So, I’m not normally one for over dramatics. I’m not normally one charging the front lines of some hidden agenda, or internalizing a great tragedy because I feel somehow more personally affected by it than others. But over the last few days we’ve seen some pretty crazy destruction all around us and a lot of folks have been drastically affected and today I finally was able to get involved.
Yesterday I was riding in a car with a guy who lived in Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. He said that his house took in just over five feet of water and everything was ruined. He told me that it wasn’t the storm or the water that was the worst part, but when the water started to go down. When he was able to see the damage. Able to see just how bad it was. ”That’s the moment that really messes people up”, he said. ”That’s when people need help the most. That’s when they need to be cared for.”
Today I was in three different condos that had taken in about five feet of water themselves. Everything was ruined. TV’s, couches, books, photos. Everything. Today when I got home I looked around my house and imagined losing everything below a five foot line. This is what these people are going through.
And the sad part to me is that most of us would rather complain about the lack of national news coverage. We’d rather sit in our dry living room with our feet up watching CNN and saying, ‘They should be talking about the floods on here.’ Honestly I’ve seen more complaining about the news coverage than I’ve seen actual helping, and that’s sad to me. So goodie, Anderson Cooper was here today. He walked around, shook some hands and told people this place was a mess. Is that going to change tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Not if people don’t stop watching and complaining about CNN and go outside and do something for the folks who have lost everything below five feet.
Maybe I’m just complaining about the complainers, but I just think that sometimes people in their comfy suburbs desperately seek out drama and over internalize things because they are bored. They are bored with their lives and need to be a victim of something. And if the flood didn’t get you, you’ve got to be a victim of the media. I say, throw on some boots, grab some gloves and go move some furniture, because where I was today, there’s a lot of that still needing to be done.
The people of the Karo tribe in rural south-western Ethiopia have a culture rich in tradition. However, the tribe lives in fear of evil spirits who they believe bring ill fortune to their villages. They use the word “Mingi” to describe persons they consider cursed or otherwise imperfect. Those deemed Mingi face severe consequences, as the Karo believe the presence of these children on their land curses the tribe. Their solution to this perceived threat is to drown Mingi in the river. Last year, 7 percent of Karo children were associated with Mingi, resulting in the deaths of 77 children. If the two other nearby tribes practice the Mingi tradition at the same rate as the Karo tribe, then the Hamer, Mursi and Karo populations may have a combined 3,000 children whose lives are at risk.
“Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”
Most of you know that about a year ago I was on tour with Phil and David Crowder. Well, the band that opened for the tour, and the band that I shared a bus with for 2 months was a band called The Myriad. It was a short tour, but in that time I got to know the guys really well and they became good friends. Randy, their drummer, was no exception. He’s an amazing guy and quite possibly one of the nicest people I have ever met. I wrote it then and I will say it again. One of the things that stuck out to me the most about Randy was his passion for his family. He was constantly talking about how much he was in love with his kids and wife. They even came out to the tour for a while and he was completely wrapped up in them.
Well yesterday I received some of the saddest news I have ever heard in a long time. I got this email from Steven, their guitar player and I am urging anyone who can help to do so.
Friends and family,
As some of you may have heard, our band mate Randy Miller had a tumor removed from his upper torso near his shoulder on Friday. Initial analysis has come back that the tumor is cancerous. The specific type is still being determined and we will keep you all informed as we know more. We ask for your support and prayers for Randy, his wife Kristyn, and children Connor and Gillian during this time.
There are immediate and ongoing financial needs for the Miller family. For this reason, a fund has been set up through The Stirring, a non-profit organization in Redding, CA. There are a few different ways you can send tax deductible donations to the family. One is online at www.thestirring.org . Located to the bottom right of the main page you will see “ONLINE GIVING”. If you click on this link you will be directed to a secure page where you can set up an onlinegiving account. Once the account is set up you will see the “RANDY MILLER FUND” and be able to send secure, tax deductible donations to the family through this organization. Tax deductible donations can also be sent in the form of a check to:
RE: Randy Miller
3468 Bechelli Lane Suite E
Redding, CA 96002
Please specify “Randy Miller Fund” in the check memo. Any financial support you can give in order to help the Miller’s through this difficult time is appreciated.
