LollipopandPearls Theme Song

"Lollipop and Pearls" - Jared Kraft

Friday, May 8, 2009

2 Minutes in May!

What happens one day in May each year and lasts for 2 minutes?

The Kentucky Derby

Statistics show that 26,500 children will die every day of malnutrition or CUREable diseases! ~ that is 10 million+ children dying needlessly every year! Day in and day out this unfathomable and vicious cycle repeats itself. Why? A lack of funding: for research; for nutrition; for medical supplies and equipment; a lack of willing and sacrificial hearts to stand against the injustice and insanity of it all; a lack of able-bodied people concerned enough to ACT by donating money, time, or resources! Too many people in our instant gratification society are complacent regarding 3rd world countries. It IS an extremely challenging problem; countries are in dire need of humanitarian action and assistance, until each situation has stabilized. Recent economic and agricultural situations have made this year’s levels of those malnourished reach rare heights.
This past weekend we volunteered selling Kentucky Derby Merchandise on "Millionaires Row" at Churchill Downs. By volunteering our time G.O. Ministries received a generous donation to help missionaries in Haiti, Mongolia, Dominican Republic and Columbia. My family will return to Santiago, DR in July to continue mission work we have been involved with ~ and blessed by~ for several years, serving Dominican and Haitian people, especially Pastor Moise and his Haitian church. Moise desires to bridge the gap of hatred between these Dominicans and Haitians, who share the island of Hispaniola. We see children who are dying of starvation, digging for something tangible in the rivers of raw sewage to curb the ravenous hunger pangs! We've seen the distended tummies on babies who will never see their first birthday; we have loved on naked children with runny noses, rotting teeth, skin diseases, grime from head to toe ~ some who have no idea who their parents are~ who may have died by the time we return in July! Our hearts are broken over the injustice and inequity of it all, and each time we leave, a piece of our heart remains there!
Take a custom made hat costing thousands of dollars; add a tailored-made dress or suit with multi-gem and diamond accessories....oh, and don't forget the expensive 4", 5", or 6"+ stilettos that end up being carried by days end...and what does that equation equal? A ladies outfit for the annual running of "The Oaks'", the races held on Friday for the fillies!

Repeat the same equation on Saturday for the Derby ~ only a completely different multi-thousand dollar outfit extraordinaire...PLUS...$6,000 per chair at the table (meaning $12,000/couple) for unlimited food and alcohol! And...the people watching is amazing! What a deal, huh? WRONG! What a WASTE! People have nothing to show for all the food and alcohol consumed except an outfit worn one time; and perhaps bragging rights...maybe an upset stomach and/or headache from a hangover! What a deal!
Researching the internet (primarily from the UNICEF site), I obtained the following information:

Analysis by population group in Dominican Republic

Children (0-4 years): The estimated infant mortality rate was 40 per 1,000 live births (lb), 1995-2000. Under registration of deaths in infants was estimated at 60% in 1998. In that year, conditions arising in the perinatal period accounted for 64.5% of infant deaths, communicable diseases 13%, and acute diarrheal diseases, 9.4%.

Communicable diseases constituted the leading cause (40%) in the group 1-4 years of age, followed by external causes (24.6%). In 1999, the leading causes of morbidity in infants were acute respiratory infections (668.8 per 1,000 lb), acute diarrheal diseases (329.3 per 1,000 lb), and parasitoses (138.5 per 1,000 lb).

The leading causes of morbidity in children 1-4 years were acute respiratory infections (221.2 per 1,000 population) and acute diarrheal diseases (69.4). According to the 1996 ENDESA survey, the prevalence of chronic malnutrition in children under 5 years was 10.7%. Age groups most affected by dengue in 1999 were infants (45.2 per 100,000 children) and children 1-4 years (28 per 100,000).

Schoolchildren (5-14 years): External causes and communicable diseases are the leading cause of death. The rate of dengue notified for 1999 in children from 5-9 years was 27.3 per 100,000 and in those of 10-14, of 18.4 per 100,000.
Issues facing children in Haiti

Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere. Diarrhea, respiratory infections, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are the leading causes of death.

Some 60 per cent of people, primarily in rural areas, lack access to basic health-care services.
Issues facing children in India

Infant mortality remains as high as 63 deaths per 1,000 live births. Most infant deaths occur in the first month of life, with up to 47 per cent in the first week.

