Fearless.

{Encouragement and inspiration are courtesy of the Case Foundation}

First and foremost, we have a BHAG (big, hairy, audacious goal).  Using the examples I have read, for instance…NASA, Amazon, Malaria No More, etc; I have prayed about and researched and wrote about a billion notes…I would like to unveil Kupenda 127’s BHAG:

Every community has the ability to care for the orphans that are part of their community and there will be due diligence done to find families for each and every orphan, in every community, in every country, throughout the entire world.

This is big.  Huge.  Audacious.  Crazy.  Do-able?  To reach this goal it will take numerous partnerships.  Collaboration.  Hard, hard work.  New ways of doing things.  More than likely, a few failures.

There is an urgent need:  There are between 140 – 210 MILLION children in the world today, who do not have families.  Who are hungry.  Who are dying.  Who do not know that anyone on this planet loves them.

At this moment, it seems a little bit impossible.  I am relatively alone on this journey.  A single mom, without a job and not even $100 to my name.  But I have perseverance, motivation, a lot of research, and a relatively new found ability to push past the sea of no’s.  And most importantly, I serve a God who loves these children more than all of us combined and I know that He has called me to serve them.

Single minded.

Something I realized tonight…I need to be single minded.  Have tunnel vision.  I have been worried about other things and feel that these distractions are holding me back.

I realized that my concern for certain things isn’t where my mind should be.  I believe that it is important to care about others and to pray for them, but God has given me a purpose and a calling.  I am wasting time and energy on things that aren’t my problem.

And I also realized that the reasons that these other projects are successful is because they have single minded leaders.  Their leaders are not concerned about my successes, although I am sure that they care.  But their focus is on their calling.

It isn’t my responsibility or my place to “fix” everything.  I have to remember that I have an Almighty God who is more than capable, willing, and perfect for that.

I am realizing more and more about God and His purpose and learning about His nature.  What are you double minded about in life?

Death.

Death is not my favorite topic, nor is it one I really like to dwell on.  Especially the death of a child.

I have never experienced the pain of losing a child, I am among the most fortunate for that.  I have had the experience of losing my six month old nephew.  To watch my sister grieve.  To watch my parents grieve.  My daughter, at only six, experiencing pain unlike our family had ever experienced before.  Agonizing.  Raw.  Not a time that I ever want to relive.  To even speak of memories of my nephew can cause tears to sting my eyes, my throat to catch, and my heart to hurt.  It’s real pain, that has not diminished over time.

So, these statistics grieve my heart.  They are the ones that I cannot get over, the ones that I can’t wrap my brain around why this hasn’t been stopped.  These are the statistics that drive me to action.

There are a few unconditional truths about orphans and poverty that I believe.  They are:

1.  Every single child on this planet deserves a family.  Period.  No ifs, ands, or buts.

2.  Every single life has value, my life is not more valuable because I live in the US.

3.  Preventable deaths in third world countries should move us to the same action they did when they were happening here in our homes.

4.  A lot of small actions add up to a big difference.

5.  We all have something that we can do today.

The source:  [http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats]

According to UNICEF, 22,000 children die each day to due to poverty.  And they “die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death.”

Infectious diseases continue to blight the lives of the poor across the world.  An estimated 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, with 3 million deaths in 2004. Every year there are 350–500 million cases of malaria, with 1 million fatalities: Africa accounts for 90 percent of malarial deaths and African children account for over 80 percent of malaria victims worldwide.

Some 1.8 million child deaths each year as a result of diarrhea.

10.6 million children died in 2003 before they reached the age of 5 (same as children population in France, Germany, Greece and Italy).

1.4 million children die each year from lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation.

2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized.

These are children whose death is preventable.  They are not just numbers, these are babies — whose lives are cut short when they don’t have to be.

For the surviving children and families, they are likely to be enduring extreme poverty.

Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight or stunted. The two regions that account for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

1.6 billion people — a quarter of humanity — live without electricity.

Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation.

1.8 billion people who have access to a water source within 1 kilometer  but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 liters per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses about 150 liters a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 liters day.

Close to half of all people in developing countries suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits.

