Rose and I have been blessed to visit many churches to share about SEED, about the work we’ve been doing over the past year, and to recommend investing in a development group project instead of only purchasing product.
We continue to get donations for these development groups from individuals, but one of the exciting things happening this year is the spread of families and whole churches deciding to raise funds to partner with new income-generating initiatives like sewing and pig raising. Some families have decided to forgo all or part of their own gift-giving and instead pooled funds to build into the life of a group halfway around the world. And a number of churches are making one of these projects their focus of giving for Advent Conspiracy: what an exciting way to celebrate Christmas!
As you likely know, the D in SEED stands for Development. Sometimes the idea of development is combined with Economic (the second E), and truly our essential focus is on partnering with groups to create economic opportunities, to develop their own long-term, self-sustaining income generation.
But we also recognize that just helping people with finances is not a cure-all. That’s why we focus on groups, whether it is a group that gathers for spiritual and emotional support as they make jewelry or bags, or a group that has decided to make a difference in their church (like for raising pigs in the Amparo church in Manila), or a group that wants to impact the lives of orphans (like in Addis Ababa), those in crisis, and an entire community (like the Ahon work in Butuan, the Philippines). The picture above is of the Ahon Home for Boys: as we raise funds for breeding sows for this group, they continue to develop the land by planting more fruit trees, starting a garden, and building for their growing community.
This Christmas, let’s all “develop” a little more in the areas of relationship, generosity, and humility. If we grasp a little less for ourselves materially, we will have healthier spiritual, emotional, and relational lives. And if we desire a little better economic lives for others around the world, we will capture a little more of the spirit of Christmas: God who gave himself so that others can live better lives in all ways.