I can still vividly recall the first time I said goodbye to a handful of children in a small village in Mexico nine years ago. I was in the ninth grade and the trip was my first introduction to missions, my first awakening to life outside suburban American, and my first hard glimpse at poverty. Every morning that week we’d pull up to the village and all the local children would flock to run alongside our white vans, banging on the windows and calling us by name. (And every welcome I’ve experienced in any part of the third world since then has been just as colorful and exciting.) I probably signed up for that first mission trip because a friend had (or a boy if we’re really being honest), but I left Mexico at the end of the week proclaiming in my heart that I was a missionary. I ugly-cried the whole way home, but not necessarily because I felt wrecked by the poverty I’d seen. It wasn’t grief that the locals I’d encountered had to stay amidst the rubble and lack of resources — it was grief that I had to leave it. Year after year, the third world kept calling me back to it. A decade has passed and I’ve lived among poverty long-term in countries on almost every continent. Last week I found myself back again, this time in the beautiful country of Honduras, and although it was my first time in this country, it didn’t feel entirely foreign. The culture of poverty fits me like a favorite pair of jeans, no matter the ethnicity or language — my spirit thrives when it’s surrounded by the poor. And now I have the […]
I have had the privilege this week to learn how to love by two of the most precious girls I’ve ever met. There are so many definitions for love. So many times the word is thrown into the abyss just to come back casual and meaningless. There are countless examples of love in the Bible; in fact the whole book was written as an act of love from God to us. Although Jesus Christ and his sacrifice is the best picture of love, this week I was reminded of another story of love in the Old Testament in the book of Esther. I argue that in this story Esther’s love for her people is used not as a noun, but as a verb: the action of selfless bravery. This week I have been taught how to act in this type of love. I learned to love with bravery by loving Marina. Marina is the second youngest of four sisters. She lives in a one bedroom home and most nights sleeps on the floor. Her family lives a little outside the village and has been known as the family with lice. And it’s true, little Marina’s head is full of lice, but more importantly her little heart is full of love. As I kissed and played and hugged Marina, there were times when I would worry about if I would get lice, or if shomehow I might get dirty or sick. It was then I was reminded that my best is filthy rages to God, and that He chose to love me in my dirtiness. And that loving does not mean comfortablity, love is not always ideal. Sometimes love is dirty and requires some bravery. Lastly, […]
“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 As someone who has never been on a trip to serve a new community, never been out of the country, and never been more than a few states away from her family, a six day mission trip to Honduras was more than intimidating for me. But over the past couple months this bible verse has come up a number of times, each time making me more certain that God was pulling at my heart towards taking my first mission trip. The opportunity to go on the trip with 147 Million Orphans had come about so randomly for me. All the doors opened at the perfect time and everything fell into place better than I could have planned-there was no doubting that God’s hand was all over this opportunity. The first day in the village of Mt. Olivos was a crazy haze of learning new names and getting used to children hanging all over you. Over the next few days I fell in love with a little girl named Katherine. She didn’t waste any time introducing herself and showing me around the village multiple times. This crazy-haired little girl escorted me into her small four room house to meet her mother and it wasn’t long until I was helping Katherine practice her alphabet on the small notebooks laying around. Everyday when our van pulled into the village, the crazyhaired little girl with no shoes would be yelling “mi amigaaa” and waiting to be thrown onto my shoulders. My heart was captured by her total willingness to invest […]
I am writing this post with an EXCITED and humbled heart. I am in COMPLETE awe that my Heavenly Father would prompt people’s hearts to give to a project that is SO dear to my heart. In the past 8 years, God has put a multitude of orphaned children in my path. Most have been 10 years old and younger. I have rocked and sang to them, bathed them, picked lice out of their hair, jiggers out of their feet, and met their basic needs. I’ve even found a few of them forever families. I’ve learned that a little love goes a LONG way. I have been SO blessed to feel HIS presence like never before through each and every one of these children. I look back and cannot believe that God has given me so many gifts. Each and every little smile just fills my heart full! In the past, the children I have met have not been old enough to share their experiences of living in a children’s home. I’ve never heard from their mouths the heartache they felt from feeling abandoned or from not having a family until NOW. I believe that God doesn’t give us eyes to see what HE has for us until he knows we are ready. My travels to Honduras has opened my eyes and heart and taken me down a totally different path. A path that needs MORE people on it. When you look into the eyes of teenagers and see your children’s faces, it becomes real. I feel as though I am looking and talking to Grace and her friends. But there is a difference. They are alone. They turn 18, leave the children’s home and […]
Suzanne is simply one of the most giving woman I know. She puts the needs and lives of others first and on her 40th birthday, we funded an entire adoption as a surprise for her! She talks about how monumental that birthday and the gift was – how it changed the way she looked at the people in her life that all gave sacrificially to change the life of one precious orphan. We helped give this beautiful child a family and gave her family the ability to fund their adoption, which was PRICELESS! This birthday (her 43rd … hee hee) we would like to change about 46 lives! We have been loving on some very sweet children at Coppreme Children’s Home in Honduras. They have a HUGE need for a bus, and since Suzanne drives a bus (so to speak) to get her crew around, we thought this would be a fabulous gift for her birthday. When Suzanne was in Honduras, she heard the stories of the Copprome bus breaking down regularly on the way to school, causing the children to be late to their classes. There is a stigma already on these kids because they are from the Children’s Home, and riding this broken down bus and arriving late just adds to the stigma. As Suzanne told us this story, I could see in her eyes that this broke her heart. Together, we can change this! We can solve this problem for these children by funding a new bus for Copprome (approximately $10,000). Help us make Suzanne’s birthday another one to remember and honor her heart and love for others. But most importantly, let’s give these children a gift that will get them […]
