Thursday, March 29, 2007

God's Economy

While I really like my thoughts on Mickey it is time to add a new post. This one again is long, lots of quotes from the book Friend Raising. This is a great book for all Christians to read.

God's economy is different than ours, Giving and Receiving is different than selling and buying.







Friend Raising building a missionary support team that lasts –Betty Barnett

P7 ‘generosity is the primary theme of “friend raising” ‘

Ch 1
P11 ‘many Christians considering full-time missionary service are more fearful of support raising than of being martyred on the mission field’

P11 living without a steady paycheck definitely requires a strong faith of God.

P11 ‘these principles of support raising are intimacy in relationships, interdependence, mutual love and sharing, and bearing one another’s burdens.’

P12 working / being self-supporting removes a reliance on God we become independent from Him.

P13 ‘we must conscientiously break independence in our own lives and conscientiously cultivate interdependence with one another and with God.’

P13 “Missionaries are not sparing verbally with others for their money. Interdependence is not Christian welfare. It is joining forces to defend the faith and fight the good Fight.’

P14 ‘none of us can go it alone. We must constantly strengthen our support web.’

P14 Jesus, the twelve, Paul, and Elijah were supported by others

P15 ‘If God called you, you are worthy, He has declared you so.’

P16 The first step if you feel called is to talk to those in authority over you, pastors, elders, parents, and God. This is a serious time of discernment, the advice of your home will be great, it may be how God directs you, or how you are held back from God.

P19 ‘four pillars are needed: friend raising, generosity, communication, and prayer with promise.’

Ch2
P21 ‘We are to seek first the Kingdom of God, not the dollar’

P22 ‘others can tell what our goals are, to cherish and enjoy them, or to use them to serve our own goals.’

P22 a farmer gave 10 pounds of seeds to a missionary who gave it away when she arrived in her new village in the Philippines. [Giving does not have to be money, but other things of use too] Barb does not ask for support but does spend 10 hours a week just communicating back to those that do communicate with her from Minnesota.

P24 ‘in our fragmented society of broken families and broken relationships our greatest ache comes from loneliness.’

P25 [Many times as you work on your friendship people will give you money, and it may be awkward, but you need to recognize that at that point you are Jesus, they give their gift “as to God himself”]

P28 “if I have… but do not love, I am nothing” 1cor113:2’

P29 ‘During visits back home, our primary role should be to listen. To often we are quick to speak of our ministry … and seldom quick to listen.’

P31 ‘few people today are equipped to listen. We tend to offer quick fix scripture references and simple dos and don’ts

P32 to develop a true deep relationship takes time, and listening on both parts, and perception and the ability to ask the right questions.

Ch3

P35 ‘suddenly I understood – it was not others’ generosity towards us, but our generosity towards others, that was the key.’

P36 even poor congregations in South America give a handful of rice or a tomato. As the poor gave God increased what they had so they could give more.

P37 ‘Earl Pitts “the kingdom of God's system of finance is giving and receiving. The worlds system is buying and selling.”

P37 buying selling is an equal transaction, giving receiving is not.

P41 it is easier to give than receive. There is much guilt / responsibility in receiving a gift given in truth to God.

P41 ‘there is no lack of money for God’s work. The money is there, but much of it is locked into some buying-and-selling systems [debt] that have consumed and robbed the church. Our own generosity can release others from ordinary buying and selling into giving and receiving.’

P43 as missionaries we must not only lay our life down for the people we minister too but also for those that ‘send’ us. Not just those who give us money but everyone that God lays on your heart.

Ch4
P48 ‘many people want to express their love in actions, but do not know how.’

P50 sometimes the Holy Spirit tells others what financial needs are… other times we will be told who to ask

Ch5
P57‘we are co-laborers with the Lord.’ Being a missionary is not by might or power but by the spirit.

P59 col 1:9-11, ps. 120:1, ps. 121:1-3 7-8, ps34:4-5 7, ps 145:13, 1 cor 15:58, 1 th 5:24 ‘the one who calls you is faithful and he will do it’, eph 3:20, 1 tim 1:12, 2 cor 11:30 12:9-10

P62 ‘prayer with promises will either be our point of greatest strength or, if we don’t pray, our point of greatest weakness.’

