Wrapping up this month on missions, I hope there was something for everybody. The one thing I took away from my mission trip was the importance of hope. Hope is what keeps you going when things might be momentarily hard. Hope gives you the strength to try one more time. One moment that stands out to me was our last day in New York. We went to a park that afternoon and set up tables to give away water, sandwiches, chips and donated clothes. It was an area the Dream Center hadn’t done a lot of outreaches in but they wanted to. Shortly before we left, we had sidewalk chalk and got to work leaving our mark. I remember pausing at one point and watching the others. Some were drawing flowers and writing “we <3 NY” and other fun things. At the entrance to the park, one of the leaders had written “keep dreaming” and intersected the words “love” and “hope” to make a cross. One of the girls was drawing with two little girls who had walked up while some of our other students were playing with kids on the playground. It was one of those moments that you want to never forget. The picture for this post is the heart I made that day. This trip definitely left an impact on me. I don’t want to be too busy to love others. I want to love without expecting anything in return. Mission trips wake you up and make it hard to go back to how things were before. And I think that’s how it should be.
Saturday, July 28, 2012
I think I first heard about Blood:Water Mission through Relevant magazine. I knew their goal was to provide clean water for those in Africa but that was the extent of my knowledge. But then I looked at their website and watched a video from the founder and oh my gosh, I could feel myself filling with the same hope they provide through clean water. The original goal was to give 1000 communities clean water. They said 1000 because they knew it would be all God's doing when they reached that number. And they have. It's been seven years since they first started and it's amazing what they've accomplished! They're giving hope and that's something we all need.
Thursday, July 26, 2012
Soles4Souls came about when Wayne Elsey saw the devastation of the tsunami that hit Asia in 2004. He says he felt God telling him to do something about it. So he made some phone calls and 250,000 pairs of shoes were sent to those who had lost so much. And that's how it all started. The goal? To change the world, one pair of shoes at a time. Through the site you can find out how to host a shoe drive, donate money, go with Soles4Souls as they deliver shoes and watch a video about the organization.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
Radical is a book to challenge you. It's about moving away from comfortable Christianity and being stretched - my goal for the recent mission trip I went on. "In our quest for the extraordinary, we often overlook the importance of the ordinary, and I'm proposing that a radical lifestyle actually begins with an extraordinary commitment to ordinary practices that have marked Christians who have affected the world throughout history" (pg. 193).
I read Radical last year. It stirred me up and made me want to do more than just go about life as usual. It's a book to read more than once. You can learn more about the book as well as download banners for the book and and chapter resources for the book.
Saturday, July 21, 2012
Relevant is one of my favorite magazines. And it's from Relevant that Reject Apathy came to be. "At RELEVANT, we’ve recognized the movement of a generation restless to change the world. A generation anxious to use the abundance God has blessed them with to be a blessing to others. RejectApathy.com was borne out of that desire—a desire to live out true compassion and to embrace justice the right way. Reject Apathy is a voice for the movement—a place where like-minded world-changers can connect, dialogue and challenge one another as we work to affect change locally and globally" (source).
I'm not super familiar with the site but there's all kinds of resources and links. You can also look at the current magazine issue of Reject Apathy.
Thursday, July 19, 2012
"Hot Bread Kitchen preserves bread baking traditions from around the world while creating professional opportunities for foreign born and minority women." These words are on the back of their business card. While on my recent mission trip, a friend and I stopped by a tent Hot Bread Kitchen had set up along with other vendors in Union Square. Hearing the story behind the business - that they invest their profit into those who make the bread - was exciting for us because we felt we had something in common since we were there to help people as well. We were even more excited to find out we could order from their website after returning home :)
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
"Does something deep inside your heart long to break free from the status quo? Are you hungry for an authentic faith that addresses the problems of our world with tangible, even radical, solutions? God is calling you to a passionate love relationship with Himself. Because the answer to religious complacency isn't working harder at a list of do's and don'ts - it's falling in love with God. And once you encounter His love, as Francis describes it, you will never be the same. Because when you're wildly in love with someone, it changes everything."
I read this a few years ago and really liked it. It was before I started highlighting in books so I can't quote some great lines that stood out to me. It's one of those books I plan on reading again as well as reading more of Chan's work. In preparing for this post, I watched a video of him talking about one of his other books and there's a genuineness about him that is reflected in his writing. You can go to the Crazy Love site to learn more about the book as well as his other books.
