Monday, November 9, 2009

Half the Sky

I just finished the book Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn. It was filled with gut wrenching stories of the suffering women endure, particularly in developing worlds. From rape victims to those sold into brothels to fistula patients, I often had to put down the book and just take a deep breath before moving on. At the same time, the authors highlighted amazing stories of women who have risen above their plight and, given the right aid and help, changed their own lives and the lives of countless other women. The hope is the book would inspire a movement to change the realities these women endure. They liken the oppression of women to slavery, and how we look back now and are appalled at the inaction of those who saw slavery simply as the way things were, in the same way, years from now people will look back and be appalled at our inaction on behalf of these women. The plight of women, the authors claim, is the biggest humanitarian challenge of our time.

Now that I've read this book, I am without excuse. I have been educated and been made aware. If I put the book down and move on with life, I will be counted among those future generations are appalled at. And I will be made accountable at the day I meet the Lord, the One who says, "whatever you did to the least of these, you did for me." I believe there IS such a thing as the sin of omission.

But what can I do? What can one measly little Cindy Brandt do to change lives? Not much, I know. But I am so beyond saying "I'm too overwhelmed" and throwing in the towel. I want to do something that will utilize the limited amount of gifts and resources at my disposal and produce the maximum amount of change. Still praying over that one...

Read the book so you can be without excuse too! :)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What I want to be when I grow up

Don't you just LOVE old people? I mean, the sight of an older Chinese couple strolling down Love River holding hands can just brighten one's day. A friend posted on their FB status about being cuted out by two old men in a bookstore talking about how they could spend all day in there. And how cute are the older couple who are learning English along with all the college students in Jason's class? It got me thinking about the kind of old person I'd like to become.

I want to be an old person who keeps up with the times and is not willing to CHANGE. I love how facebook is being used by the older generations. It's so neat that older people can be engaged with social media, get on youtube, and exchange wall posts with their grandkids. Just think what the technology advances will be like when I'm 60+ years old? Whatever it'll be like, I hope I can embrace and engage in that world.

Along the same lines, I want to keep learning. A Chinese saying "huo dao lao, xue dao lao", translated as "learn as long as you live", exudes deep Chinese wisdom. My great uncle got a PhD when he was in his 70s. What an inspiration! When I'm old, I'd love to go back to school, or engage in learning through other avenues. I echo the prayer for myself which I pray with Lizzy each school night, "God, help Lizzy to learn lots of new things about Your world."

I hope to be engaged in active ministry. My family obligations at this season of my life prevents me from being fully engaged in active ministry. I hope to become more active when I enter that different season. Hopefully, by then, I'll have accumulated some sort of skill/experience/wisdom that I can impart and contribute to building the Kingdom of God.

I am plotting some sort of deal with God that at the end of my days He can take both Jason and I at the same time so that I would not have to spend even ONE day in my old age without him. You think He'll sign on that?

Of course, there are tons of other things I'd like to be when I'm old: healthy, some grandbabies to hold, have lots of disposable income to travel the world, etc. But I don't feel like those are things I can control as much so I won't go into detail about those.