Children in India continue to lose their lives to vaccine-preventable diseases such as measles, which remains the biggest killer. Tetanus in newborns also remains a problem.

Around 46 per cent of all children under the age of three are too small for their age, 47 per cent are underweight and at least 16 per cent show signs of wasting. Many of these children are severely malnourished.

Anemia affects 74 per cent of children under the age of three, more than 90 per cent of adolescent girls and 50 per cent of women.

Diarrhea remains the second major cause of death among children, after respiratory-tract infections. Unhygienic practices and unsafe drinking water are some of its main causes.

More than 122 million households in the country are without toilets. Even though toilets are built in about 3 million households every year, the annual rate of increase has been just 1 per cent in the past decade.

India has an estimated 220,000 children infected by HIV. It is estimated that 55,000 to 60,000 children are born every year to mothers who are HIV-positive.

These statistics appall me! When I consider the amount of food my family throws away regularly, and when fast-food is readily available (even in some of these 3rd world countries); when I observe my pets eating a full meal and drinking clean water; yet, I know that precious innocent children the world over right this very moment are breathing their last breath of earthly life due to TREATABLE, CUREABLE, PREVENTABLE illnesses and malnutrition, I literally become sick to my stomach! In our country we have a major morbid obesity problem~ granted, some of those cannot be helped; the majority are due to one simple thing: GLUTTONY! (This, according to God’s Word, is a sin!) People seem to have a propensity to read about these situations, feel compassion for those living in such conditions, and go on with life “as normal”! The way people in these countries live is a MAJORITY representation of the world population; WE are the minority…perhaps we should take Tim McGraw’s advice and “live like you were dyin’”! This insanity HAS to stop!
Back to the Derby party~ let’s consider an equation of comparison using conservative approximations (meaning the reality is most costs listed are considerably higher)! These figures do not factor in money for wagering, which is a COLOSSAL business at the event!

The Oaks Day Wardrobe Costs:

Hers Outfit = $1500.00
His Outfit = $ 100.00
(2) seats =$12,000.00 (This includes all the food and alcohol one can consume for that one day only! Everything starts over on Derby day!
TOTAL: $13,600.00

***Most of the people will repeat the same process, only different outfits, on Derby day! For these purposes, however, we are only counting an approximate cost of one party!***
Cost of sponsoring a child through Compassion International: $32/month; $384/yr. For the $13,600 spent by one couple on Derby day for entertainment, 35 children could be sponsored for one year!

Cost of sponsoring a child in Uganda for(1) year, providing school tuition and supplies, uniform, all medical and dental costs and at least 2 healthy meals a day: $300 (for the ENTIRE YEAR). For the $13,600 spent by one couple on Derby day for entertainment, 45 children could be sponsored for an entire year.

Cost of sponsoring a child in the Dominican Republic through GO Ministries (which includes school uniform, tuition to the private Christian school, all school supplies, a birthday gift, a Christmas gift): $30/month; $360/year. For the $13,600 spent by one couple on Derby day for entertainment, 37 Dominican children could be sponsored for a whole year.

DISCLAIMER: I realize the numbers used are very conservative and only represent the people we served in the “Millionaire” area at Churchill Downs. I also realize some people there were likely guests of others and spent less money. I also realize money is no object to some folks. I am in NOT SAYING that people should not have fun; nor am I saying people should NOT spend money. I AM saying that I believe it is scripturally based that the Lord commands we care for the widows and orphans. The people in the first church in the Bible (read Acts) sold their possessions, and “gave to anyone who had need!” We are expected by our Heavenly Father to be good stewards of what he has entrusted us with. If we are to be like Jesus, and emanate Him as much as we can, we must realize that our priority should be to serve, not BE served!

The purpose of this blog entry is NOT to condemn having pleasure in life! People work hard to earn their keep, to provide for their families needs/wants; many people sacrifice so that others less fortunate can live more comfortably! Many people are passionate about charitable giving and philanthropic involvement, and they are to be commended.

