Many weeks ago, (Nov. 28) like many other bloggers, I posted a link to the Advent Conspiracy video, which encourages people to spend less on themselves at Christmas, and instead, provide fresh water to parts of the world where it is lacking.
It was a noble bandwagon to jump on. (I’m really good at telling other people what to do; wishing “Bob” had heard today’s sermon; forwarding links to something I think “Fred” needs to read…) Furthermore, I decided that this was the year that we would indeed do something, instead of just talking about it. But it was yesterday, December 27th, that we actually got around to sending a donation; and sadly, there wasn’t a huge contrast between this and other Christmases gift-wise, because when we started collecting things to wrap them on Christmas Eve, we discovered we had been in gift-acquisition mode since mid-September, though many of them were from a chain of thrift stores here called “Value Village.” It’s not like there was just one thing under the tree and it was implicit in this that the rest was going to Africa. That the kids would have remembered.
So the boys didn’t exactly do without, but if we added it all up, I’m guessing we spent about 60-66% of what we did the year before, and decided on a project from Alongside which is a division of a Canadian charity, Partners International. We chose this one because my wife Ruth’s uncle, as it turns out, is part of a team that has gone to Nigeria several times to not only install wells, but rehabilitate wells that are not functioning. It sounds good when a mission or relief agency is installing wells, but if there are perfectly good wells there that just need some repair work, it makes more sense — and it’s more efficient — to fix the wells you’ve got before you start drilling new ones. Besides, this way, we get a Canadian tax receipt. (Not that this should be the motivation.)
So credit card in hand, we made what was probably a modest donation, but for us it was a big deal. Hopefully it starts a trend, and hopefully next year, we’ll get to it before much of the other shopping has commenced, and as we get to know the organizations involved better, perhaps it will be larger or there will be two gifts to two different agencies.
At the very, very, very least; you owe it to yourselves to watch the 2 1/2 minute video that got all this started for us. You can click here to view it. You’ll know what your heart is telling you to do after that.
*If you live in the U.S., the designated charity for the Advent Conspiracy is actually an organization called Living Water International (click for direct donation link after watching the video).
Photo: Alongside website photo highlighting Ruth’s Uncle Ted, who, we’re pretty sure, is the one on the left.