Like, where to even begin.
The Organization Jeff and I will begin working for beginning March 1st, World Next Door, was established in 2009 as a Social Justice Travel Magazine, but in a blog format, because blogs were the thing at the time*.
*Here I am writing on a blog, so can blogs still be the thing a little?
Last night, at the 4th Annual Celebration and Fundraiser (which included homemade soups like Cashew Zucchini and Creamy Potato Cheddar and Cambodian Tom Yum *AND* bread sticks for the cheese sauce you’d rather eat with a spoon because it‘s that good. Wait. Where was I going with this…?)
Oh, yes. The Event last night. Live band. Photo booth. Raffles. AND THE MOST AMAZING ANNOUNCEMENT about the direction of World Next Door!
Dave Bell, one of the associate pastors at Grace Community Church and a mentor to Barry, the Founder & Director of World Next Door, spoke about why he believes in this organization, and he described it kind of like a Lego obsession.
His kids, he disclosed, wait daily for the mail on the off chance the Lego Magazine might arrive. When the Lego Magazine comes, they devour it quickly, making lists of things they’d like to buy or create or have, and then, when they finish the magazine: off to the Lego room! They make creations with their Legos and snap pics, trying to become one of the featured Lego creations in the next issue.
I thought about my life and the magazines I read. Whole Living, which is a gift from my Mother-in-Law and absolutely does not support eating cheese sauce from a bowl with a spoon, and Real Simple offer a thousand million healthy recipes and organizational tools and smoothie options, along with tiny little trinkets and accessories. These are things I must have when the back cover closes. I am a sucker for imagery. Self Magazine and InStyle cause me to be instantly dissatisfied with my body and clothes and prompt me to do 125 sit-ups per minute five hours per day (yeah right) and participate in things like Wall Sits or retail therapy. While I don’t believe these Mags are inherently bad, my desires are being formed into the desires of the magazine, for good or for bad: healthier food choices (good), organizing my workspace (good), exercise (good), belly loathing (bad), style inferiority (bad), overspending (bad) and here’s the real kicker- good or bad, what do you think these magazines have turned my desire toward? MYSELF!
Could you imagine a magazine that forms our desires into the desires of God? A magazine that is so engaging, interactive, funny, moving, inspiring and life-giving that when the cover closes, a person- instead of doing wall sits or ordering EmiJay hair ties or making a smoothie with hidden vegetables- goes and sponsors a developmentally disabled kid at the Romaniv Orphanage?
Could you imagine if we salivated over social justice, poverty alleviation, care for the widows and orphans, advocating for the marginalized and oppressed, human trafficking, slave labor, tribal reconciliation, etc. the way Dave Bell’s kids salivate over creating Lego structures at the end of the Lego Magazine? What if serving the others was not a sacrifice, but an adventure? Imagine if people flipped through a magazine, and as they read, their desires were being formed into the desires of God, and it compelled them to do something.
You don’t have to imagine- IT’S HERE! And IT’S FREE! World Next Door launched the first teaser issue of a new online magazine at the Event last night, and it’s available for download right now!
The first issue is dedicated to the work of Mission to Ukraine, a small, grassroots ministry based in the city of Zhytomyr. Mission to Ukraine (MTU) seeks to transform Ukrainian society by serving three groups of marginalized people: people with special needs, the unborn, and orphans. The stories of the work this organization is doing and vignettes of four boys in this issue are inspiring and hope-filled. Go read!
So how do you get it?
Our February issue is a short version teaser, and available through the App Store on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad. Search for “World Next Door” and you’ll see our app. When you download the app, it will automatically load into your Newsstand as a magazine. Each month, the new issue will automatically download (for free!) into your Newsstand. When you are ready to view the magazine, just click the magazine cover and download this month’s issue. It should just take a few minutes to download, and that’s it! You can enjoy reading all about Mission To Ukraine this month in an interactive format with articles, maps, videos and photos. The magazine is formatted like National Geographic, which is awesome.
*We have noticed a funny thing. When you click download, it appears as though it’s downloading a bazillion GBs. But that’s just a glitch. It should only take a minute or two- though some take as many as 20 mins depending on connection speed and downloadability (I made that one up).
What if I don’t have an iPad?
I don’t have an iPad either. Poor us. But, I can view this on my iPhone, and all the content will still be available on the WND website. www.worldnextdoor.org. Also, beginning with the first full length issue in March, the magazine will be available on all other interactive devices like Amazon, Kindle series, and a bunch of others I can’t remember right now. More on this later.