Word of the Week

Just Some Spare Change

As part of our Advent Vesper's service last Wednesday night, we collected an offering.

I know this sounds like no big deal. Isn't that what you do every time you go to church? Well, not usually during study groups.

Considering it was the week of our Advent study where the conversation turned to peace (and the places around our world that are in need of large doses of it), I challenged everyone to play a "game" with me.

I asked everyone to take out their purses, their wallets or look in their pockets for any spare coins they might have. Though I got a few strange looks at first, everyone agreed. It was fun to see people digging through their purses and finding dollar bills they forgot they had. Then, we began passing the offering plate as I told the story of a ministry in Darfur that is working to end the cycle of violence through a very practical item: a stove.

The Darfur Stove Project is designed especially to meet the needs of those in war-torn Sudan by some committed humanitarians and scientists working together.

Here's some info about it:

The Berkeley-Darfur Stove® is an innovative appropriate technology that requires only one quarter the amount of firewood needed to cook using traditional three-stone fires. Because of its fuel efficiency, use of the Berkeley-Darfur Stove® limits the amount of time women in Darfur need to spend outside the safety of the displaced persons camps to gather fuel for cooking. This decreases exposures to violence for Darfuri women while also limiting deforestation and the release of toxic indoor smoke. . . . Conflict in Darfur has claimed the lives of at least 300,000 people and created more than two million displaced persons within the region. Many of these displaced persons now live in large IDP (Internally Displaced Persons) camps throughout Darfur.

The Darfur Stove project is seeking to raise money for donations of stoves for families at the cost of $30 US per stove.

Through our "spare change" the group of about 17 raised $41: enough money for a stove plus some more.

And, I called this our act of peace for the evening.

It was an act of peace that took such little effort! I dare say it didn't hurt anybody's wallet either. One more family in Darfur now has a stove that will not only make their lives easier but might even save them from harm.

To me this is what the Advent season is all about. Considering in our waiting period of how our resources, our energies, or funds have gotten a little off tract. And, restarting in ways, no matter how small that make impact for the good of God's love going forth into the world.

Looking forward to sharing in our discussion of the week of JOY tonight!