I spend most of my time in comfort – either at home or at my office. When I turn the light switch on, I have light. When I go to the faucet, I have my choice of hot or cold running water. And I don’t hesitate to wash or drink from that water. When I’m hungry, I go to the fridge for a snack. I carry on my daily routine without ever feeling I’m in danger. And when I’m sick or injured, I simply get in my car and go to the doctor’s office for treatment. For the most part, I live in a bubble. But I don’t live there in ignorance, thinking I’m like everyone else. I’ve seen otherwise. I try to be faithful in my efforts to help where I can and do what seems to be my best to make a difference. But it is so humbling to actually walk beside people, in a place that is certainly nothing like my bubble, who are truly committed and literally giving their lives away to be real difference makers. 147 Million Orphans has partnered with an organization in Gressier, Haiti, that is making life changing alterations in its community. In 3 years they have built a school where over 500 children can learn and receive both breakfast and lunch. They provide a feeding program for another 1,000 each week. They have opened a recycling program (anyone who has been to Haiti understands that need) and a café to employee people in the community. And with the fundraising support of 147 Million Orphans, this past year, they were able to build the community’s first medical center, where their citizens will receive genuine medical help in […]
There’s an amazing person named Kimberly that the Lord has called to walk alongside the young ladies in the Madrina Program during this season of their lives. She has helped us launch this program and is teaching them life skills, study skills, and most importantly how to love and serve God. She is serving sacrificially, and we are honored to call her our friend. Here’s a glimpse into life through Kimberly’s eyes: “It seems like such a long time ago that a white bunny who had been given the name Peachy had found its way into the heart of one of my girls, and into our small living room. Hopping around and biting at our ankles, Peachy was becoming part of our little family, or so the girl had hoped. Peachy had more than just the desire to make our home his home, he had the desire to make our home his bathroom. He could go to the bathroom anywhere really. One morning I woke up and found that one of the girls had spilled coffee on her way out the door, and so figuring that she had spilled it while locking the door and didn’t have time to clean it up, I decided I would take care of the mess for her. Later on when the girls were all home I asked which one spilled the coffee. One of the girls quickly bursted into laughter and explained to me it was not coffee that was by the front door, but Peachy had peed! We all keeled over in laughter as I replayed the fact that I had simply used a napkin to wipe up the pee from Peachy, and had used that same hand […]
Over the past year our family’s discussions have included a lot of information about college. My daughter Jordyn graduated from high school in May, and I think every person we know asked her where she was going to college. There was never a question “if” she would go to college, it was always “where”. Then in August we moved her into the dorm a few hours away from our home, and our lives have changed to include all the discussion of college details. What classes to take, the joys of cafeteria food, the excitement of SEC football season, studying, exams, roommates, and laundry are regular topics about college. As she spent a few days home with us over the Christmas holidays, it was obvious that she is different – more independent and self-sufficient. As her mom, it is encouraging to see her becoming the amazing person that God wants her to be. But at the same time, it also nice to see areas that she still depends on her parents to help her navigate or offer advice. On her way to adulthood, but she’ll always be my little girl! When I think about Jordyn and our family’s college adventure with her, I often think about a group of students in Honduras that are walking the same path. We developed friendships with these kids through several trips to Honduras over the past 18 months. These kids spent their high school days living at Copprome Children’s Home in Honduras. They don’t really have a support system as they leave high school and the children’s home where they have lived for so long. We have seen firsthand the desperate situation these kids are faced with on the streets […]
A special needs children’s home in Haiti is one of our favorite places to help with Love+ 1 Projects. In Haiti, special needs children are seen as cursed due to the strong voodoo influence in their culture. Our friends Mike and Missy have shown this community that these children are a blessing, not a curse and that the Lord has great plans for their lives. While serving in this community, they felt the Lord’s call to begin a lunch program for the school in their village in Haiti. 600 children registered for school this year, and for the first time the special needs children in the community were allowed to attend school with all of their peers. This would have never happened if our ministry partners had not begun speaking up for these children and loving them unconditionally. So, what is one of the first things a new school lunch program needs? Bowls and spoons of course! We were thrilled to provide the necessary utensils and bowls for these 600 beautiful children in Haiti. We look forward to seeing them grow in strength from the hot lunch they will now receive daily. We look forward to seeing them grow in knowledge from the lessons they will be taught in school. And lastly, we are confident that they will grow in grace and become stronger in character through acceptance of the special needs children in their school. Will you join us in praying for the children of Neply, Haiti as the Lord works in their school and community?
The Lord has allowed some incredible ministry to take place on the ground in Honduras this year, and 147 has been honored to be a part of it. To continue the projects that have begun, we hosted a dessert party to raise awareness about the projects. It was an amazing night, and the highlight of the event was the testimony of our friend Vallie Collins. Vallie recently traveled with us to Honduras, where she fell in love with the people and the ministry occurring. Vallie’s perspective on purposeful giving was the focus of her testimony. As the survivor of a flight crash, her life has clarity and focus. Everyone in attendance that night was blessed by the words of Vallie and the highlights of the 147 mission to Honduras. His story, His ministry, His people.