Monday, January 30, 2012

Children's Hope Chest

Children's Hope Chest is also a sponsorship organization, but their approach is unique. Hope Chest links communities from the United States and Canada to communities in Russia, several countries in Africa, Moldova, India, Guatemala, and Haiti. These community partnerships foster relationship building through letter writing and yearly visits to the care point or orphanage.

Hope Chest typically partners orphanages and care points with churches, businesses and Christian communities such as blogs, online groups, book clubs, and small groups. The goal is "holistic, sustainable change in the poorest communities."

Here's how you can get involved...

*Work with an existing sponsorship partner or prayerfully research the ways to lead your church or small group to sponsor a community.

*Hope Chest has become involved in recent years in fighting against the sex slave industry. Read here about the ways you can learn more and become a part of ending this heinous injustice against girls and women across the globe.

Here is a snapshot of how designated funds are used...
Children's Hope Chest Charity Navigator Rating

Tom Davis, the CEO of Hope Chest, wrote the book Fields of the Fatherless. It is a beautiful reminder of why we should embrace the call of serving widows and orphans. This interview gives a snapshot of the heart of Hope Chest. I have heard Tom tell this story of the little girls in the orphanage several times, in big group settings and in the living room of a friend, it gets me every time.

Monday, January 23, 2012


This blog post was my first introduction to Katie Davis. As I read this post, all I could do was sit at my computer weeping what is known around our house as the "ugly cry." Several times I tried, unsuccessfully, to read it aloud to Todd. Finally, I just got up and gave him the chair.

While not quite the ugly cry, his reaction was similar to mine. Later that night I sat and read post after post from this young girl's blog and before long Katie became one of my heroes of the faith.

Please take a look at Amazima-(uh-mahz-i-muh) the non profit organization that Katie, now the adoptive mother of thirteen children, founded in 2007 at the age of 19.

Here are the ways you can be involved...

*Over 575 children are sponsored through Amazima. Sponsorships provide the following:
• Education at a Christian school
• School supplies
• School uniform
• 3 meals a day
• Medical care
• Christian discipleship
• Spiritual growth activities for their families and/or guardians

*You can purchase a Ugandan necklace. The purpose of these necklace are two fold. First, the proceeds from these necklaces go to feed orphans in the community of Masese. The second purpose is to aid Ugandan woman in Amazima's vocational training program. Each woman in the program is paid a fair wage and given tools to better her future.  These necklaces make lovely gifts!

* Support the Masese community feeding program where over 1,600 orphaned and vulnerable children receive healthy meals from Monday through Friday.

*Tell your friends about Amazima by following them on Facebook and Twitter or subscribe to Katie's blog and share it with others. Help Amazima be a voice for the people and children of Uganda.

* Please pray for the Ugandan people. 

I'll end with this quote from Katie which says it all, ""People tell me I am brave. People tell me I am strong. People tell me good job. Well here is the truth of it. I am really not that brave, I am not really that strong, and I am not doing anything spectacular. I am just doing what God called me to do as a follower of Him. Feed His sheep, do unto the least of His people."

Monday, January 16, 2012

Compassion International

Compassion International was founded in South Korea in 1952.  When Everett Swanson, an American Evangelist, was preaching in that country he felt moved to help 35 children who had been orphaned during the Korean conflict.

That act of obedience by Reverend Swanson resulted in the worldwide ministry now known as Compassion International. Each year through Compassion's ministries over 1.2 million children benefit.

Here is how you can be involved...

*Most likely, Compassion's most well know program is child sponsorship. This program changes over one million lives each year. Through sponsorship there is opportunity to correspond with your child, receive letters and updates from him and pray for your child. Sponsorship funds provide healthy food, involvement of a local church, the message of God's love, educational opportunities and medical checkups.

*Through the centers listed below, the Child Survival Program saves the lives of mothers and their children. Local churches in the communities listed below assist in giving mothers the tools they need to allow their children a chance for healthy development.

Cite Chauvel Child Survival Program (HAITI)
Bethlehem Child Survival Program (HAITI)
Mineros San Juan CSP (BOLIVIA)
Nuevo Amanecer Child Survival Program (PERU)
Ebenezer Child Survival Program (INDIA)
Batong Buhay Child Survival Program (PHILIPPINES)

*"Being born into poverty doesn’t stop the world’s best and brightest students. They are eager to learn, eager to make a difference in the world." The Leadership Development Program was created to make those dreams become a possibility.
Develop Future Leaders

*Meet Critical Needs such as diaster relief, infrastructure development, clean water, urgent medical needs.

