Response of the Week: AHHHHHHH!!!!!
This is you, right?
I feel like right now, on this Sunday afternoon, most Aussie kids are inwardly screaming their heads off. Why? BECAUSE SCHOOL’S JUST STARTED and we’re already feeling the stress. We’ve said goodbye to beach days, sleep-ins, Netflix binges and lazy days, while saying hello to early mornings, homework, assessments and only TWO DAYS of I-can-do-whatever-I-want-to-do. So, how do you make the most of school and keep up with the whole ‘changemaker’ thing during the term?
I Love Categories
- 1 in 9 people live in extreme poverty (1)
- In Australia, just under only 3 million 15-24 yr olds identify with Christianity (2)
- In 2016, 21.3 million refugees were in the world (3).
And there are many more saddening statistics. So why am I telling you all this? Well, it’s a great intro into my five categories! But I’m also making you guys aware, once again, of the horrors that plague our world. In order for you guys to keep up with being changemakers during the school year, I made a list of five things you can do that correspond with five of the categories that I’m exploring in the ChangeMakers blog.
Let’s dive in!
With all the food we waste and spend money on everyday, it’s no wonder people in 3rd world countries don’t have enough access to food. How then, do you still keep up with your appetite and taste buds, but still have enough money and food to help the poor?
With Thankyou products!
For those you haven’t discovered this awesomely epic brand, I’ll fill you in. Thankyou was a brand started by a uni student called Daniel Flynn in 2008. It originally started as just a bottled water company, selling water with 100% of its profits funding water projects in 3rd world countries. Now, Thankyou is selling over 40 products in numerous outlets including Coles and Woolies. And guess what?! 100% of their profits still go towards funding health services, water projects and food access to THOUSANDS of people living in 3rd world countries!(4)
“Ummm…soooo…this helps me be a changemaker how?” I hear you say. Well, some of Thankyou’s products include muesli bars, breakfast muesli and clusters, bottled water and
hand sanitizer. What you could do is take these products to school to put in lunchboxes and in school bags. This way, you are helping people in 3rd world countries, while still keeping up with what you like to eat and still buying health-care products.
Book Covers (amongst other things)
There is nothing like good graffiti to raise Christianity-centered questions amongst your friends and family. I mean, we all want our non-Christian friends and relatives to ask questions about Jesus, the Bible and whatever else, right? I knew it! And embellishments and graffiti are good ways of doing this.
Ok, well, maybe not graffiti graffiti, but writing Bible verses and Christians quotes all over your school book covers is a good way to start. What I mean is, when your teachers ask you to cover your books, go the extra mile and stick some fancy Bible verses on the cover before covering it in clear contact. Or if you want to go a little more casual, quotes from famous Christians or even Christian memes could raise questions in your non-Christian circles.
Here are some of the verses and memes that I have put on my books from Pinterest that could be AWESOME to use.
Other ways you could customize your school and sport equipment to bear a witness to Jesus are:
- Sports bags: write Bible verses, quotes etc. on them in fancy lettering or hang key-rings with Bible verses from the zippers
- Pencil case: do the same thing with your pencil case. For all you art-y people out there, you could buy or sew a calico case and decorate it with quotes and Bible verses with fabric pens.
- Conversations: this doesn’t count as school equipment but it’s good nonetheless. Make sure the way you talk is “…always full of grace, seasoned with salt…” (Colossians 4:6). Talk about clean topics and/or give your Christian opinion on things, but do so with grace and kindness.
According to the Butterfly Foundation, in 2012, 4% of Australians had an eating disorder (7). I do get that this stat is a little old and is a small figure, but HEAPS of teens, people our age, have eating disorders. That could mean your friends at school.
It has come to my general observation that teenagers – especially girls – are constantly commenting on how fat they are, or how fat their friends are or how ugly they are etc. Guys, I don’t know if this happens in your gender, but I’m assuming even if you guys don’t say it, some guys do think it. Eating disorders are just one category of mental illness and what I believe is one of the most peer-influenced illnesses. So, the third way of how to keep up with being changemaker and making the most of school?
- The next time a friend starts commenting on how fat they are, tell them they aren’t. The chances are that they are actually fine just the way they are and your encouragement might be just what they need to rethink their body image.
- Steer conversations away from topics of weight, how ‘unhealthy’ someone is and the looks of someone else.
- Talk about how it doesn’t matter what people look like and create a positive environment. I know from experience that encouraging comments on topics like these really turn people’s thinking around and given enough time, they actually believe what you are saying.
Pray and Pray and Pray…………..and Pray
A lot of times we feel that we can’t do anything to help missionaries overseas. They are just a random family hours away doing stuff to tell others about Jesus. We don’t know how to contact them (or we just can’t be bothered) and we don’t know how to give them financial support. I mean, come on, between paying for gum and Maccas and phone credit and Spotify and clothes and books and goodness knows what else, how are we meant to find spare change to donate?
Well, guess what? Donating and contacting missionaries aren’t the only ways to support them and the work God is doing overseas.
I know an even better and easier way to do it. It is – you guessed it! – prayer.
I know a lot of you have heard this before, but prayer is the most powerful thing you can do to support anything, but especially overseas mission. Constantly talk to God asking Him to really work through missionaries overseas. If you want to, you can also sign up to missionaries’ newsletters. There are many missionary organisations based Australia, including Pioneers and BCA, but one of the most well-known organisation is CMS.
If you are searching for missionaries to pray for, start with ones you know, but if you don’t know any, head to the CMS website: http://www.cms.org.au/. There you can scroll through countless missionaries, read their bios and sign up for newsletters. While you’re at it, create a prayer schedule of when you’re going to pray and stick to it. You could also meet with friends to pray for missionaries together or even better, do it at school!
Doing a Doctor Who and Going Back in Time…
…to write letters! Yeah, you heard me. Its time to get your vintage mood on as you go back to the past (in a Tardis, DeLorean, whatever takes your fancy) and write ACTUAL LETTERS! But, these letters won’t be to just everyday people you know. If you choose to do this idea, you will be writing to Christian prisoners through the organisation Voice of the Martyrs.
In this project, you choose a person from the list given and write to them. In your letter, you select a Bible verse from the list given and include a few lines of English under it. You can also add a photo of your family or a postcard. My idea is that you choose one prisoner each month and write to them. You could also get your friends, your class, your family and/or your Youth Group to get involved. Through this, you can reach hundreds of Christian prisoners and let them know that there are people all the way in Australia who care about them.
For more information go to: https://vom.com.au/write-prisoners/ OR https://www.prisoneralert.com/vompw_writing.htm.
What Are You Waiting For?
There you go. Those were the five things you can start to do this year to keep up with being a changemaker and make the most of school.You don’t have to choose all these things. You could just stick with one or two that you’d like to work on. A quick tip: choose something that you’re interested in and passionate about.
What are you waiting for?
- Fig and Pear clusters image: https://www.woolworths.com.au/shop/browse/spreads-breakfast-baking-desserts/breakfast-cereal?name=thankyou-fig-pear-clusters&productId=792689
- Book cover images: https://au.pinterest.com/daddysurfergirl/jesus/
- Prayer quote: https://au.pinterest.com/pin/420734790174256507/
- Tardis images: http://www.nexusmods.com/oblivion/mods/20867/?