Two days ago, on the day before the beginning of advent a friend of mine posted on his blog that his family of six was going to eat rice and beans every night for 25 days leading up to Christmas. Knowing his desire to share the love of God with this hurting world, I had to dig a little deeper in order to find out what was behind the beans and rice. As I read further, I saw that the beans and rice meant so much more than going on a low caloric, high fiber diet to look great in Christmas card photos. Instead, Blake and his family have decided to partake in a well giving ministry headed up by his eight year old daughter Riley, hence the name "The Riley Project". Her goal of raising $5,000 in order to give clean water wells to the places on Earth in which people die from a lack of good drinking water is within reach as she only needs $800 more. When I saw how close she is, and how I easily spend $800 during Christmas time on food and gifts "in the name of the birth of Jesus" yet rarely share the love of Him, I realized I could possibly help.
So with the permission of Blake, I'm posting his blog below regarding the "Riley Project". I hope you will consider what he and his family are doing in order to take small steps to combat selfishness during this season and instead spread hope, love and actual life. It was Christ who is able to give us eternal life, and instead of focusing on the finite things like toys and food which both waste away, the thought of giving life through water to the starving and thirsty during the time in which we celebrate the birth of our "living water" seems appropriate.
On a side note as you consider helping I'd like you to realize that during the Holiday season Americans spend $450 Billion dollars celebrating the holidays. This means more consumerism which is just as prevalent in the "church" as it is outside (if not worse), and an additional 12 pounds on the average human belly (per another study I read outside of the blog). If we decided to gain only six pounds, that is most likely worth a minimum of $50 that we could donate just by eating half as much (less cookies, Starbucks, muffins, candy, etc...). Also, within the "church" I can't help but be discouraged during the Holiday season to see so much money wasted on the unnecessary construction of more "church" buildings including an embarrassing $120 million dollar project in Dallas. But I have to ask does God really need "bigger barns" to attract people? What a waste! During this Season I can't help but think that we have lost sight of what it means to be Jesus to the lost, the hurting, the widows, the helpless, the meek, the Poor in Spirit, and the like. Instead of trying to make buildings and cutesy messages to attract people, maybe, just maybe we can become eternally attractive as we bear the image of our Savior in the way we love.
Please take this as a small challenge to walk the walk. By no means am I saying you must do this or else you're selfish, instead I'm just asking you to consider it. And oh, by the way, even if Jesus means nothing to you, or being a Christian is silly, or maybe you're a Jew, Muslim, Agnostic, Hindu, Buddhist or something else, if you can find it in your heart to do something truly "good" during this season then please consider helping the dream of an eight year old come true. Starting now until Dec. 24th figure out a way to even donate a dollar a day to give water to those who have none. Please contact me if you want to help or contact Blake directly through the blog below. Thanks and have a wonderful Holiday season!
This article below was taken from http://www.goodfellowfamily.blogspot.com/
The Riley Project is close to being finished (although Riley says that she will never be finished raising money for wells). Riley has about 800 more dollars to raise to reach her goal. We are ready for Riley to reach her goal because we are ready for over 250 people to finally have clean water. They are dying while they wait (I know that sounds dramatic, but, well, it's the truth).
So, during Advent (November 29-December 24) our family will be eating rice and beans every night for dinner. We will be donating the money that we save on groceries to The Riley Project. We can't take credit for this idea. I first saw a blog where a family ate rice and beans for a month and gave the money that they saved to a friend's adoption. Then, our friends Kinzi and Jay approached us with the idea that they would fast and give the money that they saved to The Riley Project and asked us if we wanted to participate. As we discussed it and threw around ideas, we landed on eating rice and beans for Advent. I honestly can't think of a better way to both prepare to celebrate Jesus' birth and raise more money for the well then to sacrificially give of ourselves in this way.
In many ways we are very excited about rice and beans and what it will teach our family. But we are also very selfish and really, really don't want to eat rice and beans for 25 days straight. It's not going to be fun. I hate beans. But every night, as we eat our rice and beans, we will think of those we don't have anything to eat, we will think of those who are going to get clean water, and we will think of Jesus who sacrificed much more than us.
I mean, really, who am I to complain about eating rice and beans when there are millions of people who would be beyond thankful to know that they were getting rice and beans every night?
Who am I to think that I deserve more than rice and beans?
We are asking anyone who wants to, to please join us in giving something up in order to give to The Riley Project. You don't have to eat rice and beans for 25 days. You can eat rice and beans for a week or one night. You can give up Starbucks or Coke and give the money that you save to the well. You could come up with your own idea. I am also giving up my nightly ice cream which is a really, really big deal for me. We already had a family give up eating out for a month and donate their saved money to the well. We have so much that we can give up.
(I also just wanted to say that you can participate for any reason- it doesn't have to be in preparation for Jesus' birth. This is just one of our reasons. You obviously don't have to be a Christian to give sacrificially. In fact, most Christians are really bad at sacrificial giving.)
So, after 25 days of rice and beans, on Christmas Day, our family will write a check to charity:water for the amount of money that we saved. It would be so beautiful if the final $800 needed to build this well was raised by Christmas Day because of sacrificial giving on the part of people all around the country.