I was listening this morning to a podcast by one of my favorite speakers, Erwin McManus. In his talk, entitled Beauty – What we leave behind, he talked about how we are all unique. How there are no “ordinary” children born. He mentioned how we each have unique gifts to offer others. Yet, he said, the tragedy is, many of us die ordinary. Those unique gifts and talents die with us, unused.
I’ve always felt that we are all created to make a difference in the world. Some of us to create beauty, others to create song, while others to put words on paper. As children we dreamed of amazing things, only to be molded and conformed by society over the years to a life of mediocrity.
My good friend, Robb Braun, talks about this in a video he did at a recent Toastmasters meeting, entitled “Where is your song?”
As children we all have a unique song. But over the years we are told to quiet it down. Sometimes we are told to shut up.
Many of us would like to make a difference, but we don’t know how.
Some people are fearful.
Some feel they can’t make a difference.
Others think the problems are just too big.
I’d like to share with you today, a couple of “ordinary” people who decided to make a difference and found a way to take the first step.
Make an Impact…
1. Living in a Cardboard Box. In San Diego county, where I live, we are less than a hundred miles from some of the greatest poverty in the world. Just across the border in Mexico, some families are living in absolutely horrid conditions. People live in tin shacks, abandoned buildings, and the worst… cardboard boxes.
When you travel to Tijuana and Ensenada, you’ll see these makeshift living quarters all over the place. In some areas there are so many, it just seems hopeless.
I always feel for these families and I wonder different things…
Why doesn’t the government help?
Do these people have jobs?
What can I do?
It’s easy to drive by, feel bad, say it’s impossible to help, and do nothing.
A few years back a group of people decided to do something. They formed a group called Hands of Mercy and brainstormed a way to help. They figured out they could pre-build small homes here in the United States with simple readily available materials. Over the years they came up with an easy to assemble 12 x12 foot design.
Once they are built, usually in a church parking lot, they are disassembled, stacked on a trailer, and taken down to Mexico. Once they arrive, a team of volunteers reassembles them, paints them and makes sure a family is setup with basic necessities.
Called a Loft House, these pre-fab units have four windows, a loft, and a lockable door. With a cost under $3,000, these are a great way to make a difference for struggling families, that many people can be a part of.
2. Sewing Machines But No Product: Being poor or an orphan in many parts of the world is very difficult. Jobs and resources are scarce. Kathy Gaulton decided to make a difference by helping to create micro-enterprises that help local residents make a living where they are. By providing materials, machines, and organization skills, Kathy’s organization, Heavenly Treasures is giving people a livelihood.
Kathy started by helping women in Tanzania, who had been given 5 treadle sewing machines, make drawstring handbags. The women were excited and in two days they had made over 300 bags. From this small beginning, Kathy expanded to other regions of the world including Kenya, Thailand, and parts of China to name a few.
From purses, clothing, paper goods, and home items, the Heavenly Treasures store in Glendora , CA has gifts and treasures for all occasions. This small retail store has items you will no place else. Most are hand made and the proceeds all go back to help the artisans in their own countries.
Overall: I’ve been involved with both of the organizations above over the years. While I’ve helped out with support, I’ve never been to any of the locations. My goal is to be on site one day and be part of the building projects. When you consider your legacy, and want to make an impact, consider what is around you. Think of those things that seem impossible. Is there a way to start small, or make a difference with your unique talents? Sometimes, all it takes to change the world is an idea… and a first step.
Question: How will you make an impact?