4 days ago we started the Live Below the Line challenge with open hearts and open minds-praying that God would open our eyes and use us this week, as we set out to live on less than $1.50 a day and dive into some pretty heartbreaking topics. Each day brought new challenges, new experiences, and new areas and statistics to explore. We were honored to have the opportunity to share the story of Korah with everyone around us and to spend time in prayer each day interceding on their behalf. We hope that this week was a blessing for you guys as well and appreciate those who took the time to walk this journey with us, and for everyone who donated to A Heart for Korah. We discovered this week that the effects of hunger are wide-reaching and inner-connected. I spoke with someone this morning who asked, “How can one person help?” My answer was based off a statement from an A21 supporter, “We can’t do everything, but everyone can do something”. I encourage everyone to research Live Below the Line Challenge and further explore the topics that we touched briefly on this week on your own. You will find that while they appear overwhelming, simple steps can be taken to make a difference. Together if we all “do something” we can “change everything”.
Tonight we will explore the topic of education and how it is connected to the topic of hunger. Earlier this week we watched A Place at the Table, a movie that focuses on hunger and poverty issues in Amercia. Rosie, a young girl in the movie, discusses her inability to focus in the classroom because she instead focuses on her stomach pains. She shares this struggle with 1 in 4 children in America who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. This movie also explores the budget cuts and lack of funding for quality school lunches in America, averaging out around $1.00 available per student to cover lunch. This often leads to preprocessed, low-nutrient foods being offered to our students.
These students are in school, but globally many children are unable to attend school. As we explored in Day 2, sometimes children cannot attend school because they sent out to seek resources, like water. Day 3 showed us that sometimes schools are taken over by rebels as a base-station and students are unable to attend or students are forced into joining militant forces. Day 4 showed that millions of children around the world don’t have an education because they are enslaved to child labor or are kidnapped on the long walk to school and never returned. These are the forces that are working against a child in extreme poverty to keep him from gaining an education and giving him the ability to break the cycle of poverty in his life. It has been shown that children who are born to an educated mother have a 50% better chance to live past their 5th birthday. Sponsoring a child to provide them an education often means that they will be more educated in areas of life such as hygiene, avoiding land mines, how to avoid disease, and how to sterilize water properly. In President Johnson’s “War on Poverty” state of the union speech, he said “How can we expect someone to be productive in society without the proper ability to read and write?” We need to also improve the quality of education in impoverished countries through government funding. In Sub-saharan Africa children with a 5th grade level of education only have a 40% literacy rate. The level of education is at the very core of breaking the cycle of hunger and water insecurities, war and slavery, and sex trafficking. Below are some links to explore on your own:
Brian Day 5
I began this week anticipating to be changed. I had explored some other people’s youtube video journals of their Live Below the Line challenge and knew that it would prove to be challenging to stay the course. I was able to explain to my Promise Keepers group this morning some of the unique challenges that we faced this week and describe some of the emotional and physical tolls that we paid. I gained a tremendous perspective this week; however, I can NEVER fully understand what it is like to go live in extreme poverty. One person put it best this week that the best we can do is “attempt to walk their mile, in our shoes” and this is truly what it is. This weekend we will return to normal eating habits. We will be asked, what was the one thing was missed the most? What was our least favorite thing to eat? and a host of other questions. The answer to all these questions will be based on a week long journey of eating under $1.50 a day that was temporary. I will be forever changed and burdened by those who’s Live Below the Line challenge is permeant-stories like the lady from Northeast Philadelphia who doesn’t have enough money to feed her kids because she works a full-time job that puts her over $2.00 over the limit for welfare, or the woman that Mike shared with us today who has leprosy and is disfigured to the point that she must solely depend on others to live. These people will be forever on my heart.
Perhaps the most challenging part of this week was the parallel to our children’s birth country. There stands a great chance that his/her birth family will be in extreme poverty and that, at some point in their lives, our children will experience one of the topics that we explored this week. I will choose to move forward on the words of “we can’t do everything, but everyone can do something” and as Josh Wilson so beautifully puts it “I refuse to do nothing”.
Thank you to everyone who donated this week to A Heart for Korah and/or joined us at 1:50 pm to intercede on their behalf. I pray that God has taken each of our prayers and whispered them in His Father’s ears that the people of Korah may have a God-moment this week. They would receive a cool-breeze at just the right moment, a feeling of being covered in prayer and love, or get valuable supplies from a missionary group or local church. I appreciate you reading our blog this week, I hope to bring follow-up topics periodically for us to explore and will be forever linked with this area of Ethiopia.
Heidi Day 5
If you told me on Monday morning how much this week would change me, challenge me, ROCK me, I would not have believed it. This challenge really impacted me in ways that I really didn’t know were possible. It seems so simple: live on $1.50 a day. I am a fairly disciplined person, so, honestly, I didn’t really think that it would be that big of a deal. However, limiting my options of food, going to bed and waking up feeling hungry, and reading about and praying for all the people around the world that are living “below the line” really pushed me outside of my comfort zone. Wow, has my heart been burdened.
Today was probably the most challenging day, physically and psychologically. I was tired of eating the same bland foods, and just felt plain hungry. I had a headache for most of the day and felt frustrated at my lack of energy. I kept thinking about how I can’t wait until tomorrow- to go back to my normal way of eating, and, more importantly, to feel healthy. I can’t wait to get rid of my hunger pains and to feel energetic and nourished. I can’t wait to be able to go for my run and not feel famished after, and I can’t wait to indulge in goodies! There is an end for me; I know that tomorrow my hunger will end. For that, I feel incredibly blessed. For the people living “below the line,” there is no end in sight.
One thing that I constantly think is, “why me?” Why do I get to live here, while millions of innocent babies go hungry? Why is my belly full, when my own babies’ bellies may be empty? Why do I get to be safe when millions of people live in dangerous places? Why do I have access to an abundance of clean water from my sink when millions of people have to walk miles just to get a drink? Why, why, why….the list goes on….Thinking like this can literally drive you crazy and make your heart hurt SO bad. When you really think about it, it is absolutely overwhelming. However, I do not think that we should apologize or feel bad for our blessings. They are exactly that- BLESSINGS. The blessings that we have from our Lord are not intended to make us feel guilty or overwhelmed; rather, they are to equip us with the ability to share what we have- to serve and glorify the Lord through our abundance. The question,then, changes from “why?” to “how?” How will I use my blessings to God’s glory? I pray that this week has glorified the Lord. I pray that our experience has raised awareness for the “least of these,” and that God has heard and honored our prayers for all the people of Africa, the United States, and all around the world that are living in poverty. Mostly, I pray that the Lord continues to challenge me and that my life can be more of HIM and less of me. Thank you for reading and following along on our journey. I pray that God has spoken to your heart this week!
We will be providing the sum of our donations to A Heart for Korah soon. If you have not had the opportunity to donate and have prayerfully considered it we ask you to click the link below or visit the A Heart for Korah blog. Thank you so much, your blessing will truly make a difference.
Donate directly through A Heart for Korah Blog – http://aheartforkorah.blogspot.com/