Tag Archives: World Vision

Stop Complaining and Start Doing

18 Nov

I’ve been sitting on this blog for a while.  Actually I’ve been stewing on it for a while, so for my sanity, I’ve carved out some time to sit and type.

I LOVE Starbucks! I spend way too  much money there but luckily my addiction has been funded by gift cards from family and friends, so keep them coming, thanks!  I could care less that the cups this year don’t say Merry Christmas. The stink that people are making about this blows  my mind.  If you want your cup to say Merry Christmas write it on there yourself.  #ProblemSolved

Why are Christians expecting a non-Christian company to act like a Christian company?  Why are people so quick to complain and all of a sudden start acting all holy?  I bet most of you didn’t even care that the cup said Merry Christmas, but as soon as it didn’t, all hell broke loose.  My opinion, and this is harsh, is because it’s easier to complain and do nothing than to actually get out there and do something.  Something that matters.

Lets stop complaining and start loving.  Lets stop complaining about the government and how politicians are “taking God out of everything” and lets start living like God is part of us.  I don’t care if schools aren’t allowed to start football games with a public prayer.  The majority of the people at the foot ball games aren’t praying anyway, they’re planning the celebratory after party.  Politicians can’t keep you from praying.  If you take time to read your Bible, worship God, learn from Jesus and actually do what He says, politicians can’t stop you.  They can’t take Jesus out of your heart.  Lets stop looking towards the White House to spiritually lead this country; lets look towards Jesus.

All of you people out there “publicly making a stand on FaceBook” about this red cup issue, politics, gays, gun control or whatever, do you even care that last year in the state of Texas over 30,000 kids were placed in Foster Care?  Do you care that over 27 million people are enslaved in human trafficking? Do you care that over 453,000 kids die each year due to malaria and that malaria is totally preventable?  If you do, I am grateful for your heart.  But if you don’t, lets open our eyes to things of this world that actually matter, like people.

Lets stop living like the Pharisees who were so quick to say the right prayers in public but were secretly plotting to kill Jesus.  Lets quit being quick to point out everyone else’s indiscretions and ignore our own.  Lets start living like Jesus.  Jesus saved the world.  He did this NOT FROM A GOLDEN, CUSHY THRONE, He did it from the trenches loving the leper, the prostitute, the tax collector, the children, the man who betrayed Him and the men who killed Him.

80% of 18-22 year olds leave the church once they are out of their parent’s house.  Lets stop teaching our kids to go to church because “that is the rule if you live under this roof.”  Instead, lets fall in love with Jesus so our kids see Jesus in action and they fall in love with Him too.  Lets show our kids how to love unconditionally.  Let our kids see us feed and cloth the homeless instead of making snide comments and ignoring them.  Let our kids see us sponsoring children in third world countries instead of ignoring them because they are on the other side of the world.  Let our kids see us spending our money on clothes, diapers and toys for the local women and children’s shelter instead of wasting that money on the new iProduct.

If we want this country to change it starts with us.  Lets not prove we are Christians by walking around in our Mercy Me t-shirts saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays and then getting into our car with the fish sticker on the back.  Instead, lets invite Jesus into our hearts and allow Him to lead our actions.  Lets channel all our righteous anger towards making lives better that way we are too busy to complain.

Ok, getting off my soap box now.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my  brain.

Advertisements

This.Bothers.Me

28 Sep

D: Mom, are we rich?

Me: That depends on your point of view; if you’re talking about world standards or American standards.

B: There’s more to life than money.  Our family is full of love so yes, we’re rich.

(This is so typical us.  I can’t give a short answer, thanks dad, and my husband always finds the silver lining in any situation.)

The truth is yes, we’re rich.  The truth is over half the world lives on less than $2.50 a day and 80% lives on less than $10 a day.  The truth is if you are reading this, you have internet and/or a smart phone, this truth makes you rich too.

The ugly truth is approximately 627,ooo people, mostly children, died from malaria in 2012.  Malaria is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito.  It’s also preventable and curable, so why is it killing so many people?  90% of deaths occur in Africa.  The mosquitos that cary this disease only bite at night so people are most vulnerable while they sleep.   Once infected, malaria can be medically treated, but most of the people infected don’t have the means (financial or transportation) to get to a clinic, if there is even one nearby.

