In a recent lesson for my Bible805 ministry, in going through the Bible I did a lesson on the book of Amos. The book is both a scathing inditement of the religiously active, but morally bankrupt Israel of the prophet's day and a challenge to all of us to be sure that our lives reflect the compassion and justice of God.
Many can do things personally, but many cannot but most of us can give something to support organizations who are doing incredible things for the Kingdom of God. Below are some of the organizations I recommend. Just click on the name to go to a description of what they do, their website, and my comments about them.
These are just a few of the many that are doing wonderful things—I also HIGHLY recommend that you go through your denomination when looking who to support. Many of the larger ones have reputable, long-established aid organizations.
Your local food banks, the prison ministries of your church, and outreach to the homeless and less fortunate, all of these need our help and support.
I encourage you on your church website and periodically in your handouts or bulletins provide a list like this and encourage your people to give generously to the many ministries that serve the "least of these."
International Justice Mission
Their description: “International Justice Mission protects the poor from violence by partnering with local authorities to rescue victims, bring criminals to justice, restore survivors and strengthen justice systems.”
Yvon’s comments: An extraordinary group that works through the justice system for long-term changes in the societal factors that support human slavery and trafficking.
Two articles from Christianity Today tell you more about it.
Description: “World Vision International is an Evangelical Christian humanitarian aid, development, and advocacy organization. Wikipedia
Motto: Our vision for every child, life in all its fullness; our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so
Yvon’s comments: Whenever there is a tragedy in the world (and there are so many) I know World Vision already has supplies and people pre-positioned near it and they will be quick to respond. They are respected by governments and able to operate in many difficult areas. When a tragedy occurs, it is great to be able to go on their site and give knowing the money will be wisely used.
They also have child sponsorship programs and you can give to specific areas of interest on an ongoing basis either in the U.S. or world-wide. On an ongoing basis we give to these funds: Disaster Relief (where most needed), Child Protection, Exploited Children, Children and Women in Crisis (rescue and retraining).
At Christmas we create a fund for World Vision and have the children in our life decide what projects to give it to from the catalog of gift options instead of giving them gifts.
A21—an anti-human trafficking organization
Their description: “Our mission is to end slavery. We are a nonprofit organization fueled by radical hope that human beings everywhere will be rescued from bondage and completely restored. We are the abolitionists of the 21st century. We work with you to free slaves and disrupt the demand. Human trafficking is destroying lives, but freedom will have the final word.”
Founder: Christine Caine
Yvon’s comments: I can’t let myself imagine the horrors the victims rescued by A21 have experienced, but I can pray God will use my small contribution for great healing in His name.
Their description: Prison Fellowship® works to restore America’s criminal justice system and those it affects. We help men and women replace the cycle of brokenness that landed them in prison. We advocate for justice reform and activate grassroot networks to do the same. We equip wardens to bring restorative change to their facilities. We care for prisoners’ families and help strengthen the bond between children and their parents who are behind bars. We call the Church to lead the way in caring for those impacted by the criminal justice system. And we do it all from a biblical worldview.
Yvon's comments: For many years I did freelance writing for them, and as is the case with many organizations like this, words, PR, and all the materials we have on social media today are inadequate to give a true picture of the extraordinary work they do. They truly help rebuild lives.
Free Wheelchair Mission
Their description: The need for wheelchairs in our world is staggering. In developing countries, the World Health Organization estimates that 75 million people need a wheelchair, the vast majority of whom cannot get one on their own. Many are forced to live on the ground or to wait to be carried. Disease, malnutrition, armed conflict, and lack of proper medical care are all major causes of disability in the developing world.
Yvon's comments: I started supporting them after spending a couple of years off and on in a wheelchair and knowing the absolute terror of not being able to walk on my own. I could not imagine dragging oneself through the dirt to move around. The gift of a wheelchair can totally change a life from misery to joy.
World Central Kitchen
Their description: WCK responds to natural disasters, man-made crises, and humanitarian emergencies around the world. We're a team of food first responders, mobilizing with the urgency of now to get meals to the people who need them most. Deploying our model of quick action, leveraging local resources, and adapting in real time, we know that a nourishing meal in a time of crisis is so much more than a plate of food—it's hope, it's dignity, and it's a sign that someone cares.
Yvon's comments: Not only do they do extraordinary, almost unbelievable work (it is amazing to me how quickly they are on the ground feeding people when a disaster hits), but they are an inspiration to all of us as they were started by one man and his wife who wanted to feed people. We may not be able to start a world-wide movement, but I encourage everyone to take a portion of their monthly food budget and give it to this group who is literally answering Jesus' challenging words of "I was hungry and you gave me something to eat."