A few weeks ago, I got the Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog - Christmas 2010 in the mail. We initially learned about Samaritan's Purse at church when the earthquake devastated so many lives Haiti. After making a donation to the organization, we began receiving frequent mailings from them. Yes, I admit - I get super annoyed with mailings. Credit cards, charitable organizations, insurance companies...doesn't matter. I don't like getting any of them.
However, I am SO thankful that I received the Gift Catalog a few weeks ago. This catalog describes 44 different gifts that you can purchase for people all over the world. I went through the catalog page by page, reading about the various gifts and trying to decide how we can help a family in some other part of the world.
The first gift that really caught my eye was Gift #30 - Household Water Filters. These filters require no chemicals or power but instead rely on a natural biological process to remove disease-causing microorganisms and pollutants. How awesome is that??? I always find myself drawn to charitable organizations that work to help people have clean water, all because of watching one of those horribly sad commercials when I was little. There was a man on TV talking about how kids used the same water for cooking, drinking, bathing, and going to the bathroom. I was in total shock - I had never heard of people having to live like that. It really opened my eyes that a bigger world existed outside my little bubble, and it was a world where clean water wasn't readily available. So, knowing that this water filter will help a family have clean water brings so me so much joy!
The second gift brought me to tears. Gift #21 is milk, and there is a picture of two happy little boys with glasses of white milk in their hands. I lost it. I found myself crying...my whole life I've thought about how people don't have clean water but never considered the fact that something as simple as milk was not available to children. We drink two gallons of milk each week, and in many places around the world, kids don't get to drink milk. Does that break your heart in pieces? Mine seriously shattered tonight when I read Gift #21. For only $4, a family can be provided an entire week's worth of milk. Four dollars. Think about it. That's one drink at Starbucks, a value meal at McDonalds, a movie rental. Four dollars...for milk...that would last a week.
Our pastor once said that if you're looking for your purpose in life, wait for something to break you. If something shatters your heart, it's a pretty good indicator that you need to get involved. It's your purpose. For you it may not be water or even milk. We all have different things that break our hearts for different reasons. It helps prevent us from all going after the same cause. I hope you'll think about it, though, and remember the things that break your heart - not just at holiday time, but all year long. Consider looking through Samaritan's Purse's Gift Catalog. You might just find something that moves you, breaks you, and then makes you smile when you know you've just help improve someone's life - even if it's just as simple as a glass of milk.