Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Compassion International

Compassion International does many things through several programs but I specifically want to introduce you to their Child Sponsorship Program which allows people (sponsors) to invest in children living in extreme poverty through monthly gifts, it allows kids to attend Child Development Centers that offer food, health care, vocational training, educational activities (tutoring & life skills) in order to release them from poverty in Jesus name.

Compassion gave me an avenue to respond to the Bible's call to help the needy! Proverbs 31:8-9 tells us to "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy." It is my desire to speak up for these children by finding new sponsor families for them. I can help you establish your own sponsorship and through Compassion you can give hope to children with a lack of options and provide real opportunities for development.

An important distinctive for Compassion's ministry is the one-on-one sponsorship. You will be the only sponsor for your child - they will benefit directly from you, they will know your name and you will be able to build a relationship with them through letters, gifts, pictures, etc. You can write as often as you like by mail or notes can easily be sent online via your Compassion account. (The children will write three times per year, those who are still learning to read or write will have the help of a teacher or staff member.) Compassion also sends periodic updates about the child's progress along with information about situations in the country that may affect the programs there.

Below is a link for frequently asked questions about Child Sponsorship. Please take a look at the Financial Intergrity section of this page as well- Compassion is a top rated charity; more than 80% of expenditures goes to program activities for the kids. Please let me know if you feel lead to sponsor and I will get a child packet to you and answer any questions you may have as well. You may select the child's country, gender, and age if you wish. Thank you so much!

"You see, we serve a God who can feed thousands with just a bit of bread andfish. We serve a God that can rescue men from fiery furnaces and from the den of lions. We serve a God who can move mountains, part seas, heal nations. A God who knows and cares about every detail, and has even numbered the hairs on every one of these precious children. I will do my part, and then I will pray that God will fill in the gap, like only He can do. Nothing is impossible for our God..nothing! You are making a huge difference in the lives of these children." -Steve K

Thursday, February 11, 2010

God is in the Slums

I spent last night in tears at my desk as I continue to educate myself on poverty. So many precious ones left my heart throbbing. Will you please pray for them? Pray for the ones with skeleton-like bodies, the seven year old who weighs only 20 lbs, the boy who bathes in the urine of a cow, the child with polio dragging himself through the dirt, the little boy not aloud to sleep at home unless he comes back from a day of begging with money, the young girl who mothers orphaned children, the child who digs for food at the local dump, all children who are slowly dying. Can you see the face of your very own on one of the precious little bodies?

Did you know more than 1 billion (one in five) people live on less than $1 a day. Approximately 143 million children in the developing world (one in 13) are orphans. More than 10 million children under the age of five die each year; two thirds of these deaths - more than 6 million deaths each year - are preventable - most are starving to death. Pray the we determine ourselves to make a difference.

In my daily routine I am becoming more aware of what we would call simple things - but are in fact luxuries - and they show me how blessed I am. This morning I walked into my closet and was saddened, look at all the clothes I have while they have nothing. I'm brushing my teeth and my eyes are fixed on this fresh, cool, and clean water spilling out of my sink, yet I know that at this very moment a child is walking to a polluted water source with her yellow jug to collect drinking water for the day. I'm reminded that approximately 1.8 million children die each year as a result of diseases caused by unclean water and poor sanitation. This is around 5,000 deaths a day. Today another 5,000 and tomorrow 5,000 more. Will you please pray for them?

I have a kitchen - with food a plenty! I can eat whenever I want. I can chose what I want to eat. One person in seven battles hunger every day. Lord, thank you for not letting me go hungry and please show me how to help those who are.

As I take my kids to pre-school, I think of the millions of children who don't have access to education because the family can't afford school. Home-schooling is not an option, not only is there a lack of books or even a curriculum, but the mothers themselves have never been to school. An estimated 130 million of the world's 15- to 24- year-olds cannot read or write. Kids in poverty are needed at home to work or are sent to beg for food and money. Will you pray for them?