Ch6
P66 visit face to face
P67 talk on the telephone
P68 hand written messages
P69 newsletters with a small handwritten message
P69 video’s bulletin inserts, whole church communication
P70 give and send gifts
P72 awareness

P72 to start talk with the people you talk to now then to people you used to talk to but lost contact with then to newly introduced friends.

P73 ‘a key principle: encourage people to first ask the Lord, then respond to us in accordance to his will.’

P73 ‘be careful not to select people we think should give to us. God does the selecting, we do the communicating.’

P73 Also remember to give specific areas of need like airline miles or a computer that could be given.

P74 personally invite people to respond. ‘Would you pray about providing monthly support of $5 to $100 a month?’

P75 ‘money should be the byproduct not the core of a relationship.’

P75 many people will wait and see before giving [just like those so many missionary go to serve it takes long term investments]

P76 you are developing a network of support, at the top is the close prayer and financial supporters, and others are just on our hearts. Some get a bi weekly update, others twice a year. God will tell you who and when.

P77 ‘the local church is a sending body’ as Paul says in Rom 10:14-15

P78 ‘if your pastor does not mention it feel free to ask for them to have a corporate time of blessing during the Sunday morning service soon before your departure to the field.’

P82 ‘friend raising is an adventure in dependence. A strong dependence on God and a interdependence with His people’

Ch7
P86 Hindrances include:
using athourity to pressure results,
Spiritual attack,
debt,
Poverty mentality (love of money when we have none),
disobedience (SIN),
ingratitude,
lack of integrity,
unforgiveness

P93 ‘walking in freedom from the fear of death and be willing to obey God at any cost snatches the element of fear out of Satan’s hands. He loves to issue fear filled and life threatening taunts, especially as we venture into missionary service.’

P99 so often I will send letters about a need, with an over stated or understated budget, and God will provide EXACTLY what I need.

P99 many times I will buy the plane tickets then pray Ok God what should I do… ‘and watch God do the selecting, I walk a walk of faith not of sight’

P100 it is very important to send thank you notes to supporters

P101 make sure you have no sin in you

P101 ‘whenever a thank you is needed but not given the relationship is broken’

P102 ‘receiving a gift is an honorable thing’

P102 let the gift giver know they were acting on behalf of God

P105 ‘since the tithe belongs to God, paying it is not an act of generosity, but an act of simply paying what is owed.’ [Yes those in missions need to tithe!!!]

Malachi 3:8-10 ...test your God in this.

P106 ‘john Wesley believed as a christens income increased so should there standard of giving.’

P106 ‘Jesus asks us to live beyond the law in many areas.’

P107 forgive people for not writing, you sending info to them is still important

P107 ‘you need to trust the Holy Spirit on who to send and who not to send information too.’

Ch8
P111 ”I have heard of many fund raising techniques and this one feels right in my spirit”

P111 scriptural principles are universal, practices are regional.

P113 a missionary should be sent by their own church, if they are from a very poor Indian village that church should send, a handful of rice at each meal and a prayer will add up.

P117 tent making still needs support, accountability, etc… it is important to have that base.

Ch9
P119 ‘Testimonies that talk’

P125 sent letters to 11 people telling of a need, 5 meet the need, wrote letters to all 11 thanking them for their work, God gave exactly what was needed!

P129 the sending church is more than just financially involved; they also want to pray when decisions need to be made. They want to know specifically what to pray.

P132 don’t put all your eggs in one basket, layer your support response, and listen to the Holy Spirit for your correspondence, a written note on the newsletter is important.

Ch10
P135 don’t let impersonal newsletters be your only source of support raising

P136 newsletters are vital to communication but include one line of your own hand in different color.

P139 don’t preach, don’t let the mind wander, clearly show prayer needs

P141 be real, show you are human and show the ministry uses you

P142 keep newsletters colorful and real! Pictures, tea bags local stamps, etc…

P144 try to get a response from the reader, not just money but personal

Ch11
P150 God’s economy is based on giving and receiving not buying and selling

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Mickey Took a Tumble



Anna has this cup that I dislike greatly. It even has a name Mickey. Yes the Disney mouse. To me it screams Disney! Why, because it only holds 4 oz of liquid. All show and not much worth. All her other cups hold much more. Then this one has a double wall and liquid in between you can't tell how much drink is in it very easy.


