between the help we want to offer and the help that is really needed. I am constantly second guessing myself when it comes to language, culture, religion and charity. Somedays I feel like my role as "missionary" is harder than I desire it to be. One friend who visited observed that we are living a dual life, missionary (looking out to those around us, accountability to our organization/donors, and then living in the present, our family and friends here). She reminded me that I'm tired for good reason.
I'm not saying this to complain. I love this work and wouldn't be here if I didn't. As always I've used this blog to share my thoughts and feelings. A place for me to share with those of you that love me and know me what's really happening. If you have happened onto this blog and don't know me, please give me grace as I'm struggling to know and do God's will.
Pillowcase dresses must be the new thing. Two different groups have sent dresses to us to give away. I must begin with the fact that we love the generosity of people and their handy crafty skills but the act of actually giving things out is complicated. It is one of my least favorite things to do. Many times when giving things away greed shows its ugly head and human nature takes over. Over the years we have learned how to manage this situation and how to avoid the pitfalls.
Two things we like to do with give aways: 1. give the donations to an organization's director and walk away. This allows the director the power to pass items out as he/she feels fit. This also allows us to honor an organization we feel is doing good work. 2. give out items slowly to people/families we see that are in need. ie a neighbor who comes with a need or when we hear someone talking about a need that we have a supply to meet that need.
These dress though didn't fall into those categories this time. We felt that a donation to the poor in the community where we do most of our ministry was necessary. (part of our hesitation is that we don't want people to look to the "white people" as a vending machine, coming to give things. We want people to be able to support themselves and not wait for a hand out). With all of these experiences and philosophies we called on the local leader of the community to help. We asked him to gather 20 girls from the poorest families together so we could give each a dress (we asked for 20 knowing we had about 40 dresses, previous experience gave us this idea) When we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to see only 20 girls sitting with their mothers waiting.
I said my welcome greeting and then turned to the leader. I told him that he was responsible to call the girls and make sure order was kept. He did a fabulous job. There was no chaos, no pushing, everyone was organized. We had a great time and when the 20 had received he then began calling others who had showed up, due to the noise the crowd was making. At the end he told me to tell the ladies about washing and keeping their dresses well. I also talked about raising girls and how they are the next generation of mothers. Giving out the dresses gave me a platform to share with the mothers about how special their daughters were and how big of a role they as mothers play on society. I was pleased, after all my apprehension of a large donation, that I was able to share truth and encourage life.
I think of James' words, If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?