$82 of Joy

$82.
What does $82 buy me?

Well, let’s see…
That is less than a week’s worth of groceries in my world.
It is 6 of my normal meals at Chipotle, my current favorite place to eat out.
It is about half of my lowest electric bill in the spring.
I have paid that for one great dress.

Of course, it doesn’t come close to paying my mortgage.
Or even my monthly car insurance premium.
Or my cable bill.

In some ways, it is a lot of money.
But in the grand scheme of my life, it is really nothing.
A very small percentage.
Because, as an American, I am ridiculously wealthy.
And you are, too.
We don’t feel like it when we look around here and compare ourselves with each other..
But compared to the rest of the world, we are incredibly rich. And ridiculously blessed.

$82.
It doesn’t buy a whole lot.
But a few weeks ago in Guatemala, it was an extraordinary amount of money.
It bought joy.
Smiles.
Giggles.
Abundance.

As most of you know, our church is in a community-to-community partnership with a ministry in Guatemala through an organization called Children’s Hope Chest.
The ministry, also known as a Care Point, is named Bethlehem and it serves hundreds of children by providing meals, tutoring, a school and some limited health care.
But it is also home to more than a dozen orphans.
And while my friend and I were on vacation in Guatemala, we wanted to bless our friends who live at Bethlehem.
So we went to Dominoes (yes, you read that correctly) and picked up about a dozen pizzas and a whole bunch of soda.
And we made their night! The announcement was made to the children: “You can start with two pieces of pizza and then have as much as you want after that.”

And we started doling out pizza.
There were three different kinds.
But you know what did NOT happen?
As we randomly handed pieces to the kids, no one complained that they had no choice in those first two pieces.
Instead, they were devoured with absolute joy.
And then the rest was devoured as well.

Because $82 worth of pizza is a BIG deal to these kids..
A special treat
A very occasional thing.
And a gift received with joy.

But no matter how much they enjoyed it, I enjoyed it even more.
Because $82 is really such a little bit in my world.
But being able to bless my friends with it was worth so much more.
During the pizza-fest, silly games were played.
Jokes were told.
And there was a whole lot of laughter.
Community building.
Joy sharing.
Love flowing.

Worth. Every. Penny.

Paul told the elders of the Ephesian church to “remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He Himself said, ‘It is more blessed [and brings greater joy] to give than to receive.’” (Acts 20:35, AMP)

And it is so true!

Could I have spent that $82 in some other way?
Of course I could!
But I am so glad I did not.

And here’s the thing.
That $82 is more than what it costs to sponsor a child through Children’s Hope Chest. In Guatemala. Or in any of 125 communities around the world.
It is only $45 a month to do that.
And, in some ways, that feels like a lot of money to us.
Yes, there is a lot you can get for $45.
But in reality, it doesn’t go very far here in the US.

However, around the world it buys so much! The picture varies from Care Point to Care Point, but with many common themes.
In those 125 communities that $45 probably provides meals.
But it may also provide tutoring.
A safe place to hang out.
A school.
A place to sleep.
Clean water.
Micro-businesses.
Training.
Health care.
In every community, it provides  a chance to live a different life.
To move from surviving to thriving to succeeding.

But more than that, it provides opportunity.
The chance to provide physical needs that then opens the door to share the hope of heaven.
The Truth of our greatest need – a relationship with the God of the Universe.

So here’s my challenge to you:
Look at your budget.
I am guessing you don’t feel like you have an “extra” $45 to spend every month.
But I am wondering if you might be willing to give up $45 in “extras” in order to put food in the mouth of an orphan? To share the hope of heaven around the world?
That might mean giving up two Starbucks a week to provide for a month.
One night out at the movies for a family of four would do the same.
Or simply not buying snacks at that same movie!

Currently, SPC has 6 kids at Bethlehem who are unsponsored.
We would love to have you join us in blessing them.
You can go to www.spc.hopechest.org to see who still needs a sponsor and sign up right there.
But if you are not a part of SPC or you want to sponsor in a different Care Point in Guatemala or around the world, that is also an option. Go to http://www.hopechest.org to see the places that God is moving through them around the world.

Because there are hundreds – thousands – more kids around the world that could also use your help.
One child at a time.

Will it take effort and some (probably small) sacrifice on your part?
Definitely.
But it is worth it.
So very, very worth.
Because you get to provide so much more than $82 worth of joy.
So much more than one night of pizza and laughter.

You get to make an eternal impact in the life of a child.
Giving them the tools they need to grow. To thrive. To succeed.
So that they, in turn, can change their world.
One kid at a time.

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