Generous Actions

Day 1
Today’s action: Calculate your carbon footprint. Start the Carbon Fast by finding out your individual, household or church emissions so you know where to concentrate your reductions. Check out Tearfund’s My Global Impact – – to calculate individual emissions, or the Climate Justice Fund – – for an example of average household emissions.

Day 2
Today’s action: Be a part-time veggie. Plan to eat at least two vegetarian meals this week. The livestock industry currently contributes around 18 per cent of global emissions. Pork and chicken have lower carbon footprints than lamb or beef.
To find out more about this subject read Tearfund’s position paper on meat-eating and climate change, available here    

Day 3
Today’s action: Switch to green energy. Choose an energy supplier that sources all its energy from renewable sources – if you don’t pay the bills, ask the person who does to make the switch. This action is likely to be the one that will reduce your carbon footprint the most, so please do it today! Click here for suggestions on switching to green energy.

Day 4
Today’s action: Travel by train. Is there a journey you’re taking in the next few months for which you could take the train rather than driving (or flying)? Why not book today?

Day 5
Today’s action: Reflect on your lifestyle and its impact on the planet. Ask God to help you during Lent to focus on what he wants you to do to restore your relationship with the world and your neighbours.
Set aside time to reflect on this. Write down one or two things to focus on.

Day 6
Today’s action: Turn it down. If you need to add cold water when you fill the sink or run a bath, then your hot water thermostat is too high – try setting it at 60°C or 140°F.

To keep global temperature rise below the two-degree danger point, emissions need to peak and decline by 2015. This means developed countries need to reduce their emissions by at least 40 per cent on 1990 levels by 2020, and finance emissions cuts in the developing world. And what’s been committed by rich countries so far is nowhere near this target

Day 7
Today’s action: Act for climate justice. Ask your church leader to sign up to the Climate Justice Fund at and take the campaign action on the website. This is a Church of England initiative, but churches of all denominations are welcome to join.

Day 8
Today’s action: Eat by candlelight. How many rooms do you light in the evenings? Turn out the lights and enjoy the ambience of a candlelit dinner!

Day 9
Today’s action: Cook for free. Electric hotplates or ovens take a long time to cool, so why not turn them off earlier so your food finishes cooking for free?

Day 10
Today’s action: Smooth driver, not boy racer. Avoid excess idling and hard acceleration – the more revs you use, the more fuel you’re burning.

[Selected from an series called “Carbon Fast” by TearFund UK

Global Nomad

26 February 2010

Generous Connections

Over the past 35 years, in ports of call around the world, we have sought to locate our Mr Find Anything. A resourceful and creative friend who has multi-connections in a wide range of areas within the port city and beyond. A whole book could be written about such amazing people who have drawn alongside the preparation teams and have become “forever” friends.

One such friend was Graham, “Sir Graham” as we affectionately named him. He was truly an “angel in disguise” for us. It was fascinating to watch him at work. Often we would be driving along in his mini-bus going for a cup of coffee to a favourite restaurant in which he had ongoing involvement as an advisor. He would ask “What are you looking for today, David” and I would share with him that as a result of the increasing maritime legislation, each of the safety life-jackets on board some 300+ now need to have three florescent strips instead of one. This one new regulation meant we need to purchase 600 such strips probably at a minimum of $5 each. Did he have a contact? Without hesitating for a moment, from his mega memory-bank, he gave me three people and their phone numbers to call. One of them would help he was sure.

This would happen almost daily and would range from: venues for international music night, creative ways of marketing the ship, to contacts in the Government, ministry opportunities, potential printers, links with the nearby rural leaders, catering specialists, creative advertising options etc etc. Graham worked for the city council and was often “out in the field” as it were so had his pulse on grass-roots matters. One of his many projects was setting up a re-habilitation group among those being made unexpectedly redundant. He would walk them prayerfully through the painful process and seek to get them re-positioned in a new firm.

He also had the foresight to be part of a group that was formed called J-17. The vision was to have a core group of inter-church networkers from a variety of professions and trades as a coordinating committee for any city-wide event that was taking place. They would offer to be a resource-bank and facilitation group for such events. Thus the wheel was not re-invented every time. This group became the core of the committee for the ship visit as well. Excellent vision!!

Global Nomad
25 February 2010

Generous Sketches

From an early age youngsters are given chalk-boards to enjoy themselves.  Often fingers and faces are decorated too but it has been a very practical way of enabling children to develop their creative skills.  The pictures can be rubbed out and a fresh start made so easily.  Those of us in the educational world can also identify with the chalk-era. Drafting notes, drawing sketches, plans or diagrams were part of our daily routine.  Silicosis might be in the side-wings but still the chalk boards survived for many years before being replaced by the white boards – fibre pen writing was then the “in” medium later giving way to the computer age and Power Points etc.  

