"I’m wildly angry that I want to forget the struggle of the poor so I can pin the next pretty idea on Pinterest. Once we have seen the poor, we are responsible — we will make a response. As long as your heart is beating, there’s no such thing as unresponsive. We all look into the face of the poor and it’s either Yes, I will help. Or no, I won’t..."
I live a comfortable life. When I sit and truly reflect on what I have in comparison to much of the world, it begins to make me sick.
I have never had to worry about whether there would be food on the table. I have never had a closet that was not full. I have never been without a roof, without a car, without anything. I have never been without.
And all this time, throughout my life, I have known about the less fortunate. I know about them. When I was young, I put together a little cardboard box during Lent to donate to poor people. I give money to them on the side of the freeways and I sponsor my sweet little Compassion child Daniel in Ghana and I give. There are a million causes to give to, there are countless worthy GoFundMe pages that fly through my social media every day. But when it comes to responding to the less fortunate the way God calls us to...I know well that I do not give until it really, really hurts. I do not give until I have to trust God that this crazy amount He is asking me to give is really what He wants me to give.
One day I met a young man while doing ministry in Africa, and I heard about his poor...the poor in his communities, the poor surrounding him in his country. The ones who need necessities as well as the poor in Spirit, the ones who need hope and light in their lives...the ones who need to hear about Jesus.
You may know Moses. He is a young man who lives in Uganda. In the Catholic world across America, it sometimes feels as though Moses knows everyone. Sometimes you find out that an acquaintance you have just met knows Moses, too, and you both sit there in the mutual knowing that he is one of the most incredible human beings both of you will ever meet.
Moses works tirelessly to help his peers and his community encounter Jesus Christ...it is truly unbelievable. In his day to day life, he studies and works as any young man in his early twenties does. He dedicates every spare minute outside of this, every spare ounce of energy in his heart, to giving everything he has to help the people in his country encounter Christ. He never, ever stops giving. As if all of this wasn't enough for a 23-year-old man, he also raises his younger siblings. Both his parents passed away when the children were young, and he became the head of his family as a fourteen-year-old boy.
I know nothing about sacrifice when I stand next to this young man.
Moses knows what it means to sacrifice.
And I write this piece because there are so few ways I feel I can help one of the most selfless individuals I have met. I will speak at many events this summer. At these events there will probably be great lighting, some fog machines, incredible sound systems and technical set-ups. We will eat Chick-fil-A and laugh and we will not think about how we go without. We will put a little money in the collection baskets that go by, drink clean water out of our water bottles, and praise God collectively for a few days.
Moses will put on a conference this summer, and just to begin with, he just needs money to feed the teens who come.
Recently, I met someone who had gone to this conference in Uganda. He told me of how these teens come to the conference, come from many families who want for many things...and in all their need, during that offering in the middle of Mass, they get up to put the little they have in the basket. And the conviction pierces me straight through my heart because we spend our days carefree going to Chipotle with our friends and buying new bags and cool Vans and we put a few bucks in the basket that passes by.
And they are the woman with the two coins...giving when they have nearly nothing to give.
And so today, I am asking you to give - to give food, something we so take for granted, as well as the Bread of Life - to teens who hunger and thirst for it so deeply in their lives. I am asking you to give to this fund that helps Moses put on a conference that is so incredibly important to him, his teens, and his community.
"Why would we rather turn a blind eye to the needy than turn to the needy and be like Christ? Do we like our own wants and comfort more than we want to be like Christ?..."
God has called me to match every donation up to a certain number for the week after I post this. So, if you give $10, I will give $10, so you will really be giving $20. If you give $40, I will give $40, too - $80. I cannot ask you to give if I am not willing to give sacrificially, myself.
I know from personal experience that it takes one personal encounter with Christ to radically change your life. Will you join me in helping Moses in his mission to bring Jesus to his peers who need Him, that they may have an encounter with the living God? Will you join me in making Moses' selfless heart burst for joy at the generosity of his sisters and brothers in Christ?
"Who is ready to have less so we all have something, or do we all want everything so most get nothing?
We've got all of God. Why not share the rest?" - Ann Voskamp
The link to Moses' campaign is here: