Greetings to all in this New Year 2011. For me and my house, 2010 was a wonderful year. A highlight was a new granddaughter, lots of family time and an opportunity to change lives with God’s help. We are thankful that God has afforded Jeanne and I enough money, time and health to allow us to be involved with His plan for others as we facilitate faith, love and hope in the lives of others. As we are presented with choices every day we are praying, and ask that you pray with and for us, that those choices be filtered through the Lord’s will.
One example of a blessing is the school in Teno, Ethiopia that was constructed in 7 months. In November I committed to buying desks and paying for teachers salary in 2011. 40 desks were designed, built and delivered within a month and now these students can begin to learn in modest comfort. It is cool to see those kids sitting at those desks.
We are awaiting a proposal from the Teno elders to start several micro businesses that will put men to work and help to support the school. In countries like Ethiopia you cannot separate work, family relationships, education, disease prevention, spiritual development and reaching out to others. The need is an integrated system of resources which channels knowledge, mentoring, money and prayer to the population on a long term basis. Our western thinking says show me a result in 6 months and give me a body count of people served. A challenge in working with homeless men in Bellevue is to move them from short term (day to day) thinking to longer term planning (a year) regarding work, health, relationships, finances, and relationship with God. The same is true in Ethiopia. We teach the difference between a desire and a goal. A desire is something you want to have happen but depends on others and/or circumstances to be achieved. A goal is an objective that can be obtained by your efforts often in support of a desire. In Ethiopia the desire sometimes becomes their goal and leads to magical thinking…things will happen without the intervening necessary steps. Doing this right lets short term results (goals) feed into long term outcomes (desires).
Many of our homeless men have applied for Social Security Disability. The man’s desire is the disability award but that takes others: a doctor and referral, Social Security administrators to approve and some times an attorney. If the SSDI award becomes a goal instead of a desire in his mind and the request is denied, anger, anxiety and depression can (and actually does) happen. Real goals for the man would be filling out/submitting the paper work to the government, seeing the doctor on time, setting appointments and praying for God’s will…all items in his control. If rejected by Social Security, there will be disappointment but not the heighten emotions of anger etc. In Ethiopia, men and groups are quick to make a desire a goal and not follow through on necessary steps to achieve. What is so dramatic about the Teno church and their school and desks, they had a desire and they knew they could not control. So they prayed, sought help and when goals were necessary (a building design, a budget, a 6 member board for oversight, soliciation of a funding source (Living Perspectives), finding laborers, completing the building, keeping excellent financial records) an incredible result occurred in a short defined period of time.
As you and I enter 2011, do you have desires and goals. Have you got them straight. “Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 Have you presented your desires to God so that He can affirm or change. Have you mixed desires and goals in the past.
Let’s change the world and make it a better place in 2011 with God’s help. Every morning I pray,
“God, create within me a clean heart” — thank you for the gift of Jeanne in my life — and let me make at least one significant contribution today.