Yet, in spite of the good that is being done, there are countless people (particularly children) losing their lives needlessly! I’m asking each of you to consider as a family, as individuals, as a church, as a community group what God may be calling you to do to help a child and his/her family, beginning now! I urge you…I plead with you…I beg you from the bottom of my heart…to check out the links listed below and become educated on their mission, their reputation, their integrity, their goals, etc. and see if God may lead you to go over and beyond what you are doing/giving now, out of a sacrificial heart, to make a difference for “ONE”! It likely can be accomplished by giving up a family fast-food night once a week; or sacrificing 2 Starbucks visits each week; perhaps cutting back on groceries each month or combining trips in the car to save on gas….Be creative, and have fun with it. If you have children, let them help choose a child to sponsor from the site. They will feel connected, will take some ownership in keeping up with that child, and the lessons will be taught in the process are eternal! You will find, I promise you, that the blessing you RECEIVE will far outweigh the blessing you feel you are giving.

And, just in case you feel like making the effort to only help one child will not make any real difference, read the story below, then go to my friend, Katie Davis’ blog, read all you can, then ask yourself this question: “Will our helping just one of God’s children truly make a difference in the big scheme of things?” I can tell you the answer without hesitation or reservation: “YES! A resounding YES!” You plant the seed in the life of one, and watch the Creator of the Universe duplicate and multiply that effort! It will be nothing short of amazing! Here’s the story:

The Starfish Story
adapted from The Star Thrower
by Loren Eiseley
1907 - 1977

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects, and throwing them into the ocean. He came closer still and called out "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up, and replied "Throwing starfish into the ocean." "I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man. To this, the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die." Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

At this, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish, and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he said, "I made a difference to that one!"

Few stories have gained internet popularity the way "The Star Thrower" has. Most often it's sighted as "author unknown," but it is actually a classic from 1979 written by Loren Eiseley, who has been hailed as a modern day Henry David Thoreau. Loren Eiseley was both a scientist and a poet, and to this day his writing is the subject of much discussion and inspiration. In this story he is the "wise man" touched by the innocence and determination of another soul.

"The Star Thrower" is a classic story of the power within each one of us to make a difference in the lives of others. And though it has appeared in many forms (sometimes it's a native American man who is throwing the starfish into the sea, sometimes it's a grandfather, or a young girl or boy) it is none the less a powerful reminder that we should be here for each other, and to seek to help, even in small ways, whenever we can.

In such turbulent times as these, when we may feel alone and small and unable to make any lasting changes we may find ourselves asking "What can I do that will make a difference?" or "What can one small person like me do?" In reality we don't have to be rich, talented or even particularly intelligent to make a difference in the life of another. We just need to remember that we ARE here for a purpose and that making small changes in the world eventually add up to something bigger in the life of another.
When we become throwers of the stars, we too, have the power to change the world
Thank-you for allowing me this post to vent about my passion, my hurt, and my desire to see children the world over have a chance at life.

Brooke Fraser has a song entitled “Albertine" Please click on "Albertine" above, watch the video, carefully listen to the words, then ask yourself: what is my responsibility? I cannot wait to see how God is going to move!

I love each of you who reads this, and many who won’t! And I love Jesus more than mere words can express! Have a happy day!

The blessing of unconditional love from family and friends is not something I take for granted! I am grateful for every soul that God has placed in my life, even those who were with me only for a season or a reason…I am a better person for having known them all. For the ones God has given me for a lifetime, I acknowledge I am a rich woman!
Thank-you, Lord, for the opportunity to love and be loved!


Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh I love you already!

I am so glad to find someone that is so passionate about the waste! I was just telling my hubby this morning that last weekend on just one show opening in America there was like 87 million spent on a movie!...And we send what little money to families in Africa that are STARVING and living on nothing! I my son-in-law (, called me a couple of days ago to tell us that a pig that we purchased for his family in Ghana had 13 piglets and the family was so excited that they called Doctor in America to tell him! Now that is much more exciting then the Derby or a movie :) right!

I was stopping by to say "Thank You" for the praise on my photos...I am a amuture for you can do anything that I have done! but I do love photography and try to learn as much as I can...

I really enjoyed reading about you, we have alot in common.
It is nice to meet another "sister in Christ" ! Shi~

Tracy said...

exactly!!! amen, amen!!!!!!

bless you for letting us know about last night! so incredible!

love you!