Millions of women spend several hours a day collecting water.

In developing countries some 2.5 billion people are forced to rely on biomass—fuel wood, charcoal and animal dung—to meet their energy needs for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80 percent of the population depends on traditional biomass for cooking, as do over half of the populations of India and China.

Indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels [by poorer segments of society] is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4000 deaths a day.

Based on enrollment data, about 72 million children of primary school age in the developing world were not in school in 2005; 57 per cent of them were girls. And these are regarded as optimistic numbers.

The loss of 443 million school days each year from water-related illness.

So many needs, so many lives that could be changed by so little help.  What part can you play?  What is God calling you to do?

A fresh vision, a new perspective

I have spent so many hours in prayer and reading my Bible.  Seeking God’s heart and will for my life.  Reading blogs, statistics, researching other organizations, reading books, and plans until my eyes hurt and my brain in on overload.  Reaching out to people, never getting a response…this cycle of feeling hopeful, then let down.  But I don’t that’s not God’s will for my life.  Learning to just keep my eyes on Him so I don’t sink in doubts.  I love the story of Peter walking out on the water to meet Jesus.  I want that kind of trust — and to continue the same trust when I see the waves.

I wanted to share my facts with you all, you can find these on probably a million websites, they are pretty commonly stated, but I think it still bears repeating.  [The source is: www.unicef.org/uniteforchildren]

It is estimated there are between 143 million and 210 million orphans worldwide.  (The current population of the United States is just a little over 300 million, just to put that in perspective.)

Every single day 5,760 more children become orphans.

2,102,400 more children become orphans every year in Africa alone.

Every 15 seconds, another child in Africa becomes an AIDS orphan.

There are an estimated 14 million AIDS orphans in Sub-Saharan Africa (a number higher than the total of every under-eighteen year old in Canada, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and Ireland combined).  This was projected to hit 18 million in 2010, those numbers have not been released yet (or I haven’t found them!).

8 out of 10 children orphaned by AIDS lives in sub-Saharan Africa.

Approximately 250,000 children are adopted annually, but…

Each year 14, 505, 000 children grow up as orphans and age out of the system by age sixteen.

Each day 38,493 orphans age out.

Every 2.2 seconds another orphan ages out with no family to belong to and no place to call home.

Briefly, I would like to remind us of one thing — THESE ARE CHILDREN.  Somebody’s baby.  The only difference between them and our children is the location of their birth!  They are innocent and vulnerable.  Every single child deserves to know what love feels like, to have someone to call their family.

I have many more statistics and thoughts about those to come, but let me leave you with this one brutally real statistics and a reminder that these are not numbers, these are PEOPLE.

Number of caring adults needed to change the life of a child:  1

Love.

Love has continued to be such an overwhelming theme in my life and my heart.  So many times I have heard that whisper in my heart….Love them.

Just love them.

In the midst of my busy thoughts and my incessant planning and organizing and trying to figure out something so much bigger and crazier than me, while enduring the constant barrage of people saying why I shouldn’t do this.  It’s so easy to forget why I should.

I should because I am called.  I should because it’s the right thing for me.  I can’t help this intense love for people I don’t even know.  I can’t explain how I feel like my heart lives somewhere else these days.  I don’t want to leave my friends and family, but I feel like I can relate to Jonah in a new way.  And that if I am not obedient to what God has called me to do, then I believe I will probably end up in the belly of a fish too, perhaps more figuratively then literally in my case.

I ask God all too often why He couldn’t have called me to something else.  In my personality tests and such that I have done for school and training, my results are ridiculously lopsided.  Call it mercy, being “blue”, compassion, feeling, whatever…it’s what God gave me to work with.  So, I get that people think I don’t see the whole picture — because honestly, I probably don’t.  I see hungry kids, starving babies, mommas dying of AIDS and knowing they can’t do anything to change what is going to happen — not only to them but to their children.  I see people who don’t understand God’s love because they have never known human love.  And my job is to love them and serve them and cry with them and pray with them and hold them when there are no words.  Because I can’t know about what is happening in these far away places and not do something.

There is a quote by William Wilberforce that says, “You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.”

I am choosing not to look the other way.