Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Hope For Children

Just when you had given up on me all together - I am BACK!
I am so excited because our church adoption/orphan ministry (we don't have a name yet) had our first event last weekend.
We did an event called Hope For Children. It was an informational meeting for those interested in adoption, foster care or child sponsorship. We had some reps from adoption agencies, from a local organization that does foster care and we had 2 people there for Compassion International. We also had the Michigan Heart Gallery displayed. It is photos of children in the Michigan Foster System that are available for adoption - we were able to put up the display at church on Sunday morning as well! It was primarily open house style, but we had everyone sit down for a 1/2 hour and had 3 people share their personal stories related to child sponsorship, adoption and foster care.
It was a great evening and it felt incredible to be getting things going with the ministry. We had some good conversations with those that attended and it was great to network with the agency reps!
Here are some pictures from the evening!

These are the wonderful woman that put on the event!

Here is one of the four Heart Gallery panels

These pictures are from church on Sunday morning!

Monday, November 10, 2008


Chris and I have sponsored a child through World Vision since we have been married. I have to admit that I was never really able to personally connect with them and that is all on me. Our "child" was aging out around the time we had started Becca's adoption, so we asked if we could now sponsor a girl from Guatemala. And really until just the past year or so, I found it difficult to connect even to her. Her picture is on our frig and we would mention her now and then. Last year, I had the kids make her pictures for the first time.
I stumbled across the blog of Shaun Groves and he has a passion for child sponsorship. Through reading his blog and some others, I have realized how truly significant it is and how much it matters to the children. A few months ago, David started talking about sponsoring a child, so we had him choose a child through Compassion. We will pay most of the monthly fee, but we will take some out of his allowance, with our goal being to have him pay a bit more each year until eventually he is able to support a child on his own. David chose a 7 year old girl in Guatemala named Nancy. David has sent her two letters with some photographs and he has sent her an email through the Compassion website. The biggest difference is that we have now committed to praying for both girls on a daily basis.
I am already dreaming about the day we can travel to Guatemala to meet them!
A group of people just recently went to the Dominican Republic with Compassion and they blogged about their time there - you can read them all here.
Shaun included this short video on his blog and I was able to share it with my children - WOW! is all I can say!

I also made a new friend online who is making dolls! They are called Compassion Friends and they are $36 - Abbie is donating $26 to Compassion's Global Food Crisis Fund to feed approximately 2 children living in poverty for a month. This is a GREAT gift idea for the holidays - I have ordered mine and can't wait to see them!
Check them out here!
I am so thankful to so many people who are doing so many awesome things to help kids in poverty and thankful that they are inspiring me and many others!
If you aren't already sponsoring a child - DO IT!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Art of Listening Prayer - Part 2

I am in the midst of reviewing a book by Seth Barnes called "The Art of Listening Prayer". Today I am posting on what I have learned from doing Day 8-16 in the 30-day study. I am obviously not doing this every day of the week, but it is making a large impact none-the-less.
Seth covers such issues as starting a conversation with God, and listening skills. He also talks about different ways that God speaks to us, through the Bible, through impressions, through others, visions, etc. It really helped me explore what I believe about how God communicates. It challenged me to take God out of a few boxes I had put him in. Seth shares a real life story at the beginning of each "day" and it helps to make it all more practical.
Day 10 is about our thought life. Asking the Lord to exchange our thoughts for his thoughts. I am praying for God to help me dialogue with Him throughout the day rather than being trapped in my own self-dialogue I tend to live with all day. It is not even that I consider my own self-dialaogue negative - it just that it is mostly focused on myself and my agenda - I am looking forward to letting the Lord's thoughts become louder than my own.
Day 15 is about following through. He compares our conversing with God to learning to communicate with our parents.
"Look at what a complex task it is to learn to communicate with our parents:
First we learn to recognize their voices.
Then we learn their vocabulary.
Then we decipher their meaning.
Then we learn to speak words.
Then we learn to interact.
Then we learn to respect and obey.
Ultimately in our 20's and 30's we may learn to communicate with our parents on a mature level."
This really gave me grace to realize what a process it is to communicate and converse with God. I believe He has been teaching me his language, by revealing His heart to me. I am so thankful for His patience and His grace!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Art of Listening Prayer - Part One

I have started the other book that was sent to me free with Red Letters (my review is below in 3 different posts). I received both of these books for free on the condition that I would blog about them and link the blogs of the authors!
I picked up "The Art of Listening Prayer by Seth Barnes thinking it would be a book to read. It turns out it is much more than that. It is actually a 30-day workbook. At first I thought - I don't know if I can really do this - I am already keeping up with Beth Moore's Believing God and BSF. But as I started to read the introduction I was drawn in. I am AMAZED at how God is so involved in ALL the details. As I have gone through the first 7 days of this workbook, the things that God is teaching me in all 3 of these studies are all intersecting, supporting each other and are a combination of exactly what God needs to do in me right now to prepare me for the journey He has before me!

The subtitle to the book is "Finding God's voice amidst life's noise". I am almost embarrassed to admit that I find the premise of this book so revoluntionary. The main idea is that when we pray and talk to God, we should then be quiet and wait for his response. Now, that part isn't what struck me as so new - I think at times I have prayed and then waited to hear God - and I do believe that God does speak.
The book has a few pages to read for each day with a concept to learn about communicating with God. Then there is a series of questions to ask God - not to answer them with my thoughts and wisdom, but I am to pose each of these questions to God and then wait for his response. By suggestion from the author I am using a journal to write out the questions - I am using one color for my questions and prayers to God. I am using another color for Scripture and anything I sense God is saying to me.