My parents went to Disney years ago, during my spring break. (I was home working) They brought back this CD of music, I think from one of the parades, it is all celebration, but emotionally empty. That CD is much like this cup, entertainment, not substance.


Now to let you know I am not anti Disney. I would love to go to Disney World and or land. I am an engineer, they have a lot of great engineering there to see, plus the people control, etc... my entertainment would be very different than most people that go to hug giant stuffed mice. I would have so much fun looking with a critical eye, though those around me might view it as a downer.


I also have watched, and will continue to watch, Disney related TV and movies. It is entertainment, and sometime I just want that. They have a cute movie called Jump In for example.


We hear all the time about the grown up MM club stars that have a outrageous life I wonder how many are doing life in a Christ centered focus.

Well today I got to throw Mickey out, a tumble on the cement gave him a crack and all his slimy showy liquid leaked out. He was just a shell of himself, and unable to do his meager 4 oz job anymore.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Aids in Asia -Susan Hunter

Aids in Asia notes

I have, while taking the time to read the book AIDS in Asia, written down many quotes and summaries of statements. While a 6% infection rate sounds small it is important to understand that these individuals are vital to the entire community, as farmers, and productive hard working young people. Without this group the entire population is crippled.

Px ‘Not only is the [HIV/AIDS] epidemic huge and growing unrestrained in most Asian countries, but when the underlying social, political and economic patterns that fuel its growth are brought together and analyzed, it is quite clear that there is little standing in the way of catastrophic impact.’

Px ‘To respond to the disease and its impact, individuals must literally rethink and restructure the societies in which they live and confront and change long-standing social institutions and relationships, often at great personal expense.’

P7 ‘As you finish each sentence of this book another person will have been infected with HIV.’

P10 Nicholas Eberstadt- expert in demographic and predicting population change

P11 ‘…India and China refuse to acknowledge the extent of the disease within their borders nor set up reliable means of monitoring and controlling it.’

P11 China’s estimates are 20 times lower than external estimates for same country.

P11 the reason of keeping data hidden is that it would expose the inequality of the population’s social and economic conditions.

P13 talking about western economies high cost it is pointed out that Netherlands needs an area 15 times it size to support it’s population at the level they are accustom.

P15 ‘Asian societies were shaped by a series of nomadic incursions and peasant rebellions that continue today in other guises.’

Ch2
P27 In 2003 4% of Africa population is infected while only .3% of Asia, where the population is much larger. Estimates are that 5% of china will be infected 7% of India and 10% of Russia’s population will be infected when stable.

P33 STDs increase the transmission of aids by open soars, and the virus load increases in semen when a STD is present.

P34 STD levels are on the rise because of non-condom pregnancy prevention methods. The book gives many pages explaining the effectiveness of condoms and why governments and religious organizations have dissuaded them.

P34 ‘STD contribute to …and Alzheimer’s’ [I would like to see proof of that link]

P35-36 circumcision significantly lowers the rate of HIV transmission from individual to individual. ‘A majority of Asian males are not circumcised.’

P44-46 talks about the large migrant population moving about china and India and other states. Both legal and illegal to mines, construction projects farms etc. If someone is courageous enough to travel they have a more outgoing lifestyle.

P49 ‘poverty that drives migration is so fundamental that it turns life into a constant struggle to survive. “Poverty means working for more than eighteen hours a day, but still not earning enough to feed myself, my husband, and my two children,” says a poor woman in Cambodia. Poverty means loss of freedom, loss of dignity, loss of control over the fundamental course of your life.’

P50 the climb out of poverty is slow because disposable income is so small and could be lost by chance to natural disasters, poor crops, loss of employment, or a family illness.’

P55 In Hindu tradition if you have a disease you are sent far away.
P55 ‘Gita laughed, “Do you think it is any better for Islam?” Patwani … The shy young Pakistani woman said, “… My best friend was stoned to death because her brother raped another girl. The families agreed she should be sacrificed for his transgression. He was not even reprimanded.”

