Friday, December 04, 2009
There are 2 million children trapped in the commercial sex trade. This article talks about busting a sex trafficking ring in Kostroma Russia--one of our key ministry regions for HopeChest. In Kostroma, we are preventing sex trafficking through our Ministry Centers, Family Centers, and Independent Living Centers.
Girls there are protected, loved, and cared for by mentors. Go to http://www.hopechest.org to see how you can help!
Thursday, December 03, 2009
Masituula is an 11 year old girl from Uganda that we sponsor. Because of our sponsorship, she gets to eat one meal a day, go to school, have access to medical care, and gets a uniform to wear! Click here to find out more http://www.hopechest.org/?page_id=411
Tuesday, December 01, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
A big bullet point for me on my trip to Uganda was: relationships. It brought a renewed meaning to the phrase “Love your neighbor as yourself”. That phrase has always begged the question amongst the most well versed of theologians “Who is my neighbor?” The Bible answers quite clearly that we are all each other’s neighbor (Luke 10:29-37), no matter what we look like or where we come from or what we’ve done, where we’re going or what our circumstances are. We are ALL each other’s neighbor.
The thing I love about relationships is that we all have a story. Every single one of us has a story that can be told of the things in our lives that have molded us and made us into who we are, what we are and where we are, for better or for worse. This is a common thread that binds us all no matter of our race, religion, or creed. When we take the time to sit down and hear someone’s story, we find out that we’re not so different after all. We are able to see value in people regardless of their social standing. Some of my best friends are people that might seem quite different from me, but because we know each other’s story, we have a tight bond that binds our hearts together, even though people would look as us and think that we were mis-matched.
One of the highlights of my trip to Uganda was forming relationships with the people that I came into contact with every day. Our host Patrick and his wife Sarah are wonderful people and I cherished the time we had together talking about our respective lives. Patrick and Sarah recently had a four-month-old daughter die. And whereas I have no personal experience with this, I do know about the trials of having sick children and how those experiences have helped to mold me and make me into the person that I am. I can truly say that I love Patrick and Sarah and add them to my list of dear ones. I miss them and can’t wait to see them again.
Also, I was privileged enough to get to know the staff at the guesthouse where we stayed. Florence is such a beautiful person inside and out and she worked so hard to make us feel at home, and we did! She has a passion for hospitality, just like me! That binds us as sisters. David and Eddie, our drivers, also hold dear spots in my heart as they shared some heart-wrenching stuff with our team. I don’t see these people as mere happen-stance in my life, but as Divine appointments whose stories continue to shape me and mold me into who God is making me to be. I am so thankful to have met these wonderful brothers and sisters in Uganda and my heart aches to see them again!
I think, and I will challenge you, to step out of your comfort-zone and ask someone their story, you will be delightfully surprised at the bonds that form in your heart. If you want somewhere to start, ask me my story. It would be my honor to share it with you.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
Wednesday, October 07, 2009
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
It’s funny how when you take a good look back on your life you can begin to mark the moments that have shaped you into the person that you are, the person that you were, and that person that you are going to be. I love to think of a hand woven tapestry and how it relates to life. When looking at it from the back you see the threads and loose ends and the mess that usually looks like a bunch of nothing. But when you turn it around you see a beautiful picture, a masterpiece. I believe that this is how God orchestrates all of our lives. Our Creator is the Weaver and we are His masterpiece.
Let’s face it, when we look at the back of the tapestry through our own eyes, we can seldom see the big picture. In fact, some of those threads are downright ugly and seem out of place. Other threads may be a nice color, but we just don’t see how they’ll fit into all that ugliness and mess. God tells us in scripture “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9. God uses every thread, whether we understand it or not. There is no way we can see the completed picture until He is ready to show it to us a glimpse of it.
For years now I have searched and prayed and tried to envision what all of the threads in my tapestry would turn out to look like. Sometimes I even threw in a few (or more) of my own just to add a little color to where I thought it should be. I’ve served the Lord in this ministry and that; trying to force myself into places where I thought my threads should be. Not all have been failures and I’ve grown exponentially in my faith and in my walk with my Creator. Not all loose ends or ugly ends are bad ends, they’re just threads in the fabric of our lives.
Over the past several months God has given me a peek at my tapestry and a vision for the future. Several weeks ago our church started a series called “One Prayer” that churches are engaging in all over the country. The first week I was encouraged to “mark the moments” in my life to help me see the big picture. As I’ve done that, marked the moments, I’ve been awed and thrilled to see the path that God is leading me toward. I finally know what I want to be when I grow up! I am so excited and I feel like a kid whose parents are getting ready to take them to the candy store! I might eat a few sour gummy worms while I’m there, but overall it will taste so sweet!
My goal is to begin journaling on this blog and to “mark the moments” in my life that are leading me on the journey of a lifetime. I can’t promise how often I’ll write, but it will be worth reading. I invite you to follow me and see my tapestry unfold.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
A few days ago we received this anonymous email from someone who so cleverly created an email address just for this purpose. The email read:
Dear John and Kirsten,
We heard about John getting laid off and your concerns about medical insurance. We are praying for you and your family each and every day. We wanted you to be reminded that God loves you and will continue to be your provider! And to know that you are loved by many many friends. We mailed a package to you today that should arrive by Saturday or Monday. We had planned to put this letter in the package, but forgot to bring it to the post office. Please use the contents of the package to help fuel your job search and the money orders to help with medical coverage or anything else you choose.
With God's love and ours
Monday, May 04, 2009
Friday, May 01, 2009
As sad and as hard as it was to hear that John was being laid off, we have never doubted for a moment the our Father would provide for us. The Bible says that when we accept Christ's gift of forgiveness and eternal life and turn our life over to Him, that He adopts us as one of his very own children. You know that we love this picture of adoption and how Sam is loved immensely like a child of my own womb. That is the same picture that God has of us. We become HIS children. He is our abba Father (abba is translated as "Daddy"). As an earthly father nurtures and takes care of his children, so God takes care of us, his children.