language. This is where organizations like Lutheran Bible Translators comes in to help. Their missionaries assimilate into communities, learn their language and culture and belief systems, then work with a team of people from that community to translate the Bible. It can take years to get even a final New Testament, yet the end result is amazing: The Bible, available for people to study in their heart language.

I got the opportunity to go with LBT to Guatemala when I was in college. At the time, I was ready to drop everything and join their team, yet found out I had to get a Bachelor's degree first since to be a translator you need courses in higher level linguistics. Yet, on my week long journey I got to learn about the work being done in Guatemala, where there are 21 formally recognized Mayan dialects (according to Wikipedia), and about the beautiful people in need of the Gospel in their heart language.

Maybe my calling is still to do Bible translation one day, but until then, i will continue to support the work of others working directly with this organization.

Woman making bread in her home.
Woman making bread in her home.
I am helping children with a Bible story.
I am helping children with a Bible story.
One of my beautiful sponsored girls, Yiseli.
One of my beautiful sponsored girls, Yiseli.

Sponsor a Child

There are a lot of great organizations through which to sponsor a child. For a small monthly donation, a child can receive education, clothes, food and more. One of the larger organizations I fully support is Compassion International. There is a wonderful young woman, Pavithra Pragasm, who I have sponsored for many years. It is a joy to write to her and to see how she is learning about God and growing as a young woman of God.

Although Compassion, and many others, are great organizations, there are many smaller organizations that need help as well. This is where volunteering and getting involved first hand makes a huge difference.

Before my work at Amigos en Cristo, I was sent to Santiago, Dominican Republic, to brush up on my Spanish and work with two mission teams there. During my stay of 7 weeks there, I lived with Diamela Pascasio, the founder and director of the Genesis Home School, which is a Christian school and orphanage in Los Ciruelitos. It is very common for children in the Dominican to be born without a birth certificate, and if this is the case, they are excluded from the public schools. In the Genesis school, they can received a wonderful Christian education and get an opportunity to better their lives and give back.

This sponsor a child organization is still so small there isn't a website for it yet. Much of it's beginning growth and the sponsorship program was started by St. Michael Lutheran Church in Fort Myers. Other than the two weeks of mission work, I spent 5 weeks studying Spanish and spending countless hours with the orphans at Genesis and with Diamela's family. They are now my Dominican family and that is why I now support four of the kids at the orphanage. I support them because I know them, I have played games with them, and they are like my siblings. I have had the great opportunity to go back at least four more times and hope to go back again soon.

My sponsored kids and other kids living at the orphanage.
My sponsored kids and other kids living at the orphanage.
Malnourished baby in Haiti
Malnourished baby in Haiti

Using Your Change to Change Lives

In the summer of 2009, my husband and I got the pleasure to take a week long mission trip to the other side of Hispaniola to the beautiful country of Haiti. Bonjour, we practiced, yet I could never quite get the accent right!

Although I had seen extreme poverty on many other occasions, it was still gut wrenching to see it again and on such a grande scale. And this, before the devastating earthquake the following year. We stayed with our group at Mission of Hope Haiti. It was an amazing week of service and learning and seeing not only the poverty but also the beauty in Haiti. Even before the earthquake, Mission of Hope was changing lives through their schools and hospital, raising leaders in Haiti to be the reformers of the country. As they do their work, the love of Jesus is transforming lives and changing the country from the inside out.

My husband, sister and myself with our parents' sponsored kid with Mission of Hope, Lordens.
My husband, sister and myself with our parents' sponsored kid with Mission of Hope, Lordens.

United We Stand

If you're made it this far, it's because you're humoring me, or interested in changing the world. Together, we can change the world, one life at a time, and sometimes hundreds of lives at a time. I encourage you to get passionate for something locally and globally, and I encourage you to, with all boldness, find like-minded individuals to work together to change the world where you can because alone, we can do something, but together we can do something extraordinary. It may be a daunting task to think about changing the world, but you do it by changing even one life.

I pray you find the courage and strength to give generously of your funds and your time.

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