The good news is malaria is preventable.  How you ask.  By these lovely things called mosquito nets.  (Can we talk about how beautiful this mom is and the sweet little triplets sleeping under the net that is saving their lives? Don’t miss the fact that they are sleeping on the ground, this needs to be stopped as well.)

 

mosquito nets

 

These nets are treated with insecticides, save lives and cost approximately $5.  So what I spend on a cup of coffee can save a life.

This fact alone causes me to ugly cry.  Yes I have cried over kids dying of malaria/HIV/poverty/dirty water/human trafficking/being dirty/having dirt floors; if it’s 3rd world related, I have cried over it on a regular basis.  God is breaking my heart for children in 3rd world countries.  Right now I can’t head over seas and help all the babies that need help, but I can support organizations that do.  Right now, sending trusted organizations our money is the best we can do. We have multiple sponsorships with World Vision and Compassion International.  I would encourage you to check out these websites and get involved, make a difference, feed a child, give hope to a mom and dad, save a life.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

 

Support My Crazy Friend!

2 Nov

If you know me, you know clean water is something near and dear to my heart.  Water is a valuable resource that I take for granted so I’m doing my part in trying to conserve what we have here and by sending what money I can to organizations that dig wells.  I’ve decided I don’t need to take full pressure showers and that, if it’s just pee, the toilet doesn’t need to be flushed every time.  Too much info? Sorry.

This February is the Austin Marathon.  My crazy friend is running the FULL marathon, that’s 26.2 miles.  I can’t comprehend this.  26.2 miles is like running to a different city.  Heck, 26.2 miles is longer than Rhode Island is in certain parts.  I was planning on running the HALF marathon, 13.1 miles, until I found out I was knocked up.  I decided that 13.1 miles and 7 months pregnant don’t mix.  I ain’t gonna lie tho.  I had full intentions of starting out with Chantel and then yellling “peace out” with a huge smile on my face as I made the turn to finish knowing full well she wasn’t even half way done yet….hey, what are friends for right?  So instead, I’m stalking the “volunteer” section of the website so I can sign up to hand out water and cheer her on as she runs past.

Why is she running?  Well she is running on the World Vision Team (one of my favorite organizations) for clean water.   The following is her blog.  Please read it and then pull out your debit card and sponsor her….PLEASE!!!

Clean Water, Marathon Training and the Madness

Posted in Uncategorized on 10/27/2013 08:30 pm by Chantel

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It could be said of me that I have lost my mind. I’m one of those weirdos who watches marathons on TV, gets a bit awe struck, laces up my running shoes and says dumb things like “some day”.

Well, that day is February 16, 2014. 

Me, a good pair of running shoes, my favorite city and 26.2 miles. This when the dream becomes a reality. The training is hard, early and makes me ask myself what could I possibly be thinking. This is no joke. The day I clicked to register, I had massive butterflies in my stomach. “Do things that make you nervous”, they say. It’s not the first time in my life, so why not a marathon (after talking about it for 4 1/2 years).

I have a purpose for this impractical madness.

Water.

We know the reality and the numbers. The amount of people with little to no access to clean drinking water is staggering. Don’t let the large number of need lead you to inactivity.

I’m running to raise money for clean water projects for Team World Vision. $50 provides clean water for one person for a generation. My goal is to raise $1300. That is $50 a mile. I’ve got a lot of miles to run. Partner with me. I’m doing this crazy, impractical thing. I’m asking you to do something practical. Partner with me, and leave the running to me.

First request – I need prayer. This is a lot of hard training, the cause is great and I want to do this well…both the fundraising and the race.

Second request – I’m asking you to sponsor a mile. Any donation helps. Let’s do this!

– go to my fundraising page http://team.worldvision.org/site/TR?px=1389840&fr_id=2220&pg=personal

TELL YOUR FRIENDS, TELL YOUR FAMILIES, SHARE THIS POST 

Help me raise money for clean water projects in Africa.

Reality Check

1 Aug

Nothing pulls you out of an “I’m entitled to” party faster than any sentence from the book The Hole in Our Gospel. It’s by Rich Stearns, the President of World Vision; I’ve blogged about it before and I promise you I’ll blog about it again. I picked up this book for at least the 3rd time with the intent on finishing it this time. I must finish it so I can start on my next book, Radical.