Here is a snapshot of how donated funds are used...
Compassion International Charity Navigator rating

This short video clip of Dr. Wess Stafford, President of Compassion International and author of the book Too Small to Ignore, leaves us with a beautiful reminder of the importance of every act of kindness in the lives of children.

Friday, January 13, 2012

World Vision

I know I said this wouldn't be all about our journey, but since this organization spurred us on to making James 1:27 a reality in our lives, I have to share this one. 

I'm not a date remembering girl, never have been, but I do remember moments. (They usually are accompanied by music, but that's another story.)

Back in the mid 90's, Todd and I attended a 4Him concert at Shades Mountain Baptist Church. I know I was still teaching, so it was pre-kids.  It was "general admission seating." We each ate a fast food dinner on our separate drives in from work and met early to sit close to the front.  I don't remember who opened for 4Him that night, but I do remember the World Vision presentation during the intermission. At the end of the presentation, an invitation to sponsor a child in need was delivered. I remember Todd leaning over to whisper, "We need to do this."

As much as I hate to admit it now, what I thought at that moment was, can we really afford to do this? We were newly married, not making much money and saving for our first house. Sponsorship was only $25 a month back then, but with our very limited budget, that felt like a lot.  Thankfully, I didn't say that aloud.

If I had, I might have missed the moment I remember the most from that night- the look in Todd's eyes. He knew we needed to do it and I knew I needed to trust him. (can you hear the music?) So, we looked through a stack of pictures and found a twelve year old boy named Juan Marcos. He lived in Mexico. We became his sponsors that night and sponsored Juan Marcos until his family moved away a few years later.  We are still World Vision sponsors all these years later. Riadul Islam, who lives in Bangladesh, is our little boy now.

Here's a little about World Vision...

In over 100 countries across the globe over 100 million people are served annually by World Vision. Through the sponsorship program, disaster aid and relief and community building programs, World Vision is committed to partnering with families and their communities to break the cycles of poverty and injustice.

Dr. Richard Sterns, the President of World Vision, wrote a compelling book, The Hole in our Gospel about the connection between our gospel and fighting injustice. It's convicting and hard to put down all at the same time.

Here's how you can be involved...

A one time gift through the Life Giving Catalog. The catalog can be a great teaching tool for children to understand the importance of giving. It's an especially fun way to incorporate giving to others into a family's Christmas traditions.

Giving to World Vision's emergency relief fund.

There are also Volunteer Opportunities available.

Here is a snapshot of how donated funds are used.
World Vision Charity Navigator Rating 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A different kind of blog (at least for me.)

I have a love/hate relationship with blogging. I love having my blog to parse out my thoughts and feelings, but I struggle with just "letting the chips fall where they may". I've always had a little war going on inside me. On one side, I desire to be the real me on my blog (and in life). On the other side, being real means taking the risk of being disliked or misunderstood, neither of which appeal to me.  In other words, blogging is not easy for me. 

So, it came as a surprise to me back in October when I had the idea of starting a new blog. I knew immediately what I should name it, which was really something since it took me days to name my other one. I also knew exactly what I was supposed to do with it. Yet, I stalled because I listened to the doubts that sprang up- "Do we really need another blog about injustice?"  "I'm a mediocre writer, at best.", etc.  But, I couldn't get away from knowing that this was what I needed to do. When I came to terms with that, I started getting excited.

Here's the goal for this new blog...

For each week of 2012, I will highlight a Christian Injustice fighting organization. Orphan Care, adoption, community building, etc. The goal is to identify each company's mission, purpose, the difference they are making and the ways that people can get involved. It's kind of like a Julie and Julia kind of concept, without the foie gras or the messy kitchen. :)

My prayer for the readers of this blog is that each person will find an organization that resonates with them and can then find a way to get involved in fighting injustice in the way God has planned for them.
There can be the temptation when we help others living in poverty to see ourselves as the rescuers. True religion that we see in James 1:27 is not done out of duty or charity or guilt. It requires a pure heart and carefully examined motives. We are not the rescuers. We are not any one's salvation. We, as believers, are simply the hands and feet of Jesus. We get to bring the good news of the gospel that changes hearts, motivations and lives. The purification of the heart that comes with salvation is the only thing that will bring real change in the world. The "poor" that God calls us to minister to are real people, with amazing strength, hopes and dreams, beautiful people with stories of endurance and character.  May we never see them as only pictures on a billboard or images from a Sally Struther's commerical.