There was a recent in-depth study on giving, and it found that those who give to others are actually much happier than those who just spend money on themselves.
Of course, we shouldn’t give to others in order to be “happy” — but there’s no denying that one of the “side-effects” of generosity is happiness.
The truth is, when we live according to how we’ve been created — we experience greater happiness — and this study supports what Christians have known for centuries: we were created to give ourselves to others.
This call to generosity is clearly conveyed by Jesus in Matthew 25. It is a call to conversion — to cut unhealthy ties to money and love of self — and find ways to serve the needs of others. Each time I read it, I am very, very convicted.
You have probably heard the words before:
“I was hungry, and you gave me to eat, I was naked and you clothed Me, I was sick and you looked after Me, I was a stranger and you took me in, I was in prison and you visited Me. …‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.’
But the second part is what really makes me examine my own life — it shows the harsh reality of selfishness:
Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’…
Yikes! I’m really hoping I don’t hear those words one day! How about you?
This call to generosity is so important that it will be the measure by which we will one day be measured. This is life and death stuff, people!
That is why I must tell you about an amazing woman, Miss Naomi Corera. Some refer to her as the Mother Teresa of Ann Arbor — but she’d never stand for such a title.
In her own opinion, she’s just a woman who saw a great need and decided to do something about it — in my opinion, she’s one of the most inspirational women I have had the privilege to know. She’s the real deal.
She began Children Waiting Everywhere, over 14 years ago — and if you’re looking to support an organization doing amazing things with their money — you have to check out the work that they are accomplishing in some of the poorest parts of our world!
Their Motto: Live Simply, so That Others Might Simply Live. And that idea of humility and simplicity of life has allowed Miss Naomi and her small army of volunteers to continue this work of helping the poorest of the poor in Uganda, Kenya, and Sri Lanka.
She is a great storyteller! Listen to her own words as she retells the humble and unexpected beginnings of her organization.
In Her Own Words: The Birth of a Mission
“While I was the principal of Spiritus Sanctus, a Catholic school in Ann Arbor, and working with priests from Uganda, they challenged me to visit Uganda and consider sponsoring a sister school in Uganda. They told me stories of the students who were desperate for water and education.
So to celebrate my 50th birthday I decided to go to Uganda to meet the children. First, I invited my many friends to come to my birthday party and bring me a check for the children and their needs. I collected $5,000. So with that I embarked on my first trip to Uganda, little knowing that it would be the first of many trips, in fact becoming a life-long journey to provide and visit my children.
The first morning, I was introduced to the beautiful children and with their happy smiles they greeted me with song and dance.
Pretty soon the whole village was all around me. What did I see? Children, children, children – all looking at me with pleading eyes. The children were playing football with a ball wrapped in banana fiber – it would last just for one game. They were all sweaty and thirsty, that is when I noticed there was no water to drink.
Now it was lunch time and there was no food – except to chase and collect the grasshoppers by shaking the bushes. That was the divine moment. It dawned on me – my mission was just emerging. Once again it was children, children all around me. Children Waiting Everywhere was born in my thoughts.
Returning home I was a changed woman – a woman with a mission, a woman with a strong passion. A water tank, bathrooms for the sisters, bedrooms, a roof for the building, a chapel to pray, a mid-day meal for the children – all this was budgeted for $10,000. Yes – I had work to do it and do it fast. I figured 100 friends each giving me $100, 100 x 100 = $10,000. That would be easy as the Lord had blessed me with so many generous friends. So in less than 3 months I had collected the $10,000!
I immediately sent it to the sisters and then in April during my Easter holidays embarked on my trip once again to Uganda to see the fruits of my friend’s generosity. Wow! Bathrooms! Bedrooms! Chapel! And most of all: “Life Giving Water!” Other schools and churches were contacting me for help with their schools, too. Thus “Children Waiting Everywhere” was born.”
100% of Donations Goes Directly to Those in Need
What makes this organization so amazing is that 100% of the donations go directly to those in need. By the grace of God it has been that way from the beginning! No salaries, no rent, no travel expenses – all the work is being done by generous donors who give of their time, talent, and treasure.
Of course it would be reasonable for Miss Naomi to draw a salary to cover her costs directly related to travel, gifts for the children, and the money she spends on hired help to care for her own mother when she is called away for various meetings.
Yes, that would be very reasonable — but when it comes to these kids — Naomi is entirely unreasonable, unrelenting, and unwavering in her dedication.
She refuses to receive one penny for her own expenses and she insists that all those who go over on mission trips also raise their own funds or cover with their own savings. Talk about purifying one’s intentions!
And yes — they help to feed and clothe children — but that is just the beginning of their mission. Children Waiting Everywhere provides young children with an education and enables their parents to grow small businesses so that they can help to support their own families and villages.
They give greater dignity to men and women who are more than willing and capable of work — they provides the up-front costs and capital to get their feet off the ground. Amazing!
They also provide infrastructure in the forms of wells, schools, individual homes and churches. And they have even flown children over to University of Michigan’s famed Mott’s Hospital to perform life-changing surgeries.
There is nothing this group won’t do to make a difference! Right now, they have a particular focus on the refugees that have fled from S.Sudan and the Congo and are seeking new lives in Uganda. This is a real way to make a real difference in the lives of the refugee!
Ways to Get Involved
There are many ways to help keep this good work going. Individuals or entire families have raised money and flown over to be part of this amazing work. I hope to go one day with my own family — but in the meantime, there is still much that individuals and families can do to help those in the greatest need.
There are local fundraisers in Southeast Michigan, typically during Lent. If you are close by, bring your entire family to one of the Bread and Soup Suppers. They are highly informative and also a great way to meet wonderful families who love Miss Naomi and the amazing work that she is doing.
Many years ago, our oldest daughter was so inspired by one of Miss Naomi’s presentations that she went home, took all the money she had in her piggy bank, and insisted she had to give it to the children in Africa.
I know of many other children who have been equally inspired at these presentations. Believe me — many parents witnessing this desire in their kids to “give it all” have had to examine their own attitudes towards giving back to God. It is humbling indeed!
Come and See For Yourself
Update: Shortly after this post was published, Miss Naomi lost her own precious mother, Dorothy. She has decided to give away everything that is unnecessary and move to Africa to live with the Sisters and continue to oversee the great works of Children Waiting Everywhere.
In keeping with her resolve to ensure 100% of the donations will continue to go directly to the children and families served by her organization, she will be drawing off of her Social Security to cover her own living expenses. Talk about a meaningful retirement!
Maybe you feel called to go over to Africa for a few days, weeks, or months and becoming the hands and feet that keep this mission going? If so, go to the website and connect with Naomi directly. This just might be the moment that you’ve been waiting for, without even knowing it. 🙂
We All Have A Part to Play
If you are far away from the local fundraisers and a mission trip to Africa isn’t a possibility, please go to the Children Waiting Everywhere website and donate now!
This woman stepped out in faith so many years ago, and she is leaving a lasting legacy of love and empowerment for the people that she is helping.
I really don’t mean to sound like an informercial — but this work is really that amazing!
We all have a part to play in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and loving our brothers and sisters in far off places. Thanks for considering being a part of helping Children Waiting Everywhere to do just that!