You see, I’m a temp at work and I had a meeting with my boss to discuss my permanent employment status. These words weren’t spoken but I left the meeting realizing she’s not going to offer me permanent employment and I’ll be a temp as long as I’m there. I was mad, no mad is an understatement. I was extremely livid; my pride and my feelings were hurt. I was honest during the meeting and I had a hunch my honesty would probably bite me in the butt. Well, I was right, it bit hard.  I left fuming, thinking “I’ve been working my butt off for over 4 months…I have a degree and all I get paid is THIS…I’ll just stay home tomorrow and see how she likes that.” I also envisioned ripping her head off and impaling it on the flag pole out front. Did I mention I was mad?

I wanted permanent status for the pay raise, insurance and the feeling that the company was committed to me. All of these things are very important but really I just wanted them because I felt entitled to them; I…deserved…them. My pride took a blow and I felt embarrassed that I was still a “temp.” The decision to keep me a temp had nothing to do with my work performance. I’ll keep the reason out of this blog because I don’t want people’s opinions on what I should have/should not have done. This is my blog so I’ll be the one throwing out opinions here.  🙂

  • 1 out of 4 children in developing countries is underweight, and some 350-400 million children are hungry. A child dies every 5 seconds due to hunger related causes.
  • As many as 5 million people die every year of water-related illnesses.  This creates a no win situation for millions of parents – they either watch helplessly as their children die from lack of water or they can watch them die from diarrhea because the only water they have is tainted.
  • 1.5 – 2.7 million people die each year from from Malaria – something preventable and curable.
  • AIDS has now caused 15 million orphans.  In Africa they say when it comes to HIV, everyone is either infected or affected – no one escapes completely.
  • In the US 2 out of every 1,000 children die before their 5th birthday; in Africa it’s 165 out of 1,000.

Well damn!!! These are stats from The Hole in Out Gospel, stats that I read the same day as my meeting. I can’t get all worked up over a pay raise when I’m reminded of this.  I know these stats exist but I push them to the back of my brain because it’s so overwhelming.  Or maybe it’s because Africa is thousands of miles away and it doesn’t impact me directly and it’s not my child, so it’s easy to turn a blind eye.

So what are we going to do about it?  That’s right, I said WE; you and me.

Don’t fail to do something just because you can’t do everything.  For just $35/month you can sponsor a child through World Vision.

Your sponsorship provides food, clean water, medical care, clothes, and education.  Education is the key to lifting families out of poverty.  Because the kids have clean water in their village, they no longer spend hours a day walking miles to a dirty water source.  Nope, they have their day back, now they have time for school.  They also learn about the love of Christ.  Most of these children don’t have parents so they don’t comprehend love; especially a loving Father, God, whom they have never met.  But they get the fact that a complete stranger on the other side of the world (probably someone crazy like me who cried like a blubbering idiot over a sweet little boy named “Goodluck Alfred”) sponsors/sends letters and pictures/cares for them and this helps them understand what love is.

A brilliant man named Bono said ” We can be the generation that no longer accepts that an accident of latitude determines whether a child lives or dies.

If World Vision isn’t your thing that’s cool.  Next time you’re at the store, buy fair trade coffee.  Next time you buy a pair of shoes, buy Toms.  Next time you buy jewelry, buy something handmade from a woman in a 3rd world country trying to make an honest, dignified income.  Buy local; support the small business owners living in your community or contact the local Foster Children office and see how they need help….we’re all in this together ya’ll.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

Bracelets and Bummer lambs

27 Sep

I’m a little slow.

D had a ridiculous meltdown last night.  Last night my reactions was “seriously?!?!”  This morning, the pieces came together and I was like “wow!”

Here goes…..

Last night I was in my bathroom taking off my bracelets and one broke.  I’ve had this particular one for years but didn’t start wearing it till we moved to Austin.  My whole theory on clothes has changed since moving here because my new moto is “I live in Austin, my clothes don’t have to match.”  This thinking has also spilled over to my jewelry because I wear a massive green Hello Somebody watch, an orange World Vision rubber bracelete, and a sterling silver bracelet on my left wrist and 3, well now 2, random costume jewelry braceletes and a black hair band on the right wrist every day….rabbit trail, sorry.

When my bracelet broke I must have voiced my disappointment or something because Danica came in and asked what’s wrong. I told her my bracelet broke and now I have to throw it away. I knew what she was thinking so I immediately said “it’s broken, we throw broken stuff away.” She said ok and left. She got to thinking and came back a minute later and asked what happens to the trash after the men come and take it.

