What an incredibly effective awareness video!
I’ve been back in the United States from Sierra Leone now for just a couple of days recovering from jetlag and catching up with friends in Newport Beach in the ‘OC’. The contrast from Sierra Leone, Western Africa is stark. You can catch up on previous posts here. Almost feels wrong to try and compare. I will admit though – I am the first to be grateful for ‘Western luxuries’… running water, hot LONG showers, flushing toilets, power not operated by a generator, GREAT roads, owning a car, being able to camouflage into the crowd, NOT being consistently asked for ‘small money’, being able to drink water from the tap….able to eat salad… and the list goes on. Not only am I grateful… I like these ‘normal’ luxuries. They make my life easy. They make it possible for me to pursue things I like and want. A career… relationships… adventure… new clothes… Think about it. Having the ability to jump in a shower in your house, grab some water from the tap, eat food from your fridge allows you to then jump into your car to go to the job you need to have to pay for all of the above! Luxuries more then most of the world don’t have.
We’ve all heard the poverty statistics. Actually, I think most of us have gotten numb to them. I might have even told you that out of 1000 babies born in Sierra Leone, 270 die before the age of five – http://www.unicef.org/india/media_3896.htm.
Let’s bring that stat home. The beautiful, smart little girl in the pic was adopted by ’mumma’ Ruth from LWI when her mother died at 18 days old. Her family didn’t want her to become another statistic. Already out of the ten children born to her mum, five had died! Staggering!
This past two weeks, I got to see the impact fresh water actually has on a community. The band I work for Alabaster Box partnered with the non-for-profit Global Benefit to raise funds. Below is a village that received clean water for the first time in 25 years. ’Glady Glady’ means happy! As you can see… this grandma is still VERY happy that they have clean water close walking distance to their house!
This was the well Alabaster Box helped restore. I don’t think I could lift that bucket…. let alone get it on top of my head without getting baptised!
America, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, England… comfortable. Even amidst an economic crisis. We are blessed beyond measure. So easy to commit the ‘sin of omission’ as spoken about by World Vision President, Richard Stearn in ‘A hole in our Gospel’.
Lets think about what we as individuals can do. An seed for thought… get a group of friends together and have a ‘House gig’ in your back yard. Invite your neighbours… (lets get to know our locals a bit!) and friends… get an acoustic artist to play. (I’ve seen it done with a hip hop artist before… didn’t go down to well with the locals who weren’t attending!) and throw a bit of a ‘party with a purpose’. Share the vision of a great need in the world. If you are interested in raising money for a well in Sierra Leone… PLEASE talk to me! Let’s get some more clean water for people who don’t have any.
If you’re passions are elsewhere raise funds for them. It’s a good start to become familiar with a country and a cause. We have a responsibility to do something. And how fun is it ‘having a party!’ YOU absolutely can make a difference in someone’s world!
Be blessed today friends!
Hey blog readers… thought I’d share more of an update on whats been going on lately in my world. This week has been pretty crazy checking in on the GMA’s… basically a week where every Christian artist, record label, booking agent, promoter… etc is in downtown Nashville hanging out. Highlights of my week… seeing Kiwi band ‘The Lads’ play (if you haven’t seen them for a while you should check them out… their target audience is now ‘tweens’ and they do a great job! They even made me ‘do actions’ on stage… so embarrassing!!!), running into Liam Renton from Brisbane’s 96.5 and hearing about all the great artists he’s smoozed his way in with to get interviews with, seeing awesome Irish band, Bluetree play… then tomorrow night I’m going to the “Lords Awards” as my mate, Brian Wurzell calls the ‘Dove awards’. Should be fun!
Alabaster Box are going good. This month and next have been the quietest months I think we’ve ever had in the bands touring history – apart from when Naarah was preggo. I think the economy crisis has really taken a toll on American churches which ultimately affects whether external ministry groups are brought in. June onwards however is possibly the busiest its ever been. For fun I plotted out our map of where we will travel this summer – MAP. Then there is a chance of a tour to Calgary, Canada too… that’s a LOOONG way from Nashville. They guys also just released their latest song to Aussie radio – Fearlessly Stumble. Hear it here.
Remember my party with a purpose last year? We raise money for wells for Sierra Leone… just the other day I got a call from our contact in New Hampshire who’d just received a call from a village in Sierra Leone where a well had just been fixed. The people were celebrating and rejoicing. Get this… this was the first time this village had had clean water in 30 years! Isn’t that just wrong!!! Makes me embarrassed to even just think of the water I’ve left undrunk in bottles of water or the times I’ve left the tap running too long. Spare a thought for Sierra Leone. It is currently listed as the poorest country in the world.
