Missions Monday: Crisis in Ukraine

War is hell.  And not just on the front lines.  Innocent women, families, and children always suffer during wars.  And the Ukraine crisis is no different.  To date, over 5,400 people have been killed. 263 of these were civilians killed in populated areas in a one week period! (BBC News).  Somewhere around a million people have become refugees- either internally displaced or fleeing to Russia (Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).  
Destroyed house in Donbass

"Some 2000 refugees have come to Rivne where MWB Ukraine is based and another 300 to the Sarny area". (Mission Without Borders Newsletter).  The mission has delivered aid (food clothing, Christian literature, etc) to these displaced families.  Last fall, the Mission (assisted by local churches) was able to deliver 800 tons of relief to the East- including food, clothes, shoes, and material to rebuild damaged houses, schools, and hospitals.

Even in the western areas of Ukraine, families are feeling the effects of war and poverty.  The U family from Sarny has recently been enrolled in the Family to Family sponsorship last year after the mother dies after a difficult birth.  The father quit his job to care for his family of 7 children and receives just $248 a month in benefits.  Even in "normal" times, this is not nearly enough to raise a large family on.  Due to the war, food and daily supplies are hard to come by and the prices may spike without notice.  The F2F program ensures that the family receives a regular supply of food and hygiene items.  Clothing, blankets, and nappies are also provided.  Thanks to donors, the children were recently given new beds!  All of this is a lifeline of hope to the U family and provides stability during uncertain times.

After WW2,  Americans, Canadians, and others sent parcels of food to Britain to help those families struggling in the after effects of war and deprivation.  Today, we have the same opportunity to assist families in Ukraine (and throughout Eastern Europe!).  A family can be sponsored for $100 a month.  Is this something your family or church group could do?  Partial sponsorships are available for $25 a month.  You will be paired with a real, live family that needs a lifeline of hope as they move toward self sufficiency.  More information can be found here as well.

Pray for peace and justice in Ukraine.  Those responsible for unwarranted death and destruction must be brought to justice.  Pray for the innocent families suffering due to war.

Feeling Lucky? $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

They say that March comes in like a lion, and goes out like a lamb.  If that's the case, we'll have a flock of lambs here by the months end!  Tonight the weather man is predicting snow, turn to a wintry mix and/or sleet, then rain all day tomorrow.  I am ready for a change in the weather.  If we're lucky, maybe we'll just get rain and NO SNOW or SLEET tonight (please).

Speaking of luck, have you been entering my giveaways?  On March 2, I 'll be giving away an Amazon Kindle!  Keep entering everyday and here's another way for you to win!  Leahsays Views and Planet Weidknecht are hosting the Try Your Luck Giveaway Hop!.  Every participating blog is giving away an awesome prize worth at least $25!

My prize is a versatile one. You can buy almost anything your heart desires on Amazon, so I am giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to one lucky winner!  Be sure to enter daily as new entries may be added daily.

Good luck!

Also be sure to visit each of these participating blogs!

End of the month check up

Pop Quiz!.. Everyone pull out a sheet of paper and a pencil..and how are you doing budget-wise? Have you recovered from the Christmas spend-fest?

 Every month I like to hold a business meeting.  Since I live alone, it's very easy to organize.  All it takes is a blank sheet of paper, bank statements, bills, income and savings.

I go over the set bills for the month, subtract that from my expected income and (hopefully) increase my savings a bit or (better yet) pay off a bill entirely.

I'll be honest, there have been times when this pow-wow of one would make me ill.  My stomach would turn when I came up short.  Maybe I'd be moving in the wrong direction or go over budget in a big way.

But I am learning that the only way to get ahead is by focus and intensity- "gazelle intensity"- as Dave Ramsey puts it.  And not opening that envelope does not make the bill go away!

So my challenge to you is to write out your bills- all of them..start that budget..even if it's overwhelming at first.  Many times I would make myself worrying about some bill (especially the tax bill!).  But go ahead, open that envelope, pull out that sheet of paper, make a plan, and start saving!

Do you have a budget?  Are you saving-even if only a little- every month?  One of the ways that I save is by automating it!  I have $35 a week taken from my checking and put into an online savings account.  I am surprised how I don't miss something if I never see it! Even if it's $5 a week, every step is a step in the right direction.

Disclaimer:  This post does contain affiliate links.  However, I have reviewed all of the links and believe them to be helpful and informative.