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How the Red Cross Raised Half a Billion Dollars for Haiti ­and Built Six Homes

Jun. 5, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

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While this happens all the time, one would not believe that $500M in donations to the Red Cross would yield 6 homes. The type of thorough research in this article shines the light again on our well-intented donations gone awry:

In late 2011, the Red Cross launched a multimillion-dollar project to transform the desperately poor area, which was hit hard by the earthquake that struck Haiti the year before. The main focus of the project — called LAMIKA, an acronym in Creole for “A Better Life in My Neighborhood” — was building hundreds of permanent homes.

Today, not one home has been built in Campeche. Many residents live in shacks made of rusty sheet metal, without access to drinkable water, electricity or basic sanitation. When it rains, their homes flood and residents bail out mud and water.

Read the whole thing here.

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Should You Trust Celebrity Charities

May. 19, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

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Here is an interesting find by FoxNews (no political crankiness please). It lists 12 charities run by celebrities and breaks down where their money actually goes. For most, the results are not good. I have put an asterick next to the ones that seem to be managing their money well.  The charities that make this list:

1. The One Campaign - Bono

2. Andre Agassi Foundation 

3. Michael J. Fox Foundation**

4. The Michael Phelps Foundation**

5. The Rainforest Foundation - Sting

6. Baby Buggy - Jerry and Jessica Seinfield**

7. The Dr. Phil Foundation

8. The Larry King Cardiac Foundation

9. Make it Right Foundation - Brad Pitt**

10.Elton John AIDS Foundation **

11. The American Foundation for Courtesy and Grooming - Letterman**

12. Jon Bon Jovi Soul Foundation**

 

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Lottery Losers

May. 15, 2015By: Darren CarlsonAuthor Bio

Winning the big one does not guarantee anything.

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Jack Whittaker: This West Virginia businessman won $315 million in the Powerball lottery in 2002, the largest jackpot ever from a single ticket in American history at the time. After being robbed of $545,000 in cash while at a strip club, Whittaker's granddaughter and daughter were later found dead, and Whittaker was sued by Caesars Atlantic City casino for bouncing $1.5 million worth of checks to cover gambling losses.

Juan Rodriguez: This New York City parking attendant was earning less than $30,000 in 2004 when he won $149 million in a Mega Millions drawing. But soon after taking the lump sum option of $88 million, his wife filed for divorce and was awarded half of his winnings.

Fred Topous, Jr.: Topous won $57 million, the seventh-largest jackpot in Michigan state history in June 2008, but eventually took a $33 million lump sum. The convicted sex offender, who was released from prison in 2006, needs to register as a sex offender until 2024.

Billy Bob Harrell, Jr.: This preacher working as a stockboy at Home Depot struck it rich in 1997, winning $31 million in Texas' lottery. Some 20 months later, after divorcing his wife and buying a half-dozen homes for relatives, he committed suicide using a shotgun.

Jeffrey Dampier: In 1996, Dampier and his wife won $20 million in Illinois' lottery and used the money to buy relatives homes and to start a gourmet popcorn shop in Florida. Nine years later, Dampier was kidnapped and killed by his sister-in-law and her boyfriend who targeted him for money.

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Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/29/lotterys-biggest-losers-big-wins-dont-equal-better-lives/#ixzz1qcD5cyMe

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Challenges African American Missionaries Face

Mar. 18, 2015By: David Crabb

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk about African Americans and Missions with Timothy Byrd,a missionary with Campus Outreach in Johannesburg, South Africa. Our conversation will be posted in five parts.

Part 1: Why don’t we see many African American missionaries?

David Crabb: What particular challenges do African American missionaries face both pre-field and on the field?

Timothy Byrd: In my personal experience, and in the experience of several of my African American contemporaries, the pre-field challenges are (1) finding long-term financial partners or support, (2) skepticism and (3) opportunities to be a missionary.

For example, many people in my church community loved the idea that I wanted to do crossmoney-sign-300x300 cultural missions, but there were only a few who had a clear category to put me in. These were godly people who loved the Lord yet had never met a missionary who wanted to live in another country just to share the gospel for a lengthy period of time (3 years or more). Therefore, getting people excited was easy. Finding partners and churches to send me was the challenge. I have met very few African American churches that have mission committees or a missionary selection process. This makes it hard for the church to find out about you, encourage you or challenge you regarding your potential calling. 

The second challenge which is skepticism. There are so many scams people try to pull on churches that some churches are very guarded.  Therefore, when someone you know (and especially someone you don’t know) comes with a new or foreign concept, in many black churches it can feel like you must prove over time that you are a legitimate missionary. If a number of churches operate like this, the missionary may waver in hope and give up, or never get enough support to even go overseas.