Like I said, I’m slow. I SHOULD have seen where this was going but I didn’t.  I walked into this blindly.

I told her stuff goes to the dump which is a big hole in the ground. We throw trash bags into the hole and it’s nasty and smelly and disgusting there. Then when it’s gets full, we burry the trash in sand and start all over again. The stuff on the bottom is under so much pressure it breaks.

This was the WRONG THING TO SAY!!!!!!

She immediately burst into tears and for the next 10 minutes, not exaggerating, I heard “I don’t want it to break again! I love that bracelet! It’s so cute! Purple is one of my favorite colors! I didn’t even get to tell it goodbye!”  My response was “Get over it.  It’s broken.  I throw broken stuff away.”

Good thing that’s not God’s response.  We are ALL broken.  We live in a broken world; yet He doesn’t throw us away.

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to be in the same room as Sheila Walsh, again.  I…love…her.  Everything she says is brilliant and it’s said in a Scottish accent which makes it 10 times more brilliant!!

Sheila grew up in a lambing community and shared this sweet story about sheppards and lambs:

When a lamb is born, the mamma instantly decides if she is going to keep or reject it.  The rejected lambs are called “Bummer Lambs” and if not taken care of they will die.  They won’t die from starvation, but from a broken heart.  To prevent this, the sheppard takes the lamb and loves on it as well as feed it.  He literally hugs it, holds it close to his heart and talks to it.  When the bummer lamb is strong enough, it goes back to live with the other sheep.  When the sheppard is shepparding, or whatever its called, and calls out to the sheep, the bummer lambs are the first to come.

Why?

Because they know him.  They have experienced his life saving love first hand.  They know his voice and they trust him.  Their own mom rejected them but he took over.  They are alive because of him.

Jesus is called “The Good Sheppard.” He wasn’t a sheppard, he was a carpenter.  He is called “The Good Sheppard” because of His life saving love He has for us.  We are all broken and rejected yet He doesn’t throw us away.  He embraces us even more.  We are alive because of Him.

The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  – Psalm 34:18 NIV

I pray you always remember you are loved.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

I Blame Jesus

23 Jul

What do you do when something isn’t enough? That’s where I find myself. I do something, but I should be doing more. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do; I just know it’s more.

I cried. Not a sweet, delicate cry but an ugly cry. I cried for the little I’m actually doing. I am turning into a neurotic mess. What prompted this emotional meltdown? Weeeeeell, I blame it on Jesus, Jen Hatmaker, and Richard Stearns, but mostly I blame Jesus. Who are these people and how are they wrecking me?

Jesus. The man who walked this earth and died for me. The man who hung out with prostitutes, tax collectors, leapers and who called the “religious” people of the time hypocrites and snakes. The man who said sell everything you have, give it to the poor and come follow me. The man who challenges me daily to not talk the talk, but to walk the walk.

Jen Hatmaker. The woman who prayed “rise up in me a holy passion” and whose life was forever changed. She is an author and 2 of her books, Interrupted and 7, have seriously changed my life. She takes Jesus’ concepts and tries her hardest to live by them.  She is hilarious and honestly shares her success as well as her failures; she is definitely walking the walk. Because of her, I struggle with throwing leftover food out because there are people dying all over the world of starvation; my poor husband had to eat nachos with peas and carrots mixed in b/c I refused to let them go bad. Read that awesome blog here. I blame Jen that I can’t drive to my friend’s house thats right down the street. It is a waste of gas and I need to do my part to be green and lessen the carbon footprint I leave behind. I walked there yesterday even though it was 1 million degrees outside (serious, not exaggerating at all.) I was wearing jeans and carrying a bottle of creamer and a veggie tray that weighed at least 50 pounds! I arrived one sweaty mess but hey, I wasn’t responsible for any pollution!  You’re welcome great-grandkids.

Richard Stearns is the COE of World Vision. I’m currently reading his book The Hole in our Gospel. This book talks about what Jesus expects from us. So many Christians are so focused on salvation and getting people to heaven they forget about their current lives on earth. Yes, God’s perfect will is for everyone to go to heaven but I’m almost positive He doesn’t want them living in hell while still here on earth. This isn’t a book that pushes sponsorship of children. It’s a book that talks about our responsibility as Christians to actually be God’s hand and feet; to bring the good news (the gospel, food, clothes, money, encouragement, love etc) to the hurting, the poor and the broken. We are to continually do this, not just when it’s convenient for us or our checkbooks.

