Two weeks ago I posted on twitter that to be an activist without actually doing anything is hypocrisy.  I was quoting a friend and I think the statement is meant to be a little overstated to make a point.  The point is this, if you are gonna get all judgmental on other for not caring for the poor then you better be doing something.  I’m not trying to be a prick or make people feel like crap.  But, its just simple common-sense.  Let your words and your deeds match up.


So, after I posted that on twitter I had a good friend write me a message and say, “So, who are you giving your time and money to? Just trying to keep you accountable to your own words bro.”

Uh. Shoot. 🙂

I’m thankful for my friend because my wife and I have been talking about supporting those in need with our finances some more than we already do.  Since my trip to Africa in 2009, we especially had a heart to give to a need there.  This was a good, healthy push from a good friend for us to live out that calling we have been feeling.

One of my good friends, Chris Marlow, started a non-profit org called “HELP – Help End Local Poverty.”  Their main goal is to rescue orphans, restore their hope and renew their communities.

Chris is personally connected with a local orphanage in Zimbabwe and since HELP is small, they are able to give honest-to-goodness tangible “help” to this orphanage and to the community the orphanage is in. He’s established a strong relationship with the director of the orphanage who is a pastor and a church planter.

So, HELP was a first thought for us as we began to think about supporting a need in Africa. HELP does child sponsorship much like Compassion International so I decided we would select a child together as a family.

Doing this as together was awesome. The process was so much fun for us and I believe it was important in shaping our values as a family.  I’d recommend anyone get on the HELP site, or something similar, and do this with you kids.

I introduced the idea by saying (remember i am talking to a 6 year old and a 3 year old here), “I would like us to give to others who doesn’t have as much as we do.” Once I said that, Cole (our six year old), said “Oh, I know!” and he ran out of the room into his bedroom. Melanie and I just kinda looked at each other confused about what he was doing. But, he came back with his jar of change that we marked a while back with the words, “For Others” and said, “We can give someone this!”

daniel-kSo, we opened up the computer and went to the HELP website where they have a list of children you can sponsor and we had Cole pick a friend to give to. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to read the stories of the kids with Cole and let him be part of the process. Cole ended up wanting to sponsor Daniel K because they are about the same age and he thinks he is cool and he likes soccer.

We told Cole that it would be $35 a month to help give Daniel food, shelter, clothing and education.  So, Cole started counting out 35 pennies.  It was awesome.  (We didn’t have the heart to tell him that he only had 35 cents…)

Now we have a Daniel K. jar on our counter. Of course, we were able to set up the support automatically through paypal and we’re not making Cole do this himself. But the jar is a reminder that we are helping give food, clothing, shelter and hope to this child.

What is so awesome is how involved Cole (and Mason as much as he could be) was in this process. We pray together on the way to school every morning and now Daniel is part of those prayers. We pray together before bed and Daniel is part of those prayers. He isn’t part of the prayers because of Melanie and I, but because Cole wants to pray for him.

I love that our kids are learning that there are people less fortunate in the world and that we can choose to live in such a way that brings them hope. The daily decisions we make really do affect how others live. I’m excited about the fact that our $35 a month is really making a difference.

The great part about HELP is that we can communicate to Daniel via e-mail through Chris and when Chris goes to Zimbabwe he’ll shoot a video for Daniel and we’re probably going to make a video for Chris to bring along.

Oh, I haven’t told my wife yet, but there is a chance we could go to Zimbabwe and meet Daniel ourselves in 2010… we’ll see how that works out.