Humanitarian Crisis


That is what Blood:Water Mission is asking you to do this year.

Kind of.

From March 1 until April 9 the organization is asking that you give up all forms of liquid except for water as part of their 40 Days of Water Campaign.

You might also notice that their dates don’t actually coincide with the 46 days of Lent which begins on  Ash Wednesday (Feb 25) and goes until April 11.

From their blog:

We challenge you to make Water your ONLY beverage for 40 DAYS starting MARCH 1 and ending APRIL 9 in conjunction with the Lenten Season and World Water Day (Mar. 22).  Gather your friends and join in solidarity with our African brothers and sisters in an effort to provide clean water for communities in need.

There is a slight catch though:

As you do so, we ask that you keep track of what money you would have typically spent on other drinks throughout the day and save that money.  At the end of 40 days donate what you saved to Blood:Water.  Imagine, if you saved $5 a day just by cutting out a visit to your local bar or barista, then you’d save $200 in 40 days.  That’s enough to provide clean water for 200 people for an entire year!

What do you think?

40 days of water banner
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The crisis continues in Somalia.  Refugees International is one of few organizations working in East Africa with Somalia refugees.

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Img from USAID

What does the phrase “Not on our watch” mean? We hear it off and on, from a variety of people in a variety of contexts. Well Don Cheadle and John Prendergast want you to know that while they are alive and kicking they will not allow genocide or mass atrocities against humanity to go unnoticed. In their book titled, Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond, they have created an activists guidebook.

Sharing from their personal experience they relay the hard story behind the current genocide in Darfur. They share easy steps that can be taken to end the horrible tragedy there.  One letter can shift the balance in government which could change the entire landscape of how the world interacts with Sudanese officials. The two authors draw on their experiences with advocacy, but throughout the book share short stories about how regular individuals, like you and me, have taken action.  Simple ideas that create massive change – that is the theme of the book.

Outside of the short stories, it can get a little dry, but when you realize that you can create change it can be a powerful motivator.  Out of their efforts came an organization called the Enough Project, which basically wants to end and prevent future genocides.

I’ve had enough of the indiscriminate slaughter of men, women, and children.  Have you?

The book ends with this great quote from Cheadle, it is a powerful reminder we are not alone in our work.

Times like this, it’s easy to feel powerless, easy to feel alone. But when I take off those blinders and look around I see that I am actually surrounded by many people “intending the light,” as Joseph Campbell says, hoping against hope to make a difference in their time. I grow inside as we grow in size, not an army of one but one of many taking up the gauntlet thrown at our feet. Millions of lives hang in the balance, their futures determined in part by wheter or not we act. Ultimately, I pray that we not stand down from our post. Not us. Not now. Not on our watch.

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The Red ribbon is a symbol for solidarity with...

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In the past few years I have written about HIV/AIDS quite a few times (see them here). But let’s be honest here for a few minutes. Who really cares?

AIDS is a four letter word, that like so many others shouldn’t be spoken about in polite company. Do you even remember what the four letter’s stand for? Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.  Yea, that means nothing to me. When you spell it out like that, it makes even less sense.

So what will actually make sense? We are very blessed that in the US, even though over a million people have HIV/AIDS (CDC), for many people it is managed through medication and is almost thought of as a type of cancer.  But did you know that babies die from HIV/AIDS related infections or were you to busy protesting at an abortion clinic?

You see, HIV/AIDS ravages your body so that something as simple as a winter sniffle could end up killing you.  That is the simple version, but it makes sense. Why did the baby get HIV? Her mom gave it to her, more than likely.  What kind of terrible mother would give her child HIV?  Who knows, maybe she was raped by a stranger in the middle of the night.  But does it matter how she got it? Only if you want to pass judgment. Why can’t we love someone without trying to pass judgment?

Ok, so babies and children are dying because of no fault of their own. A quick question, if the entire population of Spain had HIV/AIDS do you think someone would care? What about the entire population of Texas? Well according to World Vision, that is the current estimate of how many people are currently suffering with this ailment. 40 million.

By 2010, the number of children orphaned by the disease is expected to exceed 25 million — slightly more than the population of Texas — according to the United Nations. The impact on these children, both before and after the deaths of their parents, is catastrophic.

A few days ago was Black Friday.  Did you go waste your money on earthly materials that do nothing but provide five minutes of happiness to your child before being thrown in the bin with last year’s?  This year a Walmart employee was “trampled to death” by shoppers eager to purchase the latest craze.

Something is wrong with this picture.