I watched machine Gun Preacher this weekend. I cried so much that tears were flowing like a river down my neck and into my boobs. When the movie was over I still cried for a good while. I told Brandn that was a horrible movie; not because the movie was bad but because it was TRUE!  These horrific things take place daily and have to be stopped.

My heart has been stirring and breaking for the children of Africa lately. I can’t tell you why, it just has. I have to help, but how? I have no freaking idea. Brandn and I have several sponsor children in Africa and we support pregnant women there too; but that isn’t enough. If I could, I would adopt all the kids in Sudan, but that’s just crazy talk. I don’t want to be the crazy lady that gets swept up in emotion and is gung-ho for a while but then does nothing after the emotion wears off. I don’t want to be the person that talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. So, how do I walk the walk?

I’ve been praying lately for God to show me. I need God to open my eyes and heart to do what He wants me to do. You better believe I’ve been praying for God to move in my husband as well. I don’t want to be the neurotic lady that wants to do all these things with the husband that just rolls his eyes and goes along for the ride. No. I want to be the neurotic couple that stands together. I want him to be right there with me. I want him to cry and have his heart broken as well; you’re welcome babe, I love you!

I need prayer. I need you to pray for Brandn and me, for us to be open to God’s will in our lives and to act when and how He tells us to.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.

1st World Problems

3 Jun

So today was interesting.  It’s funny how something can cause you to cry and then 10 minutes later you realize that there are way bigger issues out there.  So what happened to me in the 10 minutes in-between?  God slapped me.

B and I are in the process of looking for a house.  I will spare you all the dramatic details about this because that is not the point of this blog. To make a very long story short:  They will finance us, BUT we need a good size down payment.  We can afford the mortgage, but we don’t have the down payment.

I was talking to a friend before church about how I’m coming to grips that we can’t afford to live where we want to live and that I had to swallow some pride and ask family members for down payment help.  And thinking about getting a loan for that much overwhelms me.

A little while later we were talking about World Vision sponsor kids.  Our church sponsors a little girl and we put out 5 more cards for people to look at and hopefully sponsor a kid.  I told them I can’t look at the kids because “my heart isn’t prepared to look at those right now.”  What that really meant was I don’t want to look at the kids because there is a need and I want to ignore it because meeting that need would require me to spend $35/month.

Then I walked into the cafeteria while the band was rehearsing to check out the hottie playing the bass (f0r those of you that don’t know, my husband is the hot base player.)  They were playing this song and I started worshiping; this song is ridiculous and you should listen to it. Well God decided to use this moment to do some slapping.  The lyrics I was singing are: “Come be the fire inside of me, come be the flame upon my heart.  Come be the fire inside of me, until you and I are one.”

SLAP!!!!

The tears came and wouldn’t stop.

How can I be one with God when there are 5 kids on the table that I’m choosing to ignore.  There is a obvious need and I’m not willing to spend $35 to meet it.  These kids go to bed hungry and wake up hungry.  They don’t go to school, they only have one pair of clothes, and they most likely have parents that are dying of AIDS.  They have to walk miles to get clean water and they risk being picked up and sold into human trafficking every day.

So I walked my crying butt over to the table and looked at the kids.  He is 4 and his name is, are you ready, this is seriously his name.  His name is Goodluck.  Oy my gosh, how cool is that?!?  As I type this I literally just realized his  birthday is in 2 days!  You better believe I’m crying…AGAIN!!

Jesus calls us to love the least of these.  We are rich by this world’s standards.  If you make more than 35K you are in the top 4% of the world’s income earners.  We have a social obligation to those living below poverty.  How can I call myself a Christian, a Christ follower, if I choose to turn a blind eye to those in need?

I woke up this morning stressing about how are we gonna come up with a down payment and Jesus reminded me there are kids out there stressing about if they’re gonna eat today.  I’m not downplaying the stress or importance of buying a house, but I realized that even though it’s stressful I am blessed and I need to do my part in helping those in need.

Like I’ve said before, I’m a mess and a work in progress.

Thanks for allowing me to share my world with you…welcome to my brain.