Thanksgiving isn’t over for my happy friends. We have gratitude challenges, gratitude journals and even a gratitude app. Nurturing happiness by giving thanks is a trick that’s been around for thousands of years. King David practiced it when he was on top of the world and when he was running for his life. In Acts 16, Paul and Silas were imprisoned and their hymns of praise unbolted the jailhouse doors. I’ve been told I have a voice that could shake the windows, but I’ve never seen them swing open when I sang the blues.
Philippians 4:6-7 NIV says if we pray to God with thanksgiving, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When you wake each day feeling grateful, you want others to feel that way too. In 2 Corinthians 9:11-12, Paul told the people, “You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God.”
That’s why Giving Tuesday follows Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Where should we give? How do we give in a way that truly helps? Our trust might be shaken by times we’ve discovered our generosity has been wasted, or we’ve worsened the state of those we wanted to assist. Haiti is a good example. Since 2000, Haiti has been hit by 9 hurricanes and numerous tropical storms. They had yet to recover from the 2010 earthquake when this year they were devastated by Hurricane Matthew. In attempts to help, we sent mountains of food that put Haitian farmers out of business. Some people contributed to fundraisers only to learn that half their donations were used for high salaries and travel expenses.
Haiti still needs us. The 2016 USAID energy fact sheet says only about 25% of Haitians have electricity, and many of those households have power for 10 hours or less per day. Most families cook with charcoal, which is obtained by chopping down trees. Deforestation makes the land unstable and subject to erosion when floods come. This means families who raise their own food lose their crops to storms. With standing water and lack of modern sanitation comes cholera, a disease that hasn’t caused the US any trouble since the 1800s.
Compassion International understands that real change comes from long-term investments into individual lives and communities. Compassion works through local churches to provide meals, hygiene training, education for children, clean water, AIDS medicine and help for expecting and young mothers. In addition to sponsoring a child, sponsors can give gifts to purchase income-generating gifts for their children’s families.
Children who learn tangible skills and business strategies become entrepreneurs, civil engineers and workers who attract outside industries. This is the only way to build a stable economy. Education is not free in Haiti, except through charitable organizations, so sponsorship makes the difference.
Compassion knows that children have a hard time learning when they are hungry and homeless, so in addition to sponsorship, they’ve established a Haiti Disaster Hurricane Fund. Even if you can’t commit to sponsoring a child right now, you can click here to contribute any amount to the fund. Together, we’ll give others a reason for thanksgiving.
Are they trustworthy? Compassion International gets high ratings every year on Charity Navigator, with 100% accounting transparency. We love watching our sponsored children grow, and I’ve met several sponsors who’ve visited their children personally. Compassion International’s holistic approach has changed communities around the world.
There are lots of places you could contribute this Tuesday. I can’t think of a country more desperately in need, or an organization who could meet that need more effectively. Let’s pool our resources and make an impact. If you’d like to sponsor a child, click here. You’ll feel like celebrating for years to come.
No matter what you do, click here for a video that will have you grinning all day.