P59 ‘history and tradition are important to Asians themselves, esp. the years before colonial domination, when Asia lead the world in economic, political, scientific, and artistic achievement.’

P60 ‘the Asia continent was united by all of its great nomadic empires Hun, Muslim, Mongol, Mogul, and Manchu’

P63 ‘To Islam’s first raiders, (637ad) Europe was remarkably unattractive prey, a primitive backwater with few opportunities for trade, little booty and bad climate. The had headed east instead, across Persia and through central Asia to India, and remarkably rich city states fell to their sway all along the way.’

P65 in 1206 Genghis Khan united the Mongol people. Just like Muhammad six centuries earlier it was by uniting formally fighting tribal groups to a common cause, expansion to the whole world. [To unite people you need a common cause, else in-fighting will be the result, look at today’s examples, America, the Church, your family.]

P66 ‘The Kahn ravaged a good part of northern India in 1222’

P69 ‘Kublai had inherited Sung paper money and credit banking, streetlights, city sanitation, fire protection, hospitals, orphanages, and homes for the poor and aged financed by the inalienable trusts, smallpox variolation [inoculation], and textbooks in medicine, forensics, architecture, mathematics, geography, horticulture, and archaeology.’ [1270’s when Marco Polo was visiting Xanadu the capitol of the Mongolian empire.] [During the time of the Mongolian empire the leader of Europe was the pope.]

P72 Timur the last great nomadic leader attacked India in a quest to rid the world of the Hindi religion in 1398.

P75 “the most significant commodity carried along the Silk Road was religion” Oliver Wild. ‘The Mongols promoted religious tolerance so Islam, Buddhism, and Christianity easily spread.’

P76 ‘in India many Ethiopian slaves rose to positions of power and influence in armies and governments.’ [Castration of slaves was common throughout the world at the time]

P100 when sir James Brooke return from Asia to England in 1838 he argued that Britain should own territories in Asia rather than rely on treaties.

P102 ‘in 1820 Asia’s first economic crisis – colonialism – hit causing sustained economic decline that lasted until the 1950’s’

P103 in 1998 the majority of illiterate people are found in former Asian and African colonial locations.

P103 infrastructure, railroads, roads, etc were only developed in colonial area as suited to the owners.

P104 In reality what we worry today of Asia taking over the world is them just returning to their natural place. Up until the 1800 they produced 60% of the worlds GDP during colonialism that fell to 17% and now it is recovering to 60%; estimated to be complete about 2025. ‘Asia is doing in decades what the rest of the world did in centuries’ At the same time the governmental systems that were effective were destroyed by colonialism, and the current systems are still greatly affected by this dark period.

Transitioning to recent times, in china blood drawing is a support structure for the poor. The system is to have blood removed by ‘handlers’ from a group of people, the plasma removed, and the cells returned to the group. The donors are often corralled, and have the blood drawn several times a day. Their supply bolster by the use of drugs. Blood banks are also used as welfare means in other countries also. But due to the technique if one person is infected, quickly everyone in the entire area is infected.

P106 ‘almost ¼ of the people living with HIV/AIDS in Asia are Indian.’

P107 ‘India is “one of the great migration centers of the world,” says writer Michael Specter, because it has an excellent system of national highways.’

P107 ‘India’s 750 million strong rural population [would be] the second largest “country” in the world.’

P107 the higher infection rates are found in the southern states of India.

P107 ‘AIDS deaths are so frequent in southern India that locals erected a shrine to India’s new AIDS goddess, Aidsamma, at a temple near Mysore. [Reading more on this it was erected by an Indian science teacher, and a Harvard student Anna Portnoy going to study it for her thesis she gave it edification http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2000/02.24/AIDS.html]

P108 HIV rose from 1.5% in 1995 to 6% in 1997 in Tamil Nadu, the reaction is the best response by government in all of India.

P109 India’s economy is growing, a middle class of 250 million ‘But an ever richer India lacks compassion for its poor, critics say. India has one quarter of the world’s absolute poor. … Most in the lower castes and tribes.’

