Generous Investment

It is so good to see projects such as an Online Centre for Internet Ministry. They are so crucial as investments into lives for the future. The concept to have an on-line centre that provided material to stimulate thinking and to empower entrepreneurs in internet projects that sought to enrich lives.

I’ve been writing to a lecturer I met in Bangkok, one of my breakfast-networking sessions. She travels with Cruise Liners sharing about various subjects in which she specialises. I have encouraged her to set up a Vision Centre for sharing what she is doing with others, so they can also be active in such a creative ministry. Of course, I widen the catchment a bit to other creative ministries. Let’s pray that she and/or others will set up such a centre.

Did I ever share with you about the Farnham Castle project. It is amazing. It was a similar centre for creative ministry that I was thinking.   The Media Village in South Africa is another specialised centre: Their site is being updated at the moment.

If I try to think of ALL these opportunities at once my mind sort of slips a gear or two!

What a vision and opportunity. Instead of just creating a site for financial gain, create a living Training Centre for sharing principles etc. for others to use and expand.

Global Nomad                                                                                                                                                                             

31 January 09

Shoe-Shine Generosity

Leon McLaughlin is a businessman of many talents. He has sold coffee machines in Canada, earned a real-estate license in California, and now owns and runs a shoe-shine stand in central Seattle.

He recently had an experience that changed his life and unexpectedly led him to start another business.

While traveling on a vacation to Mexico, a local woman told Leon a story that changed his life.

She had a get-together at her home earlier that week. A well-meaning American visitor asked to use her bathroom. When he came out, he explained that he helped her out by draining the extra water that was stored in her bathtub.

Leon McLaughlin’s remarkable story was featured on NBC Nightly News on Jan. 9. Watch the segment to see how his efforts have helped transform communities once deprived of clean, safe water.
The woman broke down into tears. “You see, that was my water for the entire month,” she explained to her American guest.

Not only did it bring Leon’s Mexican friend to tears, but it also brought him to action. He immediately knew what had to be done: find a way to bring clean water to the world’s poor, especially children.

But where to begin? His experience was in local business and sales, not international relief work.

After some investigation and enrollment in water systems repair and maintenance classes, Leon decided to establish another business. This time he would start a non-profit, to bring his clean water equipment to the developing world.

LAM, LLC — or Leon A. McLaughlin — was founded with one mission: to address the critical need of the world’s clean water shortage by buying and sending purification equipment to where it is most needed. With the need for clean water in so many countries around the world, Leon sought the advice of an organization with some experience: World Vision.

“When I initially called World Vision to share my clean water vision with them, to my surprise, they listened with open minds and open hearts,” he explains.

(This story is taken from the World Vision report. Check out more information on:

Global Nomad

22 January 2009

The Generous Axe

Chatting over the gate or garden fence my be on the decline but I seek to indulge whenever I can. It is a fascinating experience and often so enriching.  Some months ago over one of these chats, I met a gentleman who was working on the maintenance of his house.  Somehow our conversation turned towards enabling others to succeed. I shared with him about the group who re-furbish tools and send them out to training centres in developing countries.

As a pracitcal man, he showed interest. He disappeared for a moment and returned with a full size woodman’s axe. He wondered if this would be of value and interest to Tools with a Mission. I assured him it would and he placed it in my care.  I encouraged him to attend the church fellowship which met in a converted Country Club building across the road.  He politely agreed to keep it in mind.

Three years later, I met up again with the same gentleman over a cup of coffee in the church across the road at their coffee shop. He shared with me about a person taking his axe not realising it was myself.  We had a good re-connection. He also has lived with an incredible “challenge” all his life of having  minimal skills in reading and writing. I shared with him about a wonderful new system called TTRS. This initiative sought to empower such folk with new skills.  He has a grandson who is into computing and thus may be able to help him read about TTRS on-line.

What a wonderful example of generosity with an axe in overcoming a challenge.

Global Nomad
21  January 2009

Thoughtful Generosity

Buses in London are very frequent and an excellent way to explore the historic city but they can be very crowded at times. Much thought and research has gone into the planning of these vehicles in recent years to ensure that passengers are well looked after. Special thought has been given to providing appropriate seating in just the right places for those with limited mobility and it is amazing to watch the versatility of those who travel with youngsters in pushchairs or wheelchairs. Space for luggage has been provided although this is often limited and often at the wrong part of the bus when you desire to alight. 

It was refreshing and encouraging meeting up with a young family travelling to the same railway station with me the other day in a very crowded bus. People were entering and alighting at almost every stop.  The young husband although with his wife, youngsters, a pushchair as well as luggage, still offered to take care of my travelling case on wheels as we alighted.  Chatting with them along the pathway to the Railway Station was a delight. They were a very “together” family for sure. It was a prime example of Thoughtful Generosity. Being generous at a time that was not really convenient meant giving specific thought to other people.

Global Nomad

19 January 2009


We welcome the international charity AMEN as our GUEST OF THE MONTH for January 2009.

Gareth, it is good to welcome you to Generosity-Alive to be our Guest for this month. We look forward to learning more about AMEN. Firstly, The are many wonderful charity projects around the world. What are the distinctives of AMEN?


