Blessings from Burundi

Thank you for signing up for next Sunday’s “Shoes of Hope” event.  It’s a beautiful chance to help give away (new figure) close to 500 pairs of shoes to children and adults in one of Charlotte’s most fragile neighborhoods.  There are still dozens of opportunities to serve.  Today, I wanted to share with you more background on this historic, unique opportunity.

Burundi President, Pierre Nkurunziza to visit Charlotte

We accepted with gratitude the “Shoes of Hope” invitation to serve from Samaritan’s Feet this month.  Because of your generosity, Elevation Church is able to support this event with both money and volunteers.  The founder of Samaritan’s Feet, Manny Ohonme invited the President of Burundi to visit Charlotte to bring attention to what’s happening in that landlocked nation in Africa.

Burundi is surrounded by other nations you’ve probably heard of; Rwanda, Tanzania, and the Republic of Congo.  Burundi is one of the poorest countries in the world, and has faced some of the most devastating violence in modern history.  Between 1962 and 1993 – 250,000 people were murdered there in mass killings in Hutu-Tutsi civil wars.

Right now, there is a fragile peace in Burundi.  Emerging from a 12-year civil war, the people are beginning to reap the benefits of international mediation and support leading to this peace.

On Sunday when we serve – we’ll be there with some of the Burundi people.  We’ll be serving beside Samaritan’s Feet, and Forest Hill Church.  So not only will we be helping to give away hundreds of pairs of shoes to children and adults in a needy Charlotte neighborhood, we’ll be sharing in the opportunity to show honor to people from Burundi, to build relationships with friends in our church, and other believers in other churches as well.

I’m excited about the stories that will come from this opportunity.  About how God will use us not only to love children from our outreach partner, One7 – but also how he will allow us to share God’s love with others here in our city and from all the way across the world.

Volunteer spaces are filling quickly.  Go now to the Elevation Church outreach page and then click on the blue SERVE button.  Scroll down the page to find the drop-down menu of all our upcoming outreach opportunities.  I’m looking forward to seeing you Sunday at “Shoes of Hope.”

Remembering Haiti

Photos Courtesy Adam Hobbs

Reprinted with permission from Elevation Church 2010 Annual Report

Flying into Port au Prince, Haiti, we expected the mountains of rubble.  We knew a million people were still living in tent cities one year after the earthquake.  But on the jolting bus ride through overcrowded streets, we were stunned by the mounds of rotting trash, the extreme poverty, and mile after mile of filth and chaos.  I remember Dr. Kay Hawkins staring out the window and saying what we all were thinking, “Where do you begin?”

George Collins, PA-C knew he couldn’t sit idly by in his Matthews, North Carolina home knowing he had a gift he could use to help the people of Haiti.  Continue reading “Remembering Haiti”

“Don’t Back Down”

I love it when my pastor talks tough.  See his post here today on what to do during this economic crisis.

More importantly… what NOT to do.  I know you’re stressed out by the economy.  Here are some great tips on what to do with your 401K.

To cope, try these stress-relieving tips recommended by Frank Farley, a professor of psychological studies in education at Temple University.

*  take media reports with a hefty dose of salt  (watching CNBC non-stop is not healthy)

*  do something  (work on your budget, take a look at over-spending issues)

*  maintain a life balance  (maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine)

*  take stock of your life  (if you’ve still got your job, you are blessed – if you’re concerned you’ll lose yours, brush up that resume!)

Here are more tips from US News and World Report on how to deal with the anxiety.

Coping With Crisis

Tonight the experts tell us the gas crisis in Charlotte is coming to a close.  By next week, you should be able to find as much fuel as you want… as often as you want it.  That’s a relief.  It was frustrating.  It was stressful.  How well did you cope?  And were there strategies you used to conserve that you’ll continue using in the future?

During the gas crisis, we couldn’t change the situation.  We were forced to change how we were living.  We drove less, we combined trips, we used the phone more often.  I think we’re going to find ourselves in a similar situation, over a longer period of time during this nation’s economic downturn.

We’re going to have to learn how to live more sustainable lives.  Reuse more.  Recycle more.  Conserve more.  Consume less.  Give more.  Because those of us who have the least are suffering the most.

My friend Allison and I ran our Friendship Trays route this Wednesday and came face to face with hunger and deep need.  A woman who was new to the service asked me, “Will someone else be delivering more food later?  I was told it would be enough for the whole day.”

It’s not enough for the entire day.  It’s one meal, one drink, enough for one person.

I skipped lunch that day.  I couldn’t stop thinking about the notion she might not have enough food to eat that day, or any day.  And I know she is not alone.  According to Census data, one in five children in our area lives in poverty.  Poverty causes hunger.  In his book Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty, Mark Winne’s research finds fresh, inexpensive healthy food is unavailable to to the poor.  So not only are they hungry, they are malnourished – because they don’t have the money to purchase nutritionally adequate food.  So while the rich get local and organic, the poor get diabetes.

I’m working on further stories about this for WBTV News 3 this fall.  Stay tuned.  And here are some links to local agencies who know how to help in these times of great need.

Friendship Trays, Crisis Assistance Ministry, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina.

Changing Lives $10 At a Time

Can lives really be changed by a loan for as little as $10?

They absolutely can.  A group called African Women’s Initiatives is empowering women in incredible ways through a micro-finance project.

My dear, passionate, amazing friend Sherry Roese just got back from a trip to the Congo with AWI.

Read more in her letter to friends and supporters below.

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