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11 posts from February 2010

February 25, 2010

Finding a Quiet Place, a free book & coffee to go with it!

Renee Swope of Proverbs 31 Ministries has a great post on her blog for you to read. Here's a portion of it. You can also head over there to get a free download of Scared and enter to win a free pound of Saints Coffee.

"Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, ‘Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’" ~Mark 6:31

I love Jesus' invitation. He gives me permission to pull away from the needs that pull on me. I thirst for time alone with Him. I know I need the gift of rest He offers, but I'm not always in a place to receive it. I have to get intentional or it won't ever happen.

I noticed today that Jesus invited his disciples in Mark 6 to change locations physically so that they could find refreshment and restoration spiritually and mentally. It's easier for me to rest when I pull away from the demands of life and my daily setting. What about you? Do you ever go somewhere without distractions and noises to spend time with Jesus? Sometimes this is my devotional time but sometimes it is just the chance to enjoy down time.

One of my favorites things to do is pull away to a quiet place with a cup of coffee, my journal and a great book. Sometimes I'll read my Bible, other times I'll read a novel that stirs my heart and reveals God's truth in a new and creative context.

With today's key verse in mind and some things God is teaching me about not expecting so much of myself but giving myself permission to pull away, I wanted to share with you two give-aways that include an excuse to do the same for yourself - coffee and a good read!!

First, through this Friday, you can download a free copy of the novel "Scared" (More details at the end of this post.) Author, Tom Davis, along with David C. Cook Publishers is graciously offering this to our P31 family of readers and friends through Proverbs 31 Ministries' She Reads site. Click here to read more.

February 24, 2010

Through an Orphan's Eyes: "My Dreams Were Shattered."

I'd like you to meet on of the children who we have selected to receive a scholarship. This young student needs your help to stay in school. I wanted you to see education through the eyes of an orphan. Take a moment to read this short testimony, and consider how you can support a student in Swaziland with a gift of $25 to the Scared Education Fund.

ALL MY DREAMS WERE SHATTERED...A Swazi Orphan Memoir

At first everything was okay when my mother and my father were able to look after my life.

I am the firstborn in my family.  All things changed when I was about to finish first year in high school, this is when my parents died and I felt like I no longer deserved to live.  I thought that all my dreams were shattered.

I had to stay home for some years in shortage of school fees.  Just because I was no more attending school I joined a crew of boys who were not learned and some were always creating disorder around them.  They were stealing and doing a lot of bad things, which they took it as some kind of sport.  I then also became addicted to it.

I was behaving like an animal, and I would not take any advice.  I thought that where I was life ends.  I don’t know what happened to my life but I remember the day when I left my friends and they thought I was joking.  I never went back.  I change my life ad I tried to create order in my life and do good things.  I prayed to God for protection to God, who later provided me with everything I needed.

I am now back in school doing form three.  When I am old I will not like my life experiences.  When I was young I wanted to have everything I needed and I loved God with all my heart and I will stick with him because he is the master planner.  I know and I trust him because he brought me up this far and I know he will never leave me.  I want to help children who are like me, I will be their source of life.

February 22, 2010

Swazi girls with no education are 4X more likely to have sex before age 18

It's all in the headline today.

According to data provided by UNAIDS, the longer a girl in Swaziland stays in school, the less likely she is to have sex before age 18. How likely?

Girls who make it to university or "tertiary" education have less than 20% likelihood of having their first sexual encounter before age 18. For girls with no education: over 80%.

4 in 5 girls with no education are exposed to sex before age 18. Sadly, nearly 2-in-5 girls with no education will have sex before age 15. In a country with a 45% HIV rate, when you have sex and who you have it with is a very big deal. 

Can you guess which Swazi kids are the most uneducated: orphans.

Statistics like these give even greater urgency to our $150,000 Scared Education Fund campaign. We've selected 30 orphans in Swaziland to participate in the final writing contest and receive the $5,000 scholarship to keep them in school. Want to help judge?

