Micro Loans in Developing Countries

Tom and I are involved in KIVA as a way of sharing our many blessings. You may not know about KIVA as a charitable organization that makes microloans to people in developing countries. Here is the web address https://www.kiva.org/about to find information about it. We have loaned $25 to Isata, a woman who has a business selling tools in Sierra Leone. Here is the website about her

https://www.kiva.org/lend/1208406?_te=lew&utm_source=system&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=expiration_warning

We wondered if any of my subscribing friends would be interested in contributing towards Isata’s loan or finding another person they would like to invest in. It’s a fun way to help others. My friend, Nancy loaned $25 several years ago. It has been paid back and loaned out again several times. Over the years, Nancy’s $25 has been used many times and has added up to $600 in borrowing power. It’s fun to see your loan paid back and relend it.

 

Be a Team Player

This week we get to watch our wonderful granddaughter play four games of hockey. Over the years, Tom and I have taken great pleasure in watching a succession of grandchildren play hockey. I continue to be amazed as the kids respond immediately to the command of their coach and skate off the ice when he decides it’s time for a line change. They know that for the team to play well, each player must respond quickly and willingly to the coach’s directions. I am sure there is a time for questions and complaints, but, in the midst of the game, all obey his command.

As Christians our coach is Jesus. He has lived on this earth and given us a model for loving and caring for others. He lives within each of us today, coaching us – prodding, pulling guiding us – as we live our lives. He, too, expects immediate response to his guidance. He too has time for questions and complaints. Yet we all know that as part of the “Jesus team”, we must respond willingly and quickly to his command that we love one another every day of our lives.

Whether we’re working in a hospital, or school, or climbing a high tower on a construction site or playing a game, or rocking our baby, or having lunch with our moms at the nursing home, Jesus is constantly coaching us to live in love and justice with others. As part of his team we need to follow his commandment “to love our neighbor as Jesus has first loved us.” It’s a mighty simple rule but not easy to follow.

There are people I find difficult to love. For example: the new president of the United States.  Still, I know that God calls me to love him as a child of God, whether or not I agree, or disagree with his words and actions. For sure, I know that whatever he says about any of God’s people, my role in this journey of life is love and acceptance. This is Jesus’ command. “Who is my neighbour,”  an expert in the law asked Jesus. He answered with a story and a question, “Who was neighbour to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus replied, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:2937)

I Can Share! Hallelujah!

Aung Soe Myint (11yrs) I really happy for the Christmas time because we got presents and also we have school holiday. In this time we can play together we can eat together and we share our presents to each other. ( left to right Khin Myat Thu  (13yrs), wai Zin Phyoe (12yrs),Ei  Myat Maw (12yrs), Si Thu Aung (12yrs), Khant Paing Oo ( 12yrs), Aung Soe Myint (11yrs).
World Vision – Opportunities for a community’s children 

Today we received the annual report from World Vision for our beautiful foster child Layslla. In her picture we see a sweet young girl with a long ponytail. She looks much like any young girl here in Canada. Our Layslla is growing up. The letter tells us about the things she has learned because of our support. We are truly blessed to be able to be part of this program.

The best part of the World Vision Foster Child program is that the money we send benefits the entire community rather than just one child. When we write letters to Layslla, we are allowed to include little things like small note books, pens, pencils etc. We always send enough for Layslla to share. Sharing is important.

Many of us find it easy to give. We want to share our abundant blessings. We are not as good at receiving. Our culture teaches us that it is not good to be indebted by someone else’s gifts. “I’ll make it on my own, without help,” is a code we often live by. When I received Layslla’s letter today, I was reminded of the gifts we give when we receive help from someone. Our Layslla, gives Tom and I the blessing of being able to share. I am grateful.

What will I do differently this year?

                                    The following is taken from my book,                                    “Dipping Your Toes in Small Group Devotionals.”
01-january-00-title-copy-copy-copyWhat will I do differently this year? Is there anything I can actually
change? The Biblical story about the Wise Men seeking Jesus tells us,
 “having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.” I’m sure they just wanted to return home as quickly as possible. The familiar roads would look very good to them. I smile when these Wise Men do as they’re asked without even one question. Maybe it’s the warning that makes the difference. After all, Herod’s reputation at the time was dreadful. He gave the order to chop off heads at a whim.

Most of us are not nearly as compliant as those wise folk.
When the suggestion is made that we do something differently,
we often refuse. After all, we’ve always done it this way. Why
change? Even when what we’re doing is unsuccessful, we find it’s
difficult to try something new. Today, we receive a constant barrage of warnings:
Global warming will destroy the earth as we know it.
Change your ways!
Society is becoming obese. Stop eating so much fast food.
Change your ways.
Our health is at risk. We need to exercise. Change your
ways.
Our churches are shrinking not growing. Change your
ways.
They make no difference. We continue to resist change. We don’t
even want to think about a new path.

Will we travel down a new path in 2017. Will I eat less, exercise more, go to bed earlier, be more diligent about caring for the world.
Can you make a change in your faith life – read Bible regularly, attend church, care more.

Instead of believing that change will cramp our lifestyle, we can see the adventure change offers.

Change begins with one small step, one random act of kindness, one day of exercises. Starting small may leave us open to God’s help.

You can go into the year on a new path. Remember, with God’s
help the ripple effect of your effort will change the world.

Discussion:
What new path do you think God has for you this year? What effect could it have on you, your family and community, and your world?

Prayer:
Gracious God, you have blessed us with the gift of this New Year
of living and loving. Forgive us for our mistakes of last year. We
list them now in the silence of our hearts…

Merciful God, forgive us all that is past. Open our minds to new
paths. Keep us aware of your presence with us as we journey. We
pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Happy New Year

happy-new-year-1900587_1920

January 1, 2017 is nearly over, I’ve spent this day with friends, reading a book in my cozy home, talking with family. It’s been a lovely peaceful day. We spent New Year’s Eve at a friend’s home, staying the night. Today, we drove home on ploughed roads, the sun shining brightly on the new snow. A great beginning.

What lies ahead? No one knows for sure but we all have plans. For Tom and I there will be travelling, family time, and lots lots more. My goal or resolution for 2017 is to keep my eyes focused on my faith, walk with confidence and have heaps of fun along the way. This morning we looked out over Sturgeon Lake and talked with friends about the abundant blessings that fill our lives as Canadians. We gave thanks.

Today, I wish all who read this a 2017 filled with peace and joy. May you pay that peace and joy forward to all those you meet.  Blessings Janet and Tom Stobie.