All posts tagged: poverty

Here is an Orphanage Giving to the Needy of Nepal

“We head off today. I’ll be honest, I’m a little nervous. Scared even. I don’t know quite what to expect. I have driven a fair bit through Nepal and the mountain roads are sketchy at the best of times – add an earthquake and I imagine it’s going to be a ride to remember!” This was penned by a guy I know who last week helped deliver 500 relief packages to people affected by the earthquakes in Nepal. He delivered them from the orphanage he runs with his father in Banbasa, India. An orphanage helping the Nepalese. The needy helping the needy. If ever there was a picture of the generosity that Jesus calls us to, this is it. Giving selflessly, even painfully, because the need cannot be ignored – not just giving out of duty or overflow. Clifton Shipway is the grandson of Maxton D. Strong, the founder of The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission. He moved there from Launceston as a 19-year-old to help. He’s still there today, working as the deputy director of …

A Lesson in Faith from the Woman Who Collected Jars

Meet Olive.  She is an unnamed woman in the Bible, her story found in 2 Kings, chapter 4. I’ve dubbed her Olive – for reasons that will soon become clear.  She’s just lost her husband and is feeling the weight of responsibility in taking up the new titles of single mum, provider and widow.  Things are looking pretty grim. We’ve all experienced some of the feelings this woman might have been experiencing: disempowered, fearful, perhaps even a little angry – her husband “revered the Lord” and was a man from the “company of the prophets”, yet for all his supposed favour, God wasn’t making her life particularly easy. To add insult to injury, the debt-collectors were after Olive, threatening to sell her sons into slavery to cover the debt. Desperate, she goes to Elisha, the prophet – a prophet being someone regarded as the inspired teacher or proclaimer of the will of God.  No doubt he listened to her sorry story, nodding and arching his eyebrows in all the right places. But when she stopped, …

Earworms… and an Indian Orphanage that Needs Your Help

“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth, because I’m happy… Clap along if you know what happiness is to you…” And so on.  It’s in your head already, isn’t it? That catchy ‘Happy’ tune by Pharrell Williams, or “earworm” as psychologist Lauren Stewart called it in a recent article for The Sunday Times, has certainly enjoyed a l-o-o-o-ng popularity. “The song’s success tells us a lot about the way in which certain melodies can burrow into our brains and stay there long after the music has stopped,” Ms Stewart wrote. She explored how the use of repetition, gesture (hand claps), long note durations, gospel-style harmonies and simple rhythmic phrases result in “a cerebral high that can be as potent as any highly anticipated reward”. It explains a lot. Forgive the offense if Happy is your all-time favourite tune, but I find the lyrics to be rather trite. I get that it’s a celebration of joy and happiness, which really is admirable, but it’s the song’s carefree, toe-tapping tone of positivity that makes it …

“His Friends Said He’d Fail if He Tried…”

In John Mayer’s latest album there’s a fantastical tune about a man who tinkers in his basement. That’s not the incredible bit. He was building himself a submarine from bits and bobs and finally launched it into the tide to open the hatch days later in Tokyo. “With the will to work hard and a library card, He took a homemade, fan blade, one-man submarine ride.” It’s not true. The song’s called Walt Grace’s Submarine Test, January 1967 and, while no such man crops up in history books, countless men and women have done what this fictional character did in Mr Mayer’s imaginings. They accomplished the impossible. “His wife told his kids he was crazy, And his friends said he’d fail if he tried…” Success stories spring from those who dare to question the status quo. I watched a sad documentary recently called The Truth About Child Brides, focusing in particular on the illegal but prolific custom of marrying girls off as young as six in countries like India. The girls, usually married to adult …

Countdown to No More Hunger and Poverty

Sydney is the New Years Eve capital of the world thanks to its spectacular fireworks display. At the stroke of midnight tonight, Sydney will light up the sky with fireworks so dazzling that 1.5 million people will crowd the harbour and more than a billion people worldwide will watch it on television. Fireworks will be launched from seven barges on the harbour, from the rooftops of seven city skyscrapers and, of course, from the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Every imaginable colour will be splashed across the night sky, lights that flare and flower and shimmer and dance before our eyes. It comes with a price tag, of course. Tonight’s fireworks budget is $6.6 million. That covers the 9pm family fireworks (eight minutes duration) and the midnight fireworks (12 minutes). A measly $330,000 per minute for pleasure’s sake. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with entertainment but don’t you think this is a wee bit frivolous? A Tassie family – fans of the Sydney fireworks – think the organisers of the event (City of Sydney Council) have a tremendous opportunity to …