For a gift of $25 toward the Scared Education Fund campaign, you'll join our team of online judges who will read, evaluate, and judge each of the entries. The winners will receive a party for their carepoint. The $25 you give will go directly to the scholarship fund for these thirty kids. Plus, all judges will receive an early release copy of my new book "Priceless" when it releases this May. Click here to donate, and put "SCARED JUDGE" in the notes.

Once your transaction is complete, we'll contact you with the login information for the Judges exclusive Web site, and confirm your participation.

Knowing that keeping kids in school can delay their sexual activity and possibly rescue them from HIV/AIDS compels me to do as much as we can. We're starting with $150,000 to help 30 orphans. Give today to join our judges team, and e-mail Hannah (hleman@hopechest.org) about long-term opportunities to support these kids through monthly giving at only $80/month.

February 19, 2010

Ethiopia Vision Trip Details

The deadline is quickly approaching for our next vision trip to Ethiopia. This is a great opportunity to get your church involved in caring for orphans with Children's HopeChest. All the details are below. E-mail us soon to get your spot reserved.

Ethiopia Vision Trip:

Who:  Church and/or social network leaders, bloggers with large followings, and influencers

Dates: April 18th-28th

Costs: $1,000 (plus airfare) depending on the size of the group

Details: Ginia Hairston, HopeChest’s program services director, will lead this trip to visit several of our orphanages in and around Addis Ababa. The purpose of the vision trip is to gain a perspective of HopeChest’s programs in operation in Ethiopia by visiting several “sponsored” CarePoints. After visiting sponsored locations, your team will visit various locations that do not currently have sponsors giving you the chance to choose a location that is appropriate for sponsorship by your church or group.

Deadline: application and first deposit is March 1st

Contact: vince@hopechest.org to reserve your spot.

February 16, 2010

Scared Education Fund: $150,000 to change the future for 30 kids in Swaziland

Today I am announcing the official start of the Scared Education Campaign--a long-term goal to invest in the education of 30 talented orphans in Swaziland.

In Swaziland, secondary education levels are among the lowest in the world. Less than 40 percent of children eligible to attend school can afford to enroll. At a cost of nearly $1,000/year, education is simply out of reach for those kids who need it most.

What does this look like?

On one of our first ever trips to Swaziland, we met a woman named Gugu. Gugu was a widow herself, and every day watched as young girls--12- and 13-years-old--would work as prostitutes for food and money. They came and they went. Every day she watched the future of her country wither away.

One day, she gathered up a few of the girls and asked one life-changing question: "What would it take to stop you from being prostitutes?"

They answered: "A school: We need a school to attend because without education we have no future anyway, so what does it matter what we do with ourselves now to survive?"

Gugu opened a school the next day beneath the shade of a large tree.

There was no time to lose. Today, God has blessed Gugu's bold and faithful action with a thriving and bustling CarePoint. Hundreds of children now come to her CarePoint for food, shelter, and education.

Gugu has created a light in the darkness of Swaziland. With an HIV infection rate of over 45 percent, HopeChest has decided to make a strategic, long-term investment in these thirty boys and girls.

Through this fund, we are going to award five-year scholarships--valued at over $5,000 each--to these bright young children. That's a steep investment that will require $30,000/year for the next five years, but it is worth it, and I know that many of you will partner with HopeChest to support these children.

Over the next few weeks, I'll give you more information about how you can join with Children's HopeChest and support these children. I can tell you this, each will need a sponsor to commit $80/month for the next five years. Is that you?

I'll also soon be sharing how you can gain exclusive access to the writing and video blogs of the thirty recipients. Everyone who joins the campaign can vote for their favorite entries on our exclusive Web site. The winners will receive a party for their CarePoint--and they will be celebrated as the guest of honor.

If you want more information right now, contact Hannah Leman at hleman@hopechest.org. She's got all the details.

February 09, 2010

What is Your Holy Passion?

