This week, I have been thinking about ways I can get more involved in helping others. Sometimes when life is hard, I have a tendency to hunker into myself, and while occasionally that choice to shelter myself is the best thing, most of the time it isn’t the wisest idea in the long-term. Pulling back just makes me more preoccupied with my struggles, and this is a particularly bad thing when my struggles are with letting go and giving up control.

So I’ve been working to find ways to help other people. There’s something really healing about looking beyond my own pain – even when it feels like it keeps knocking me in the teeth – to see how I can help God work in the lives of other people.

Here are some ways you can help, too.

30 Bloggers, 30 Days, $30,000 – a group of bloggers, including my friends Shawn Smucker and Ken Mueller, are trying to raise $30,000 to build a well in Africa. According to charitywater.org, a BILLION people don’t have access to clean water. I can’t even imagine that – I just walk to my sink and there it is . . . This is a great cause, so if you’re looking for a way to make a difference with a few dollars, go here to contribute.

Kiva – This great micro-finance organization allows people like you and I to contribute to the entreprenurial endeavors of those in developing countries. The basic premise is that you donate $25, and then Kiva and her partner agencies distribute loans to people who want to start business or need help funding other projects (I helped a man pay for his daughter’s wedding). Then, when the business owners pay back their funds (and everyone has paid back the funds I’ve loaned), you have the option to relend the money to another person/cooperative or take your money out of the system. I think the work they do is quite powerful.

What organizations/people do you know that are really reaching out to help those in need? Please do share. I’d love to hear more about great work happening in the world.

Helping Hand