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Mocha Club is a fabulous way to help others simply by paying what you'd pay for 2-3 coffees, frappuccinos, mochas (or whatever your preferred coffee-based drink might be) a month. $7 a month goes to help those in Africa through providing clean water, healthcare, care for orphans as well as a few other areas. I first heard about this great cause at a concert. I'm not a member yet but am excited at what they're doing!
Thursday, July 12, 2012
TWLOHA is non-profit that seeks to help those struggling with depression, suicide and addiction. It's been a few years ago that I first heard about the organization and it's continued to grow since then. It all began when some friends wanted to help Renee, a 19 year-old girl who was scared to enter rehab, saying she wasn't ready yet. Seeing the cuts and scars she had on her arms, the friends wanted to write love on her arms instead. The site has links to resources if you or someone you know needs help with any of the things that have become TWLOHA's mission.
To me, we don't have to always advertise the fact that we're Christians. We can simply love others and as Jesus would and let them see we're different. Let them see that we have something they want. Let our faith be a lifestyle instead of just words...
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Brothers Alex and Brett Harris wrote DO Hard Things for the teenage audience to encourage them to rise about society's view of them and allow God to use them to do hard things for Him. This is a book that I haven't read yet but it's sitting on my shelf. The title caught my eye when I first saw it and I knew it was something I wanted to read. Though I'm past the 13-19 age range, I have no doubt that I'll benefit from it as well.
You can visit the site for the book to learn more and watch a video from Alex and Brett as they share the reason behind why they wrote the book. There's also an online study guide you can download and links to buy the book.
Saturday, July 7, 2012
This month I'm talking about missions and today's spotlight is the organization I worked with on the missions trip I returned from earlier this week. I went with a handful of people from my church to partner with the New York Dream Center. I'm amazed at how much they do! Every day they're out in the city, showing God's love. This video is just a small glimpse into what they do. Matthew Barnett and his wife started the NY Dream Center but are the pastors of Angelus Temple and run the L.A. Dream Center. The Dream Center's mission is to live life and live love. Matthew and Caroline Barnett have such a heart for helping others. It inspires me and I'm excited to have had the opportunity to take part in their vision by going to the L.A. Dream Center a few years ago and then this recent trip to New York.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
I was telling some of my family about the mission trip I just returned from. I was explaining what we did - hand out bottles of water, help deliver food with Meals on Wheels - and my mom was able to summarize it quite nicely. She said "so you helped them with their outreaches." We didn't do anything majorly big but were there to provide extra hands and feet, allowing the Dream Center to do things that maybe they haven't been able to because they simply didn't have the numbers to carry it out. We helped them love the people they reach out to.
The first organization I want to feature this month is The A21 campaign. I first heard about them when listening to a podcast by Holly Furtick. Their mission is to help rescue those enslaved in human trafficking. They opened their first shelter in 2008 in Greece and last year in the Ukraine. They're hoping to open a third one in Bulgaria this year. "We do not claim to be the "experts" and recognize that our fight for justice has only just begun, but The A21 Campaign rings true through the famous words of Margaret Mead, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." The campaign stands for Abolishing Injustice in the 21st Century.
The quote at the top of the "Who We Are" page strikes a chord in me:
Tuesday, July 3, 2012
I just returned from a mission trip. We spent a week helping the New York Dream Center as they love the people in the community from which they operate. I want to take this month to highlight ministries who take seriously the call to spread the gospel and share God's love. I'll also be sharing mission-minded books that I've both read and are on my ever growing "list." While we had fun on the trip (including a trip to Time Square for some shopping), we also had our perspective challenged. We not only touched others but they left their fingerprint on us as well.
I want to start with the book The Cause Within You by Matthew Barnett. I haven't read much of the book but I was excited when I heard he was writing it. I first heard about Matthew Barnett five years ago when I went on a mission trip to the L.A. Dream Center. It was there that we found out he was going to be starting a Dream Center in New York and to finally be able to go and be a part of that for a week was an extreme honor for me.
His ministry is doing some great things to reach out to the hurting. I'm amazed at all they do. Everything is fueled by simply wanting others to know God loves them.
Monday, July 2, 2012
This month I'm giving away my copy of Billy Graham: His Life and Influence by David Aikman. Contest ends Tuesday, July 31 at 8:00 p.m. (EDT). To enter, just leave me a comment along with an email address so I can contact you.
For bonus entries:
- tell me how you heard about my giveaway
- become a follower of my blog
*Giveaways with the above logo are books that aren't new but still in really good condition.