More Than A Cause: A Community

7 12 2012

‘Tis the season of giving. For those of us living in North America, we recognize that even our poor are richer than 80% of the other human beings living and breathing today. Even if you only earn $10,000 a year you are in the top 13% richest people in the world (for more about this, go to http://www.globalrichlist.com/). In North America, we live (materialistically speaking) an abundant life.

A lot of people recognize this and find ways to be generous. We find pathways through great organizations that give us the opportunity to help others. Some people are dedicated to a cause they have chosen and stick with it for many years; others respond as opportunities present themselves: a knock at the door, a phone-call, or a commercial on TV; it’s all good.

I was thinking this morning about the difference between a cause that one support’s as a part of a financial “routine,” and something you become invested in on a personal level so that it affects you and what you actually do with your one and only life.

A few years ago, I became aware of a group of people who had one foot in Canada and one foot in India, giving India’s poorest children a loving Christ-centered, home-environment, and a great education. It grabbed my attention for a few reasons. First, I have always felt drawn to India as a country, for some inexplicable reason. Second, because I could talk to the people who were actively involved in helping there, I felt an immediate and personal connection and I could see: this is real. What they are doing is really happening, is really working, is really amazing!

I heard the stories of people who were going back and forth between that country and ours. I heard about the needs, I could witness the progress in the lives of the children they were helping; and with the physical projects they were engaging in. I went there myself, eventually. And now I am completely in; invested; because I have seen with my own eyes what God is up to there and it is BIG in a smaller way.

By smaller, I mean you aren’t likely to hear about it on TV; it’s not really that kind of “cause”…it’s a community and that feels different to me. When we talk about the homes, they are homes that I was invited into in India where children are being cared for, taught, loved, and given a future. A place where you hear kids laugh! Some of them are orphans, others are from single parent homes; some have two parents who just can’t afford to feed and educate them. India has a lot of disadvantages. The children come to the homes and they are well cared for, cherished, joyful; they are being given a childhood and they are being offered a future. It’s BEAUTIFUL to see.

And I have seen it; that’s the difference for me. This is not something I have just read about, I went there. You can read about my experiences on this blog beginning at India Scene Three. I went to both homes and met the children, saw where they lived, played with them, ate with them, met the directors, saw what has been done and heard the vision for what will be done.  Now I am here, and I think about them, and pray for them, and give out of my abundance. And I have had other friends go now, and they have seen, and they have become passionate about the same thing. I will go back the second I am able to, without hesitation.

It is the community that draws you in: from the directors and teachers who have labored tirelessly and courageously to the vibrant, beautiful children themselves; the passion of the Canadian team who untangle red-tape for the homes, and help to guide and plan ahead and the energized teams who go to help fix old things and construct new things. It’s not something on paper, it is three-dimensional, living, a community of people I am getting to know.

All along God has blessed these communities so that they would not be extinguished by persecution, or sidelined by the tremendous difficulties they have faced over the years. The love of God has made these homes an oasis; and from there, children are carrying the light they have found out into all the corners of their country.

I am not doing any of it justice in this little article; there is too much there to contain in a short blog. I would encourage you, if you feel a little tug at your heart, to follow it up. Find out more about what I am talking about, ask me questions. Think about the difference between supporting a cause from a distance, and becoming a partner with a community making a difference.

— Teresa Klassen

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