You can’t travel to Fatimah’s (*her name has been changed for security reasons) country, but your prayers and your gifts can change her life.
That’s a miracle. And you can bet that Fatimah needs a miracle right now.
Fatimah’s husband died because of a war that she and her four children still live in. Her city is in rubble, and her family in constant danger. It has gone on for so long that she’s never quite sure who she can trust.
War does that to communities. It isolates. It devastates. It fosters fear.
It’s not just the fighting and destruction. It’s the lack of food and water. When there is not enough to go around, everyone does whatever they can to feed their own children. It’s a natural response as a parent.
Imagine how you would feel if your children were starving and you had nothing to give them. Just like Fatimah, you would search every day for help. You would go outside, even if it wasn’t safe, and you would beg for food and water.
Fatimah and her children have been barely surviving for a long time. She needs someone to help her. Someone she can trust. She needs to know she’s seen and loved.
Fortunately, caring people delivered food to Fatimah’s family. They promised to come back with more, and they did. And they’ve continued to help her.
These trustworthy people were able to deliver food to Fatimah and other needy families because of gifts from people like you. Your gift has restored Fatimah’s hope.
Just $10 provides enough food to feed a starving child for an entire month where Fatimah lives. And now, because of special matching grants, $10 will feed two children for an entire month.
Will you provide the miracle a mother like Fatimah is praying for today? Click here to give.
Places like Kenya and Somalia have been devastated by extreme weather in the past few years. Not only do families live in ongoing drought, but more recently, flooding has decimated the sparse conditions that remained in Somalia.
World Concern snapshots of 2019 could fill a book. You gave so much, and we are so thankful for you! Enjoy these photos that show a few of the many ways you transformed the lives of children, women, and men who live in poverty beyond the end of the road.
Your gifts resulted in 8,717 lives being reconciled to Christ
Honoring our friend and country director of Bangladesh
We want to thank you for giving generously this year! Because of you, practical needs were met for families, and that was life changing. Meeting those needs opened the hearts of men, women and children to hear about the love of Christ and receive His grace. That transformed everything for them—both now, and for eternity.
You know the drill. Your shopping is done for the holidays. You’ve got wrapping well in hand. Your list is nearly crossed off. You’re sitting down for a well-deserved cup of coffee flavored with self-congratulations on your organizational skills.
The power of gratitude wowed me when I first met our new neighbor, Della. She was in her 80s when we moved in next door, and she greeted us with a beaming smile and a litany of how happy she was to meet us. In subsequent encounters, which were frequent, she never failed to talk about how grateful she was for her life and how much God had blessed her.
Della radiated joy. And I thought, “That’s the way to live!” Even as dementia took her memory, she continued to do a little dance and recite her gratitude on a daily basis.
“Seek to cultivate a buoyant joyous sense of the crowded kindnesses of God in your daily life.”
I love the words Maclaren uses—buoyant, joyous, crowded kindnesses. I can’t help but smile thinking about the picture he paints.
So many kindnesses. So much love. A God who crowds us with His kindnesses. A God who tells us to be grateful because He knows it will make us joyful. We can be buoyant—able to stay afloat no matter what—when we are grateful. This is the abundance of life God wants for us!
Joy is not something we produce. It’s something we find in the presence of God.
How do we get into God’s presence? We worship Him. We thank Him. (Psalm 100:4)
Being thankful is our way of saying, “You are good, Lord. And what You do is good. What You choose for my life is good. I trust You.”
Expressing gratitude is like planting a seed, and joy is the fruit that grows from it. We plant a seed without seeing its fruit. We just trust that something good will grow from it. It’s an act of faith. And the harvest we reap is joy.
A life filled with thanksgiving is a life that gets better and better. And I’m not talking about faking it, speaking in Christianese, or posing. I’m not saying we should ignore the trials we’re in.
I’m talking about thanking God (along with being honest about how hard it is) in the middle of those trials—if only for the fact that He promises He is with us during them. I’m talking about being on the lookout for things to be grateful for—regardless of what’s not going well on any particular day.
Not Just an Ancient Teaching
Aside from the fact that we are commanded to be grateful in the Bible (1 Thessalonians 5:18), gratitude is just a healthy practice for life. Even modern-day psychologists report this. In 2007, Robert Emmons began researching gratitude through a psychological lens. He found that expressing gratitude improves mental, physical and relational well-being. Being grateful impacts the overall experience of happiness, and these effects tend to be long-lasting.
Author Ann Voskamp said, “Being joyful isn’t what makes you grateful. Being grateful is what makes you joyful.”
If we want good mental health and a good life, gratitude needs to become a habit.
Lessons in the Power of Gratitude
Westerners who go on short-term mission trips often comment on the joy they see in people they work with. We are astounded that someone who lives in poverty can be joyful. But the same lessons of gratitude that apply to us apply to everyone. A lifestyle of gratitude doesn’t take away problems, it just makes them easier to bear.
William in South Sudan is an example of a grateful person. He was unable to provide enough for his family until he learned to fish. Now he has food for them, and an income.
William said, “I’m really thankful to God because I tried different things until I found this really was the main source of my livelihood. I previously didn’t know how to fish, so I asked people to show me and also learned by observing. Fishing is very beneficial to my family.”
Hla (name changed for protection) is another example of the power of gratitude. She lost everything when her home was burned to the ground and she escaped Myanmar with her family. After walking for nine days to reach Bangladesh they entered a refugee camp. The work she had in Myanmar was not available in the camp, but she was given an opportunity to learn how to sew and she took it.
Hla said, “If I learn this work, I can keep my children safe. I can provide them an education. No one can steal or buy my skills.”
Instead of complaining over her circumstances, Hla expresses gratitude for aid workers. She said, “Without God, how can we live? God has created us and sent us into this world. He is giving us everything and feeding us. He is doing this through His agents.”
An Evergreen Virtue
Thanksgiving is a great time of year to be reminded of the power of gratitude. We generally make our “I’m grateful for” list sometime around this holiday. And at our house we go around the dinner table and say what we’re thankful for while feasting on turkey and favorite side dishes.
But gratitude isn’t something we take out of the closet for a certain holiday every year. It’s something that should be at our table, and on our lips, all year long. It’s evergreen.
Our neighbor Della lived to be 97, and I never tired of her grateful litany. In fact, I sought it out. Her joy lit up our lives, every single day.
Let us know what you’re grateful for in the comment section below. Share what you do to maintain a grateful heart. We’d like to hear from you and share your thoughts with others.