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14 posts from December 2006

December 31, 2006

Happy New Year From Breckenridge!

Vacation_06_part2_048 Wishing all of you a blessed and prosperous 2007! We are still in Breckenridge enjoying our last two days of a family vacation. This is the view from the deck of the home where we are staying. The snow fell to the tune of about seven inches the first two days and it's been crystal clear ever since!

At home, there's been another blizzard! Can you believe that? The main Interstate, I-25 was shut down again. I'm not even sure how we'll get up our driveway.

Here's a picture of Hudson cruising on his first sled!Vacation_06_part3_035 There's a huge sledding hill in Breck where we've taken all of the kids for the last two days. It's fast and free and we had an absolute ball. Hudson would scream all the way down in his new little sled. Isn't he cute?

Just wanted to say a quick hello. Snovum Godum!!! (Happy New Year in Russian).

December 29, 2006

Last Chance!

You can still give a gift to Children's HopeChest before the end of 2006!

The boy in the photo here walked two miles to get a meal. If you look through the photos in my Africa album, you'll see the faces of more children that are being helped through Children's HopeChest. Each of those children have hope because of people like you. Make sure they are not forgotten.

There's only about two days left to make a gift to help orphans through Children's HopeChest. Your gift helps fulfill our mission to bring the blessing of family to every orphaned child. For more information about the programs of Children's HopeChest, you can visit  www.hopechest.org

Click the orange "donate" button on the badge and you'll be taken to Network For Good's secure servers to make an online gift to Children's HopeChest. 

December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

Hey Everyone! Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Please email me pictures of what your Christmas has been like and what's happening this New Years - I'd love to see them. Okay, here's the clan on Christmas morning before they barge through the barricade and into the presents! From left to right: Lilly (3) Marcus (4, who is Emily's sister's son), Baby Hudson on the chair (1), Gracie (5), Anya (19) Gideon (7), and Hayden (10). Whew! That's a lot of kids!
Octdec_06_161 We are off to Breckenridge in the morning for 6 days of R&R. I'll post from there when I can. I hope you all have an incredible New Year!

One of the best things I've ever done this time of year is an exercise I do with Leadership Executives called New Year, New Results. You can print it here: Download new_year_new_results3.doc. I have all of the World Racer's going through it right now. They leave on January 2nd for 319 days to be in 12 countries planting churches and doing orphan ministry!

Eat lots of black-eyed peas and cabbage on New Years Day! And keep me posted on the Bowl Games since we won't have cable!

December 22, 2006

Bono and AIDS

I absolutely love Bono. It's amazing to me that God has made a prophet out of a rock star. This message was done just a few short weeks ago for World AIDS Day. Let it inspire you to make a difference this holiday season. Merry Christmas!

December 21, 2006

A Blizzard of Orphans

We just got nailed with a nasty blizzard here in Colorado Springs. 24 inches of snow, 5-6 foot snow drifts, airports closed, Interstates closed - and yes, we had the throw-up bug running around in full force last night! What a blessing. It took me all day to attempt to dig out of our driveway. Emily's sister is supposed to be here in the morning so we're throwing up major prayers that happens. The Denver airport is shut down until noon - at least that's what they say.

Tonight, as am sitting in my warm house surrounded by people I love, I can't help but to think of the millions of orphans in the world that will never experience what I'm experiencing. Listen, I don't feel guilty, I'm thankful for my life, it just always helps me to remember the 'other side'  which is reality for many children. Last year UN statistics said there would be over 108 million orphans in the world by the year 2010. This year the number has been increased - over 143 million. That's half the population of the United States. It will get worse in the coming years, I promise you.

This holiday, as you are around your table and enjoying family and friends, just say a prayer for orphans who will never have the chance to experience what we are experiencing. That's all. Compassion starts by remembering - remembering leads to action. Remember them, and see what happens.

By the way, I'll be posting pictures throughout the holidays of the family and Christmas. Stay tuned. And Merry Christmas to all of you. I really hope it's the best Christmas ever!
http://www.ucar.edu/communications/newsreleases/2004/blizzard.jpg

December 20, 2006

HIV and AIDS

What do we really know about the HIV virus?

Do you know it affects the innocent? Do you know babies get HIV from their infected mothers? Do you know one of the greatest causes of HIV in Sub-Saharan Africa is rape? Do you know that Russia, Ukraine and India have the highest rates of new infections in the world? Did you know that 46% of the population in Swaziland, Africa has HIV/AIDS?

