I would invite readers to go to the following article, written by a member of Give an Hour. It tells the poignant story of a war veteran, hopelessly lost to drugs and despair, trapped in post-traumatic stress disorder and with few resources to help (most petered out before she could recover). The story seemed too appropriate for Memorial Day not to share. However, since it seems to be copyrighted, I have decided simply to include the link and urge you to take the time to follow the link and read the story; you won't regret it. You can find it here: I Served My Country...and Wound Up Living in My Car The veteran is Jennifer Crane; the author is Lynn Harris. If you can help GAH through a donation or through spreading the world, you will involve yourself in a very worthy cause. Visit the GAH website for more information.
note: image copyright Katrin Wegmann (www.katrinwegmann.de)
Last Saturday, I encountered an unexpected situation where I ended up reluctantly using God's credit card to pay for Donnie’s new computer. He had a chance to get 25% off on a new laptop, which he desperately needed since his desktop stopped work a couple of weeks ago and his current laptop is ten years old. He was dead in the water when it came to doing his work, which is graphics consulting. It turned out that he was several hundred dollars short, and the only credit card that had that much money available on it was God’s credit card. I was very reluctant to use it. I do not use it for personal needs, but if we did not use it at this point, Donnie would be without work for a while since we could not afford the regular price and the special deal was available only on Saturday. Sighing, I agreed to use God’s credit card, feeling considerably guilty about it and hoping that we, too, might be considered worthy of God’s financial help.
I mentally calculated the length of time it would take me to pay off the card, and that did not reassure me at all. Then I went to the post office, and in the mail box was a new credit card from USAA, offered because I had spent eight years in the military years ago. The credit line was the same as on God’s credit card, and I would be able to transfer the balance without any interest for a year on Monday. I have now activated the card, transferred the balance, and God has his card back.
That is pretty stunning: God rescued His credit card from my illicit use! I know now that I must keep that card clear for God’s purposes—and people in need are sent my way routinely. If I had had any doubt that this particular credit card belongs to Him (I did not), that doubt would have been entirely erased on Saturday.
There are many ways to help Syrians as the war shows little evidence of subsiding. Here are some of the organizations helping. Check their websites for information about how you can help them help others.
Save the Children is on the ground, helping to keep children safe, providing the basics they need, like food and blankets and offering programs to help them cope with tragedy. However, the numbers of children escaping the violence are rising every day, and the refugee crisis is set to get worse. They can use help in helping. Read children's first-hand stories at their website.
For more ways to help, an ongoing update, and new opportunities to assist as they arise, check the Syrian American website on a regular basis.
16 million Pakistanis are desperate for help, and one young college student, Wajeeha, and her classmates have taken a journey to help them. Read about their plans (now fulfilled) here: Come Along on a Journey to Help Pakistan One Family at a Time. Thank you to the readers of 100th Lamb who contributed to this effort. More help is needed in Pakistan. In addition to Wajeeha's project, two helping organizations through whom you can contribute are Catholic Relief (for people needs) and World Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (for creature needs).
The "H2H Challenge" asks those who care to go beyond throwing money at the hungry and homeless and instead of giving a handout only, get to know them, give them dignity, and provide them with respect, to follow the example set by St. Francis in eating together with the outcasts of society (in his case, mostly lepers) and through getting to know them in this manner, treating them as the same children of God that we all are, no less worthy of love and kindness than ourselves. Specifically:
Invite someone who is homeless and hungry to dinner once a month. (More often, if you can afford it, is, of course, wonderfully fine!) Get to know that person one-on-one.
You can report on your experiences, if you would like to do so here, by leaving a comment on any related post.Or, if you would like to write a post about it, contact me (Elizabeth.Mahlou@gmail.com).
You might want to donate money, goods, or time to one of the organizations that help the homeless and hungry. There are some in every community. Your location church or chamber of commerce can tell you where they are. I am listing below those that come to my attention as being unusual in what they offer and those that are really in need of financial support (many have fallen into this category during this Great Recession).
I am the mother of 4 birth children (plus 3 others who lived with us) and grandmother of 2, all of them exceptional children. Married for 42 years, I grew up in Maine, live in California, and work in many places in education, linguistics, and program management. In my spare time, I rescue and tame feral cats and have the scars to prove it. A long-time ignorantly blissful atheist converted by a theophanic experience to Catholicism,
I am now a joyful catechist. Oh, I also authored a dozen books, two under my pen name of Mahlou (Blest Atheist and A Believer-in-Waiting's First Encounters with God).
100th Lamb This is my main blog. It originated from my book by the same title but has morphed into a blog that explores the spiritual questions I encounter as I careen through a life with many children and in many states and countries, meeting many very interesting and wonderfully diverse people.
The Clan of Mahlou. This blog provides background information about various members of the extended Mahlou family; it is a work in progress since the lives of Mahlou clan members continue to march forward. This blog also contains my conversion story.
Mahlou Musings. This site contains excerpts from my various publications. The tiger is a representation of my spirit and life.
Modern Mysticism This blog discusses the mystical in our pragmatic, practical, realistic, and rational 21st century world and is addressed to those who spend some or much of their time in an irrational/mystical relationship with God. If such things do not strain your credulity, you are welcome to follow the blog and participate in it.