Saturday, November 24, 2012

Huckleberry Hot Springs and Thanksgiving Dinners

On Thanksgiving day, several friends and I hiked to Huckleberry hot springs for the day. The weather was beautiful! Then I got to enjoy two Thanksgiving dinners in a row. One with my church and this evening, on with friends at my home.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Am I Thankful?

 In America, it's Thanksgiving day. The day many people set aside to enjoy time with family and lots of good food. The more or less accurate stories about the origins of the holiday aside, I think the idea of taking a day to remember to be thankful is wonderful. As long as it's not the only time all year that I do so. Websters defines thankful as "conscious of benefits received." But what am I thankful for? And who am I receiving benefits from?

 I believe that all things come from God. And I'm not even conscious of half of the benefits He's given me. Sometimes I remember to thank Him for the good things that come my way, friends, opportunities, health, food, etc. Much more rarely am I thankful for things like the fact that my heart beats all by it's self without me even having to think about it, or remind it to do so, that I was taught to read and live in a culture where it's easy to learn things through reading, or for small inventions like lightbulbs and toilet paper which make my life much more comfortable. And almost never, though instructed to give thanks in all things, do I thank God for the hard times in my life. I'm much more likely to complain about them. And while doing so, generally ignore all the good there is still in my life, as well as the fact that while I may see something as bad, God's just working to conform me into someone who can spend an eternity with Him. And as I'm pretty proud and stubborn, I tend to grow the most when my life seems to be falling apart. When I look around the world, it's hard to understand how I could be so blessed when so many are not.

 Here's a few things I like to keep in mind as I enjoy the blessing I do have, and I hope these continue to move me to be compassionate and generous with others and be truly thankful to God. I don't know why I wasn't born into and have never lived in any of these situations, it's certainly not due to my own merit.
  • One person in seven battles hunger every day.
  • Approximately 963 million people across the world are hungry.
  • More than 9 million children under age 5 die every year, and malnutrition accounts for more than one-third of these deaths. Most of these children live in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
  • About 5.6 million deaths of children worldwide are related to under-nutrition. This accounts for 53 percent of the total deaths for children under 5.
  • More than 6 million children die from malnutrition each year.
  • Worldwide, 161 million preschool children suffer from chronic malnutrition.
  • Already 923 million people worldwide are undernourished, and there are more than 9 million deaths related to hunger each year.
  • Approximately 15 million children under age 18 have lost one or both parents to AIDS. Of these, nearly 12 million live in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Each day, about 1,000 children worldwide become infected with HIV, the vast majority of them newborns.
  • More than 6,800 new HIV infections occur daily worldwide, and more than 5,700 people die of AIDS.
  • Nearly half of pregnancies among American women are unintended; about 4 in 10 of these are terminated by abortion. Twenty-two percent of all U.S. pregnancies end in abortion.  
  • Malaria kills approximately 1 million children per year, many of them under age 5 and most of them in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • There are 1.8 million diarrheal-related deaths per year among young children.
  • Acute respiratory infections annually kill an estimated 2 million children under the age of 5.
  • About 1.8 million people, most of whom are children, die annually of food-borne diseases.
  • Approximately 37 percent of deaths among children under 5 — 9.7 million worldwide in 2006 — occur in the first month of life.
  • Roughly 12 percent of the world's population, or 884 millionpeople, do not have access to safe water.
  • About 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to adequate sanitation - roughly two-fifths of the world's population.
  • Approximately 1.8 million children die each year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This is around 5,000 deaths a day.
  • Diarrheal diseases can be reduced by more than 40 percent through the simple practice of washing hands with soap and water.
  • Nearly 90 percent of water-related diseases are due to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene; and most victims are children in developing countries.
  • The average person in the developing world uses a little more than 2.5 gallons of water each day for drinking, washing and cooking. Whereas the average person in the developed world uses 13 gallons per day only for toilet flushing.
  • Agriculture uses more than 80 percent of the world's total water consumption.
  • Worldwide, approximately 425 million children under 18 do not have safe water.
  • Every day 1,500 women die from complications in pregnancy or childbirth that could have been prevented. Each day 10,000 newborns die within a month of birth, and daily the same number of babies are also born dead.
  • More than 1.6 billion people lack access to electricity and modern forms of energy.
  • Over 1.4 billion people in the developing world live below the poverty line (U.S.$1.25 per day).
  • Annual world economy breaks down like this: 
  • Low Income, $935 or less: 37%
  • Lower Middle Income, $936 to $3,705: 38%
  • Upper Middle Income, $3,706 to $11,455: 9%
  • High Income, $11,456 or more: 16%
  • In developing countries, approximately 130 million children and teens — age 17 or under — have lost one or both parents.
  • Low-income working families are the most generous group in America, giving away about 4.5 percent of their income on average, compared with about 2.5 percent among the middle class, and 3 percent among high-income families.
  • An estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide every year.
  • Children living in areas of extreme economic hardship and social disruption are at increased risk for abuse, violence, and exploitation.
  • About 1.5 billion children live in the 42 countries affected by violent conflict between 2002 and 2006. Of 14.2 million refuges worldwide, 41 percent may be children under the age of 18.
  • Worldwide, an estimated 40 million children under the age of 15 suffer from violence, abuse and neglect.
  • An estimated 1.2 million children - both boys and girls - are trafficked each year into exploitative work, including mining, factories, armed conflict or commercial sex work.
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and filled," without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? -James 2:14-16

Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. -James 1:27

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. - Col. 3:15-17

 May I be truly thankful to God every day for everything. 


Source for statistics:

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Games and Food

My gospel community (small group) meets for breakfast on Sunday mornings. We can do a good breakfast! And then there's Saturday nights when friends come hang out and play Settlers...

Saturday, November 10, 2012

More Asher etc.

Athalie and her family all leave in the morning. It's been fun to have them here!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Family and Mountains

My sister Athalie and her husband Rowan and son Asher are all still in town. Today, Rowan's back was feeling up to doing a bit of sight seeing so we went for a drive.