Do you know that simple actions you and I can do will save lives? Do you know Nevaprine, given to a mother and infant will help prevent that baby from having HIV? Did you know it costs less than a dollar? Did you know that with proper nutrition 75% of HIV infected infants at Shepherd's Keep in South Africa are Zero-Negative? Did you know there is something you can do to save the lives of these precious people?

Get educated. Get involved. Get in touch with your compassion. You can make a difference!

December 18, 2006

Lena Petrushina

Emily and I have been sponsoring a young lady named Lena for several years. She grew up in Murom orphanage in the Vladimir region of Russia. Lena is absolutely brilliant and has just graduated from the University of Vladimir with a degree in foreign languages.

Convar206 For those of you who have seen the One Orphan video Children's HopeChest produced, she's the girl in the video. Abandoned by her alcoholic mother, never knew her father, and left alone in an orphanage. If you would like a copy of this DVD, request one here: chc@hopechest.org.

The great news is, she has recently arrived in the US and is living with us! She will be working at CHC and speaking at churches around the country sharing her story. She's doing awesome and is excited about her first trip to the US and the holidays with our family. All of the kids are already calling her their Big Sister! Now we have two Russian daughters.

Can you adopt someone who's 23?!

December 17, 2006

The Red Revolution

Keep shopping (red) this Christmas. It's bringing awareness to consumerism. Not the answer, but it's a start.

December 13, 2006

Red Letter Excerpts Part 2

Adanna's story continued...

"So she goes to this place frequented by these men to ask for food, maybe they will have compassion and help her. They look at her, they grab her, they fondle her and they all laugh. She feels more like an animal than a human being. They refuse to simply give her food. “Why should we give you anything you ugly little mongrel?” they shout.   

They tell her to go in the back room of the store and wait. “We will take from you what we want and we will give you what you want!” She steps into the room and she is shaking. It smells like urine and mold. There is a man sleeping in the corner, it looks like he is very sick.

Suddenly, three men come in drinking and shouting. One of them grabs her, forces her to kiss him, then slaps her. He smells like smoke and throw-up. They put their hands all over her and rip off her clothes. She cries and screams but nobody cares, nobody is listening. They systematically rape her for what seems like an eternity.

They throw her a bag of food and yell that if she was better in bed, they would have given her more food. She leaves humiliated, violated, and destroyed. What Adanna doesn’t know is that those men who just traded food for sex have just passed the HIV virus to her. Though she won’t die of starvation, her dreams of marriage and a family will never come true. She will die of AIDS within three years."

These are the realities for far too many African children. But they can have a different reality! Programs are currently being established by Children's HopeChest that are changing the future for girls like Adanna for the better. They will be safe, healthy, discipled and educated. Their future will be filled with hope because people like you and I are making a difference.

December 12, 2006

Excerpts from Red Letters

The book on Africa and the HIV/AIDS crisis is due at the end of this month and will release in September '07. Whew! I'm tired just thinking about it! At this point, the working title is Red Letters: Responding to the Words of Jesus. Would love your thoughts about this.

I wanted to share a story with you from the book about a little African girl named, "Adanna." She will also be the main character in the fiction book entitled, "Scared." I'd like to introduce you to her:

"Adanna’s name is a beautiful African word meaning ‘father’s daughter.’ But she won’t live until the next harvest season unless something drastic happens. In her country, there are no jobs to be found, there is no money, and the only thing that is certain is the death surrounding her.

The life span for people in her country of Zimbabwe has been cut by 25 years. The life expectancy is only 33 years old. She has watched her mother, her father and her sister waste away because of AIDS. At only 10 years old, Adanna is now in charge of her family. She is the head of the household.

Her parents left no way for her to care for herself and the rest of the family. She has exhausted every favor from her neighbors, every form of assistance from surviving relatives, and sold her last possession for food. Even after all of that, she and her brother and sister woke up this morning, starving again. 

There is only one way for them to survive. Adanna has heard about a group of local men who will trade food for sex. Dare she even consider such a thing? Her entire life she has dreamed of a family and of children. She has saved herself and protected her purity because she wants the one man she marries to be the only lover she has ever known. That’s what her mother taught her was more important than anything. But if she doesn’t eat soon, there will never be a chance to realize either of those dreams. What good will her dreams be if she is dead? What should she do?"

More tomorrow....