For anyone who has never left their country of origin, or anyone who has never visited a third world country, I recommend watching this. Living on One Dollar is a documentary on Netflix. It tells the story of a few college students who move to Guatemala and try to live on a dollar a day, just as the natives would. This documentary does well at accurately portraying life in an impoverished community. It is important to keep in mind, these students were only living like this for a few months, in reality, this is how some people live their entire lives. The film does its best to keep this in the viewers mind. Of course, a better way to understand this kind of poverty is to visit these communities yourself or even try to do what these students did. However, make sure to realize that you will never truly know the struggle of poverty until it is not a choice.
Do I have to go to Church?
As I was getting ready last Sunday morning, I was exhausted, and I was thinking about why I feel like I have to go to church. Then I thought of the phrase,
“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian.”
That is one hundred percent true, people can go to church and not follow God’s word every other day of the week. So then I tried to flip those words around and see if it would still be true…
“Not going to church doesn’t mean you are not a Christian.”
I wan’t quite as sure about that one. So I started thinking, maybe it’s all about intention.
Someone may not feel like they need to go to church. Maybe they learn and worship God in another way. Then I feel like it’s fine for them not to go to church. I think God it totally okay with that.
But for instance, for me, church is a place where I learn and worship God. It is a special time set apart to strengthen my relationship with God. Therefore, if I choose to not go to church one day, I don’t think that’s okay. If I choose sleeping in over spending time with God then I don’t think God would be very happy.
Thats how I concluded, while still very sleepy, that I have to go to church.
Back to College Shopping – 5 Sustainable Alternatives
My passion is helping the world and all the people in it which includes caring for the environment. I am working to become more sustainable and having less waste. As I am currently going back to school and moving into my apartment, I have found some great sustainable alternatives to everyday products!
- Beeswax Wrap. Beeswax Wrap is used as alternative to plastic wrap, aluminum foil, or plastic baggies. It can be reused for about a year. I would love to get this to wrap up my fruits and vegetables when I don’t use the whole thing.
- Bamboo Toothbrush. I know last year I went through at least five toothbrushes. Having a bamboo toothbrush is such a simple way to avoid having plastic waste!
- Market Bag. As a college student, I will be on a very tight budget this year. I plan on shopping every week for just what I need that week, and I will be buying as little as possible. I won’t be buying more than can fit into one market bag! So forget the plastic, take a reusable bag with you.
- Reusable Straws. You have most definitely heard about these already. They can be made of bamboo, glass, or stainless steel. This makes so much sense to purchase. Instead of having to keep buying straws, just use the same couple over and over again! Just like any other utensil you would use!
- Paperless Towels. Now you can buy special paperless paper towels… or I say just use a rag. Or even buy a few hand towels you like and use them specifically to clean up messes like you would a paper towel. I guarantee you buying a few towels will be cheaper than continuously buying paper towels. Plus they are prettier!
That’s all I got! Taking these few steps is a good start on your sustainable journey, and a great way to save money. Wish me luck as I personally try to incorporate these tips into my new apartment life!
How I Learned to Love the Elderly
A little bit of background, I am a social work major. Social work is a helping profession, and social workers can work with any population! Youth, mental health, disability, veterans, minorities, immigrants, elderly, abuse victims, prisoners… just about anyone who needs help, it can be a social workers job to help them. Most social workers pick one population to work with and focus on. At first, I thought I wanted to work with kids, but then I found many other groups of people to be interesting as well. I didn’t know how I was going to choose… but I did know one thing…
I did not want to work with old people.
When I imagined working with the elderly, I pictured a nursing home hallway lined with people in wheelchairs sitting there drooling or grumbling. I do not like the idea of a full grown person’s drool.
Despite how much I did not want to work with the elderly, I applied for a summer job working at a nursing home. It was my best option to get some experience related to my field. However, I never got a response from the nursing home.
Months later, the next spring semester, I had to choose an internship. My first choice involving criminal justice did not work out. With not many options left, I chose a hospice organization. More old people, really?
Only a few weeks later, I get a call. It is the nursing home I applied to a year ago offering me the job. It seemed to me like a sign that I did right by choosing hospice.
Initially, I did not enjoy the job. My job would be to go to different residents houses or apartments and do whatever it is they need. I could help them get ready for bed, cook them dinner, take care of their pets, or just keep them company. It was my first time ever working with the elderly, and my first few residents were rather difficult. I realized how difficult it can be to communicate with someone who has dementia and even 90 year old men can be pervs.