On Sunday at Vanguard Church, I posed this question to the congregation: "What is your holy discontent?" We all have areas of "holy discontent" that eventually lead to a "holy passion." My friend Melodie wrote the following blog post as a response. Take a minute to read it, and then leave me a comment. What's your holy discontent? Your holy passion? And, what are you going to do with it?

HOLY PASSION

I have many things festering in my heart.  I am battling the demons of stuff, of things not important.  I am trying to find a way to incorporate my life with what my heart is thumping about.

Since the beginning of our adoption with Desta, my thoughts about poverty have changed.  I no longer see an orphan as a child in a picture on a screen shown during a church service.  No, an orphan is now what my daughter used to be.  That precious little girl, asleep in her crib upstairs, has brought the issue of orphans smack into my heart.  And I feel like I’m not doing enough.

Maybe I call it a holy passion.  I am trying to find the balance between mothering my children, living in this world, this place and reconciling the issue of orphans (hundreds of thousands).  And I’m stumped. 

Because it is not easy.  It is not easy moving beyond what my heart wants to actually doing something.  It’s not easy surrendering comfort, my comfort, for someone else.

And when I stop and think about that orphan, that child who is overwhelmed with joy to get one hot meal of beans and rice, the same dish, every day, that makes my heart thump even more.  Because I wouldn’t want to eat beans and rice, day in, day out.

So my heart is thumping and my mind is swirling and I am looking for a way to do something, now, to ease the ache of this holy passion stirring.

Melodie is the author of the "FULL CIRCLE" blog.

February 06, 2010

I'm Speaking at Vanguard Church Tomorrow Morning

For all my Colorado friends, FYI: I'll be speaking at both services at Vanguard Church tomorrow morning. The services are at 9:00 am and 11:00 am. This is a brand new message on Isaiah 58 so don't sleep in, come say hello! The snow doesn't start until after 12:00 so you're good. 

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A Crazy Thank You from Kari

Kari Gibson posted this behind the scenes look our Shirts for Shoes production line...straight from her dining room. Thanks Kari for this great update and the final tally...over 800 shirts. Thanks to each of you who participated by purchasing a shirt. If you missed the deadline, but still want to make a gift in honor of a loved one, you can make a gift online. Just click the "donate" tab on the top of my blog here, and put Shirts for Shoes in the notes line. Thanks everyone! Enjoy the video! 

Kari Talks Crazy! from Kari Gibson on Vimeo.

February 04, 2010

A Great Deal on Red Letters

I'm excited to tell you the Family Christian Stores has selected Red Letters: Living a Faith that Bleeds as their Member only title for the month of February. You can pick this book up for only $5 for a limited time at the front counter so buy a ton! Proceeds from the book help to benefit orphans through The James Fund. They will sell 40,000 of these this month alone - woo hoo! Click here to find a Family Christian Store near you. 

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February 02, 2010

Final Count: 782 Shirts. PLUS: Check out the New HopeChest.org

Amazing. When we started, we thought we'd sell about 400 shirts and help all of the younger orphans in our programs.

When we passed 400 with a week left, we thought maybe we'd get to 600 and could help some more of the older kids.

The final tally: 782 shirts. Amazing. Thank you. Right now Kari and her team are in the process of shipping out all the shirts, and you can stay updated at her blog, http://www.mycrazyadoption.org.

If you missed it, unfortunately there are no more shirts. BUT...you can still make a charitable donation to shirts for shoes to help put shoes and shirts on our kids.

Go to our brand new Web site http://www.hopechest.org and take a look around. (Sneak peak below).

Take a look at all the new videos, photos, and information we've got posted up there. If you want to make a gift, just click the GIVE tab at the top right to make a gift of any size. (Just put shirts for shoes in the notes).

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Thanks again for all who made this a fantastic Valentines Day campaign. On behalf of Kari, the kids, and our entire team thank you for simply loving orphans this Valentine's Day.