Archive for February, 2012

Sex Trafficking

Having been mildly exposed to the topic of sex trafficking in Oregon through

www.nwcat.org  Northwest Coalition Against Trafficking

www.ijm.org International Justice Mission

http://www.worldvision.org/content.nsf/learn/globalissues-child-trafficking?Open&lpos=lft_txt_Child-Trafficking World Vision

http://transitionsglobal.org/about/  Transitions Global

movies like NOT FOR SALE, THE TRADE, HOLLY, and HUMAN TRAFFICKING

books like NOT FOR SALE, TERRIFY NO MORE, HALF THE SKY

and now I am learning about the girls in my own city who are trapped…they are reachable, right there….I pass the buildings and streets that they are trapped in:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/05/sex-trafficking-201105 and hearing from www.love146.org

I hope sometime soon to make it back to Portland for: http://thejusticeconference.com and also pray God will show me what to do with this information.  God, help us know how to help these girls….don’t let us forget them.

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We love because He first loved us …. and there is a whole lot of lovin’ to do – Valentine’s Day

In an attempt to make Valentine’s Day a bit more about God’s heart for us…and thus our response to the world – we did a few things as a family today:

1 – Granted – we did shamelessly eat some hydrogenated, corn-syruped chocolate overly priced because it was heart shaped.  This is NOT part of the exercize, but a confession

2 – We gave the kids some love letters about the things we love about them

3 – We went over the verse (that they had luckily memorized at Awana) of  1 John 4:19 (We love because He first loved Us)…as well as the always appropriate John 3:16 to explain what God’s love actually looked like in sacrifice

4 – We went around town giving out little Valentine gifts to friends and some people we have been caring for in the past (refugees, etc)

5 – We read about past slavery (we’d been talking about the underground railroad due to some stories we’d read and being near the freedom trail in CT anyhow)  and talked about slavery today (something always on my mind).  We had a time of prayer and then we made Red Hands in protest of child slavery and child soldiers to be sent to the United Nations and to our local politician.  We will send them off after they dry:  http://www.redhandday.org/index.php?l=en&view=info

6 – We talked about St. Valentine…his sacrifice and Martyrs.  What that looks like today with Martys.  (www.adventuresinodyssey.com has some awesome stories about martyrs as explanations to kids and applications to kids’ lives).  In the words of the author of Radical, my heart cries out for my children and for me:

“For the sake of 26,000 children who will die today from starvation or preventable disease, I want to risk it all…If our lives do not reflect radical compassion for the poor, there is reason to wonder if Christ is really in us at all.”  David Platt
btw – check out these awesome Valentine’s shirts from World Vision:  http://worldvisionshop.org/given/with-all-my-heart-gift-set.html

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Mission Quotes that Kick My BUTT

“Sacrificial giving is one of the few times God asks us to test Him. Yet for many years I found myself unwilling to accept the challenge. I was willing to tithe but not willing to go beyond what I felt comfortable giving. Leaving our comfort zone, however, is the very place God calls us to. He wants us to venture into truly abundant giving. He wants us to get out from under our own selfishness with our possessions and accept His invitation to become radically obedient with what we own. Then, not only will He bless us, but He will lavish blessing upon blessing on us.”
Lysa Turkurst

“For the sake of more than a billion people today who have yet to even hear the gospel, I want to risk it all. For the sake of twenty-six thousand children who will die today of starvation or preventable disease, I want to risk it all. For the sake of an increasingly marginalized and relatively ineffective church in our culture, I want to risk it all. For the sake of my life, my family, and the people who surround me, I want to risk it all.” David Platt

This is not a quick-fix world, despite God’s power. And when the poor don’t get it right away — that is, that sweet Jesus loves them — the born-againers leave the scene, shaking the dust from their feet. Rather than listening to the Spirit of the poor, these proselytizers listen to their own safe, untested selves and to their own self-congratulatory gospel of salvation. In doing so they miss the bruised hearts of others. They miss, I think, the heart of Jesus, so complex, open, and long-suffering.”
Gary Smith – Jesuit Priest serving the poorest of the Urban poor

