As I thought what to write in this last blog post for the year, I decided to write about something I get asked about all the time. You see I get to speak about Africa a lot and I get to challenge people to consider going there with us. I call young adults to consider giving a year of their lives to serving the orphan, the widow and the urban poor through our Vision Year Program. The reality is; most of the people I speak with will probably never make it to Africa. Many care and want to feel more connected to the people we serve in grass roots transformative ways. And that’s what we are all about. We want to bridge the gap in tangible ways. So the question I get asked all the time is;
WHAT CAN I DO HERE, TO HELP MAKE A DIFFERENCE THERE?
People want to know that they can take actions here, that add up to making a difference there. That’s why we give! While writing a check is one of the major ways to be involved there are other ways to be involved too. So I’ve come up with a list of 12 small and big things you can do that are very helpful ways to get involved and take action. In order from baby steps to leaps of faith!
1. LIKE US- Like Us on The Face Book. Do it right here, right now!
We use our FB page as a gateway to keep you up-to-date with all things going on with the ministry. We also use it as a means to help educate friends of the ministry on the issues that we are involved in. Don’t worry we don’t like to bombard your feed with useless information.
2. AWARENESS- Wear one of our t-shirts or slap one of our stickers on your car or water bottle. Don’t underestimate the power of making someone aware of important things.
This month if you give a special gift over $100 you will get our new 2015 AR t-shirt free!
3. ONLINE SUPPORT- When ordering online use AMAZON SMILE and choose AR as your designated charity. EBAY WORKS is a similar online program that allows you to designate AR as your desired Charity.
4. AIR MILES- Gift your air miles to us. These are a huge blessing as the cost to fly to Africa is so high; every gifted mile helps! DELTA is our carrier of choice but we are always open to any miles people would like to donate.
5. GIVE STUFF- Often times we are given things that save us from spending cash. We have received everything from paper and pens to tires and laptops. Do you have something of value that could help our mission? Stay tuned for our current list of needs!
6. INVITE- Have us speak at your Life Group, Chapel, Church or Camp. I often get to speak and teach and love to engage the audience on topics relating to Missions, Africa, and The Gospel. I have set talks but also enjoy being asked to speak on a particular passage or theme. Or host an AR info session about the ministry at your house and invite your network to come and learn from us about missions, Africa and how they can be involved.
7. MATCHING FUNDS- If you are already a donor or want to be donor, ask your company if they have a program that offers Matching Funds for their employee’s donations. Some have found that doing this is a quick and simple way to double your donation to us.
8. FUNDRAISING- Come up with your own idea of how to raise funds for the ministry and make it happen. A garage sale, lemonade stand for your kids (a great way to teach them about giving to other kids in need) Run a marathon, a chili cook off, throw a party, an art sale, the list is endless. The more creative the better!
9. USE YOUR SKILLS- We are constantly looking for help with, researching, artwork, legal work, web stuff etc. Consider making your skills available, and we will find a way for you to make a meaningful contribution with your talent.
10. ADVOCATE- Get to know our ministry in a personal way and help recruit volunteers and staff. Help us pull of fundraisers for the work of the ministry.
11. LIVE SACRIFICIALLY- In a world that is clamoring for our resources it is becoming more important to live in such a way that you have something to give. Shop at the thrift store, drive one car, do what works for you and your family so you can maximize your financial giving by having more disposable income.
12. GIVE YOURSELF- Consider joining us part time or full time as a staff member. We are always on the lookout for people who could join our small family of staff. Currently we are looking for an “administratively gifted jack of all trades” to work alongside Allan in Lansing, MI.
So there you have it; 12 simple and not so simple ways to “DO SOMETHING” and love your brothers and sisters on the other side of the ocean. Lastly I would add Prayer. Infuse prayer into each one of these and you will see how God will make a way and use your actions to make a difference!