Moving (Maybe)

18 01 2010

I’m testing out Dreamhost (I like their back-end abilities, as well as their green cred, and honestly, their cost) and may, within the next couple weeks, be moving OtakuDad to its own domain. More to come as changes occur!

This also leads us closer and closer to the reality of the “Dorkmasters” podcast… ūüôā

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How to REALLY Help in Haiti

14 01 2010

Donated ChangeI’m going to keep this brief, because I know there’s a low signal-to-noise ratio with this terrible disaster. ¬†But I’ve done some research for a friend, and it’s come up with some fairly startling results. ¬†I want to present the facts as best as I can, with organizations that are not only reputable, but forthcoming with their financials.

So, given that preface, the question is:

Where is the best place to donate my funds, if I want the most to come from my donation to help people in Haiti?

Here’s the deal: ¬†Every charitable non-profit organization has operating costs, and costs that are incurred to simply raise money. ¬†So, reputable organizations post this information publicly. ¬†Most organizations do this through the Better Business Bureau, and the IRS. ¬†Some choose to do so privately. ¬†Another factor here is that when funds are given, are they given to a general fund, or something specific to the cause you wish to donate towards?

So, here’s my breakdown:

Samaritan's Purse Logo

My number one choice is Samaritan’s Purse (based out of Boone, NC, USA).

Samaritan’s Purse gives 89% (as of Fiscal Year 2008) towards programs. The other 11% break down as follows: 6% go towards fund-raising, and 5% goes towards general expenses and administrative costs.

There is one higher-profile organization that gives a higher percentage towards aid, which is the Red Cross. ¬†However, the reason I did not choose them, is that unlike Samaritan’s Purse, where you can specify your donation to go only towards efforts to help Haiti, the Red Cross makes you donate towards an “International Relief Fund” which may or may not go towards this effort.

So, 89 cents of every dollar donated to Samaritan’s Purse goes DIRECTLY to work in Haiti. ¬†They are already on the ground, working, helping and assessing how to best organize their efforts in the future.

I still think the Red Cross is doing a great job, and they’ve already pledged to give $1M towards Haitian relief. ¬†That’s wonderful. ¬†And the verbiage of their site seems to say that the “Texting Campaign” (where you send the word HAITI to 90999, and $10 gets donated to the Red Cross, and it shows up on your phone bill), WILL INDEED GO DIRECTLY TO RELIEF IN HAITI. ¬†So, this appears to be the only way to send money to the Red Cross with a specific target for those funds.

Here’s what is most important:

1) PRAY.

There is terrible human tragedy going on, and God can move in amazing ways there.  Pray that God will send the right people, the right aid, with the right timing to help as many people as possible!

2) GIVE.

Give your funds to an organization you trust, and that you know will help folks out. ¬†I suggest Samaritan’s Purse (I have ZERO AFFILIATION with them, by the way, just to be clear), but anywhere you’ve researched and trust with your funds, WILL HELP.

3) SPREAD THE WORD.

Your prayers and financial help WILL make a difference. ¬†But combined with others? ¬†If we’re smart and work together to make sure we’re maximizing our resources in this region, we can really work together to make a difference in these people’s lives, for a positive future. ¬†Let’s educate each other on how charities work. ¬†Let’s make sure people know that not all are alike! ¬†Let’s help more people. ¬†Now.

Thanks for reading.  I hope it was informative.

Note after publishing: The Red Cross gives 90% of its income to aid. ¬†So it’s a 1% difference. ¬†Just forgot to give the percentage for them. ¬†Just wanted to be clear.





Stay At Home, Dad

10 01 2010

So, two days ago, my wife, along with her mother, and 7 others (including my boss and his wife) left for a seven-day medical missions trip to Tegucigalpa, Honduras. ¬†I’ve been on many missions trips (well, probably about seven), and usually, since they are with the youth group I work with my wife stays home, to watch the kids while I’m away. ¬†This time though, it is my wife’s first missions trip, ¬†the first time she’s been away from the kids for this long, and the longest I’ve been with the kids all by myself.