P110 There are four castes the highest Brahmins, priestly teachers, the soldier-nobles, then merchants, Dalits or untouchables who were darker skinned and did all the work except cremations which were carried out by the lowest of the low, the chandals. [Dalits are called Sikkaliars in Tamil Nadu]

P110 ‘Ethnic discrimination in India is compounded by the Hindu Caste System, the world’s oldest form of social stratification, dating from the Aryan expansion into India in 1500 B.C.’ [yes the lighter the skin the higher the status, but also religion plays in, I have seen reference that becoming a Christian makes you a Dalits]

P110-120 There is way too much information here about India and the basic history and why there are so many people groups. The gist is that money and power moved these different groups into the area and out. Most came from the north pushing people south.

P110-120 Much of the extreme poor in Asia was caused by the colonization from European countries, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, and England each in turn. They encouraged further stratification of people, removed resources and product, such as spices, silk, and copper ore without compensating the locals. The goal was to amass as much wealth in the home country as possible. Much was done to control the native populations, withholding education being major.

P124 Britton used a divide and conquers system of encouraging animosity between groups to maintain control. [Once again the notion that people will always fight, either against each other or a common goal]

P128 the French were late to the colonization, started in the mid 1800’s and ended when forced to by an international conference in 1954. ‘By then France had convinced the United States, ridden with Cold War anti-Soviet paranoia, to bankroll its war for colonial restoration in North Vietnam…’

P142 ‘Nutmeg and mace may have driven the first phase of European colonization in Asia, but it was a different “spice” entirely that drove the second phase of colonial exploitation in the 19th and 20th centuries. This spice traded by early Asian merchant as medicine was opium.’

P175 the last numerous pages are talking about the drug trade with opium and heroin primary focus because both come from poppies. Heroin is injected, and needle sharing is a primary HIV path. It is amazing to see who was involved in growing drug use. The colonies used it to make the people complacent. Others supplied enemies with drugs to help their cause; this includes the US (CIA). Now to be smart it is only in the last 90 years has illicit drug use been banned, before that it was even common to give these addictive drugs to soldiers, government officials, and even schoolchildren to help with behavior issues. But the primary use was to place the workforce in bondage, addicts needing to work to get paid for the next fix.

P175 ‘the contemporary drug industry is fed by a commodities market created by European colonial powers that could “promote cultivation where needed (India) and suppress it where not (southeast Asia),” while integrating the whole into the global economy. Global prohibition beginning in the 1920s added another layer: “criminal syndicates emerged to link highland growers and urban addicts in a global illicit market.” Each subsequent effort to suppress production and use has had a chain of unintended consequences that has bolstered the drug trade and increased markets. Nearly 80 years of failed eradication efforts show that “the illicit drug market is a complex global system, both sensitive and resilient, that quickly transforms suppression into stimulus,” says McCoy.’

P185 ‘ The only reason women are not at the absolute bottom of the global feeding chain is because children are weaker.’

P186 ‘almost 70% of the 1.2 billion of the worlds extremely poor people are women.’

P207 ‘ 1/5 of humanity now follows Islam.’

P209 ‘The Positive Women’s Network of South India says that women rarely inherit property shared during a marriage, and may even lose the property they brought into the marriage when their husband die.’

P209 In Hindu culture women are not part of caste IE they are all untouchables.

P210 typical birth ratio is 5% more males than females. Because of preference towards males, and available technology the ratio in China and other parts of Asia can be 20% males.

P223 responses to growing orphan populations: 0 deny 1 state and charity orphanages 2 over flowing orphanages 3 search out community care solutions 4 paired community support with poverty relief, food support, education, healthcare for guardians and orphans

P233 Relatives usually confiscate the property of women in Africa and Asia.

P234 known trafficked people is about 1 million this is only people being brought unwillingly across firm country borders, not including in country nor unpatrolled borders.

