I had the pleasure of attending a banquet recently to benefit ICM (International Care Ministries), http://www.caremin.com/. This yearly banquet is an effort to raise money and sustain programs designed to help the poorest of the poor in the Philippines. ICM uses pastors from communities to connect with families and enroll and teach them in pre schools, programs that focus on values, health, and livelihood, and maintain emergency medical funds. These programs are sponsored by people like me, companies, or groups of friends all coming to together to make a difference.
I originally started donating money and attending this banquet about 6 years ago. After a couple of years, I decided to take my kids to the Philippines so we could see first hand where our money was going and help these people in any way we could for a few days. We gathered toys, shoes, and clothes to take with us on the airplane to distribute once we arrived.
We had an amazing time teaching songs and painting at one preschool and then visiting a community with malnourished children at the end of their feeding program. We saw the progress of weight gain on the tiniest children in one village, all detailed on paper posters on the walls of their meek community room. We also built two toilets. Many of these people do not have running water so that means “dig and cover” to go to bathroom. Their willingness to blend cement with water and help scoop dirt for hours to make deep holes for the toilets to then be built showed me community and collaboration. We saw smiles on the faces of these families and their young children as we toured their homes (we are talking dirt floors with scraps of metal for roofs). When it rains? Yes, the rain comes inside their homes and dirt floors turn to mud. During these few, hot days what we saw most was hope and love. The hands and feet of Jesus were at work in these ultra poor communities. People with nothing who smile and laugh and are grateful!
How can we be the hands and feet of Jesus daily? There are so many ways but here are a few ways I try to be the hands and feet of Jesus:
1. Love – We must love ourselves, family, neighbors and strangers
2. Prioritize – Our values, ideals, commitments and beliefs need to be authentic and give our life purpose
3. Live a pious life – Believe and trust in and be loyal to God
4. Study – I love my weekly ladies group! We have done all the Alpha courses, read books or watched video series and have discussions weekly. Other ways are a daily reflection from a book or email, quiet time with the Lord, or scripture reading
5. Tithe – Donate to an organization like ICM http://www.caremin.com/ or better yet plan a service trip to help!
Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another– 1 John 4:11
Raspberry Chia Seed Pudding
1 cup homemade coconut milk (recipe below)
1/2 cup raspberries or other fruit
1/4 cup white chia seeds (you can use black ones but I don’t like it when they get between my teeth:)
1. Combine coconut milk and fruit in a blender and blend until desired consistency
2. Pour mixture into a bowl and add chia seeds
3. Leave in fridge for about 3 hours and stir a few times so seeds don’t settle in a clump on bottom of bowl
Makes 1-2 servings
Homemade Coconut Milk
4 fresh coconuts, cracked open, coconut water reserved for another use and meat scraped out. About 2 cups of meat (we get Thai coconuts here in Hong Kong. If you can get the brown coconuts their meat is thicker and tastes better)
3 cups of hot water
1. Put meat and hot water in a Vitamix or blender and blend completely
2. Pour contents into a soup bag and squeeze out milk into a bowl. Save any extra milk not used in chia pudding in fridge.