The principles in today's lesson - kind of sum up what I have learned - or been reminded of lately.

1. In normal personal relationships, dialogue is initiated by asking questions.

2. In normal personal relationships, after posing a question it is customary to expect a response and wait for it.

3. In normal personal relationships, the listener does not interrupt or allow distrations, but focuses his attention on the speaker.

4. In normal personal relationships we recognize the voice of the other party.

5. In normal personal relationships, people use a variety of means to communicate.

6. In an intimate friendship, there are expressions of affection and extended periodic conversation.

7. Honesty is important.

I feel like I have just begun to truly communicate with God. Today I had to confess to Him that I often think of prayer as similar to a lucky charm, like I mouth my prayers so that I am covered on everything and it is rare that I truly abide with, praise, connect, engage with or worship God in prayer.
It's exciting to realize again that God desires RELATIONSHIP with me a deep level.

I know that God is stirring my heart to a ministry of helping the oppressed and the "least of these". As I am waiting to see where He wants me to serve, He is drawing me into greater BELIEF, He is grounding me in His word, and now is drawing me into deeper intimacy with Him. Thank you Jesus!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Red Letters - Part 3

So much happening right now! Glad to have a chance to talk about the last 3 chapters of Red Letters by Tom Davis.
Chapter 8 is entitled The Most Important Things -
Tom challenges us to consider what is on our list of the top 5 things that matter most to us. He then asks us to consider what may be on God's top 5 list and to see if they look similar! He speculates that God may be concerned about:

28 million children who die from curable diseases each year?

17 million children who die from malnutrition and starvation each year?

33% of the world's population that is malnurished?

20% of the world's population that has no access to safe water?

10 million children who are involved in the sex industry?

100 million children who live on the street?

200 child laborers?

If I am honest my Top 5 revolve around matters in my own kingdom, much more than God's Kingdom! By my time allotment, it would seem that my comfort and my well-being rank fairly high on the list. Of course, I am doing a lot of "good" things with my time and talents, but does my heart truly beat for the same things God's heart beats for? May it become so!
Tom then goes on to reference a scene from the movie Schindler's List. I saw this clip in church once and it really impacted me.

I think this speaks SO powerfully to how we spend our time and money. The way I look at my possessions has changed radically in the past year - and I have a long way to go. But I now view every purchase through the lens of "What could this money do to feed a starving child? To provide clean water? Do I really NEED to purchase this item? Am I building God's Kingdom or my own?

Tom goes on to talk about how doing nothing is harmful in itself. That silence really isn't "safe".

The last part of the chapter is about "Living Bigger Than Yourself". This is the longing of my heart. God has done so much for me and He has transformed my life. I know that I need to continue to be transformed, but I also need to understand that I was transformed for a purpose greater than myself - it is to be LIVED OUT by serving others. He asks what our personal legacy will be and what will be the legacy of our generation.

Chapter 9 is called Snapshots of Hope and is full of great stories of people who are living a faith that bleeds. He says "These people aren't millionaires. They aren't rock stars. They're just ordinary people who understand the importance of bringing hope to the hopeless." God has been driving this point home to me. HE USES ORDINARY PEOPLE!
I am ready to get OUT OF MY CHAIR!

Chapter 10 is "How to Bleed". In this chapter and in the "Additional Resources" Tom gives all kinds of nuts and bolts way to live out what he has challenged us to. Much of this can be found on his website as well.

I am so thankful that God is using ordinary people such as Tom Davis to do EXTRAORDINARY things for His Kingdom and for the hurting people of this world!
I am different for having read this book!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The life of Moses - bring it on!

My local BSF class started today and I couldn't be more excited! Last year the kids stayed home with my mom because Becca was too young to attend. This year I am taking both the younger two and I've heard so many wonderful things about the children's program! I am so excited for them to learn about Moses along with me.

During the lecture portion this morning, the teacher gave an overview of Moses' life. This statement really stuck out to me -
"God has power to deliver his people from every kind of bondage and oppression" WOW! Do I believe that? And what part does God want me to play in helping his children be delivered?

She pointed out four character qualities that were evident in Moses


She said that without these characteristics we will not become GREAT LEADERS.

I am asking myself "Am I willing to let God make me a person of prayer, courage, humility and faith?

Of course, the Beth Moore "Believing God" study, that I am toward the end of, compliments all of this so miraculously.

Sometimes I am discouraged that I still don't know exactly where God wants me to serve - and then times like today I reminded again that it is a process and I know all THIS is preparation ground! Most importantly I am seeing so clearly that while I may benefit from what the Lord is teaching me, that is not the final purpose. The work the Lord is doing in me is for the purpose of BRINGING THAT HOPE TO THOSE THAT HAVE NONE - TO BE A VOICE FOR THOSE WHO AREN'T BEING HEARD!

Lord, please make me teachable so that others will find freedom!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


My heart is heavy this week as I continue to keep up with the blogs of some missionaries in Haiti! They were already reeling from Fay, Gustav and Hannah, when Ike brought more rain this week. I don't think any of us can fully fathom what it must be like there. It is a huge struggle for people to survive, let alone thrive, BEFORE all these storms came through. MANY people have NO access to food or clean water - going on 6 days now!

Here is the link for the blog of Licia from the Rescue Center. Please take a moment to look at the pictures and hear the stories, but only if it will stir your heart to pray! There is a paypal link on their blog if you decide to help them financially!