After a few weeks of getting to know the job, I fell in love with it. I made sure to not work with old man pervs anymore, and I tried to stick with a few people who I really enjoyed working with.
All in all, this summer I met a wonderful man with alzheimer’s disease who always laughs at me, and he can be pretty funny too. I met a couple in their 90’s who have been married for 72 years, and still love each other so much. I met an elderly hispanic lady who always told me I was “muy bonita.” I met a female marine who loves cats and has a twin sister. I had countless people grandmother me, trying to buy me food. The elderly are actually wonderful people to get to know, besides, we are all going to be just like them someday.
Although, it will be sad, I look forward to working with hospice in a few months. I now feel well prepared to handle all the challenges working with the elderly brings.
How are you in Poverty?
Maybe this topic is talked about more than I am aware. I know I have heard it a lot in preparing for mission’s trips… but I don’t know when else this would be brought up.
The definition of poverty (when googled) is: the state of being extremely poor.
Obviously when we hear the word poverty the first thing we think of is those who don’t have much money, those who don’t have a home, or enough food to eat.
However, poverty takes many forms. We can be extremely in a lot of areas of life.
Think of an impoverished community. My mind goes to the ones that I have seen and experienced in Bolivia and Belize. Now in what ways are the people in those communities richer than you?
I live in the United States, and I think we are poor when it comes to culture. There are many sub-cultures within the United States, however, as a whole we lack the traditions and customs that make a place and it’s people beautiful.
We also have poor relationships. In the impoverished communities I’ve experienced and even the ones I’ve heard about, all the people know each other and look out for each other. In the U.S. it seems to me that we like to keep to ourselves and think of our own needs first.
We are also poor in faith. I’ve seen poor communities with such faith. Faith in God or whatever they may believe in. They have trust, worship, and dedication like no one else I’ve ever seen. In my opinion many Christians, at least in the U.S., do not have a very rich and full faith.
Then I ask myself where my poverties are… I’d say family, faith, and culture, just to name a few. (To be honest, I’m even a little impoverished on the money side of things at the moment too).
So I encourage you to find ways how those who don’t have a lot of money, are actually rich. And one more thing, how are you in poverty?
“Listen, my dear brothers and sisters! Didn’t God choose poor people in the world to become rich in faith and to receive the kingdom that he promised to those who love him?”
– James 2: 5
Predetermined Prisoners Miami
In Spring 2018, I went on a mission’s trip to Miami, FL, with Praying Pelican Missions. Our team spent two of our days volunteering in a low-income community, where the majority of the residents end up in prison at some point in their life.
We volunteered at an organization working to improve this community. This organization was actually started by members of the community themselves. Before we began working, we were able to hear a little about what has been accomplished so far. Prior to the start of this organization, the school was an F school. It is now a B school.
What this organization does is simple. They make the communities environment colorful and happy. Now, there are colorful playgrounds, painted sidewalks, and a community garden. Before all this painting took place, the community looked very plain. Tan cement walls everywhere. It really had a prison-like atmosphere. Since the children of this community were being raised in a prison-like environment, in a way, they were being prepared for prison.
At first, I didn’t quite understand this concept, it had to be somewhat of an exaggeration… but then I saw it. While we were waiting to start our work, I saw two young boys leaving school with a man, I guess their father. He was yelling at the boys for having to be picked up from school because they had forgotten their back-packs (or something innocent and simple like that). When they got closer to their house, they stopped walking. The man turned to the children, and had them put their hands above their heads. The man had a belt in his hand. He had the children walk with their hands still above their heads into the house.
I and the rest of my team were shocked, and we felt for those boys. Fortunately, this organization is making good progress for this community. This experience was very eye opening on how an environment can shape your behavior.
In the Name of Jesus
Taking away land from natives, witch trials, segregation, and so on… done in the name of Jesus.
Manifest Destiny. The colonists decided it was God’s destiny for them to move farther west and take the land for themselves. They thought it was their right to take the land… in the name of Jesus. In doing so, they killed countless natives.
Many Christians believed slavery was an institution of God. The Old Testament speaks of owning slaves, and the Bible never forbids it. In fact, the Bible says slaves should obey their masters. Some Christians also believed they were doing people a favor by having them as slaves. Bringing people into slavery would separate them from their heathen beliefs and put them in a Christian country. Once again, in the name of Jesus.
