Not being exceptionally generous by nature with money (some would call me “cheap”), and also simply distractable, I was having a difficult time making decisions on some holiday-time contributions.¹ I asked my wife to help, because she is typically a quick (and good) decision-maker. She filtered through eight or nine pieces of paper and chose three charities, focusing first on some nearby needs:
- Second Harvest Food Bank (a semi-local operation)
- United Way (local chapter)
- World Vision (because we all like the idea of giving things like goats for milk and chicken for eggs to under-served people groups in developing nations)
These were good suggestions, and we have contributed to at least two of them in the past. I thanked my wife and eventually took the materials back to my desk. Then life happened, and I was almost “too late” with one of them . . . and didn’t get to the last one before another opportunity came our way. Let me share with you why we are now contributing the most to the mission internship fund of a college senior named Hayden. On hearing about it, I instantly felt the desire to help some, but after reading the cover letter from the director of a program and Hayden’s personal appeal letter, I am even more moved to contribute. Certain key aspects of this opportunity make it purposeful and appealing to us:
- It is an internship, involving “mentoring” with an experienced missionary (as opposed to a “campaign” that, in these times, I fear can end up being as much for summer fun as for bona fide mission)
- Hayden has been “sitting on this” for 2 years—in other words, it was not a shallow, short-lived plan that led to this
- Hayden’s time period is stated as 4-6 weeks, whereas the letter from the overall program director states that internships are generally 6-8 weeks … it sounds as if Hayden is driven to be with this man in that land, even though his experience may not be as long as that of some other internships
- The internship is in an Asian country where there is some but not extreme danger—and a lot of need, coupled with a generally peaceful ethos
- Hayden quotes the late Jim Woodroof (long an inspirer of many)
- Hayden describes the resident mission family, with whom he will be interning, as “putting nothing before the Kingdom‘s work.” The mention of Kingdom is always sure to pique my interest.
Add to all that our appreciation for Hayden’s entire family (my parents’ neighbors for several years), the fact that he has made time on a few occasions to visit at length with my mom after my dad died (also helping her with several minor repair items), and that he is studying Hebrew, which I don’t think is a requirement for his major. Not only does Hayden have character and background and spiritual drive, but he also cares about biblical languages.
I think he just might be destined to make a difference in the Kingdom, and we are privileged to help just a little in one segment of his journey as a disciple and subject of the King.
¹ We don’t itemize on the tax return, so there is no tax benefit to us for making charitable contributions. Still, it seems a good time to give something to others.