Now, I know for a fact that musicians are not covered with the greatest medical insurance in the world and I know that’s something that needs to be dealt with. Now I know there are plenty of people on here that are able to help, and I encourage you to take some time to think about if there is anything you can do to help. If nothing else, your prayers would be greatly appreciated.
Today is the last day of The 40 Day Fast over at InspiredToAction.com. These logos represent all the organizations talked about.
It’s been a pretty amazing thing to see so many different organizations represented in such amazing ways. To me the most amazing part of watching this thing happen, for the second year in a row, is to see so many people working with so many different causes.
There is a massive need in this world, and it’s great to see the competition for the “best charity” disappear, and everyone involved work together for something bigger than themselves.
Today over at InspiredToAction.com everyone has the opportunity to participate in adding to the day by posting about something big or small that you personally are doing to help change the world. Write something on your blog and then head over there to participate.
Tonight I had the privilege to attend a screening of a film due to release later this year called Call+Response. The screening was held in inside the Country Music Hall Of Fame in Downtown Nashville, so obviously it was an honor to be invited. Call+Response deals directly with human trafficking and slave trading including children sex slaves. I had heard quite a bit about the horrific things that go on but this documentary does an unbelievable job of bringing some of these tragedies to light.
CALL+RESPONSE is a first of its kind feature documentary film that reveals the world’s 27 million dirtiest secrets: there are more slaves today than ever before in human history. CALL+RESPONSE goes deep undercover where slavery is thriving from the child brothels of Cambodia to the slave brick kilns of rural India to reveal that in 2007, Slave Traders made more money than Google, Nike and Starbucks combined.
Director/Producer Justin Dillon hosted the night and said some pretty amazing things. One of the things that he said that really stood out to me was simple and clever, but I thought was brilliant. While talking about the need for us all to get involved in the abolishing of these thing, he said this, “It’s not called Awarenessism it’s called Activism”. Simple and brilliant.
My mind is still processing the images of a seven year old girl being sold to grown men looking for a good time. This is a very real and very local thing. I have questions like, why is it that the government can find out if I download a record illegally, but little girls are bought and sold for sex for less than an iPod? And this is happening right here in America. And it’s happening all over the world. Questions like, how far has the human race fallen when we are treating children with less value than cattle and making billions of dollars in the process? And questions like, where do I even start?
I could go on and on about how the night went, and all the terrible things that I learned, but right now I’d encourage you to go check out the trailer and at the very least find out when this film is released in your city, then bring as many people as you can. There’s all sorts of amazing music mixed into it and some great artists that are also involved. I have already sent an email to the director asking him how I can possibly help with some stuff online. I know that there are plenty of organizations out there dealing with everything from water to kids to shoes, but if this is something that you don’t know about or haven’t heard, it’s time to get educated and get involved.
Has anyone else really studied this? The numbers seem too staggering to ignore.
Today is Kristin’s day to blog for the 40 Day Fast. Today she has blogged about Fair Trade, and the amazing things that simply buying Fair Trade products is doing. There’s also a video on the post that is full of information on what Fair Trade is doing.
One of the many amazing things about Kristin is that she really digs in when she is doing something. She never does anything half-way. Recently I have noticed things around the house with the Fair Trade Logo on them and I have noticed very conscious decisions made by Kristin over the last few months to change the way we do things as a household. Ever since we have been married we have tried to be environmentally and globally focussed, and in a consumerist America that can be a hard thing. The awesome thing about Kristin, is her persistence to make a difference in the world in spite of what others think, feel or say.
Here’s a project today. In your outings today, whether it’s the grocery store or the coffee shop, find something today to purchase that is labeled “Fair Trade”. Then head to Kristin’s blog and comment what is is that you found with the Fair Trade logo on it. Sounds easy right?
Today is day twenty-two of the 40 Day Fast at InspiredToAction.com. I was able to be a part of this amazing movement last year and wrote about Compassion International. Since there are so many other folks out there talking about Compassion, I wanted to take the time to focus on another organization who’s primary focus is children.
