A part of me has always known that loving my neighbor went beyond my physical community, beyond the hills of this Appalachian countryside. But I honestly never knew how to reach that far.
Until I “met” Ann.
My little sponsor child lives an ocean away, in a country I’ve only ever seen in photographs, and suddenly my neighborhood has grown exponentially. Miraculously, so has my heart.
I find it ironic that the more love I give away, the more space I find in my heart for love. I imagine that’s how the upside-down economy of Heaven works–giving all you have only to find you have more to give than you ever thought possible.
It’s easy to love people who are just like us–people who look like we do or hold similar beliefs or exist in the same tax bracket. It’s easy to love people who are easy to love. But we often overlook the neighbors in our own backyards who need food or clothing. Or we grow so sheltered and close-minded that we forget people with different skin colors and different languages are also our neighbors.
And we forget that we don’t have to pick one over the other. We can love them all. We can treat them all with respect and kindness. Christ doesn’t just instruct us to love our neighbors; He tells us to love them as we love ourselves*. Look out for them. Take care of them. Love them.
World Malaria Day is April 25th, and the nonprofit organization I sponsor Ann through is currently holding a fundraiser to benefit children and their caregivers in Tanzania. This fundraiser aims to provide medical attention and preventive measures in the face of malaria.
For less than half the cost of a monthly sponsorship, you can save a child. Whether you make a one-time donation or choose to donate each month, the impact of your efforts will be tangible. Compassion tells all the details here, including the devastating statistics and what your donation will provide to ensure the safety of a child.
A curable, preventable disease is stealing lives. Will you help? Will you love your neighbor?
Melody Sue VanHoose says
As always, you touched a special place in my heart – again . This is a subject near and dear to my heart. I have had a few of my clients ask me how they can love the ‘unloveable’ – those cantankerous neighbors/relatives who push back with snarky attitude. I reply the same way every time “Christ never called us to LIKE everyone, we are called to LOVE them as we love ourselves. We needn’t agree with them, just show them the love of Christ… we may be the only Jesus they ever see or encounter, make it a loving memorable one!”
God bless you for sharing this ministry so eloquently.
Courtney LaShea says
Thank you so much, Melody! I absolutely love your heart. Thank you for sharing it so freely with others.