“You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” – Matthew 5:14
As Christians we are called to show God’s love to the world. How do we show love? Through actions. Not because we feel like we “should” – but because this love inside us is so great it spills out on the lives of those around us. Christ told us to love your neighbor. We are all neighbors. If you share this earth with me, you’re my neighbor.
In Matthew 22:36-39, a Pharisee asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
Many times we don’t actively live out our love because it’s hard to find a place to start. Here are some of our family’s favorite ways to be a light and love our neighbors worldwide.
World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. Working in nearly 100 countries around the world, World Vision serves all people, regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender.
You can rest assured that your money is being well spent with World Vision. In 2012, 85 percent of World Vision’s total operating expenses were used for programs that benefit children, families, and communities in need.
There are countless ways to help people in need through World Vision: sponsor a child, give a goat or chicken (or other livestock) to a family, help provide medicine, school supplies – and more!
Preemptive Love Coalition
The Preemptive Love Coalition works to provide lifesaving heart surgeries for Iraqi children and strives towards peace between communities at odds. The ripple effect of dangerous chemicals used as weapons during decades of war in Iraq has led to an unprecedented rise in the number of children being born with congenital heart defects. These can range from holes between chambers of the heart to hearts that fit wrongly in the chest–with vessels going everywhere except the places they should.
The Preemptive Love Coalition helps train pediatric cardiac care teams throughout Iraq. Their organization also works to bring international heart surgery teams to Iraq to save little lives and train doctors and nurses. The Preemptive Love Coalition is ready to go where no one else will go. While others are still haggling about the security situation in Iraq, they are on the ground putting your donations to work and saving lives.
The Thirst Project
Seth Maxwell, Founder of The Thirst Project, first became aware of the global water crisis in the summer of 2007 through a friend who had recently returned from a humanitarian service trip to Uganda. Armed with a little knowledge and a desire to do more, he and a few other college students were able to turn $70 into $1,700 to fund a rehabilitation of a freshwater well. The Thirst Project was born! To date their organization has raised over $2.6Million and funded projects to provide over 100,000 people with safe, clean water.
The Thirst Project is a vibrant organization working with celebrities and innovative social media campaigns to inspire students to raise awareness and funds to save lives through clean water. Almost 5,000 children die every day from diseases caused by dirty, contaminated water. That’s one child every 15 seconds. More than 2.2 million people every year die from water-borne diseases because they have no choice but to drink contaminated water.
Operation Christmas Child
One of our favorite joys of Christmas is partnering with Operation Christmas Child to provide a shoebox full of small gifts and basic supplies to a child in need. Since 1993, more than 100 million boys and girls in over 130 countries have experienced God’s love through the power of simple shoe box gifts from Operation Christmas Child. Samaritan’s Purse works with local churches and ministry partners to deliver the gifts and share the life-changing Good News of Jesus Christ.
Participation is easy and fun! Just get a shoebox or a shoebox-sized plastic container with a lid, fill it with school supplies, small toys, hard candy, hygiene items, and more. Donate $7 for shipping and find a local drop-off point near you.
Hope Home Ministry
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and rescues those who are crushed in spirit.” – Psalm 34:18
Hope Home Ministry provides shelter and a faith-based transitional program to young women who are in need of a second chance in life. They work with girls who are being released from juvenile correctional facilities in Texas as well as girls who are homeless or need shelter due to abuse or other difficult life circumstances. Hope Home teaches there is hope for every individual through a relationship with Christ, and that every person deserves the opportunity for a better future, no matter their past mistakes or current struggles.
There are wonderful opportunities to help in very practical ways: give supplies, clothes, time, and money. This program works to help girls break negative cycles so they can have a better future. We love Hope Home!
Giving Diapers – Giving Hope
Giving Diapers – Giving Hope is a non-profit organization that provides education, support and cloth diapers to low income families in the continental United States. This enables families to conserve money that would have been spent on disposable diapers and use it towards other necessary expenses. It also reduces the environmental impact that disposable diapers have on landfills.
Their organization welcomes any cloth diapers, diapering accessories such as diaper covers, wetbags, cloth wipes, snappis, flushable liners, cloth diaper detergent, cloth friendly diaper creams, as well as monetary donations.
To Donate diapers and diapering accessories, please visit the Contact Us page.
What about loving where you live? Here are some great ways to be a light in your local community:
1. Talk to your neighbors.
Get involved with the people living right next door. In America, we’re very self-sufficient. Often we can spend years living right next door to someone without ever speaking a word to them. Say “hello” and be kind in your interactions with your neighbors. Smile and be gracious. Be thoughtful towards them and ask if there is anything you can do for them. Pray for your neighbors.
2. Volunteer in your church.
Be an active member of a church that worships Jesus Christ. Volunteer! There are many ways to serve within your local church house: work in the nursery, help teach Sunday School, organize lunches, work in the office, cut the grass, clean the toilets – get plugged in and start helping. Every little job you do helps your church to be available for the lost in your community.
3. Volunteer in your community.
Find a cause in your city that speaks to your heart. God has given you specific talents and skills. Use those gifts to be a blessing to others. Love animals? Volunteer at a local shelter or start a pet program for a nursing home. Have a heart for kids? Be a Big Brother or Sister, start a Kids Hope program, reach out to the fatherless in your community. There are so many broken hearts needing comfort and counsel in your local prisons and jails. Consider starting a Bible Study program for prisoners. Don’t feel particularly gifted working with people directly? That’s okay! Find ways to serve a local organization behind the scenes.
4. Be Ready to Serve.
Above all else, pray. Be open to the Holy Spirit’s prompting. God will tell you when He has an opportunity for you to serve. Be ready to act without hesitation. Don’t weigh the pros and cons as you drive by a homeless person asking for change. Give – and know that your Father is pleased. See an elderly person struggling to load their groceries into the car? Stop and help. It doesn’t have to be some huge ministry. Every way you show God’s love is important. It all matters.