“ You won’t become poorer, you’ll become richer by giving”
Fr. Henri Nouwen
Twenty years ago I didn’t know that philanthropy meant “Loving humankind.” I just thought it meant giving a lot of money away. Today my husband and I have just returned from our 29th trip to Guatemala which keeps drawing us back. Why? Because it was there we found ways that we can make a big difference in the lives of the Mayan people and in the process of working with them, we discovered the joy of giving.
We first went there in 2005 to work with Habitat for Humanity and continued doing that for a number of years, first building houses for locals who could not manage to get into decent housing without Habitat’s low income loan program, then building smokeless stoves and sanitary latrines to improve the health of the poorest of the poor. When our bones grew weary carrying cinder blocks we knew it was time to move on.
A few years earlier a man named Dennis Evans had wandered onto a site where we were working and introduced himself to us. Over time we discovered he had been a La Salle brother at home in England, then a teacher in Guatemala in parish schools. After retiring he discovered the government there only provides free education through the sixth grade. He ached for the poor children he met who wanted to go on to junior high but couldn’t for lack of funds, so he paid for as many as he could himself. When friends began sharing their own resources for that purpose, he established a scholarship program for the children who could not afford the $250 annual tuition. When the Habitat teams we took to Guatemala were introduced to that program, person after person said, ‘Sign me up; I want to sponsor a student too.” Like us they discovered that when you provide a child with an education, you give them a path to escape a life of poverty.
As our involvement with the scholarship program grew, so did our understanding of Fr. Nouwen’s words that “You won’t become poorer, you’ll become richer by giving,”
May you discover a need to fulfill that will reveal for you the truth of his words.
Blessings on your efforts to become richer by giving,