Thursday, July 29, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
In November I stumbled upon Katie's blog (which every single one of you should read because it's absolutely amazing). Katie was an average girl from Tennessee. She had a comfortable life. When she graduated high school she felt God calling her to move to Uganda, so she did. God has since made her the mom to 14 little girls (see I told you, simply amazing). Katie started a program called Amazima Ministries International. I spent hours in November reading about Katie and Amazima Ministries. In December I searched the Amazima website for a way to go to Uganda to serve. I never could find anything, but couldn't get Africa off my heart.
From December to June I was completely consumed with planning the Nicaragua mission trip, but Africa was still on my heart. I was so excited to be returning to Nicaragua, but I felt a longing for Africa.
God's love was so evident in Nicaragua, and I returned with a greater desire to love His children. I would sit for hours at my computer reading blogs of people who were serving God in Africa or on the journey to adopt. Two weeks ago, as I was reading through several blogs, I found an organization called Visiting Orphans . As I began to read about Visiting Orphans I learned they take mission teams into several countries around the world, including Africa. More specifically, I found they take teams into Uganda (at this point I was starting to get excited). Finally, I discovered that their Ugandan teams work with Amazima Ministries!
As soon as I read it I had goosebumps all over and was in tears. I spent some time in prayer about the trip. I have no doubt God is leading me to Uganda. SO...I will be traveling with a team through Visiting Orphans June 12th to June 19th! We will be going to Uganda to simply love the orphan. We will have several projects to complete, and I will post more about the trip at a later time. Truly our greatest calling, is simply to love. I know I face a rough road. I know satan is going to do everything he can to defeat me. I know I will have to fight with all that I have to raise the money. I know not all of you understand this. I know I will come across some people who are completely against it. But most importantly, to use the words of Chris Tomlin, I know that, "Our God is greater. Our God is stronger...And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us? And if our God is with us, then what could stand against?"
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
This is the back of my car. Almost anyone that knows me well, knows that I have a bad habit of chucking half full water bottles to the back. I will drink half the bottle, leave it in the car for a while, it gets hot, so I throw it in the back to sit until I decide to clean out my car (which is a rare occasion). Yesterday I got in my car to go work with my fresh bottle of water, grabbed the bottle from yesterday, and threw it in the back. As soon as the bottle left my hand, I was convicted by what I was doing. I throw my water bottles to the back of my car because I know there are fresh cold ones in my refrigerator, while people are dying all over the world because of lack of clean water.
I was overwhelmed by that thought. But I didn't want my convictions to end in my car. I wanted to know numbers. Here is what I found from Water.org
*1.4 million children die each year because of waterborne diseases
*Nearly 1 billion people lack access to safe water
*2.5 billion people do not have access to improved sanitation
*Improved sanitation: defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact
*Approximately 1 in 8 people lack access to safe water supplies
*3.575 million people die each year from water-related diseases
*An American taking a 5 minute shower uses more water than most do in a day
*More people in the world have a cell phone than access to a toilet
*Diarrhea is 2nd leading cause of death among children under age 5. It kills more than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined.
*Every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease
*Children in poor environments often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their body at any time
*In one day, more than 200 million hours of women's time is used collecting water.
*3 jerry cans or water weigh as much as a baby giraffe
Wow. And I carelessly throw my water bottles like they're nothing. I am so thankful that God continues to bless me so abundantly when I am so thoughtless sometimes.
But I don't want to just stop at being more appreciative of water. I don't want to just stop throwing them to the back of my car. I want to DO something. We can feel bad about something and be moved by something all we want. But if everyone just stops there, stops at conviction, what good is that? Change requires action. So I did my research.
I found a wonderful organization called Water is Life. WiL works to provide life giving water solutions. Their goal is to provide both short-term temporary and long-term sustainable water solutions in developing countries. They have created a Water is Life straw as a temporary solution. The straw is a small, portable filtration device that provides pure, clean drinking water whenever it is immersed into a water source. Each straw only costs $10, but it provides clean water to a person for a year. During that year, WiL works to implement a long-term sustainable clean water solution to the village. How awesome is that?!
There were 10 water bottles in the back of my car. So I have decided to purchase 10 straws. With $100, 10 people will have clean water for a year. Now I challenge you to purchase a straw. One movie ticket, two drinks from Starbucks, or two meals from Chick-fil-a. That's all I'm asking you to give up. I have 1,011 "friends" on Facebook. I actually know everyone of them to some degree. If everyone of my friends donated, 1,011 lives could be saved. Will join me?
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
In a greenhouse, a seed is planted.
It is nurtured under the right temperature.
It's given the correct amount of light, until a seed cover pops off and a tiny plant emerges....
Healthy, strong and growing under the influence of the house it is in.
The only problem is the greenhouse has not prepared the plant for adversity.
In our community I see so many kids, my own included, that are raised in the greenhouse conditions.
Perfect amount of schooling. Perfect amount of socializing. Perfect amount of church. Perfect amount of friends and only "like minded friends".
We pay for our kids to go to the best violin teachers, voice teachers, piano teachers.
Then they will, Lord willing, get married to someone who has been raised in a greenhouse right down the road under the same perfect conditions.
They start their own greenhouse and are happy.
Of course, they're happy. Their whole life has been about being comfortable in their greenhouse.
My heart breaks when I think about all the trouble we go through raising our kids in the right conditions, teaching them Bible verses, making sure they know all the right truths. BUT...
They never feel inclined to make a difference in the world.
Sometimes it is lack of passion.
Sometimes it is lack of knowledge that there is a lost and dying world right outside their greenhouse.
But more often, it is our fault as parents. We are passing down our laziness. We struggle to LIVE out our faith so our kids will struggle.
Yes, they will thrive in our greenhouse and most of them will pass on a great greenhouse life to their children, but we have to pass on a love for ALL of God's people. We have to be willing to stand with our children and help a lost world.
We have to pass down a passion for the orphans of this world, the homeless and the widows.
Yes, we have to grow strong plants for the next generation but we cannot forget the passion of Christ.
Teaching our children to love and be keepers of the home is what I am about, but I also want them to be about the orphans and the needy that are NOT growing in a greenhouse.
I can only teach that when I come out of the greenhouse and go with my children into the battlefield. It is all in vain if we raise up an army and our army is never sent to the battlefield but only to the greenhouse next door.