“It is our loss. We all bear this burden. The weight of a child’s preventable death is added to our shoulders over twenty thousand times every day. The burden of lost opportunity increases with each name added to the list. But we can choose to lift this weight. It’s up to us to make this world a place where kids do not die from preventable causes. Before we chart a course of action, we must confront a fundamental problem: Many good people doubt that the weight can be lifted. Perhaps you doubt it too. Possible in theory, Perhaps, but we don’t expect success anytime soon. I understand that doubt. I’ve felt it too. But it is possible. We even have a plan that will work. But before we can act on that plan, we must first break free from the tyranny of low expectations. I want to lift your expectations of what is possible, of the future, yourself, the Church, even your expectations of God.”
Scott C. Todd – Compasstion International

Not, how much of my money will I give to God, but, how much of God’s money will I keep for myself?   John Wesley
“It’s the greatest poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”  Mother Teresa

“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.”
“Well, why don’t you ask Him?”
“Because I’m afraid He would ask me the same question.” Anonymous

“When a poor person dies of hunger, it has not happened because God did not take care of him or her. It has happened because neither you nor I wanted to give that person what he or she needed.”   Mother Teresa, Roman Catholic nun

“I spend half my time comforting the afflicted, and the other half afflicting the comfortable.”
Wess Stafford (President of Compassion International)

Go, send, or disobey. – John Piper

Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived.” Shane Claiborne

“A life lived listening to the decisive call of God is a life lived before one audience that trumps all others – the Audience of One.”                             Os Guinness The Call

“Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you. Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.”             Rich Mullins
“A faith…which stops with that belief that being ‘saved’ is the whole Christian experience, is dead and denies Christ’s concern for all mankind. It is like a baby dying in infancy; the child may be born healthy, but his life will have little or no impact on others. Grasping this concept was a turning point for me, as it is, I suspect, for many Christians. God, I now understood, was working a powerful transformation in my thought habits and forcing me to think about what it really means to live as a disciple of Christ.”      Chuck Colson
“God listened to the cried of this world, and out of his depths of compassion, as shown to us in Christ’s death on t he cross, moves us, the people in whom he incarnates his love, to dry tears, heal wounds, set prisoners free, and break the yokes of oppression. That is why Christian community development insists that people locate themselves in the community of pain they desire to impact with the love of God.”
John Perkins

“We are not to simply bandage the wounds of victims beneath the wheels of injustice, we are to drive a spoke into the wheel itself.”                                                         Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Have the courage to live under strain and pain to be a part of a better story. A larger story. Don’t wimp out.”       Beth Moore
“I felt as if I were walking with destiny, and that all my past life had been but a preparation for this hour and for this trial… I thought I knew a good deal about it all, I was sure I should not fail.”      Winston Churchhill
“The greatest handicap is to have sight and no vision.”    Helen Keller

“‘Not called!’ did you say?
‘Not heard the call,’ I think you should say.
Put your ear down to the Bible, and hear Him bid you go and pull sinners out of the fire of sin. Put your ear down to the burdened, agonized heart of humanity, and listen to its pitiful wail for help. Go stand by the gates of hell, and hear the damned entreat you to go to their father’s house and bid their brothers and sisters and servants and masters not to come there. Then look Christ in the face — whose mercy you have professed to obey — and tell Him whether you will join heart and soul and body and circumstances in the march to publish His mercy to the world. —  William Booth – founder of the Salvation Army

World Vision International Motto:
“Our vision for every child, life in all its fullness;
Our prayer for every heart, the will to make it so.”

“If they are in need and I do not respond, the love of God simply isn’t in me.”
Gary Haugen – President of IJM
“God is always at work around you. He is working to bring about world redemption through His Son Jesus Christ.” Henry Blackaby
“In God’s name, I cry out: Why can’t there be thousands and thousands of churches all across our world that meet the needs of the whole person in the name of the Lord whom we worship and follow?”  Ronald Sider
“Anyone wanting to proclaim the glory of Christ to the ends of the earth must consider not only how to declare the gospel verbally but also how to demonstrate the gospel visibly in a world where so many are urgently hungry.” Scott Todd
“People who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they too are expending their lives … and when the bubble has burst, they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted.”                                                                   — Nate Saint, missionary martyr
“A day will come when each of us steps into an unimaginable eternal life. I don’t think our memories of our time on earth will be erased. And I desperately want mine to be worth remembering.”       Scott Todd
Jim Elliot’s journal: “God I pray Thee, light these idle sticks of my life and may I burn for Thee. Consume my life, my God, for it is Thine. I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.”
Quoted by Elizabeth Elliot in Shadow of the Almighty

