Archive for the ‘Rwanda’ Category

Coffee With A Cause

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It goes without saying that I am a fan of great coffee.  I am also in favor of helping to eradicate poverty throughout the world.  So when the opportunity presents itself to drink coffee AND eradicate poverty – I’m in.

side-sign2Enter Global Benefit Coffee Company.  Finally a coffee company that not only puts on a good face for helping a cause but also guarantees every bag of their beans are not only Organic but also Certified Fair Trade.    This company is the real deal.  Not only is the coffee that they sell Fair Trade and Organic but they also give the first dollar from every bag sold to Global Benefit to drill wells, build schools, sponsor children or give medical aid.  By purchasing a bag of coffee from Global Benefit Coffee Company you are helping to stop the cycle of poverty one cup at a time.

This morning I was at Starbucks and I noticed a promotional display that was highlighting African Coffee.  They make a great sales pitch for the coffee beans that are grown and purchased from Rwandan farmers and how every cup of Starbucks Rwanda you enjoy helps raise prospects and hopes for a nation in renewal.  What they don’t do is tell you that this coffee is not Fair Trade.  What does it mean to be Fair Trade?  Fair trade’s strategic intent is to work with marginalized producers and workers in order to help them move towards economic self-sufficiency and stability. It also aims to allow them to become greater stakeholders in their own organizations, as well as play a wider role in international trade.  Starbucks is not interested in helping local farmers become self-sufficient.  They are only concerned with their bottom-line, which isn’t looking so good lately.

Don’t fall for flashy marketing.  Do the research.  Buy responsibly.  If you’re too lazy to do that, just listen to me.  Click here to purchase coffee that will help you drink responsibly.

40 Days of Water Wrap-up

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Last night ended my 40 Days of Water journey.  I have tallied up my journal that I have kept and am completely amazed at how much I have raised by not purchasing coffee, soda, juice and other beverages for 40 days.  The hardest part of this journey was the first 10 days as I was coming off of the caffeine that I would normally ingest in my first two cups of coffee each morning.

As the 40 days went on I began to connect with others who were inspired to look for simple ways to help others.  The barista at Starbucks who rang up my purchase of water and a banana every Tuesday morning as I journal there, has begun to help collect food for the local food pantry to help families in need of nutritious meals.  

For me, going these past 40 days with only water for a beverage has been great to help me see that when I put my mind to something I can make it happen.  There were mornings where I was tempted to cheat but I was able to overcome the temptation.  I kept a picture in my Bible of a small child from Rwanda that has to go without access to clean water every day and that was a constant reminder of the impact my sacrifice can make.

So, the check has been written to Blood:Water Mission for $125.25 and now, if you don’t mind, I’m going to help myself to a HUGE cup of Pike’s Place Roast!

Join Me for 40 Days of Water

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Today marks the start of the 40 Days of Water.  Water will be my only beverage for the next 40 days with the goal being to raise money that I would have spent on juice and coffee to drill clean water wells in Africa.  I’m joining forces with many people from all over the world that are collaborating with Blood:Water Mission to make it possible for others to have access to life giving, clean water.

Want to join me?  It’s easy!  Keep track of the money that you would have spent for the next 40 days on coffee, soda, juice, beer, wine, whatever and total it all up on April 9th.  That is the day that this all wraps up.  Then write a check for what you would have spent on those beverages and send it to Blood:Water Mission.  

You too, can play a vital role in helping many others gain the ability to have clean water.  So are you up for it?

40 Days of Water

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We have the gift of choice:  Freedom to choose on any given day what clothes we will wear, what work we will do, what food we will eat and what we will drink.  In nearly a third of the world injustice threatens to take away these basic kinds of choices that we take for granted.  In these places a woman can choose to drink the unclean river water or the unclean puddle water.  She can choose to walk once for four hours to get water or walk twice for eight hours to get more water.  She can choose to give her children something to drink that she knows may make them sick or she can give them nothing at all.  She can persist or give up.  You can help give her a real choice.

