"He has showed you, oh man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." Micah 6:8 NIV

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back-2-School Pack

I know, I know. It is summer. Why in the WORLD am I talking about school?!?! Well, let's just say that in this case, I think it is a great idea to start early.

World Relief (whom our church does collaborative work with in the form of World Relief NEXT) is ramping up a very cool program called "Back-2-School Packs".

The concept is probably not that unfamiliar to a lot of people who have participated in Operation Christmas Child (http://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/occ/) and since we all know how meaningful that is to do with our kids, here is yet another fantastic way in which to engage in compassion WITH your children!

Here is an excerpt from the web site::

Fikret was 6 when men with guns came to his home and loaded his older 
brother and father into a truck. He never saw them again.

Farah was 8 when a bomb blew up next to her and her Mom as they ran. 
Farah survived.
Her Mom did not.

Joseph was 5. He remembers the refugee camp most of all, but he also 
remembers waking up in his mud hut to the sounds of distant gunfire and 
the cries of his Mother as she ran into the bush with him on her back.

Refugee children like these arrive in the United States every 
year-seeking safety, peace and a new place to call home.

They come from very different places and cultures. They feel different 
than the other kids in their neighborhood and schools.

You can give them the tools they need to succeed AND help them fit in 
with their classmates.

The gift of one backpack for one refugee child can make all the 
difference in the world.

You can change the life of one refugee child, one backpack at a time.


I don't know about you, but these stories affect me




And perhaps you, too, are learning as I am that as a parent, I need to not only be affected emotionally, I need to be affected right into action. The best gift I can give to my children is a legacy of love in action through compassion.

So, I am marking my calendar, starting the beginning of August, to start hitting up Target and Wal-Mart for their back-to-school sales. My goal is to put together 10 backpacks to take down to CA at the end of September, where a local drop off center is. World Relief's web site gives you step-by-step instructions as to how to go about preparing a pack. Make sure you follow the instructions, as packs that do not follow the guidelines will not be sent. Click here for the information you need: http://worldrelief.org/Page.aspx?pid=2524

And if you live here in Bend, join me and I will drop off yours as well. Or better yet - let's BECOME a drop off center ourselves. More to come on that...

And if you do not have the time to put together these packs, or you do not have access to a drop off center, you can still be involved! Click on this link to donate: https://worldrelief.org/SSLPage.aspx?pid=2522

Lastly, here is one story I am sure you are not likely to forget.


Enjoy your summer!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

World Cup in South Africa

Thousands of women and girls (as young as 6 years old) are being trafficked to South Africa, as we speak, to "serve" tourists who have arrived for the World Cup, which kicks off today.

It is so disheartening. It is so frightening and despairing, that many of us do not even want to go there - we do not want to think about it. I get it. I have two daughters.

And as people of faith, this is where our title as such comes to bear - do we really have faith? Do we really believe that we can each make a difference? An impact? Anything?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Start praying in a knowledgeable fashion. What I mean is this: start reading some articles, as difficult as that may be, and stop and pray as you read as the Spirit leads. And follow up with reading Scripture as well. Pray over the verses that God leads you to as a follow-up to those articles, and again, let the Spirit lead you in prayer. Do this somewhere where you are not distracted by kids. Even if you can do this just once a week, I believe, in faith, your prayers will make a huge difference.

2. Check back at this blog every few days. I am going to continue to post links to articles myself, as well as any other relevant ways we can take action, such as writing to leaders of influence in South Africa, or other agencies that can make an impact based on our participation collectively.

3. Do NOT allow yourself to succumb to fear...especially those of you who are mothers. We worry enough already, but this topic alone brings up so much angst and fear in relation to our families - especially in relation to our daughters, nieces. Fear is NOT of God. Being aware, talking to your children about how to be aware themselves - that is responsible parenting. But do not let yourself succumb to fear. Again - is is NOT of God.

4. Share. Take the time to share this information with others. Pray for these women and children in your small groups, over coffee with a friend, at a men's breakfast. Get the word out.

Here are some articles to get you started. May God reign over the World Cup in South Africa.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Kyron Horman

A boy has gone missing in Portland, Oregon. As most of you know, Portland is currently ranked #1 in human trafficking in the United States.

PLEASE, please help in the following ways:

1. Post his information on your social networking pages - Facebook, MySpace, email.

2. Consider posting fliers.

3. Should you see a child you think might be Kyron, DO NOT engage him or anyone with him and DO NOT try to intervene. Instead, please call the hotline at 503-261-2847 IMMEDIATELY.

4. Pray, pray, pray and get others to pray for the safe return of this boy.


Get Involved This Summer!

It is beginning to look a lot like summer around here. I love summer. I love the IDEA of summer - lazy days, water, picnics, vacations, more sleep, no schedule. The REALITY of summer hits me about July 1st. All of the sudden, there is a lot of planning happening. All of the sudden there are swim lessons, play dates, packing for vacation, unpacking and laundry after vacation, kids who are "bored" and want to be entertained, and the list goes on and on and on...

Summer is also a time of great opportunity for families to get involved in local and international missional work. Now is a good time to get that built into your summer, if you have not already. Here are some ideas:

1. Family-friendly mission trips: It is typical for a parent to send their teen/college student on a mission trip in the summer. One thought is to consider going WITH your child. Yes, there is the whole embarrassment factor, but this is such a great way to see your child in a very different venue and vice versa. It is a great way to set up a lifelong love of compassion for others and for you both to learn about another culture and how we can be a voice and advocate on the behalf of those who need it.

And if your children are younger, this does not mean you cannot be involved. Find out what your summer missions teams need. Get your children involved in creative fundraising on behalf of your missions team, host a mission team meeting in your home and have your kids help prepare snacks, find out if you and your kids can shop for any needs (like first aid items or school supplies) to gather for the missions team to take with them. And then, use these times as teachable moments to engage your kids about missions, about the geography and culture of where the missions team is going, etc.

2. Homeless: There are numerous ways to get involved with your local homeless community with your kids. Here are just a few suggestions, but it is always a good idea to check in with local organizations who work with the homeless (shelters, food banks) to see what specific needs can be met.
a. Brown bag lunches: Prepare brown bag lunches with your kids for the homeless, put them in a red wagon, and head for a local homeless hangout to pass them out. Have your kids color a picture or write a note and stick it in each lunch.
b. Cook a meal as a family for a local shelter. Oftentimes shelters welcome meals being prepared and delivered for dinner one night. This is also a great one to do with your small group, or another family or two. Just make sure you check with a shelter first.
c. Neighborhood canned food collection: Call your local food bank and see what they need. Have your kids create a flier stating when they will come back and collect the canned foods the shelter says they need and pass it around the neighborhood. Come back to collect and have your child leave a thank you note.

3. Ronald McDonald House: Our family knows from personal experience that summer is an extremely busy time for Pediatrics at hospitals. Most major surgeries, organ transplants, chemotherapy sessions happen in the summer when kids are out of school. Check with your local Ronald McDonald House and see what their needs might be this summer. If you live near a hospital, you might even want to call and see if you can reach the person in charge of activities for Pediatrics to find out if there is a need for art supplies, children's books, DVDs, etc.

4. Toy & Clothing Drives/ Garage Sales: Summer is also a great time for instigating a local drive of some kind - again, very fun to do with multiple families. Check with local charities and see what their needs are, and then go for it! :)

If nothing else, I hope this gets you thinking about how you might be able to use this summer as a time for your family to grow together in compassion for others.

Enjoy your summer together!