P234 ‘there are 250 million child laborers under the age of 14, more than half in Asia “under appalling conditions, facing sexual abuse and even slavery”. Twenty percent are domestic laborers, mostly girls. … ‘

P234 ‘The same Hindu belief system that condemns women to permanently lower status provides a convenient philosophical underpinning for economic extortion of India’s youngest citizens. Human Rights Watch ways “one of the foundation of bonded labor is the caste system, through which a traditional expectations of free labor, lack of land, and the threat of violence and social and economic boycotts from upper castes conspire to keep many so called untouchables in bondage and perpetual state of poverty.” Vimali, a fifteen year old girl in Tamil Nadu bonded by her parents, to a silk loom owner for $167 says “this is the thing that god blessed me with, so I have to do work like this. It is written on my head. I don’t want to go to the looms, but there is no other way.” These children work 14 hours a day, sleep in the factories between the looms, rarely see their families, are beaten if they make mistakes and because of scurrilous accounting systems, the always stay in debt no matter how much the earn.’

P235 ‘Between 60 and 115 million children work in India’

P236 it is very bad karma to become an orphan

Conclusion: This book is written by someone frustrated by the common USA and Christian stance that only abstinence is the acceptable form of birth and disease control. Each of the major world religions frown upon the use of condoms. Add to this that though effective HIV treatment drugs could, and do, cost a dollar a day the US govt. is supporting its pharmaceutical companies in keeping prices at $10,000 to $20,000 a year. This book is very harsh on the reality, and while in some cases the numbers are being used sensationalize the HIV/AIDS epidemic that is coming to the Asian countries, it is at the same time factual.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Koi

I loved my koi. When i moved from st louis to detroit i bought a van for $500 so that I could move them. But last summer I made the hard choice, knowing that it would be a while before I owned land again. My brother and parents both have bonds with full populations, so they did not have room. I sold them for $25 each. Well I made $100 because no one wanted a couple of them. Then on emptying the pond we did find baby koi. Some I gave away, some did make it into my brothers pond. Maybe one will be nice and blue like the one on top. With a titch of orange under the head.

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Justification

“How can you Biblically justify going and lending money when the Bible says neither a lender nor borrower be?” My brother asks me.

Well actually that is a line from Shakespeare. A quick scan of the Bible and my memory as a Crown coach I can not find where lending is forbidden. Nor is borrowing. But there are blessings and curses to them both. See Deuteronomy 15:5-6 and 28:1,2,12,15,43-45 Ok really read all of chapters 15 and 28 because many times a verse taken out of context can be way skewed. To paraphrase, if you follow the commands of God you will be blessed and one of the blessings is you will lend to many nations by borrow from none. And the curse is the negative of that. So we can lend… and if you have ever been in debt you realize the importance of Proverbs 22:7 “Just as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender.” Now we lend and we have servants! Please clean my house, and… well maybe not.

In India where we are going there are already microcreditors so why go develop another one? What is the goal of lending? For many it is profit, they charge a 30% interest rate on a 3 month loan. What would that APR be? But Growing Opportunity uses a different approach. They still charge a fairly high interest rate 15%, (this is similar to what a wealthy person would be paying on a large loan.) But as much as possible of that goes back into the loaning pool. Second we require weekly repayment, with a training session at the same time. Reviewing the Opportunity.net material I see that there are formal training sessions on 400 topics, from business improvement, family improvement, to spiritual concerns.

Opportunity International has a triple bottom line goal of transformation, outreach and sustainability. The goal is to change life, many lives, and do it in a self supporting manner, both for the lender and the borrower. Remember the concept of "give a man a fish.. teach a man to fish"? Years of experience has proven out many tools and techniques that can and are doing long term good. And in Chennai India the tsunami was a catalyst for improving the operations of a NGO lending center, IID partnered with OI and transformed to a for profit banking center, still supporting the same clients. Jim Reiff became CEO a year ago the time is set for an infusion of effort by a couple Americans to come in and coach, train, and work hard for a while before going home again. While I have no clue exactly what we will be doing I know that we will be leaving some well equipped Indian nationals to carry on microlending with a transformational goal. They already have 4 banks with 4500 members, and would like to double those numbers in the next couple years.

Having never been to India, we are currently learning much about the culture. We are also learning as much about financing as we can. Third but most important is working to remain very grounded in the Bible and prayer, something I hope will rub off on those around me.

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