Today, Christians can be found rejecting and scorning those who don’t share the same beliefs as them.
“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
It is hard to identify as a Christian when other Christians have done such horrible things. Gandhi was right, Jesus would never have acted this way. Jesus was a friend of sinners and commanded us all to love one another. The Bible is difficult to interpret, I know, but at the end of the day we just need to try to follow Christ’s example and live how He did on this earth.
Sustainability, Veganism – Has Caring Become a Trend?
I am so proud of people today. We are becoming aware of the terrible path we as humanity have been on, and we are starting to do something about it. But have we really changed or is this just a trend?
All of a sudden it became cool to be a vegan. Seven years ago when I became a vegetarian, people couldn’t understand why I would ever choose to live like that. I was judged and made fun of. Now in 2018, I see vegan recipes, vegan clothing, and vegan vloggers everywhere, and people comment with admiration when I tell them I am vegan. So has it just become cool? Or are people actually starting to care? Caring about the environment, animals, and their own health. I am so happy that more people are becoming vegan, and I think it could have such a positive impact on the world. If nothing else, at least people are learning to live a more healthy lifestyle for a while.
This has been such a long time coming. The world is polluted like crazy! I was first introduced to the topic of sustainability in fall of 2017 from a gen ed course I had to take, Environmental Issues & Sustainable Solutions. The class introduced me to so many issues I didn’t know the world was facing, and how I as a consumer am a big contribute to the problems. As 2018 rolled along, I began to hear more people talk about sustainability. It was even on the news! Plastic bags and straws are being banned, awareness is being given to the trashed beaches around the world, and sustainable technology is being advertised.
I hope and pray that this is not a trend. What we are seeing happen, is people starting to CARE. Care for our planet, our animals, our future, and our own bodies. I have heard skeptics call this a trend, and those are most likely the people holding us back. I believe people are truly starting to see that we need to make a change, and make it now.
Poor in NYC – Could you do it?
Throwing it back to the year 2014. A team of us in New York City.
Our team was led by CSM (City Service Missions) for a week where we served at different food pantries and soup kitchens.
One day our leader gave us a challenge. She took us to an area in Greenwich Village (I believe) and gave us boundaries. The purpose was to put us in an area with a higher income. She gave each of us one dollar. This dollar is all we had to pay for our dinner. She also gave us a list of tasks to accomplish while we were there, most of which involved starting a conversation with a stranger. Then our leader left and we were on our own.
We walked around and searched all the blocks within our boundaries searching for a cheap meal. In some parts of New York, it is easy to find a slice of pizza for a dollar or something along those lines. However, if you were in this area in Greenwich Village, you would have no luck finding a meal with so little money.
An hour went by and our team was getting quite frustrated with one another and the whole process. After plenty of arguing, we gave up.
Luckily, we had leftover bagged lunches because we were unexpectedly served a meal for lunch at one of the soup kitchens we served at. This goes to show, if someone really only had a dollar to spend on food, how much one free meal could help, and how much these soup kitchens are really helping the low-income communities.
We ate, and then we started to focus. Each of us decided separately yet at the same time to go start making conversation with people. Some of us even got to share our lunches. Talking to the people who actually live in the area helped us learn and understand low-income life in NYC more than anyone could have taught us by lecturing. We then put all our dollars together and bought one meal that we gave to a hungry man on the street which was a much better use than any of us spending it.
Although, this challenge did not go as it was supposed to, and you could probably say we cheated… it still delivered an important message. We got a glimpse of how hard it would be to live off of a low-income in a place like NYC. We also realized how silly it was of us to get so frustrated about not finding someplace to eat when we weren’t even starving and we had a back up lunch all along. While talking to the people we met, we were able to get our priorities straight once again and stop focusing on our own wants.
This trip to NYC was probably the first time I was introduced to poverty. I was young and still learning, but every experience has an impact.
Developing Nations and Maintaining Culture
When working in international service this is an important question to ask. How do we help nations develop without stripping them of their culture?
During my time in Bolivia, I saw beautiful outfits, I watched many traditional dances being preformed, and I ate delicious food specific to the culture. It would be terrible for all these traditions to fade away.
So how do we introduce a community to new technology and resources without completely changing their values and essentially their culture? With all the new and improved, it is important to ensure the traditions are not left behind.
Overall, there must be a balance, a way to keep the good and improve on the bad.
Let me know if any of you have put any thought into this!