According to Wikipedia: The United Nations Children’s Fund (or UNICEF) was created by the United Nations General Assembly on December 11, 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. In 1953, UNICEF became a permanent part of the United Nations System and its name was shortened from the original United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund but it has continued to be known by the popular acronym based on this old name. Headquartered in New York City, UNICEF provides long-term humanitarian and developmental assistance to children and mothers in developing countries.
UNICEF is currently focused on five primary priorities: Child Survival and Development, Basic Education and Gender Equality (including girls’ education), Child protection from violence, exploitation, and abuse, HIV/AIDS and children, and Policy advocacy and partnerships for children’s rights. Related areas of UNICEF action include early childhood development, adolescence development and participation, life skills based education and child rights all over the world.
In my opinion, there isn’t much more of a worthy cause than to focus on the children of this world. I know we’ve all heard that children are our future, almost to the point of becoming a little cliche’, but the fact of the matter is, there are too many kids being forgotten by my generation and the generation before me. There are too many problems in the world and many of them are simply falling on kids because of the laziness of the generation before them. I see that as an issue that my generation has created and with that comes the responsibility to fix some things.
One of the things I love about UNICEF is it’s willingness to get involved in so many different aspects of the world. From sanitation and clean water in East Timor, to malaria nets in Malawi, UNICEF isn’t afraid to get their hands dirty and ask the same from anyone willing to get involved. In over one hundred and fifty countries and operating for over sixty years UNICEF has helped develop simple, affordable, and innovative solutions to complicated problems. A few examples: birthing kits to help women have safe deliveries; oral rehydration salts to treat diarrheal dehydration in children; portable School-in-a-Box kits to make classes possible almost anywhere; and solar-powered cold storage units to transport vaccines to remote villages. All of these are now in standard use by many humanitarian organizations, saving millions of children’s lives.
I know there are plenty of organizations out there that are helping children and I think it’s important to get aligned with something. There’s no reason at all anyone with the ability to read this post wouldn’t be involved in the effort to save the lives of children. UNICEF is one of the hundreds of ways to get involved. The 40 Day Fast has been, and continues to be, an amazing venue for the Church as a whole to lay aside differences and get involved in things that really matter, and when that happens I believe lives are changed and a difference is made. Thanks for letting me be a part.
Now make sure to check out Lori’s post today as the second part of this movement.
Today marks the beginning of something that is going to be pretty powerful for the next forty days. The Forty Day Fast starts today with a post from Brant about the slums of Nairobi. It’s a pretty powerful look at the understanding of Jesus from someone who lives there.
Make sure to bookmark Inspired To Action for the next forty days and check in. There are also plenty of badges to put in your sidebar to help get the word out.
Anyone been to Nairobi?
Last year Kristin and I were able to participate with a group of other bloggers in an event that, what I can only imagine, has made a difference in the lives of everyone involved as well as hundreds of people around the world. The brain-child of Kat, the ”40 Day Fast” has gotten a lot of attention around the internet and even became the origin of a great site call “Inspired To Action“, of which Kristin is a writer and editor for.
Here’s how it works. For 40 days, a different blogger fasts and writes about a specific organization or part of the world that is dear to them and they feel needs to be recognized. Each day a new organization that is making a difference in the world is featured and supported. As readers we are encouraged to link to each blogger fasting and help get the word out. It’s a pretty amazing thing to watch happen over the span of the 40 days.
Registration is open today, so if you are even the slightest bit interested go to InspiredToAction.com and register to be one of the 40. Seriously check it out. It’s a pretty amazing thing to get involved in and it makes all this blogging stuff worth it.
I know this is a little different “Positive Post Tuesday” but, I think what Kat, Kristin, Euphrony and Amy are doing is a pretty amazing thing and they can use all the support that we can give them. Who’s with me?
Welcome to Tuesday again. For those of you just showing up here’s how it works. It’s pretty simple. (1) Write something nice about someone, building them up, encouraging them, you know.. being nice. (2) Fill out the box below. Have fun.