I challenge you to join me to make Water your ONLY beverage for 40 DAYS starting MARCH 1 and ending APRIL 9 in conjunction with the Lenten Season and World Water Day (Mar. 22).  Gather your friends and join in solidarity with our African brothers and sisters in an effort to provide clean water for communities in need.  As you do so, keep track of what money you would have typically spent on other drinks throughout the day and save that money.  At the end of 40 days donate what you saved to Blood:Water.  Imagine, if you saved $5 a day just by cutting out a visit to your local bar or barista, then you’d save $200 in 40 days.  That’s enough to provide clean water for 200 people for an entire year!

So ditch the morning coffee and o.j., leave out the lunchtime soda, and cancel the evening beverage. You won’t need an ark for this 40 Days of Water, but you will need a little self-discipline.  I know you can do it, because you know who you’re doing it for.  Make the choice.  Visit bloodwatermission.com/40days to find out more, download materials, and get started.

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How Long Can You Hold It Together?

Anne Jackson posted this on her blog the other day.  She made it to 1:56.  I lost it around 1:40.  Such a powerful video.  One that I can’t watch and then walk away from.  This is why I so desire to see clean water wells drilled in Rwanda.  Clean water won’t solve some of the issues mentioned in this video but it will increase the quality of life for thousands.

How long can you hold it together watching this story?  May you be broken and moved to action…

An Even Greater Impact

Over the past two years we have been working hard at raising awareness of the vast need for clean water wells in Rwanda, Africa.  The youth that I pastor at Impact and around the Northern New England District have raised over $20,000.00 to drill two clean water wells.  This is reason to celebrate alone!  Teenagers have done this.  Today we have another reason to celebrate.

We at Grace Capital Church have finished up our capital stewardship campaign to expand our facility to make room for an ever growing youth & children’s ministry.  Our church council, pastors & campaign team have decided to tithe on the total amount that is raised through our Greater Impact Campaign.  Well, the total is in:   

$1,799,743.00

Now, keep in mind I wrote tithe.  That means that 10% of all that comes in is going out.  Even cooler news, above I wrote about how we have been raising money to drill clean water wells in Rwanda.  The tithe, that 10% number, the $179,974.30, yeah, all that.  It’s going to drill clean water wells in Rwanda.  With each drilled well costing $10,000.00 that means that we will be able to drill 18 clean water wells in Rwanda villages.  This equates to over 18,000, that eighteen thousand people gaining access to clean water which will keep them healthy, reduce the amount of time (usually up to 6 hours per day) looking for water, which will give women the ability to care more for their families, children the ability to get educated rather than searching for water, and end the senseless passing on of diseases to family members by providing dirty water for cooking, drinking and cleaning.  Water = Life.

The thing that I am most proud about with this decision to tithe on our capital campaign program is that what we do effects more than just us.  Yes, we will build a phenomenal youth center but it is less about us building our kingdom.  It’s more about building His Kingdom.  With the funding that will come in we will be blessed with an expanded facility but even more important, a legacy of life giving will be set forth.  That’s the message that I want every teenager who walks through the doors of our soon to be new youth center to know.  That’s the vision that I want them to catch.  That’s the kind of world changing movement I want to see be built in the lives of the people that I serve.

It’s not too late.  You can join us in making this dream a reality.  Would you like to use your money to do something so much bigger than you could do with it on your own?  Join with us.  Help us build up a new generation of young people who will go out and impact this world with the love of the Father!

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No Backing Down

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I did it.  I registered to run a 1/2 marathon in May.  There’s no backing down now.  With me being as frugal as I am the entry fee of $45.00 will keep me on task.  As I set out with these plans I have begun to think of why I will run.  First off, this is a personal goal that I have set for myself.  Secondly, I just to be an incredible runner.  (Just ask my mother)  I could run for days and never get tired.  However, I also found running very boring.  So I quit.  Over the years I have lost my stamina.  I’m working to get it back.  I’ve been running regularly now (3x per week) and need to set a goal for my running or I will bore of it once again.