Personally, I enjoyed sketching in chalks and bringing to life history or science lessons.  Of course, erasing such artwork was a challenge but part of the process in those days. From time to time, I have come across chalk-artists and always been fascinated by this form of presentation. One such master in this field is Small Paul or Paul White.  He develops gripping images in chalk and with lighting to entrance audiences often numbering hundreds. These can be students or prisoners or general public.  His work output is amazing and with verve and vitality as he travels the length and breadth of South Africa and beyond into other African countries. His generosity in sharing his heart-felt vision through chalk scenes knows no end.  Each chalk picture illustrates key life issues and points the audience to the One who can bring colour, focus and meaning into their lives.

The skill, the enthusiasm and the endless energy of the artist come through in each presentation whether it be in a school auditorium, an outdoors venue or a prison.  A heart of generosity is transformed into colours and shape to point the exploring one in the right direction.  In the past few years, his audience have mushroomed as he has been screened on TV stations throughout the continent.  He also has his material on DVDs and on his website:  His pen (or keyboard) is as active as his chalks and a whole list of small books have been authored on pertinent subjects.  Check it out for yourself. Below are a couple of clippings from Paul’s news…. 

Blown Away!  When Paul’s sister Grace was ministering with us for 15 days, the wind was so strong, two schools postponed the assembly.  In another, the high winds blew away Paul’s chalk.  It took both James and Grace to hold Paul’s chalk board in place against the wind.  Grace came home looking like a sample palette for Paul’s chalk colors where the chalk board had been blown against her.  In spite of the wind and blowing sand, the kids were pretty attentive and responsive.  On two days a major road linking Muizenberg and Mitchell’s Plain was closed because of sand drifts. Maybe we should add the weather as a prayer request. 

ImpactAnother friend encouraged us with a story of the impact of one of the DVD’s of Paul’s chalk talks.  A church lady brought one to her alcoholic sister, and they said they watched the whole thing in one day!  (That’s about 13 hours of watching!!!)  The alcoholic sister came to church, tapped the wife on the shoulder and said, “I’m here to repent.”  Sweet!  Of course she still needs a lot of shepherding, as many others do as well. 

Global Hand

19 February 2010

Generous Accommodation

The nurse, Lenie and husband Ockie (South Africa), sailing on an international educational ship, took a week-long break from work. However, as there was no affordable place to stay in the city, in light of their volunteer-status, they decided to stay on board.

On the fifth day of their break they went out with a local friend who introduced them to his business partner. Their friend’s business partner asked them what they’re doing in Singapore. What happened later became their biggest surprise.

“After our talk he said: This is my parents’ apartment key. They are away; let me take you there,” Lenie narrated. Lenie and Ockie were thankful for the man’s generosity. On top of the two-night stay in the pleasant apartment free of charge, the man gave them some gifts. “God really knows what we need. He is still at work!”

Having travelled internationally for the past 35 years, I can assure you that such generosity is not uncommon. It has been through the kindness, thoughtfulness and generosity of scores of wonderful families and indviduals that I have nearly always had a roof over my head. Of course, there have been times when the roof has been a corporate one in an airport or railway station or under the multi-starred night skyline.

Global Nomad

15 February 2010

Old Fashioned Generosity

With the trend towards mega-stores and even larger combinations, it is easy for the customer to be distanced from management by sheer size of the operation or the speed of turnover.  It is thus so refreshing to discover stores that still retain the friendliness of the proverbial “village shop”.

Recently, in a small-town post office, I noted a whole wall of historic sweet jars filled with an amazing variety of tasty morsels. On enquiry, I discovered, to my delight that I could choose to have any combination I fancied – they would be weighed out individually. Of course, I was like a youngster in a toyshop. Such “mini moments of adventure” enrich the day – even the week!!

Some small restaurants also provide a wide variety of choices and even encourage further tweaking of the menu.  The answer “Try me” to the comment, “Do you know what I really fancy?” makes one’s day and is so simple really – the cost to the management is minimal if anything.The long-term benefits can be considerable with customers returning regularly to such a creative location.

In South Africa, I frequented a well-known steak-house chain, not so much for the stakes but for their delicious apple pie.  They marketed the most generous slice of apple pie I’ve found anywhere. Usually, I would go for the half-slice portion, which I found, was more than enough.  When ordering, the standard question was  “Would you like cream or ice-cream with your apple slice, Sir?”  One day I commented, “Do you know what I would really like?” The waitress asked me to share my wish …. So I did: “Real British custard”  “Just a moment, Sir” she replied.

Soon I was being handed a wonderful appleslice dripping with freshly made custard. She explained that the chef was British and always enjoyed the opportunity to make some custard…… Creative friendliness can do wonders.The above are classic examples of old fashioned generosity.

Global Nomad

13 February 2010