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2015 has been a tough year for the world as a whole. Rebellions have broke out, terror has set in, and darkness seems to be at an all time high. The world doesn’t feel so homey and sometimes that can make it hard to see the beauty left here. The news every day is a constant reel of darkness. Protests, mass killings, threats, and fear are the highlights of the information we get.
This year we have seen massive earthquakes in Nepal, several mass shootings across the U.S., terrorism all over the earth and most recently noted in Paris. So with all of this so fresh in our minds and fear creeping up in our hearts, what can you be thankful for?
As you sit around your thanksgiving table I hope you can enjoy your loved ones and know that the sun will rise each morning. God is not finished with humanity. Our story is not finished. Love and light are being spread everyday. Push it forward. The world has more light than the media likes to share. I want to spread some of it here.
Here is 10 things we can all be thankful for this year:
1. The poverty rate around the world is dropping. Despite what it may seem, the number of people living in extreme poverty has been rapidly decreasing since 2010.
3. The town of Palmitas, Mexico asked a graffiti group to paint their small village this year, and the result was a dramatic drop in crime rates along with a newfound town pride.
4. The last living service dog who helped at the 9/11 recovery just celebrated it’s 16th birthday. This story will warm your heart and make you thankful for all the people (& pets!) that served.
5. Liter-of-Light is lighting up the slums of the Philippines (as well as many other places) and is changing the way people live. This cheap and effective technology has improved the standard of living of 70,000 people in the Metro-Manila area alone using plastic recycled bottles.
6. Virgin Unite and the Starkey Hearing Foundation teamed up to give away 400,000 hearing aids away to needy people around the world this year.
7. This 9-year-old set out to pack 5,000 shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child this year. Operation Christmas Child distributes shoebox gifts to kids across the world. For many of these children this is the only Christmas gift they will receive. Jordyn packed over one thousand boxes on her own and has rallied many churches and organizations to pack shoeboxes to help her achieve her goal. She is not limiting herself because she serves a limitless God. My favorite thing she says is, “God is really big and people should know that and a good way to show them that is when you let God work through you and do amazing things.”
8. World Hope has had another big year in 2015. The K-Love Hope Center in Detroit just opened a literacy center to fight the overwhelming rate of illiteracy in Detroit. (The adult illiteracy rate in Detroit is somewhere around 47%.) This organization is dear to my heart and I encourage you to get involved with all that they do.
9. Hundreds of coats were donated this past week at Grace Fellowship Church. They will be donated to local schools, women’s shelters, and many other local organizations. These coats were donated by many of you who read this blog, and I personally was overwhelmed at your generosity. Grace is the place because of the way that our congregation loves each other, loves our city, and loves our world.
10. You woke up today! I hope all of you have a good and happy Thanksgiving. I just ate two large plates of my all-time favorite meal, and am now watching football with my family. I have so enjoyed playing with my nieces and nephews and I wish you all could hear their sweet giggles.
The world is full of light and love. Spread it. Enjoy your loved ones today.