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Dr. Suess

“All men dream, but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity. But the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes to make it possible.” T. E. Lawrence

“The only really happy people are those who have learned how to serve.” Rick Warren

“The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become.”                                             Henry Martyn, missionary to India and Persia
“Shouldn’t the pulpits across America have flamed with exhortations to rush to the front lines of compassion? Shouldn’t they be flaming today? Shouldn’t churches be reaching out to care for the children in such desperate need? How could the great tragedy of these orphans get drowned out by choruses of praise music in hundreds of thousands of churches across our country? Sitting in a hut in Rakai, I remember thinking, How have we missed it so tragically, when even rock stars and Hollywood actors seem to understand?” Rick Stearns Hole in the Gospel

“Churches today are tragically split between those who stress conversion but have forgotten its goal, and those who emphasize Christian social action but have forgotten the necessity for conversion.”   Jim Wallis
“Again, no one can do everything, but everyone can do something. Some people can fast and pray about social sin. Others can study and speak out. What about you? Get out of your comfort zone for Christ’s sake. Why not teach an inner-city Bible study? Use your vacation to build houses in hurricane-ravaged towns? Run for public office? Help a farmer get an ox?”  Max Lucado
“Note that Jesus did not say, ‘Isolate yourself in a holy huddle.’ The Great Commission isn’t ‘Go into your gate-guarded Christian cul-de-sac and hide out.’ It is ‘Go, and as you go, make disciples.’”   Timothy Smith
“God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives. God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them.”   Mother Teresa
“Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment in how they carry it.” Gregory Boyle

“Tim Dearborn of World Vision’s Christian Commitment team, an often-prophetic voice among us, recently said, ‘Our job is to connect those who are rich in commodities with those who are rich in community.’ Isn’t that beautiful? Who’s poor? Who’s rich? We all are. What we have, they need. Sometimes desperately. What they have, we need. Just as desperately.”   Cory Trinda
“A good place to start is by making a commitment to support a child through the sponsorship programs of such organizations as Compassion International and World Vision. For less than a dollar a day, you can feed, clothe, educate and evangelize a child in a Third World Country.”
Tony Campolo
“Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
Bob Pierce (Founder of World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse)

I don’t preach a social gospel; I preach the Gospel, period. The gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ is concerned for the whole person. When people were hungry, Jesus didn’t say, “Now is that political or social?” He said, “I feed you.” Because the good news to a hungry person is bread.
Desmond Tutu
“We are the first generation that can look extreme and stupid poverty in the eye, look across the water to Africa and elsewhere and say this and mean it: we have the cash, we have the drugs, we have the science – but do we have the will? DO we have the will to make poverty history? Some say we can’t afford to. I say we can’t afford not to.” Bono U2
“Clearly, Jesus ‘explicitly connected discipleship with concern for social justice (Luke 6:27-36) and made it clear that compassion for the needy is one measure by which he will recognize his followers (Matthew 25:31-46)’. ‘ For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat…Truly I saw to you, to the extent you did it to me’. Jesus, the incarnation of God’s justice, draws us both to act in this world and to eagerly await the consummation, when Jesus will bring justice victoriously.” Wendy Sanders
“There are several billion reasons to consider his challenge. Some of them live in your neighborhood; others live in jungles you can’t find and have names you can’t pronounce. Some of them play in cardboard slums or sell sex on a busy street. Some of them walk three hours for water or wait all day for a shot of penicillin. Some of them brought their woes on themselves, and others inherited the mess from their parents. None of us can help everyone. But all of us can help someone. And when we help them, we serve Jesus.” Max Lucado.
“Only a life given away from love’s sake is a life worth living. To bring His point home, God shows us a man who gave His life away to the extent of dying a national disgrace without a penny in the bank or a friend to His name. In terms of men’s wisdom, He was a perfect fool, and anybody who thinks he can follow Him without making something like the same fool of himself is laboring under not a cross but a delusion.”                Philip Yancey
“We clearly don’t comprehend how personally Jesus takes it when we love justice. He is so utterly identified with the afflicted that there is nothing more obedient, more pleasing, more central than serving Him in the marginalized.” Jen Hatmaker
“I didn’t believe it was possible to tell a child about the love of Christ without simultaneously showing her that love by feeding her, clothing her, inviting her in. If a child has never known what love is, how can we expect him to accept the love of his Savior until we first make that love tangible? I wanted these children to know life to the fullest in a relationship with Him here on earth, and life everlasting with Him in heaven later.” Katie Davis in Kisses from Katie
“Ours is the wealthiest generation of Christians ever. We are bright, educated, and experienced. We can travel around the world in twenty-four hours or send a message in a millisecond. We have the most sophisticated research and medicines at the tips of our fingers. We have ample resources. A mere 2 percent of the world’s grain harvest would be enough, if shared, to erase the problems of hunger and malnutrition around the world. There is enough food on the planet to offer every person twenty five hundred calories of sustenance a day. We have enough food to feed the hungry. And we have enough bedrooms to house the orphans. Here’s the math. There are 145 million orphans worldwide. Nearly 236 million people in the United States call themselves Christians. From purely a statistical standpoint, American Christians by themselves have the wherewithal to house every orphan in the world”   Max Lucado
“If you have 2 coats, you’ve stolen one from the poor.” Dorothy Day
“Some wish to live within the sound of a chapel bell; I wish to run a rescue mission within a yard of hell.”   C.T. Studd
“The story of God accomplishing His mission is the plot of the entire Bible. God’s mission is the backbone upon which the Bible is built and is best understood. Therefore, God’s mission is the reason there is a Bible at all.” Steve Hawthorne

