Like feeding the hungry, reaching out to the poor and homeless is a great first step. Food pantries can use donations of bottled water or other healthy drinks for those who frequent them. Likewise, soup kitchens need drinks to distribute to the hungry that pass through. It's a niche that is often overlooked. Unfortunately, one of the greatest threats to the homeless is dehydration. It is very difficult for them to find adequate ran water supplies and they are most often provided with carbonated or sugary beverages. Soft drinks do nothing for the body in terms of hydration. So, the next food drive that you choose to support, please consider purchasing a case of water to donate. Or even better, distribute water bottles, free of charge, during the next heat wave, try to find a spot where homeless people frequent. If you have a local shelter, call and ask if you can bring cases of water to hand out to the homeless as they leave in the morning. Water is so vital, but we take it for granted.
The lack of water for our homeless is nothing compared to the lack of clean, potable water worldwide. In fact, nearly 800 million people, about 11% of the world's population have no access to clean water. Significantly higher percentages have only occasional access to clean water. We are called the "blue planet" because of our vast oceans, but so many are thirsty. Here, a bottle of water will not help, we need to provide consistent sources of water to those in need. This past Christmas, I donated a bio- sand water filter via Gospel for Asia as a gift for my friend Mary. She said that it was one of the best gifts she ever received. Long after other presents would have been used up, broken, or disposed, the thirsty will be given water in Mary's name! Laying bricks in Heaven is the ultimate gift!
If you have the opportunity, there is an even more hands on way to help the thirsty. Catholic Missionary Trips, Inc. sponsors trips to build wells for those in need everywhere from Appalachia to Cameroon. I have added a trip with CMT to my long range "to do" list. I don't know how soon I'll get there but it's definitely on my radar.
Not all those who thirst need water. There are many who thirst for justice. The number of Christians jailed and/or persecuted for their faith continues to dramatically rise. The imprisoned are tried and convicted without a proper trial, lacking legal representation, and unsubstantiated charges. In many parts of the world, simply believing in Christ is a crime punishable by death. It's not just third world citizens who are subjected to this treatment. Pastor Saeed Abedini has been jailed for nearly 1,000 days in his native Iran for converting to Christianity--he is an American Citizen!
What can you do? First, stay informed. Sites like Voice of the Martyrs and International Christian Concern post the stories that get buried in main stream media. Next, sign petitions, write letters, post updates on Facebook. Do not let these modern day martyrs suffer in silence. Being the light of the world sometimes means shedding a spotlight on injustice. Get the message out there and support efforts to free the imprisoned in any way you can. Lastly, pray for the persecuted and conversion of our enemies.
As many thirst for justice, many more thirst for love. The lost, forgotten, shunned, desperately poor, so many have never known the love of a neighbor. Share a simple gift and show the world's suffering that not only does someone half a world away love them, but God loves them and always will. There are many ways to do this but our favorite is Operation Christmas Child. By packing a little shoebox, our family has been greatly blessed in blessing others. For most children, this simple gift is the first gift they have ever received.
Organizations such as Cure.org and Mercy Ships, release child from the painful existence of being unaccepted in their society. Through routine surgeries, these children are filled with promise and shown God's love!
Lastly, there are too many thirsting for God. While the average American Chistian household owns piles of Bibles, so many wait hoping that someday, somehow, they know will actually own a Bible. Unfortunately, I have not found a single Catholic charity that distributes Bibles. I'm planning on investigating that further this summer to see if their are any missionary channels who will accept donated Bibles. In the meantime, The Bible League distributes Bibles to those thirsty for faith and knowledge. For less than a drive-thru lunch ($5) a Bible will be handed to those most desiring to know Christ better.
As a child, my friend and I spent several summer's stringing rosaries for the missions. This is another way to preach the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. Making rosaries can be as easy or difficult as you want. Here are a few sites to teach you how. If anyone knows of a mission looking for rosaries, please comment below. I plan on reliving this part of my childhood this summer with my children, we are just still looking for a place to send them.
Linking up with Rachel, thanks for hosting!
Linking up with Rachel, thanks for hosting!