How’s Your Inbox?
I don’t know if you are receiving any Lenten emails? I receive 40 acts from Stewardship; a suggested action for every day in Lent, and Tearfund’s lent devotionals Enough; 40 days of thoughts and prayers. Some days I find it overwhelming so I will probably be saving doing some of the actions till after Lent but here are just a few I have found particularly memorable.
Having had 65 older girls re-enrol in the school in Rukungiri in Uganda, where I had been part of the team helping to build latrines, I was aware of the negative impact periods can have on a girl’s education in the developing world, if there are no appropriate facilities. But it came as a complete shock to me to discover ‘according to Plan International UK, 1 in 10 girls can't afford sanitary products and over 137,700 children have missed school because of period poverty’. Having seen the film ‘I Daniel Blake’ I had started to include deodorant and sanitary products in our food bank donations, but am now wondering if there is a way of getting them more directly to the girls that need them.
Another thing I personally find very hard is having the time for people who could do with ‘a good listening to’. Surely with the range of cards I have in fair2all I shouldn’t find it hard to find appropriate cards to send people; my challenge is setting aside the time to write the card. Something to work on!
Of the prayers in Tearfund’s devotional it is probably the following Franciscan meditation, that I keep returning to and will hopefully carry with me into the coming year;
May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half -truths, and superficial relationships, so that we may live deepwithin our hearts
May God bless us with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace.
May God bless us with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that we may reach out our hands to comfort them and turn their pain into joy.
And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in this world, so that we can do what others claim cannot be done.
The location may be different but in the description by Ashraf Mall (Tearfund Pakistan) there is much which is familiar: ‘To walk through the slums of Karachi, Pakistan, is something you never forget. The smell of waste lingers in your memory long after you leave. Yet what also stays with you is the laughter of the children who play outside in the rubbish-strewn pathways: Their innocence untouched by the filth around them. To God they are precious beyond measure - and it’s his unfailing love for them that has inspired our [Tearfund’s] Lent appeal this year’.
Regardless of the location what also stays in my memory, was the efforts of so many of the adults, despite their surroundings to make their homes as clean and tidy as possible. This is why I wholeheartedly support Tearfund’s Lent project which is setting up recycling centres called Haryali Hubs. The word ‘haryali’ means ‘green’ in the local language.
The UK government will match fund all donations made to this appeal. It will help people like Rubina whose children’s health is suffering because of the build-up of waste.
The hubs will enable the environment to be cleaned up and made safe, and will also provide job opportunities to help lift local people out of poverty. For more information see www.tearfund.org/en/ukaidmatch