“He who is dying of hunger must be fed rather than taught” Saint Thomas Aquinas

“Girls in poor countries are particularly undernourished, physically and intellectually. If we educate and feed those girls and give them employment opportunities, then the world as a whole will gain a new infusion of human intelligence – and poor countries will garner citizens and leaders who are better equipped to address those countries’ challenges. The strongest argument we can make to leaders of poor countries is not a moral one but a pragmatic one: If they wish to enliven their economics, they had better not leave those seams of human gold buried and unexploited.” Half the Sky

While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight; I’ll fight to the very end!   General William Booth – founder of Salvation Army
‘When you think you can’t stand the pain one more second and want to wipe out all of the evil in the world, know that God’s passion to destroy evil is even greater. You now get to taste just a portion of the anguish God feels about our broken world.” Mike Constantz

“Facing up to human evil – and especially the magnitude and malevolence of contemporary evil – is disturbing….Finding the words to come to terms with the unspeakable is crucial to facing up to it and to overcoming the fear that is so widespread in today’s world, but exploring the challenge of evil need not be depressing; indeed, it may be bracing, even inspiring.”  Os Guiness

“Rather than look away from such ugliness, Christians have to actually go looking for it.”
Gary Haugen

I want to live a life that demands an explanation Shiela Walsh
God has a plan to help bring justice to the world — and his plan is us.                                     Gary Haugen
“If you live gladly to make others glad in God, your life will be hard, your risks will be high, and your joy will be full.” John Piper

“This is the good news Jesus came to deliver – the good news of God’s intervention to help his people. Jesus didn’t simply call people to repentance and then walk away, his work complete. No, he walked among the people. He touched the. He healed them. He called them to a better way of living and revealed himself as the hope of the poor. We, as Christ-followers, are called to continue the work Jesus began. What does this mean? It means we have to embody the good news. It means we have to do all we can to end poverty, to feed the hungry, and to find homes for the homeless. It means we have to listen to that inner voice crying for justice and act on it.”  Tom Davis
“The only thin necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Edmund Burke
“Somebody loved you enough to take your suffering on himself. Somebody was willing to let what was crushing you crush him. As his bond slaves – those who serve the Master out of love, not duty – we, too, move into our neighborhoods and cities looking for those who are being crushed and broken by suffering and offer to suffer with them.” Kay Warren

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I will not leave you as orphans, I will come to you…” John 14;8

My God’s heart is one of adoption.  Joseph adopted Jesus. Moses was adopted.  God’s call to specifically care for the orphans and widows are throughout the Old and New Testament http://ourfathersorphans.blogspot.com/2009/07/bible-verses-regarding-orphans.html.  I am so aware that if God did not have a heart of adoption, that I would not be in His family, have a new identity with Him and have a new home in Heaven.  I would surely be like many foster children I see in my job : lost, trying to fill an empty void with different strategies of fits for attention, and unquenchable need for affection, and just disfunction from a  broken life and heart.  I am not different and it is a lie if I act like I am better.

