Tuesday, July 29, 2014

fellowship! Magazine Article: Confronting Poverty and Injustice

Last month Partnership Macedonia was featured in the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's magazine! If you haven't had a chance to read it, you can follow the link below to check it out. 


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A Reflection for Earth Day

By Jeff Lee

“The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it, the world, and those who live in it; for he has founded it on the seas, and established it on the rivers.” (Psalms 24:1-2)

The earth is in a fragile condition. The earth has amazing ability to heal itself, but currently we are putting too much of a strain on the fragile systems that are in place that regulate the environment. Humanity is uniquely gifted with the ability to affect the environment for good and bad.

We are not living together in unity with one another. We have the ability to meet the needs of those who are around us. Poverty is an environmental issue. Those living in poverty are forced into living in the worst environmental situations. They are faced with the highest health risk from the environmental degradation that is occurring while at the same time they are the group that is the least responsible for the current situation.

There are common misbeliefs that since the poor are living in the worst conditions that they are the cause of the situation in which they live. There is a direct correlation between the amount of resources that we consume and the health of the environment. It is the consumers that are the main source of environmental degradation. It is our responsibility to practice appropriate care for the environment.

The first thing that we need to recognize is the source of the situation. The more that we consume resources the worst the environmental crisis becomes. We must take responsibility for our actions as individuals, communities, and even countries. If we do not see the earth as the precious gift that it is then we only have ourselves to blame for the continuing of the environmental crises that is occurring.

There is hope for the future, but only if we act. Too often we do not act because we think that we cannot make a difference in changing the current situation. We might think that what we do is too little to help. But we can help. Little things done by many people over and over again have a tremendous effect on the environment.

There are things that we can do on a small scale that can help curb the current environmental crisis.

The first thing to do is to learn about the environment.

List of things to do:
  • Replace incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent bulbs.
  • Recycle anything that can be recycled.
  • Reuse old things that still have value.
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use.
  • Decrease the amount of water usage.
  • Support beneficial environmental regulations.
We should be doing things to preserve resources, and beauty of the earth for the future generations, because it is the only earth that we have. There are tons of other ideas and resources that you can do with you and your family. Look online for more at www.creationcare.org

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Love Shown by a Crayon

A blog by Jeff Lee

For the last few months we have visited an orphanage near our house as a family.  We spend Saturday afternoons playing games, coloring, playing with play dough and other really simple things.  The first time that I visited with the kids I felt a little nervous.  Alicia had been going for a number of months, so the kids were used to her, but I was a new person, and I think more odd was that fact that I was a guy.  They did not talk to me.  I tried to interact with the kids, but it was difficult.  Over time I have seen a slow change in how these children have begun to interact with me.  I began to truly care for these kids.  I still get nervous every time I go and visit them, but that is a lack of confidence on my part.  I also have noticed them see me in a different light.  I think that they can see that I care about them.  They know that I cannot understand them very well, but that does not stop them from speaking to me and asking me to draw them a picture.  
Today they asked me to draw a rabbit and an Easter basket for them.  They did not care that I am not a good artist and my rabbit is just a smiley face with big ears.  While I was drawing rabbits one of the little girls came over to show me a picture of a heart that she drew.  I told her that it was beautiful, in poor Macedonian, but she repeated herself a few times, and on the fourth time I finally understood what she was saying to me.  She told me that she drew it for me.  It was amazing!  It blows me away that they would want to gift something to us! 

The orphanage needs many things. Many of which require tangible or monetary donations.  We aren’t there to meet those sorts of needs. We know that to some, what we offer is of little value but we aren’t there for them.   We are there for the children and it means a lot to them.  Showing love to a child is simple. It’s not about the crayons we bring. It’s coloring WITH them while they create masterpieces.  It’s not about the play-doh we bring. It’s about sitting RIGHT next to them while they design works of art.  It’s about being consistent in spending time with them. It’s about BIG hugs just because they need one, or two.  It’s about showing love to the “least of these.”  Being the presence of Christ is about being present.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Culture Shock: A Two-Way Street

We were asked to write a piece for the CBF blog this week about “Culture Shock.”  It wasn't hard to find enough to talk about as we experience culture shock on a daily basis! Click here to read it on the CBF Blog.  Don't miss the blog contributions by our dear friends and colleagues, Jon and Tanya Parks in Slovakia and Matt and Michelle Norman in Spain!