The last thing that I would mention is the biggest pre-field and on the field challenge for African American missionaries: money! The bottom line is many long-term African American missionaries battle with raising support from African American churches. Love offerings and one time gifts do go a long way, but if missionaries are going to live in a foreign country with their only source of income coming from sending churches and individuals, there has to be significant partnership.  I have had several friends who have full-time support raising jobs in the U.S. who have had to get jobs because they couldn’t pay every day bills.  In some instances “tent-making ministry” is encouraged, but we can’t expect full-time ministry workers working part-time jobs to give the same time and energy as their counterparts who are doing ministry full-time with full support.  When support does not come in for a cross cultural missionary this typically means you go home.  Some requirements for work permits or visas are so restricted to special gifts sets it is nearly impossible to get a job. It is even more complicated when locals may feel like you are taking their jobs. I have heard it said money follows ministry, and I agree. But if the money does not follow soon enough, many agencies (and missionaries!) begin to wonder, “Is this what I should be doing?”

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Dependency and Missions - An Indian Perspective - Part 2

Feb. 4, 2015By: Vijay MeesalaAuthor Bio

This is a continuation of yesterday's post in response to this email question:

Hello Vijay, 

……..As for more churches and organizatons for support… I will think and pray and let you know if any come to mind. However, I would also like to ask you if you have done your best to invite local churches in your area to contribute to your ministry. Please don’t be offended by this question…. But I want you and the churches of your area to experience the blessing and testimony of 2 Corinthians 8:1-5.

At the most fundamental level there is little comparability between the typical India village church and the Western church. Below are some areas of comparison (The following is from a Westerner missionary with more than 30 years of experience).

 

Issue

Western Church

Indian Village Church

1

Cultural Hostility                     

Little or none                   

serious differences

2

Level of believers employed     

high 97%    

Perhaps 40% full time

3

Level of education                   

near 100 % high school   graduates       

very low %

 

4

Care of widows and Orphans           

Less/no care given        

Cares for widows and orphans

5

Economic situation                   

wealthy

Hand to mouth existence

6

Spiritual development            

reflects society 

more than Kingdom        

prays, fasts and actively involved in evangelism

 

7

Church outreach                    

self contained                 

involved in starting new fellowships

 

I'm sure there are many other areas of comparison. 

I hope you understand my heart, I am not saying these things to judge which church is superior and which is not. But there is a general misunderstanding from the Churches in the West that we (Indian and Asian Churches ) only and always seek help from the West. I don't believe this is true for all the Churches. Frankly, it is a great exaggeration.

I am not denying the fact that, there are many who seek help including our own mission work, and also receive unbelievably large and generous support from the West. Praise the Lord! I also want to acknowledge that there is a dangerous side of being dependent on the West or on some other. But to think that the Church in India or elsewhere is existing only with the support of the West and there is no local support - is something that I firmly disagree because it is not true. In our contexts - that is in Andhra Pradesh rural area - (I may not be very accurate on this but I am guessing in general) I suppose that less than 25-30% church only receive help from outside of India .

The support that we seek from the west is to enhance or further the work of God more efficiently and faster. It is also because more than 75% of the wealth is in the hands of Western Christians (according to some mission statistics about 5-7 years ago). Someone said that if the Church in the West thinks that they are doing a favor to the Churches in developing countries by giving money and other things, then that is not a biblical attitude but an attitude of worldly superiority. Church belongs to God and God will raise His Church. But by supporting each other I believe we are doing our part in God’s family.

From this, I am in strong faith that the Church in India enjoys the joy of 2 Cor 1:5 much more like other Churches with similar contexts. Believers in Indian villages give to the Lord out of their extreme poverty and they give it willingly as said in the scriptures.

1509301_4680181a878de078I hope to continue to dialogue on this and am willing to learn more on this. I just wrote what is in my heart with much prayer and reflection. These are my general feelings about the Church in the West but not particularly against any individual or Church. Please let me know what you think of this. I will be happy to hear from you.

My conclusion is this, please do not generalize and make hasty decisions based on some past experiences or because someone said it so, but rather, let the Western Church/Pastors/Mission leaders examine themselves if they too are dependent. Perhaps they are not seeing while pointing fingers at the Indigenous missionaries.

One last thing, I am saying this with much caution and love: I am not sure if a Western Pastor/Mission Executive/Leader/staff of a mission of organization would continue to serve and minister in the same ministry/organization if/when he knows that the next months check/money/support is not going to come or he will try to find another placement of job because he has a wife and children (I am not generalizing there may be exemptions)….But I know and am sure that almost all the Indigenous missionaries I personally know of in Asia or Africa will continue to serve the Lord no matter what may come…may it be persecution/famine/or anything.

Please do not misunderstand me for being harsh…I will be happy to hear and learn from you.

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