I have been reflecting on LOVE as it is February and I can’t avoid stores like Walmart as they ploy to vomit red hearts onto my home decor and Red40 food dye into my family’s diet.  For me, only having biological children so far…I experience love this way:

I look at my son, who is insecure.  He was born that way.  It is not nurture as my daughter believes that she may be the coolest person on the planet.  It is just a weakness, struggle he came with.  It is tragic to me that he is so insecure about what he does and who he is.  Why?  Of course it is because I am his mom and don’t want him to feel bad, but it is way more than that:  I sometimes just sit and look at him and feel as if I am pouring love over him.  My affection, my care, my pride for him, my gratitude to be his mother…all of it feels like it is intangibly pouring over him as I look at him.  I ache and my heart hurts because I love him so much (I feel the same way about my daughter).  I feels particularly tragic with my son because he just sits there and doesn’t feel it.  He just keeps on feeling bad about things (not always –  it has gotten way better over the years, but he is definitely harder on himself than the average kid).  How could he be insecure if I love him so much?  How could he doubt he could do something or even care about it if he knew how much I care?  It seems appauling – both tragic and beautiful.  Yet – how different is it than me and God?  I doubt myself and talk crap to myself every day…but God came to buy me – literally – with the cross.  He adopted me…He is pouring His love over me.  Yet somehow I can’t muster up believing it all so often. I can believe it for everyone else, but not for me.  The more I reflect on this reality, the more I long for restoration and redemption in my life and in the lives of those around me – for children who do not have the parent to pour love over them.  They have believed the lie that their parents hold the truth about them (if their parents chose bad things over parenting them well) or the lie that they weren’t wanted (if circumstance made adoption the reality in their life).   Our world is messed up….and that is the truth.  The truth is God’s our worth, identity and reality.  He has called us to care for orphans (in many different ways) because they are the most vulnerable, representing His heart….but what a better chance for life restoration and multiplication than orphan care.  Like I said, there are many ways, through donating to organizations, foster care or respite care, donating your time to orphans locally or globally or adopting.  They need your tears and prayers too.  http://youtu.be/zwY-BUJgRhw

We are so blessed to be called on a journey to our 3rd child (our first to are biological).  We will hopefully meet our little boy from Ethiopia in about 2 years.  Our adoption blog is www.goodworthsgoglobal.wordpress.com  We’ll let you know how it goes, but can’t even tell you how much love I already have for this little one I’ve never met.  I long to pour my love on him as well – the day can’t come soon enough.

BTW –

I am completely impressed with our organization AGCI and the way they are completely up front with us on everything that is going on with our files, the country, our status, etc.  There are a lot of things changing in Ethiopian adoption, but our agency is completely transparent about it all.  I am grateful.  I have also heard great things about AWAA and Holt.

I also have recently come into contact with KidSave – it is a organization that does adoption, but particularly is the hosting and advocating of Columbian youth during the summer and winter miracles program that I find awesome.  Their success rate of adoption is incredible.  They choose the kids that will do best in adoption and these are older youth who will get lost once they turn 13 and go into a different older foster system.  I have followed several blogs about it and am totally broken and amazed by it.  www.kidsave.org

“Adoption is a visible gospel.  It’s really a re-telling of what our story is of coming into God’s family”  Steven Curtis Chapman

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What’s for Dinner?

My friend Megan just emailed me, wondering if I will remember how to cook anything besides rice/beans after this month.  I admit that it has been nice to not think of meals and spend time/money on some other things we wanted to focus on this month.  I also admit, I’m glad the month is over.

Tonight, with our last beans/rice in hand, we sat down to watch Journey to Jamaa – It is a short movie production by World Vision of a true story of 2 kids.  It was excellent.  You can watch it online or host an event at a church (it is just over half an hour so it is good sermon time material).  www.worldvision.org/jamaa  It was an excellent way to bring our thoughts from the last month into real stories (less about famine, but just about poverty…disease and then into hope and sponsorship).  It was wonderful since our kids sponsor kids and the film made contrast of sponsored kids vs the dangers lurking for kids who don’t have resources or sponsorship were obvious.  I saw these constrasts in clear day when I went to Mozambique and the film did a great job.  I recommend it!

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