Are you familiar with the concept of a “bucket list?” The idea is just a list of things you really want to accomplish before you “kick the bucket.” Some people have a literal checklist, but most of us just have general ideas. For example, my bucket list includes visiting Paris (I studied French in high school and college), to see the Eiffel Tower and the Mona Lisa in person. Even if you’ve never heard of a bucket list, I’ll bet you’ve dreamed about things you want to do before you die.
I have a Food Shelf Friday bucket list as well – things I want to do or experience as I advocate for the world’s hungry. So today, I’m going to share those dreams with you.
- Meet my Compassion child: I’ve told you before about my friend Edouard, whom we sponsor through Compassion International. One of the great things about Compassion is that they can also arrange for you to meet your sponsored child if you visit his or her area. They even plan missions trips a couple times a year and take sponsors to different parts of the world to serve and meet their kids. They just went to Burkina Faso last year, and Edouard is pretty young yet, but I would really love to do this when he’s older and we have more history together.
- Build and maintain a revolving portfolio of microfinance loans: Microfinance is another topic I’ve covered previously. At the time when I first shared this revolutionary tool, I also made my first loan through Kiva. Loans pay back in five years, and the money can be reinvested in another loan at that time or cashed out. My plan is to make a new loan twice a year (December and April), until I have ten loans out there. At that point the first one will pay back and will fund the 11th. My investment, built during the first five years, will become a self-feeding revolving portfolio of investments. Of course, not all loans successfully pay back, but the occasional failed loan can be replaced by a new investment on my part. Now, that may sound like a lot of business mumbo jumbo, but it’s not as elaborate and complicated as it seems. Kiva does all the work for me; I just invest about $30 at a time and pick a project that I would like to fund. So far, my first two loans have been agricultural and seem to be loans that will yield long-term opportunity for the lenders.
- Transition my wardrobe from “fast fashion” to fair trade: Like microfinance, fair trade is a long-term, sustainable way to provide opportunity, and thus poverty and hunger relief, for people around the world. I am determined to care for my wardrobe, making things last as long as possible, and to replace things (when needed) with items that were made with fair employment practices that empower rather than imprison the workers.
- Continue to develop a personal reputation for serving others: When someone has a need for volunteers, I want them to think of me. Not because I want the recognition, but because I want more opportunities to love and serve. I want my life to be an offering to God, and for Him to put me to work loving and serving others the way Jesus did.
- Develop Food Shelf Friday’s reputation as a resource: Bloggers try really hard not to get caught up in the numbers, especially faith-based and non-profit blogs. We’re torn between wanting God to build His kingdom as He sees fit, and peeking at the stats to see if we’re doing a good job.
It’s really not about the numbers, anyway. I would rather have a hundred people know about Food Shelf Friday if it blesses and informs their efforts and service than to have a million followers who don’t read the blog, or only come here for a laugh.
And yet… I feel that this blog is something God has called me to do, and that the information I offer here is valuable. It does no good if I share it with an empty room, right?
So as you can see, it’s a back-and-forth debate. In the end, I do care if people read my blog, and I work hard to build a social media following, find opportunities to write for other publications, and provide you with well-researched and interesting content. I really want Food Shelf Friday to succeed, and I want it to be a tool that you use as you make decisions about your lifestyle and plans to serve those in need. I repeat (as I often do) that I will NEVER use guilt and sad pictures to prod you into action. Your motivation should come from your own beliefs and the spirit’s convictions. Food Shelf Friday is just a tool to help you act on those convictions. You should never have cause to fear what you’ll see on this site or on my social media feeds.
Obviously I have a ways to go. Hopefully I’ll have many years to reach and refine, and I’m sure I’ll come up with many more dreams as well! Leave a comment with some of your bucket list dreams (personal or service-based), and/or topics you would like to see covered here on Food Shelf Friday. I welcome your feedback!