Those in poverty are just trying to survive. They live in mud huts, sleep 3 to a mattress which is just laid over a stick bed. If they are lucky, their beds will be covered with a mosquito net which protects them from the bites of malaria-ridden bugs. And here I am, with a sturdy house and sleeping in a king size bed. I have never been without and I know I take the comforts in my life for granted. Lord, show me new ways to help those in need.

I don't understand why I get to live like this and they don't. We who are rich have the power to help - Lord, show me what to do! Luke 3:11 says "The man with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the same." I have done this, kind of, when an opportunity came about I would always give to the needy but I am surrounded by people living in wealth; I don't know anyone without a tunic or without food. For years, the poor have had my deepest sympathy and sadly, that's all they got from me. I didn't know where to go or how to make a difference.

Mother Teresa once said "It's the greatest poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish." Proverbs 21:13 warns us "If a man shuts his ears to the cry of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered." Ask God to open your ears! The opportunity to answer the cry is here. Princess Diana said "You can't comfort the afflicted without afflicting the comfortable." Are you comfortable?
Compassion International has provided one avenue to DO something. I encourage you to visit the Compassion website at

"Let us be the ones who say we do not accept that a child dies every three seconds simply because he does not have the drugs you and I have. Let us be the ones to say we are not satisfied that your place of birth determines your right to life. Let us be outraged, let us be loud, let us be bold." - Brad Pitt

"God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them." - Bono (U2)

There are children who live in absolute filth and lack the barest necessities.
They have no clothes for their naked bodies.
They have no shoes for their bare feet.
They may have one small meal a day, some days they go without.
The have no books, no toys for their little hands.
Many are orphans. Alone.
Will you help them?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Anxious for Nothing

Jackson & Ben enjoy the pre-school they attend. Jackson has been there since he was 2 and Ben has had an exciting first year. They have wonderful teachers who love them and do a great job creating a rich environment for learning. As much as we like the place, we are changing schools next year. Currently, we load up the car and drive 30 minutes for me to drop them off by 9:00am. There's no car pool line, so we walk in with our bags and art projects, sometimes a sight to see - this trip gets interesting in the rain. I can make it back home around 9:30 only to leave soon again since pick up is at noon. So, Monday through Thursday, I spend two hours a day, traveling this pre-school mesa. It doesn't give me much time to get anything done (keeping in mind that I also keep a friends daughter in my home two days a week.) The drive creates a need for frequent trips to the gas station and adds approximately 60 miles a day to the odometer; this doesn't include any driving I may do for day to day errands, to go running, etc. SO, I have decided that this great school we love is not so great for us anymore since there are others much, much closer to home and over the past several months, I have been on the hunt for a new school. I have researched curriculum, toured facilities, met teachers, and observed classes in order to find the one that would offer Jack & Ben the best school experience. Along with scouting out a new school, I have been under pressure to make a decision on whether we will send Jackson to a 5 year old class or send him on to Kindergarten. I have been STRESSED OUT!

I am feeling the heavy burden of making important decisions that will impact my children. Isn't this supposed to be easier for Christians? You know, we just ask God what to do and he's supposed to answer, right? I've been waiting. God wanted to show me something in this process. I wanted the answer to MY concern and He wants me to join Him in his concerns as He continues to shape me to be more like Him. As I read my Bible today, I came across a word that I needed to immediately apply. In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul tells us "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus." Oh, how I failed miserably this time. I had been anxious. Where was my thankfulness over the opportunity for my children to attend school? I fretted and at times had been in tears over the decisions I felt I was making on my own. Even after praying and talking with Wes about what we should do, I still carried this weight on my shoulders and could not seem to put it down. Since I trust that God's got it worked out already, why did I waste my time in worry? I have been tired and worn out emotionally, mentally, and physically and it didn't have to be this way. I can't do this life without His hand in it so why do I even try?

P.S. The decision of which school to choose is not an option for me anymore. He knew the outcome all along and has lead us to where He wants us to be. I was anxious- for nothing, not one ounce of my worry added anything to this. Tomorrow is open registration and I will be camping out at 2am to get my little guys a spot in a school that God has chosen for them.