We are praying about this… but as a band Alabaster Box and I are considering going to Sierra Leone sometime. With knowlege comes responsibility. The need is so great. Feels almost impossible to turn a blind eye and disregard it. God has given us a voice and an audience… in light of the world we can make such a difference in an economy in Africa. Our partners in SL are Christians from Living Water International… so not only are they providing literal drinking water…. but water of life… Salvation.
Last week I shared this with a couple of friends… feeling a little stressed by my day I decided to go for a walk. Normally I run to clear my head… but today my legs were too sore (had this crazy thought to do lunges and squats at the gym the day before… seriously they are from the devil I can barely walk today!!!) So… I walked down to this little walk track behind our estate. As I got close to the bushland I could hear kids playing in a running creek. I never realised but there, just maybe 20 metres away from the track was a flowing creek! For me, it was like finding an oasis in the desert. Nothing more refreshing then hearing water rushing through a rocky creek bed – ok… maybe waves crashing on a beach… but in Tennessee that is NOT going to happen. I’m not sure if the creek is normally dry and that’s why I hadn’t noticed it before… but the thought occurred to me that so often we race through life and not stop and realise God is their revealing himself to us daily through his glorious creation… even if there are a few wait-a-while bushes trying to stop you from getting there along the way! It was a really sweet little adventure with God and me.
Have you stopped today to find some living water? It’s such a precious time. Next week I’m flying home to Australia to take a little time off, enjoy the waves crashing on the beach and see my family (and work on an Aussie tour for Alabaster Box!). Very excited about that!
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I feel like I’m always sharing about some charity or some organisation doing something… and I too agree it can get quite overwhelming how many non-for-profits are sprouting up and wanting support… during the most hard pressing economic season.
Add @twestival to keep posted.
Details and tickets available from here.
February 12, 2009
Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar
The Twestival is organized 100% by volunteers in cities around the world and 100% of the money raised from these events will go directly to support charity: water projects.
charity: water is a non profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing nations by funding sustainable clean water solutions in areas of greatest need.
I love what Scott Harrison’s says
For me, charity is practical. Sometimes easy, sometimes inconvenient, always necessary. It is the ability to use one’s position of influence, relative wealth and power to affect lives for the better. charity is singular and achievable.
There’s a biblical parable about a man beaten near death by robbers. Stripped naked, lying roadside – people pass him by, but one man stops. He picks him up and bandages his wounds. He puts him on his horse and walks alongside until they reach an inn. Checks him in and throws down his Amex. “Whatever he needs until he gets better.”
Because he could.
The dictionary defines charity as simply the act of voluntarily giving to those in need. The word comes from the latin “caritas,” or simply, love. In Colossians 3, the Bible instructs readers to “put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.”
Read Luke 10:30-37
I have people talk to me who are semi wary of all this hype relating to charity and non-for-profits. The major concern I’m hearing about is whether or not once people have access to better qualities of life (stuff we take for granted like clean water and food) do these people have access to the message of Jesus? Maybe maybe not. I have noticed that many of the American charities are actually ‘affiliated’ with ‘Christian’ organisations in Africa like Living Wells International… so yes… often aid is given in conjunction with the gospel.
However… just a thought… was the ‘good Samaritan’ physically told the gospel in this chapter? Do you think that this selfless giving was indeed an act of Jesus’ love that may have saved his physical life and possibly later lead to him inquiring of the true Saviour? Reality is no food or water = death. What’s your thoughts on this… I know I’ve only dabbled lightly…
Also let me know if you’ll join me at Twestival… I need a friend
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Today I was reminded once again why I work with the Christian band, Alabaster Box and why their latest album, ‘We will not be silent’ has such a profound message the youth (and adults for that matter) of this generation need to hear.
I watched the youtube video below and very quickly started to tear up. We cannot be silent about seeing this… or if we can be we need a huge reality check.
How did this affect your spirit? Do you feel powerless or does it spark something inside of you that beckons you to make a difference?
Global Benefit was founded on the idea that there is something that you can do in your town, with your friends, or at your job or campus that will overcome the suffering and hopelessness found in places of extreme poverty or natural disaster. And it’s not hard! Just take what you already know how to do, and do it with a purpose.
We hope to partner with youth ministries and youth ministers all over the United States and further abroad to tap into public schools to show students how they can with so little make such a difference in someones life. I believe when we perform acts of justice, love, compassion humbly and sincerely people will ultimately see the heart of Jesus.
Contact me if you are interested in finding out how Alabaster Box could compliment your youth or church ministry. We want to make a difference and will do whatever it takes!