This is truly a sad state of affairs.  As a culture we are willing to trample over fellow Americans to purchase a blender.  I guess it should be no surprise to me that no one cares about babies dying in a foreign land.  All of this makes me angry and sad.

But I am thankful for the organizations, churches, and individuals who are willing to stand up today and throw off the chains of injustice and care for the orphaned child and suffering widow.  These are our brothers and sisters and they deserve our love and admiration.

James 14-17 Dear friends, do you think you’ll get anywhere in this if you learn all the right words but never do anything? Does merely talking about faith indicate that a person really has it? For instance, you come upon an old friend dressed in rags and half-starved and say, “Good morning, friend! Be clothed in Christ! Be filled with the Holy Spirit!” and walk off without providing so much as a coat or a cup of soup—where does that get you? Isn’t it obvious that God-talk without God-acts is outrageous nonsense?

Will you sit idly by or will you act today?

Bloggers Unite

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Somalia: A Testimony
For Wednesday 24 September, Ramadan 2008. “Loving Muslims Through Prayer”

Libaan spent years outside of Somalia in several different countries. Eventually, he received a portion from the Injil (Gospel). He was impressed by what he read. The text was beautiful with a deep message. After two more years he fully believed the message and entrusted his life to Isa Al Masih (Jesus the Messiah). Libaan’s relatives heard that Libaan had become a Gal (Somali word for a pagan). Most Somalis can’t imagine that Christians may also be people who fear God, because they assume that Christians live a very worldly lifestyle (including drunkenness and immorality). Returning to see his family Libaan insisted that he not be called a Gal. In his view he was submitted to God, the Almighty. While his family received him well at first, later they rejected him. This experience broke his heart. Somali believers are few in number. They experience loneliness and rejection even from their most beloved family members. Only encouragement and comfort from God helps them to overcome.

[Full Text]

Prayer Starters:

  • Pray that Somalis could see the true value of the kingdom (Mt.13:44-46). God’s forgiveness and abundant life in the Messiah are present realities of that kingdom.

  • Pray that the Somalis who come to faith in the Messiah would not only be seen as rebels by their families. May they have opportunities to demonstrate that they can be culturally Somali and followers of Jesus at the same time.

+ Google Map Link: Somalia, East Africa

+ YouTube Video Link: Currency crisis in a famished Somalia [2:08]

+ Gospel Language Link: Hear the Good News in the SOMALI language


You are welcome and encouraged to forward these e-mails to others.
This is an excerpt from the 30-Days Muslim Prayer Focus booklet. More testimonies on our site.

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This comes from the 30 Days group which offers a prayer guide for the month of Ramadan:

Somalia: Hard realities for Muslim men and families
For Tuesday 23 September, Ramadan 2008. “Loving Muslims Through Prayer”

Total Somali population: 9,119,000 (July 2007 est.)

Some men have found a way to escape from the harsh realities of Somali life. Khat (Catha Edulis) is an evergreen shrub that grows in the highlands of Ethiopia, Kenya and Yemen. Chewing the leaves of khat has a stimulating, narcotic effect, and like most drugs, khat is addictive and must be consumed daily. The majority of Somali men are addicted to khat, which has a huge influence on their life in Somali society.

Khat chewers suffer from various health problems, yet those who really suffer the most are their families. Men often spend most of their money on khat, yet their families go hungry.

[Full Text]

Prayer Starters:

  • Pray that the bondage of khat would be broken. Social pressure encouraging men to chew khat is huge. Strength, wisdom and courage are needed to break this national addiction.
  • Pray for wives and children to know how to cope with the absence of men.
  • Pray that Somali society will experience God’s healing of families and come to know true fatherhood and the Father in Heaven.
  • Pray with the whole family for Somali families, giving God special thanks for Dads and Mums.

+ Google Map Link: Somalia, East Africa

+ YouTube Video Link: Somalia, land of Need [18: 34]

+ Gospel Language Link: The Look Listen and Live series is a discipleship series in the Somali language


You are welcome and encouraged to forward these e-mails to others.
This is an excerpt from the 30-Days Muslim Prayer Focus booklet, also available via our Book shop.

Learn more about Ramadan here.

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This year I have decided to join in the Blog Action Day 2008. The main reason is that the plan for this year is to blog about poverty, or taking action against poverty. If you’ve been following my journey for very long you are probably aware that I believe we need to end poverty – sooner rather than later. So on October 15 I will be joining thousands of other bloggers in posting about the topic of poverty.

If you blog you should think about dedicating your blog to the cause on October 15. You can find all kinds of information about the event here.

Below is a video about the project. Add your voice!

Blog Action Day 2008 Poverty from Blog Action Day on Vimeo.

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