Now, before you think this is simply about me whining about being a Dad-on-his-own (or a DOHO, as I like to call it), well, okay. ¬†That’s a small part of it. ¬†I mean, it is tough. ¬†Keeping up the house, making breakfast, lunch, dinner, the numerous snacks that they seem to keep getting away with, starting movies, setting up (and playing practically entire levels of, because they’re just “too hard, Daddy!”) video games, changing diapers, wiping butts after the potty, yadda, yadda, yadda…

It’s tough work. ¬†And before anyone says “well, I’m a mom, and I do that all the time!” ¬†Know this: ¬†I do this all the time too. ¬†I’m a stay-at-home Dad two days during the “workweek” and my wife works on-call at a hospital, so I’m often fending for myself here on the home front. ¬†But, there’s usually relief on the horizon. ¬†The cavalry may take a while to get there, but back-up is always on the way…sometime.

And tonight, when I made a paper “ring-chain” to help the kids (and yeah, myself too) count down the number of days until Mommy returns, it really hit me, how long I still have to go until my wife returns… (Let’s ignore the fact that when she does return, she’s going to be exhausted, and not really going to be in the mood to “get back to the grind” right away either….)

But that’s honestly not the point of my writing here. ¬†No, why I write now, is because I’m realizing the hard way (and the best way, I think that God could have possibly done so) what my wife does for me, for my family, and for service to God every time I’m in Saltillo or Mazatlan in Mexico, or Cedar Rapids in Iowa, or New Orleans, Louisiana, and this summer when I’ll be in Erkrath, Germany.

We need to recognize that in situations like this, staying home is not simply a matter of duty to our family, or to avoid amazingly expensive daycare/babysitting costs. ¬†It’s not a burden, giving us reason to sigh and moan. ¬†Being at home while a loved one is away serving God in a missions field is not a matter of us left behind being idle and feeling useless.

God called one of us to the missions field, and the other? ¬†That one didn’t just stay home. ¬†One of us was called to step up and serve the missions field here at home. ¬†My staying home now, just as the many times my wife has stayed at home then (and I know will, in the future), is service to my creator. ¬†It is service to those people in Honduras. ¬†It is service to my wife. ¬†It is service to my kids (although they’d most definitely say otherwise).

But what God’s revealing to me more and more with really, every hour I’m here doing this terrible job on my own, is that this isn’t just “the luck of the draw” that I’m home and my wife is gone. ¬†God is asking me to serve. ¬†And I can do so one of two ways: ¬†begrudgingly, counting down the minutes (nay, the seconds!) until my wife can come home and relieve me from the stress I’ve gone through (remember, wiping butts, endless nights of kids refusing to go to bed…sitting through tearful bouts of “I miss Mommy”, etc…)

OR

I can take joy in knowing that God is working through my humble little family.  I can be encouraged, knowing that my wife is making a difference on the lower hemisphere of our planet, while I support her efforts back here in the north.  Knowing that God has chosen us to do His work.  And every butt I wipe, and every tear I wipe and every nose I wipe (yeah I do a lot of wiping) is making a difference for His kingdom, which is eternal, amazing, and so awesome compared to the wisp of a wisp of a wisp of mist that this week of trial (for both my wife and myself) is at the moment.

So, while I’m missing my wife like mad, and having trouble sleeping because I worry about her well-being and thinking about her more times a day than I have fingers and toes…I’m choosing the second option. ¬†I’m grateful for the chance to serve God, wife and family. ¬†I’m grateful that I’m getting to build into my kids in a way I don’t when my wife is here. ¬†I’m grateful that my wife is building into God in a way that simply doesn’t happen unless you’re out on a limb for Him.

I’m grateful that God told me: ¬†“Stay at home, Dad.”

OtakuMom’s missions trip in Tegucigalpa, Honduras is blogged about here. It is a multi-church effort that aims to bring badly needed medicines, dental help, and hope to some very hurting, very needy, and very-loved-by-God people.