We've all gotten them - those emails that tell us if we forward that message Bill Gates or Warren Buffet or some other high profile wealthy person will give us money or help a great cause. Or that if you click a link, a child will get a new kidney or much needed medical care. At some point you probably figured out those are not legit.
So if someone told you that you could click a link and one million dollars would be given to help children in Uganda and Haiti, you would think that was the same sort of scam.
And you would be wrong.
Chase corporation is donating one million dollars to the qualifying charity that generates the most online votes before midnight tonight. One of those charities is Invisible Children, a San Diego-based organization that is working to raise awareness about the plight of children caught in areas of conflict around the world. They are seeking to end the use of child soldiers in Uganda and the Congo, and build schools for war-affected children in the region.
The group originally planned to use the million dollars for their efforts in Africa. But this contest started before the tragic earthquake hit Haiti and with no Haitian non-profits represented in the 100 finalists, Invisible Children felt the need to help Haiti in this time of crisis. So they are planning on implementing $100,000 in an Invisible Children relief effort to Haiti.
This is not one of those charity groups that raise funds and little if any of the money actually goes to the cause. With the money they’ve raised, 760 Ugandan students have been provided with scholarships, 11 war-destroyed schools have been rebuilt and numerous microeconomic programs have been implemented to jump start village economies. A million dollars will help take these programs to unprecedented heights.
You can help make this happen. Invisible Children is a finalist in the Chase Community Giving Facebook competition to win $1,000,000 for their efforts to end Africa’s longest running war.
More so than at any other time in history, we are all connected, looking out for each others. As we continue to help build a sustainable economy for those who have been affected by the war in Uganda, we have seen what the hope of a new beginning can bring. It’s one rooted in refusing to ignore the cries of our neighbors and providing the help needed for them to build back up a better way of life.
Please take moment and click here. Take 30 seconds to cast your vote for Invisible Children, providing $100,000 for their relief work in Haiti and $1,000,000 to bring child soldiers home from the battlefield and build schools for war-affected children.
Social networking has already raised $21 Million for Haiti. That is an astounding statistic. You can help to continue to use this platform to make life better for children around the world…and it won’t cost you a dime!
Today was a day that my family and I have looked forward to with a mixture of anticipation and dread for a couple of months now. It is the day that my daughter Faith would leave for Africa. She will spend the next twelve weeks mentoring High School girls in Swaziland, teaching an abstinence-based HIV/AIDS prevention study called "Cherish." The study seeks to help the girls understand God's view of beauty, how valuable they are in His eyes, and to understand the importance of guarding their hearts and their purity for their future spouse.
We know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Faith is doing what the Lord wants her to do this summer. We have no doubt that God will watch over her. But we will miss her terribly. We already do.
As I write this, she is on her way to Amsterdam. She will arrive there about 2 am Monday morning (our time). Following a three hour layover, she will board a plane for Johannesburg, where she will arrive late Monday night. The following morning she will catch a Swazi Air flight into the Kingdom of Swaziland. Finally, after more than two full days of traveling, she will arrive at her home for the next 84 days.
From the time our children are born, we are in the process of preparing them to make their way in the world. While our natural instinct is to hold on to them at all costs, we know in our heart of hearts we have to let go of them. We give them a foundation upon which to build their lives, form their beliefs and formulate their worldview and then we empower them to launch forth on their own.
Journalist and author Hodding Carter II observed, "There are two lasting bequests we can give our children: One is roots, the other is wings."
We thought today would be hard. It was harder than we imagined. You would think we would be used to this by now. Two summers ago, she spent the summer in Zambia. Last summer she was in Eastern Europe. Now this summer in Swaziland. But, it's never easy to put your baby on a plane going halfway around the world. We are blessed to have an incredibly close relationship with both our children. The down side of that (if it can be said there is a down side to having a great relationship with your kids) is that you miss them like crazy when they are away from you.
I have a personal favor to ask of you - whether you are a regular reader of this blog or just happened across it today via a Google search or link love on another site. Please pray for my daughter Faith Riley as she ministers in Swaziland this summer. Swaziland has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection in the world. Many of the girls she will work with have lost one or both parents to the virus. Many of them will be dead in a few years if something isn't done to stop the spread of the virus. One of the best ways to do that is for the upcoming generation of Swazi youth to practice abstinence.
Oh, and pray for her mom and dad, too. We're basket cases today, but it will get better. Starting as soon as I get the text message from her that she is safely in Amsterdam! Thanks in advance for your prayers for her this summer.
UPDATE, Tuesday May 20: After a somewhat harrowing night in the Johanesburg airport (more on that in a later post), Faith arrived safely in Swaziland about 4 am EDT this morning. She says Swaziland is beautiful and she and Becca were headed to the grocery store.