Blessing in a Bag!

I came across this simple idea on KWAV’s blog post  and felt like I needed to pass it along as you also train up your kids to have an outward view of the needs around them. Several years ago, while in full time ministry, we did something similar with the kids in our ministry by partnering with Convoy of Hope to make Haiti Hygiene Kits following the earthquake. Although that project targeted a specific need following the disaster this project is a way to meet a tragic need that has become all too common in our own backyard.

This is what Ali B. shares on her blog:

Have you ever come across a homeless individual and felt totally uncomfortable?
You see them and you know they are in need, but you are not sure what to do. You know that handing them money is not the best thing. But, you also see that they clearly have some needs. Their lips are chapped. They are hungry. They are thirsty. They are asking for help.

How can you help? - Blessing bags. 

This was such an easy project. We are now going to keep a few “Blessing Bags” in our car so that when we do happen to see someone on the streets who is homeless, we can hand them a Blessing Bag. I first learned of these bags from my friend, Julie. I am using the picture of her bags (see above) because the ones we took were taken in horrible lighting and turned out really grainy and hard to see what is inside of them.
If you’d like to make your own Blessing Bags, this is what you would need:

Gallon size Ziplock bags and items to go in the bags, such as:
chap stick
packages of tissues
toothbrush and toothpaste
comb
soap
trail mix
granola bars
crackers
pack of gum
band aids
mouthwash
coins (could be used to make a phone call, or purchase a food item)
hand wipes
you could also put in a warm pair of socks, and maybe a Starbucks gift card

Assemble all the items in the bags, and maybe throw in a note of encouragement. Seal the bags and stow in your car for a moment of providence.

This would be a great activity to do with some other families. Each family could bring one of the items going into the bags (ex: toothbrushes). Set up all the items around a table and walk around it with the ziplocks and fill the bags.

by Ali B.

I so appreciate Ali’s heart and her vision for teaching the children. I know that there are many others with that same heart of compassion. Let’s now take that heart and add hands and feet to it as we remember the scripture that I like to teach children, “Whenever we have opportunity we should do good to everyone”, Galatians 6:10

Make sure you are ready to seize that opportunity the next time your path crosses with that of someone homeless.

It has to become personal!

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I share about the homeless, the poor, the needy and the abused children throughout the world but until it becomes personal, it is just another story. It became more apparent this past weekend that the kids we minister to each week in our childrens churches have very little experience or first hand knowledge of those who are in need, physically and spiritually.

So, how can I help them realize that they are the ones that can make a difference in the lives of other children that need their help? They must see through my eyes as I describe the conditions these children live in every day. It’s important that they¬† hear the deep concern in my voice as I talk about children that are spiritually dying. they must believe that they can make a difference when they choose to help and they need to know that I am not asking them to do something that I am not already doing myself. Being an example is the most powerful way to influence people. Jesus knew this better than anyone.

If we want to influence this generation we need to be the kind of example that will bring about change in the world around us. “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ.” 1Cor. 11:1

Hope for the Homeless

homeless-maggieWith cart in tow, Maggie entered the building with all of her belongings neatly tucked into compartments in her wire mesh cart. To get a little relief from the cold, she found shelter in an alley accompanied by some of her fellow homeless who were huddled around a barrel burning with scrap lumber and paper.  As she settled in a spot atop a palette covered with newspaper she covered herself with the only blanket she had, pulled out her hand made sign and cup and began to beg for money from all those who passed by.

There were some who looked with loving eyes and dropped a few coins in her cup as they passed by while others turned away, hugged the opposite wall and tried to avoid recognizing that Maggie even existed. Many claimed to have no money and walked quickly by. How many times had Maggie felt rejection? How many times had she felt the pain of no one caring? How many times had she wished for just a glimmer of hope?

“Missed Opportunities” was the theme for Warwick AG as they made an effort to bring about an awareness of the needs of people all over the United States. Their vision was to help ‘Everyone’ realize that they can make a difference in a person’s life by becoming personally involved, not only through their giving but also through doing.

The all purpose building had been transformed into a soup kitchensoup-kitchen and homeless shelter. As people stood in line, patiently waiting their turn, a meal was being served consisting of chicken rice soup, mixed vegetables, cheese, fruit cup and yellow sheet cake. Each person picked up a lunch tray, their foam plate and plastic utensils and walked through the line as volunteers served the food.

Thousand and thousands of men, women and children depend on this experience for their existence and we have the opportunity to make a difference. But, are we taking advantage of those opportunities or are they missed as we pass by on far side not recoginizing the needs of the homeless?

The people at Warwick AG are being proactive as they develop ways to help the less fortunate and to be involved in their community, giving hope to the helpless.

sauly-and-jakeIt was my privilege to help the children of the church seek out opportunities and ways that they could also be part of giving hope to those in need. I was able to share Galatians 6:10, “Whenever we have opportunity, we should do good to everyone.” Esau was our example of a person that missed his opportunity by giving away his birthright. He could have helped an entire nation but gave it away for a bowl of gumbo. We talked about how difficult it is to see the needs around us when we are constantly looking at ourselves. We need to see through Jesus’s eyes. He never saw himself because He was always looking at the needs of others.

That entire weekend gave me opportunity to share the missions in our own backyard. We can’t ignore the people around us that need our help. Whenever we have opportunity we must do good to everyone. On any given day there are 200,000 children homeless in the United States. In a given year there will be over 1.3 million homeless children. None of them are there by choice, circumstances have driven them to the streets with their families. It’s time for us to respond to these needs as Jesus responded. With love!!