As I was registering for this race there was a question asking “what charity will you run for?” and it got me thinking about a cause.  Something that I consider myself very passionate about is Clean Water in Rwanda.  So, here is where you can join me in my efforts.  Would you consider donating to make clean water available through the drilling of a clean water well in Rwanda?  Being a 1/2 marathon the total distance that I will be running is 13.1 miles.  Would you consider making a financial pledge for each mile I run?  Hey, I’ll do all the work on this one.  All you have to do is crack open your checkbook!  

Over the next few months I’ll keep you posted about my progress and fill you in on the details of the race.  If you’d like to give in advance you can connect with Global Benefit and give on my behalf to help make clean, safe, drinking water available to those who have none.

Clean Water

While I am very passionate about being able to provide clean water by drilling wells in Rwanda I am not beyond supporting the work that others are trying to do as well.  Enter Equitas.  Equitas was formed in 2007 by Steve Cook to help raise awareness of the genocide taking place in Darfur.  After returning from a trip to Malawi the organization began a new emphasis in helping to provide food, clean water, and medicine to this poverty stricken country. 

Steve and I connected through Twitter a while back.  After reading one of his tweets I learned that they are selling t-shirts as a fundraiser to help drill wells in Malawi.  Seeing a picture of the shirt I decided to pick one up – not knowing that I would have the honor of being their very first online t-shirt purchase.  These are great shirts that help out a worthy cause.  For $15 you can get your very own “clean water” t-shirt and help save lives by providing clean water to the people of Malawi.  $10 from every shirt purchase goes directly to the well projects.  Not only did I get a new shirt, I became a t-shirt model on the Equitas site as well.

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Check them out here and support this great cause.

Advent Conspiracy

With Christmas fast approaching I wanted to post this video.  

We all have desires for what we want for Christmas.  The bottom line is that most of purchase the things that we want or need long before Christmas comes around (I think that’s the real reason fruitcake exists) which leaves people wondering what to give us as a gift.

This year I am declining all offers of gifts for Christmas, as well as my birthday (December 12).  Rather than giving me a gift of any kind I would ask that you donate to Global Benefit in my honor.  The money that you donate will be used to drill clean water wells in Rwanda, Africa.  Let’s face it, I am a blessed person.  I don’t need anything given to me this year.  However, there are people in Rwanda that die each day because they don’t have access to clean water.  You can help save lives by drilling clean water wells in Rwanda.

Drink Responsibly

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I’ve been drinking this new blend of coffee that I picked up at our Fall Leaders Conference a couple weeks ago.  The coffee is a blend of Ethiopian and Sumatran beans and it is roasted and sold by the Global Benefit Coffee Company.  GBCC is no ordinary coffee company.  GBCC is a side industry that exists to cover the overhead expenses of Global Benefit.  

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Global Benefit is all about engaging this generation to do their part in overcoming the suffering and the hopelessness found in places of extreme poverty and natural disasters. We believe if we all work together, even if it is something small, the cumulative effect can be significant.  Providing affordable shelter, caring for the homeless, providing clean water, finding healthcare solutions, and ensuring children have the opportunity to learn and grow strong in their minds, their body, and their spirit, are just a few things we do.  It’s all about a life that touches a life that touches another life, and the ripple effect continues for generations to come.

My friend, Mark Warren, began this organization several years ago in an effort to assist missionaries that were doing such great work and yet struggling to raise the financial support that they required to continue their work.  Over the years Global Benefit has branched out to sponsor children so that they can receive an education, drill wells in Rwanda to provide clean, safe water to people who have none, and help fund AIDS/Selenium research.  

By purchasing coffee from GBCC you help ensure that every cent that is donated to Global Benefit for drilling well, sponsoring children, and assisting in AIDS/Selenium research goes directly to the need.  The purchase of this coffee covers the overhead expenses of the organization.  

Do you drink coffee?  Why not purchase some from GBCC?  It’s all Fair Trade and Certified Organic.