Monday, June 23, 2008

40 Day Fast 2008: The Gift of Reading

Until five years ago, I took my ability to read for granted. But five years ago I went to Japan to teach English and my life changed a little bit.

I could no longer read. I mean, obviously I could still read anything in English, but I couldn't read billboards. Or signs in stores. Or ingredients in food. Or train station signs. Or notices and bills that showed up in my mailbox. For someone who is totally accustomed to getting the vast majority of their information through reading, it was a very hard transition.

That experience gave me a tiny glimpse of what life is like for the person who cannot read. For the past three years, I have been brought much deeper into that reality working in an adult literacy and English language acquisition program. Illiteracy or poor reading skills are strongly tied with poor self-esteem, crime, poor nutrition, and poverty.

There are over 860 million illiterate adults globally, two-thirds of which are women. Many believe that literacy is the key to advancing societies and improving job prospects. I know this to be true. I have watched adults with little to no reading skill complete their studies with me having gained new self-confidence, the ability to participate in new ways with life (choose greeting cards, help their kids with homework, read their mail), and receive promotions at work.

Did you wake up this morning and read your Bible? Did you check your email? Did you write a check, or look over your children's homework? Please take a moment and enjoy the gift that just being able to read this blog post is!

I believe that not only will literacy for the world improve the prospect of jobs for those trapped in the cycle of poverty and self-defeat, I also believe that it will lead to a more peaceful earth. When we read, we broaden our world.

I have chosen to highlight the organization Proliteracy Worldwide. Proliteracy works in 65 developing nations around the world. If you visit their website, you can learn how to donate to their cause, about their advocacy program, and even find a program to volunteer your time to help others learn to read.

Join me today in praying for those who have limited opportunity and are trapped in a cycle of poverty because of their illiteracy. Pray that God would provide opportunities and willing workers to meet this need in their lives. I believe that words are close to the heart of God. He created us with fantastic brains that can read stories of Him. I wish for everyone to have that chance.
I will be twittering today during my fast. Follow me if you wish!

April is blogging today for Team 2! She has chosen to tell us about the Mocha Club (I can't have a mocha today) go on over and read her post!


sarah chia said...

Great topic. Reading opens up such a new world to people.

Jacquelynne said...

You know I decided to try to be more grateful for the next 40 days, and the ability to read is not something that I had thought about- obviously, something I very much take for granted. Thanks for the reminder!

Tressa said...

Wow, thanks for sharing. I had no idea... what a great organization to stand for literacy. Praying for you today!

MaryAnn M said...

i read so much! all day long!
i LOVE reading...

how much i take for granted...and how limiting it would be if i couldnt read.

thanks for your posting and passion.

Brad Ruggles said...

That's a great organization. I think sometimes I take my ability to read for granted. I can't even imagine the kind of person I would be today if it wasn't for all the books that have shaped me through the years.

The Secret Life of Kat said...

My daughter learned how to read this year. It's been amazing to see how much it's changed her life.

Reading is definitely something I take for granted. Thank you for the reminder of how precious a gift it is.

kat said...

Like Kat, we're working with our daughter teaching her to read. The difference between the frustration she feels when she can't read a word to the excitement and joy when she does read is amazing.

I'll be praying for you today, Amy.

euphrony said...

Sorry, that last one was actually me, euphrony. Not Kat commenting twice.

steven.russell said...

Awesome. And a good reminder of the things we so often take for granted.

Awesome. Thanks.

superlindsey said...

I just got home from out of town, in time to tune in for day 2 of the 40 Day Fast...and I can't tell you how much you are speaking to me. Just this weekend, while I talked with friends from high school about plans for our future, it occurred to me that God might be calling me to work somehow related to literacy. This is a new thought and a totally new idea for me, but I don't think it is a coincidence that you're post is the first of the 40 I will read.

Thanks for this! I'm praying for you and for Proliteracy Worldwide today. :)

joelstapleton said...

love your topic. my wife is a english teacher and we have talked about this many times.

kddub said...

what a great organization... I do think I take reading for granted, almost as if it is second nature to me now.

Thanks for the post, it's great!

euphrony said...

I believe your wife would remind you that she is an English teacher. I'm just saying . . . ;)

How goes the fast, Amy? I've been praying.

gene pensiero said...

great and unusual ministry.


April said...

Very interesting! It is certainly something I take for granted. Thanks for highlighting a need that is right in our backyards.

(My tummy is rummbly. Is yours? Makes me grateful for all I have!)

nancy said...

Thank you for blogging about this topic. I hope you have had a rewarding day.

Amy said...

Euphrony, the fasting is going okay. I was pretty hungry at lunch, but honestly, it's just reminding me to be so thankful for what I have. The very fact that this is choice for me is being driven home even more than last year.

Brad and Mary Ann--I feel the same way. I cannot imagine my life without books or without having read certain books. And no one really wants to live that way in our society. They'll cover it up and compensate brilliantly for it, but deep inside they hunger for it.

I am still amazed at how much I take a life of reading for granted. Thanks for all the comments and the support everyone.

Tara said...

I sent some thank-you linky love to you today at

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