The Five Distinctives of AMEN

1 We only support specifically Christian ministries most of which are holistic in nature.

2 All those we support are working in their own countries and are personally known to the founders.

3 Money sent from AMEN goes directly to those being supported.4 All the AMEN team (including the Trustees) are unpaid volunteers thus minimising our administration costs.. 

5 Support is not just financial but also includes regular contact, practical advice and visits.

In what parts of the world does AMEN work? India, Philippines, Nigeria and Mozambique

How did AMEN come into being? As founder I was repeatedly meeting Christians in developing countries who had it all except one thing, sufficient resources to allow them to fulfil the calling upon their lives. I felt that the best way to solve this was to let people know of the opportunity to partner with the wonderful work taking place and challenge them to support it through the charity AMEN   

Give some examples of feedback and response to some of your projects? We have many – see each project at

Are there current plans for expansion? Yes, not only within existing projects but also for many worthy causes we are aware of that could significantly move ahead through receiving funding.

What is the biggest challenge for AMEN? The economic downturn plus the worldwide price rise in raw materials and basic food such as rice. For instance, the strengthening value of the rupee against the pound means that we need to increase giving to our existing partners in India by several hundred pounds a month just to maintain the level of the last couple of years.  

How can folk get involved? Firstly by praying and then by subscribing to our news letter. You can also join us on an overseas visit and finally of course, you can give!  

Thanks so much, Gareth for sharing all about AMEN with us.  We will be remembering you in prayer during the coming days.

Global Nomad

19 January 2009


Generous Memories



   To tell the truth, I don’t remember seeing Mum actually read her old Bible.  As far as I could tell, it just sat on the night stand next to her bed. And that was the best place for it, since it probably wouldn’t have survived any meaningful usage anywhere else.  The black cloth cover was ragged and time-worn, its dog-eared pages yellowed with time. 

   Once I accidentally knocked it off the night stand, launching loose pages all over Mum and Dad’s bedroom.  I expected a tongue-lashing for my carelessness (and believe me, this was no small expectation, since Mum delivered a tongue-lashing like Pavarotti delivered an aria — with the practiced precision and stunning power of an artist).  But Mum was so busy gathering the pages, gently smoothing them and returning them to their place in the book that she paid no attention to me.     

Soon after I moved away from home, my sister Kathy and I combined our funds to buy a new Bible for Mum for her birthday.  It was a black leather volume, twice as big as her old Bible.  The pages were trimmed in gold, and there were maps, references and a complete Bible dictionary included within its pages.  We even had her name engraved on the front with gold-leaf lettering.

It was a beautiful book, and Mum was touched and pleased with it. I remember watching her thumb carefully through the pages, admiring the quality of the paper and the clarity of the printing. From that day on, it was the Bible she took with her to church, and the one from which she read during the family Nativity pageant.

But for some reason, it never displaced the old Bible from its position of honor on her night stand.  And that kind of bothered me.   “I don’t know why you keep that ratty old thing,” I told her as we prepared to pack it among her most precious belongings for what would turn out to be the last of much relocation in her life — this time to the warm, heavy air of Southern California.  “That new Bible we got for you is the best that money can buy.  You can’t even use this old one anymore.”  Mum smiled at me weakly and sat on the edge of her bed, carefully wrapping the old Bible in an equally old, equally shabby white shawl. 

   “Just because a thing isn’t useful anymore doesn’t mean it isn’t valuable,” she said softly, deliberately.  “You look at this and see an old, worn-out book, but I see the gift your father gave me on our wedding day.  I see the friend that was always there to provide strength and comfort when your father was sent to Pearl Harbor during the war.  I see the storybook from which I read to all of my children, and the primer from which you all read your first Bible verses.
   “This Bible has been in the family as long as we’ve been a family,” she continued, caressing it through the tattered shawl. “It’s part of us, part of our history, and part of who we are.  So even though it isn’t especially useful anymore, there is still value in what it represents.  At least, there is to me.”
    Suddenly it occurred to me that she wasn’t just talking about her old Bible.  We live in an age of fanatically obsessive ‘everything is disposable’ — even people!  If it’s old or odd-looking or not particularly useful, toss it — or him, or her — out.  We forget that there is value beyond utility, and worth beyond “what’s in it for me now.”

   When Mum died, Dad gave me her “new” Bible.  It’s among my most cherished possessions.  It means a lot to me, and it really is beautiful and incredibly useful; but I’d trade it in a minute for Mum’s old, useless Bible.

I even have the perfect place for it — on the night stand next to my bed.

Global Nomad

16 January 2009


Contagious Generosity

While visiting friends in his home city, a retired senior policeman noted that many of them were now not so mobile and thus unable to maintain their small garden or window boxes. An idea came to him to locate a source of plants that would enhance their outlook and need minimum maintenance. Exploring the market area one day, he stumbled across a good price on wallflowers at his regular garden centre. While talking with the manager about his idea, he was able to negotiate a very good price.  The residents greatly appreciated their newly planted flower gardens.

Some time elapsed and then more new plants. were needed.  Re-visiting his garden centre, he was warmly greeted by the owner who was concerned that his police officer friend had not called by lately. He said he had a good supply of plants hidden away at the back. Further bargaining brought even more joy to the officer and his “clients” as the company owner agreed for them to be a gift.  The generous sharing by the police officer led to further generosity by the garden centre.

As we take the initiative and act generously, it will become contagious and others will be enriched in their lives too.

Global Nomad

06 January 2009