Why Give to Friends in Action, Intl. (FIA)
The image of an emaciated dog with matted fur and droopy ears looks back at me from the TV. I drive by a homeless veteran standing with his bucket held out at the stop light down the street. My children are asked to take canned items to school for the food bank. There are so many needs in our world. Some are right in front of us, looking us in the eye. While others are in places we will never visit or see on TV. So why would we give our dollars to others overseas? Charity should begin at home, right?
While we all need to seek the Lord about who and what to invest our time, talent, and funds in, at Friends in Action (FIA), we believe there are quite a few great reasons to consider investing in global outreach. If all lives have equal value, and all suffering is and feels equally bad no matter where it happens, then we need to think about giving beyond our own backyard.
Dollars with Deeper Impact
Imagine living in a community where there are no food banks, homeless shelters, church charities, or government assistance programs. Your family may rely on hunting and gathering for food, or perhaps small-scale subsistence farming. There’s no public water system or sewer system. When someone is severely ill or injured, it’s a long trek through rough terrain to get to the nearest hospital, where the people may not even speak your language.
The World Health Organization tells us that every minute a newborn dies from infection caused by lack of safe water and an unclean environment. Diarrhea caused by dirty water kills a child under 5 every 2 minutes. 12.6 million people die every year due to unhealthy environments, and more than 200 million children worldwide under age 5 do not get basic health care, leading to nearly 10 million deaths annually from treatable ailments.*
Now imagine living in these same desperate conditions, and a group of strangers drive into your village with huge, heavy machinery offering to help you drill a well or build a home. The pastor or missionary in your area has talked to you about a personal God who cares about your needs and suffering. They have preached to you before about leaving the animal sacrifices and simply asking this Jesus for help. And now something is happening. You doubt that the ancestral spirits will allow success, but you watch with rapt attention anyway. Why would these people travel so far to help? Can their efforts really change the drudgery and danger that surround you every day?
Giving globally means more than contributing to the quality of someone’s life. It often means the difference between life and death. Friends in Action targets remote locations with little infrastructure. Your gifts help meet basic needs like clean water, sanitary housing conditions, and medical care – all of which are accessible in our country. Low-income people in the developing world have dramatically lower standards of living than low-income people in North America. The countries in which we minister do not have the government support or intervention we often expect in the U.S. and Canada. As a result, giving goes further and makes deeper, life-saving impacts in these countries.
Relationships and Commitment, Not One-Off Projects
When you go or give through Friends in Action, your involvement is one piece of a larger undertaking. We are not offering hand-outs. FIA serves in areas where there is already a long-term contact person or team on the ground. The people group and need has already been assessed, and a trusted organization is asking for help, inviting us to come, committed to partnering with us in the work, and providing follow up after the work is completed. The completion of the project work is not anyone’s standard of “success.”
In the words of a local pastor in West Africa, “When people are thirsty and you want to share the gospel with them, you have to solve this problem (no water) for the gospel to seem effective. To show them you really love them truly… It opens a door for us to get connected with the government, village chiefs, and the community. All because of our relationship with FIA.”
We are supporting the vision and efforts of the indigenous people or the missionary who is serving them. The construction project is a means, a platform toward greater evangelization, further discipleship and long-term community improvement. The trip is about learning from our brothers and sisters, encouraging them, and supporting their work over the long haul—work that will continue long after any project has concluded.
More than Just Physical Needs – Eternal Rewards
Partnering with FIA means you are helping to not only meet critical life-saving needs of people, but you are impacting their eternity as well. As one woman shared after benefiting from a well drilled by FIA volunteers, “The drilling gave me joy. It opened my heart because this work is being done in faith and not for other reasons. This is what encouraged me to accept Jesus. This gives me courage to share the gospel, because all good things come from God.”
- Some hesitate to give globally because they can’t see that their money has been invested to make a real difference. When you give to FIA, you can be assured that your gift is being used wisely. Online accountability sites such as GreatNonprofits.org and GuideStar give FIA a 5-star rating.
- You can see the faces of those who benefit from your gifts by following FIA on Facebook or by viewing our end-of-year metrics and tax forms.
- Because volunteers attend our work trips, anyone can travel to the destination of their gifts to experience how their donations are implemented. We welcome anyone to join us to see the eternal and impactful outcomes giving brings.
Will you partner with us?
Jesus said the poor will always be among us, and in the digital age, we have an even greater awareness of just how deep and far-reaching those needs can be. Giving through FIA is a wise investment, helping you to grow the church by supporting efforts that meet both the physical and spiritual needs of some of the “neediest” in the world.
Check out our giving page to discover how you can partner with Friends in Action.
* Statistics taken from www.who.int and http://www.nbcnews.com/id/24482102/ns/health-childrens_health/t/million-children-die-lack-health-care/