For the last 3 Sunday's my church has played this video. One small group has pledged to raise 3,000 dollars to refurbish a well in Sierra Leon. They are inspired by Advent Conspiracy, and working through living water. The main idea... give presence.
Here are the 4 key concepts
Worship Fully- worship Jesus. He's the reason for the season
Spend Less- it's not anti gifts, just anti obligation gifts. Give the meaningful gifts, or make something they'll love.
Give More- Time that is. The people who love you will appreciate it more than any things.
Love All- Love those who are less fortunate. Like Jesus focus on the ragamuffins.
Why Sierra Leone?
Sierra Leone is located on the West African coast. The infant mortality rate is 15.4% and the life expectancy is 41.2 (numbers from infoplease.com)
Living Water is also a solid charity. it received four of four stars from charity navigator.
So how is this affecting us this Christmas? We are trying to spend less on gifts. (which we were honestly going to have to do anyways now that Haley is here) and we are trying to find more ways to spend quality time with people we love. I am also trying to make more meaningful gifts. I will post some of these ideas later.
My mom's side of the family already does a secret santa exchange so there are less people to give too, but I'm going to pitch some ideas to them when we get together for Thanksgiving. I would love to see gifts of giving to those in need in place of regular gift giving. Like maybe a group effort of packing boxes for Operation Christmas Child, or providing Christmas or Thanksgiving to someone else who otherwise would not have a nice holiday. I would even love to go serve as a family at a shelter somewhere. I will try to list some more concrete ideas soon.
Zach and I are also letting people know that in lieu of some gifts we would be happy to have people give to living water. If everyone gave and received one less gift it would make a huge difference.