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Did you know serving others can give you a longer, healthier life? Studies of centenarians (people who live to be 100 years old or older) have found the one common characteristic of helping others!
Studies have also found that a lifestyle of serving others can decrease depression rates. So what can we do with this information?
Since my kids are young and "impressionable", I am working hard to minimize the sense of entitlement I see in them by trying to teach to serve others. Two of the tools we are using right now are to sponsor a child through Compassion International and to pack/send shoe boxes for Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child. Both ministries are close to my heart. Here is a little about each:
Today is my sponsored child's sixth birthday. We have been sponsoring him since he was three. It is hard to believe we have been able to sponsor him for half his life already since he is the same age as my oldest son. I think he has blessed our life as much as we hope to bless his through our financial contributions and letters. I recently joined a Compassion Blogger partnership where my sponsored child's family receives a small gift when more children are sponsored through my link.
Here is a video telling a bit more about Compassion International.
This video brought be to tears. I, too, have a baby with a congenital heart defect. She will require heart surgery. I am so thankful for modern medicine and that through technology my daughter will get her heart fixed without open heart surgery (hopefully).
Compassion International is a great organization that provides that provides medical checkups, nutritious food, health and hygiene training, educational assistance, access to surgeries and disaster relief as needed, mentoring and most importantly an opportunity to hear about Jesus Christ to children living in poverty around the world. Compassion International has been rated 4 star by Charity Navigator and over 80% of giving is spent directly on programs helping children in need.
If you are looking for an easy way to help needy children across the globe, please consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International. Sponsorship includes a monthly financial contribution, letter writing as often as you desire, with paper or electronic letters accepted, and an encouraged birthday and Christmas gift.
Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child, through Samaritan's Purse, is the other service project our family participates in. With Operation Christmas Child we fill empty shoe boxes with items like dolls or soccer balls, other fun toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and notes of encouragement. Then we donate $9 per box to cover shipping costs and drop off the boxes at a designated location. Samaritan's Purse then delivers the shoe boxes to children in need around the world. Drop off week is in November each year. Read more about this great service opportunity here.
Gift Catalogs for Giving
Both Compassion International and Samaritan's Purse offer holiday gift catalogs full of ways to give to those in need. We love reading The King's Christmas List on Christmas day and then letting each child choose a gift to give from one of those catalogs.
So, consider Compassion International child sponsorship and Operation Christmas Child shoe box packing or find your your own service opportunities! I found inspiration for smaller ways to live in service from Ann Voskamp's book The Broken Way. Help others and enjoy better health yourself!
Let me know your favorite ways to serve others in the comments below.
Health really does happen at home,
P.S. I've also found the book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World to be inspiring and helpful.