My Birthday Wish ListPosted: January 2, 2013
My birthday falls just shy of a month after Christmas. When I was young, it was great–I would take my Christmas wish list, cross out what I received, and resubmit the updated list for my birthday. As I have grown older, that has changed. I have a hard enough time coming up with a list for Christmas let alone my birthday. Now I understand what my dad always said about Christmas and his birthday–“I don’t need anything, I just want to be with you all!” I enjoy the time with my wife and girls and visiting our extended family. So that is hopefully what we will plan to do this year.
However, I am trying something new (for me anyway). There is nothing that I must have or even need to have this year. I am blessed with a wonderful family, great friends, and everything I need. I have chosen a few non-profit organizations and I am going to ask my family to make a donation to one of them rather than buying me a gift. So, here are my chosen organizations and why I support them.
1. Boy Scouts of America Those who know me well know that I was involved in the Boy Scouts from about second grade through high school, ultimately earning my Eagle Scout award. In the last few years, I have been able to get re-involved through a Cub Scout Pack chartered by my church. This has been very rewarding to be on the other side of Scouting after spending so many years as a youth participant. This year I have been able to be part of an Eagle Board of Review (the “final exam” before one finally earns his Eagle Award) and attended two Eagle Scout Courts of Honor for two worthy young men. These recent experiences have reiterated to me the important role this youth organization serves in our communities. I am partial to the Miami Valley Council (which is the Council I grew up in) and the Tecumseh Council (where I now serve).
2. The Gathering of the Miami Valley I was introduced to The Gathering a few years ago. The mission of this ministry is to “connect men to men and men to God.” As I have gotten to know this organization, it offers a great opportunity to meet men where they are through the activity that consumes a significant amount of most men’s lives–their profession. Through a couple large events each year, a regular lunch series, individual “locker rooms” and one-on-one meetings, they succeed in achieving their mission and changing lives. Through my participation in this group, I have been able to meet many others who lead Godly lives in their workplaces and community. Just this year, I have had helped start a locker room, a small group of men meeting regularly, and built relationships with local businessmen who share the same values I hold close. As an added bonus, The Gathering has an anonymous donor who will match all donations from new donors through January 31, thus doubling the gift. (PS, this idea was birthed after hearing a connection from this ministry do a personal Birthday Giving Challenge last year).
3. Higher Education I work in higher education and spend my life around 18-22 year olds. I didn’t even know this was a career field until I attended Taylor University. I was introduced to this field, had the opportunity to be a student leader on campus, and fell in love with serving God in this way. As a student, I learned about the connection of my faith to learning and academia. Still today, I reflect on discussions Dr. Cosgrove’s Freshman Seminar course. Currently, I serve at Urbana University and interact with young men and women to help them become productive citizens, serving their communities. As you know if you watch any news, higher education is becoming more and more expensive. Taylor is a wonderful Christian institution that prepares young men and women for ministry and Christian service. Urbana University has a wonderful mission of making higher education affordable for many first-generation college students who may not otherwise be able to experience a private, liberal arts education. Your investment in either of these institutions will make a difference in the life of a student.
So, if you would like to get me a gift (and I don’t expect to, just throwing it out there), feel free to choose one of these organizations and make a donation. It will bless me and hopefully bless you as well! I know it will mean a lot to the organizations as they rely on donations to carry out their individual missions in this world. Thanks!