Several years ago, I was a twenty-someone living and working in Colorado, when God allowed my life to fall apart completely. I had not been taking good care of myself, which included not only my body, mind, and soul, but also my finances.
As is explained in When Helping Hurts, poverty is a holistic issue, that is not simply a matter of finances, but even more so, an issue of our beliefs about ourselves, our hope for the future, and our spiritual condition....giving someone money does not always solve the problem.
My choices in all the areas mentioned above were catching up with me, and I found myself at a point where I had no idea how I would pay my rent for the next month. (You may be surprised to know how many Americans are only one paycheck away from being homeless!) Having recently become a member of a wonderful church in my city, I was able to meet with the deacon board and request benevolent funds to pay my rent. Though quite humbling, this decision allowed me to get back on track financially, as well as receiving advice for budgeting, decision making, and serving others. Personal accountability provided through regular church attendance and the small group ministry was also invaluable during this time. However, many people are disconnected from churches, have strained relationships with friends and family (or no friends at all), or are not willing to ask for help (I have certainly been that person in the past)...
For all these reasons, I'm excited to share this giving opportunity with you through Bridge of Hope Centre County. Paul and I will be a part of this run/walk tomorrow night (but you can still give after that) and would love to have you support our team - Holy Yoga State College. You can give on our personal page, or on the team page, both go to the same fund. One big reason I am excited about this opportunity (aside from the cool glow-in-the-dark paraphernalia for an evening race :-)) is that Bridge of Hope is a church-based ministry that connects its recipients with mentors and volunteers in our local community! This follows the model suggested by When Helping Hurts and the Chalmers Center, which has helped thousands re-think the way they view charitable giving. I have seen the benefit of benevolence being connected to Christian community not only in my life, but in the life of a good friend, Nicole, who shared her story on my blog earlier this year.
Please take a look at these links (our sponsor page and our team sponsor page) and consider whether this is something you might want to contribute to. I also highly recommended the book mentioned in this post.
May your weekend bring much rest and rejoicing!
(Bonus: here's a budgeting software program we're trying...see what you think?)