Does Voting Matter?

Does Voting Matter?

For 22 years we lived in five African countries, and then visited almost 50 countries in total. We lived through four military coups and I was stranded for over a week while borders were closed in one instance. When our U.S. national elections came around, I was always so grateful and amazed that we were able to change leadership without the threat of violence. No matter the differences, there was a sense that we were first of all Americans and secondarily members of a political party. Today, it seems we have reversed that role.

Weekly I meet with a dozen men and women. Our theme or purpose is a joint journey of discussion and discovery regarding Faith and Current Events. More than any time in my lifetime, I feel it is critical to be engaged politically. I want to discuss ideas not people, although some very good people have some very bad ideas. We are not of one mind and have very different ideas on the direction of our country, it’s policies, and will likely vote very differently. However, we have something more important than our political views that hold us together. 

It is my hope that each of us refuse to be branded by a political party. I do not want a label attached to my name because I affirm a certain position, nor will I label anyone else. I want to know why you think the way you do. Mimicking what partisan political pundits and friends are posting on Facebook without doing our own homework does nothing to advance the common good.  I pray that I will think and act with wisdom and love and justice.  I do not pray that God be with me but rather that I should be where He is. Think deeply about the country you want to experience and flourish in and do vote. We have such a privilege to participate in the future of our country.

Filter Builds

Filter Builds

Today was just another day except it wasn’t.  As I descended the stairs of our commercial building, still undergoing major construction, instead of the sound of hammers and saws, I heard conversation and laughter.  Our first group of Spectrum Human Services Health volunteers were on site. They were assembling water filter kits. Three hours later 450 water filter kits had been assembled that would be shipped out the next day to India and Guatemala. 

The value of our partners like Business Connect is the international distribution network.  We are able to send and distribute clean and safe water solutions to the most remote parts of the world and to the most needy and vulnerable.  However, of necessity, Village Water Filters has taken on the assembly and packaging of the water filters. The last two years they have collaborated with Twenty Liters. This organization provided the space, volunteers, and systems to put the water filter kits together.  It has now come fully into our space and become the responsibility of Village Water Filters.

Together, we welcome businesses, social networks, schools, various groups, all different age groups, to volunteer three hours at a time.  In that time frame we can assemble several hundred filter kits. This is essential for Village Water Filters to keep the cost down for sending these filters.  It also brings the opportunity for regular people to make a tangible difference in the lives of real people around the world. 

If you come visit us in Grand Rapids, we would welcome your participation.  Whether you are one or twenty, you can make a difference. Please connect with us if you are interested in being a part of our work.

Hope in Devastated Yemen

Hope in Devastated Yemen

There has been a seven-year devastating war going on in Yemen with Saudi Arabia. Millions are in desperate need of medical care. It is not just war wounds but the destruction of infrastructure that has now led to increasing outbreaks of cholera. Medical teams are treating everything from war wounds and burns to cholera and diphtheria, working in the thick of a massive humanitarian crisis. Yet here in the United States, we do not have a clue what is happening in Yemen.

An Extra Challenge

Once we heard of this need, we partnered with Business Connect to help. Yet they ran into a challenge. They could not ship life saving water filters directly from the States. It was impossible to import the filters. In order to get them to Yemen, they had to first ship them to South Africa and then combine the shipment with other goods from another non-profit organization.

Thankfully, the filters did finally make it to Yemen via another non-profit and five hundred household filters were distributed at two Internally Displaced Persons camps in Aden and Lahj. Please see the video below.

A Hope to Help More

Yemen Relief and Reconstruction Foundation was also able to receive 1500 filters and move them to Sana’a to distribute to areas with the largest outbreaks of cholera. They are working with WHO and the ministry of health to select those areas.

These kinds of challenges overwhelm us, but we are thankful to have had a small part in making this project successful. We have so few answers. We try to do something with the resources we are given.