Do you ever wonder if you are making a difference?
Yesterday, I read several news stories about people impacting lives: funds raised for mosquito nets, a mentor program organized for impoverished children, food and water distributed to flood victims.
These difference-makers are just like you and me. But an issue of passion grabbed their heart and inspired action.
What is your issue of passion?
What breaks your heart when you hear about it?
As Christ-followers, we are called to speak up and defend the rights of all who are poor and destitute. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
The plight of children in poverty has always burdened me. Orphans resulting from the massive HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa especially captured my heart. Traumatized by the loss of parents and stigmatized by their communities, these innocents struggle through daily injustices.
I would pause to read articles about the orphan crisis. Newspapers and magazines grabbed my attention. Gradually, however, I stopped reading them. I grew discouraged. I felt so very small in the midst of a very huge issue. I prayed. A lot. I wanted to do more. But what more could I, an American suburban dweller, do?
Then I learned about Every Orphan’s Hope in Zambia. I read their entire website. I began a conversation with their staff. Then, I …
…served on one of their ministry teams to partner with local Zambian churches to reach out to street orphans.
…began to pray for children by name.
…sponsored orphans under the care of EOH.
…learned about the history and politics of Zambia.
…sought information about HIV/AIDS, including treatments for patients.
…found myself sharing my new insights with people around me.
People grew interested in orphan care and in the work of EOH.
I had become an advocate.
How to be an Advocate
1 – Choose your issue. Start with the stirrings in your heart. Be attentive over the coming days to the concerns that get your heart racing. What issues do you find yourself thinking: if only someone would do something? Pray for God’s clarity and guidance.
2 – Consider your experiences. What hurts and injustices cross your path? What are the struggles that you or a family member have faced? You may be the one person who can give voice to a need regarding mental health issues, homelessness, poverty, or foster care.
3 – Immerse yourself. Learn everything you can on the topic. You will grasp its complexities as well as discover ways that you can help. Read articles. Listen to podcasts. Find the organizations that are working your issue.
4 – Engage in conversation. The floor of the United Nations is a great venue. However, most world changes start with a conversation on the neighborhood sidewalk. Our passions can ignite the interest and advocacy of others. Be mindful, however, to leave sarcasm and hostility out of the conversation.
5 – Give out of your resources. Examine your resources. Make phone calls? Share social media influence? Write letters? Volunteer time? Donate funds? Seek to influence government policy. Volunteer with non-profits who are working on your issue of passion.
6 – Do not grow weary. Stay in the for long haul. Your growing expertise will establish you as a person of authority and allow you to become a meaningful advocate.
Advocacy. It starts with one voice. Your voice.
Posted by Sharon R Hoover