Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Sugar High

This week I have been eating on $2.85 a day to raise funds for TEAR Fund to fight human trafficking.  It has (mostly) been a great experience.   As I mentioned last week, the objective is to identify with those in poor communities who live on $2.85 a day.  These people are particularly vulnerable to being sold or trapped and trafficked into modern day slavery.  Women and children are often forced to work as prostitutes.  TEAR Fund works to strengthen communities so people are less vulnerable, to rescue and rehabilitate people from slavery, and to bust up the human trafficking networks.  It’s been great to be able to raise money to help. Thank you to those who have supported me.  As I write I have raised around $200.

One interesting experience from the week.  It was a colleague's birthday on Wednesday.  She is also doing live below the line.  One of our team kindly made a cake and worked out that each slice cost 35 cents, so that we could eat some without blowing our budget.  It felt good to be able to celebrate, and yet do so in a way that kept us "living below the line".

The other interesting experience was the sugar high that hit me.  My body must have got used to doing without sugar.  This week my budget has stretched to some extras, but the extras have been a piece of fruit.  Not quite the same sugar load as a piece of cake.  About 5 minutes after eating the cake I felt the sugar kick in.  The rest of the team noticed it and gave me a bit of a hard time.  It lasted about 45 minutes.

Several reflections:
First, I was surprised that if I was careful I could manage a couple of little luxuries - even on $2.85 a day.  I couldn't afford a cup of real coffee obviously, but I did manage a few instant coffees.

Second, it made me realize how my body must normally be full of calories and stimulants like caffeine.  Our culture promotes high energy, excitement, entertainment and stimulation.  One of the most common and scathing criticisms we level at something is that it was Boring!  To connect with people in this culture we need to be high energy, exciting and stimulating, but I believe we also need to bring a refreshing (Paul Windsor would say "intriguing") challenge to our culture so that we don't "entertain ourselves to death".

Third, sometimes it takes an out of the box experience to have the shock value necessary to refocus my global vision to see and identify with the world that God loves and sends us out in mission to make a difference.

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Live Below the Line

Live Below the Line
I have a pretty comfortable lifestyle as a pastor of a church in New Zealand.  I guess I don't make as much money as I might if I had stayed working in chemical engineering, but I have plenty.

That's part of the reason I’m doing the “Live below the Line” next week. Monday to Friday I'm eating for less than $2.85 a day.  I’m doing it to raise money for TEAR Fund and their fight against human trafficking.  There are an estimated 21 million people trapped in slavery worldwide.  Women and children are especially vulnerable.  They are often taken or sold from very poor communities, they are taken to brothels and forced to work as prostitutes.
We can help prevent this happening, rescue and rehabilitate those trapped in slavery, and prosecute those responsible – bust up the criminal human trafficking networks.

So sponsor me if you want to help at this link:

But I’m also doing “live below the line” to remind me that I live a wealthy, comfortable lifestyle, while the majority of people caught up in human trafficking come from poor communities who live on $2.85 a day or less. (807 million globally).
It changes something inside me when, with God's help, I say no to the deceitfulness of riches and yes to attempting to live more simply so I can give generously to those in need.