In a world where a child dies from malnutrition every six seconds, I have everything it takes for survival, and so much more.
I have food.
I have water.
I am alive.
I have clean clothes to wear tomorrow.
I am safe.
I have a proper education.
I have a family that loves me, and pets, and a home.
I have freedom, as a child, a Christian and a female.
I have everything that a kid my age (12) could ask for, but sometimes I don’t feel like I have enough. I suppose that feeling comes from God. Having is simply not enough and will never be enough. The more we have, the more we want. It’s a crazy cycle. I am pretty sure that feeling of not having enough comes from not giving enough.
There is only one word to describe the way I have been living my life. Duh. This one word, duh, this was my life. You might think duh is a funny word to describe a life. I use it to describe cluelessness, unawareness, ignorance. I was ignorant. Until just recently.
I have recently learned of a place, called Burkina Faso, Africa. The third most miserable place ON EARTH! Where water is scarce, where children have to choose between working to feed their family or going to school, and starvation and illness are part of daily life for so many! It is a place so overwhelmed by poverty, that we as Americans cannot even attempt to imagine the struggles they face. When I first heard of this country, I went to bed praying, “please God tell me there isn’t really a place like this.” I had instantaneously become ashamed of my ignorance to the hurting world around me. I know pain and suffering exist but I never thought too much about it.
Today, I look around and close to every person my eye greets – At school. At the store. At the movie theater – I wonder if they are blind to the hurt in the world too. It has become clear to me that some of the things that we live for, hope for, work for, simply don’t matter.
After learning about the people of Burkina Faso, I felt bad for them. But then I became convinced that feeling bad simply wasn’t enough. I found myself looking at the pictures of the Burkina Faso children more, and doing research on their culture and issues. I began to feel responsible for them, as if I was their older sister. I felt compelled by God to help these dear people.
I am determined to make an impact in two ways: (1) by funding a well and (2) by being a light of inspiration for others.
Why a well? Many people in Burkina Faso travel extremely far distances only to collect water that is dirty, diseased and sometimes deadly. One well can provide clean drinking water for up to 1,000 people and drastically improve their lives. One well costs $2000. I’m not too good at math, in fact it is my least favorite subject in school, but I know that’s only $2 per person. That’s not a whole lot of money to save a life.
Why be an inspirer? I feel like this is probably the most important part of my call to help the people of Burkina Faso. People often say that the church and Christians are messed up and that we don’t care about others. I don’t see that. I think people have just stopped noticing the hurt in this world. Maybe because everyone’s so busy. Maybe because in a world where everyone seems to be connected, we really are disconnected. But more likely, we don’t try to see the needs of this world because we are a bit greedy. Seeing needs might lead us to dig into our pockets and give. Giving requires sacrifice. Sacrifice is hard for the greedy. And perhaps even more likely, we keep our eyes closed to the hurt because we have become great practicers of self-protection. When you start to notice the needs of this world, it will break your heart. No one likes their heart broken. Broken hearts are only mended by taking steps to heal the hurt.
I believe this world has gifted and beautiful people who are “noticers.” Noticers see things- the broken, the hopeless, the beautiful, the wounded, the tragic, the lost, the possibilities. Noticers respond by doing. Doing whatever it takes to help meet needs and create more beauty, joy and peace in the world. Noticers inspire! Noticers help make other noticers, and together they do great things to change the world. Jesus gathered Disciples by walking along a dirty road and inviting them to become noticers of the hungry, the sick, the lost, the forgotten and the hurt, and to help them see a tiny glimpse of the love and greatness of our God. I would like to say that I am a Noticer… but I have only just begun the process…Will you join me?