Starting With What’s Right in Front of You

The argument goes: “Why should we support a nonprofit helping in foreign countries when we have so many great needs right here?”

Since I’m involved with schools in Haiti I have to address this quite often and, quite frankly, I’ve been pondering if my responses have been good enough.  The typical answer I will give in response to that question falls in line with the old saying: “If not you then who? If not now than when?” and that is this: in most of our neighboring countries there is no government assistance programs, no welfare, no food stamps, no food pantries, no social services programs.  It’s either fight to survive or die. In conjunction with that response I will throw in the ROI argument: a dollar goes a long way in most developing countries so you get a great “Return on Investment”. Honestly, while those are excellent responses and all true, there has always been something missing in them to me.  So I’ve pondered the question quite a bit and this what I’ve come up with so far.

We’ve all heard that old State Farm saying, “Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.”  That’s my ultimate answer. Right now immigration is a hot topic within our nation. Hot to the point of tempers flaring up.  And yet, we don’t have an immigration problem with Canada; why? People are killing themselves, literally, to get into this country; why?  What if the answer to solving many of our own problems is in helping our neighbors solve theirs? I’m not speaking about government to government, I’m talking people to people.

Since the last election the theme has been “Put America First”.  If we’re talking in terms of not being taken advantage by other foreign governments then I can agree with that statement.  If that statement causes us, as citizens, to turn inward and care only about ourselves then it has failed us. Every time I come back from Haiti I understand how blessed I am.  Then I turn on the news and wonder: “What are we fighting about?” We are a blessed nation, even with our troubles, and we should be a blessing. Blessed to be a blessing, that’s the ticket! Jesus said: …give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.”

Is this a better answer to the question?  I don’t know. If this would resonate with you and you’d like to engage then where should you start?  Start with what’s right in front of you. What opportunity or cause has God put right under your nose that you could get behind?  Obviously, since I represent Schools for Haiti and you’ve read this far, that could be your closet avenue; but maybe not. Maybe there is something even closer that you can get behind, but find something.  You never know when an organization or cause you’re involved in may produce the next Nelson Mandela. And don’t stop doing what you’re doing locally, remember: “…give, and it will be given to you…”