Being a World Changer.

Originally posted on Creating families. Loving orphans.:

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Let’s chat about this idea of being a world changer.  It’s trendy these days, but what makes someone a world changer?

Eugene Cho made this statement recently, “I’m convinced that this might be the most overrated generation…We might be more in love with the idea of changing the world than actually changing the world.”

Truth.

1. World Changers are passionate.

Changing the world is not a hobby.  Abraham Lincoln did not contemplate ending slavery in his spare time.  Mother Teresa did not serve the poor when she had a free Saturday. Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t send an occasional tweet about civil rights.  This is a lifestyle.  It’s living and breathing a passion for seeing {insert social issue} eradicated.  World changers wake up thinking about it, feel it creep into their thoughts during the day, and go to bed dreaming of a world without it.

2. World Changers…

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Rescue is Life Changing

Life is good.  And the Exodus Road is bringing that goodness to victims of modern day slavery all over the place these days.  They are bringing hope, life, and Jesus to these women and children and it’s powerful.

I hope to bring you encouragement that change is happening.  That lives are being redeemed.  That hope is alive and well across the globe for freedom.  That you can play a very real part in ending modern day slavery.

To start, I encourage you to watch their videos and subscribe to their blog.  This will keep you up to date and informed of their different projects and opportunities to participate in rescue efforts.

One of their current projects is, in my opinion, really awesome.  They are collecting rocks.  And each rock represents a rescue.  I love the visual aspect of this.  Each rock (currently 23 and quickly growing) represents a life that is now free from slavery.

John Bergquist, who traveled with Exodus Road this January, has compiled some pretty mind blowing statistics.  You can check out his blog here.  I would like to highlight some of them.  {Note, these are courtesy of Exodus Road and John Bergquist’s research.}

  • According to the International Labor Organization, in some Asian countries, their economies are built on the sex industry — from 2% up to 14%!
  • According to UNICEF in their The State of the Worlds Children 2012, somewhere between 22% – 50% are children, of which most are trafficked for the sex industry.
  • The UNODC report on human trafficking states that much of that activity happens in SE Asia.
  • However, don’t be fooled…trafficking happens right here in the US every day.  CNN is home to The Freedom Project and they report that the number of US trafficking victims is roughly equivalent to the number of murders each year. {The Slave Next Door by Kevin Bales}  And only 1% of human trafficking cases are prosecuted in the US.  See the graphic below from the Freedom Project:

freedom.number.t1larg.4.ok

Pretty incredible, right?  The Exodus Road is dedicated to changing these statistics.  But these are more than just statistics to them…they are real people who need rescuing.

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? – Isaiah 58:6

From Passion 2013, which was focused on ending modern day slavery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K69NdzPvwj0

Watch the Video

And finally. I would also like to share some of Matt’s, the Executive Director of Exodus Road, thoughts and his powerful words.  You can read the full post here.  He writes:

Victims of human trafficking are not lost forever, unless the very last one of us gives up.

And till the day they are free, I choose to hope and set my eyes on the horizon. There I see freedom coming–  freedom for victims of human trafficking and freedom for me as I seek it for them.  Freedom is the very aroma of God and love is his firm step.  I have never known joy as I know it today, as I too take up the smell and step of God.  Justice is the mix of these two elements, freedom and love.  When both are present, the Kingdom of God is realized.

Last night I witnessed the slavery of over two hundred women.  On my left sat a young virgin and on my right a young girl maybe twenty years old. Both for sale. All for sale. And I wanted this justice fueled by love for them so very badly.

This work that we are doing is a powerful thing in my own life. It stretches beyond my comfort, calls me to be courageous in the face of fear, costs me greatly and has shown me the face of God in ways that have surprised me.

Many people claim to know God.  If the work of rescue has taught me anything, it is that I know very little about God and am a fool to claim that I do.  I now believe that he is so much bigger than I will ever comprehend and his love, justice and mercy are equally unfathomable.

This is a big story, after all, that we are living.  A story of impossible odds, brokenness and courage, passion and justice.  It is the best story I have ever read, and I still do not know how it will end.

I am forever changed, and we are only at the beginning.

-Matt Parker.  Executive Director, The Exodus Road.   Jan. 2013

 

Book Review: Unglued Devotional by Lysa TerKeurst

{Full disclosure:  Booksneeze.com graciously sent me a complimentary copy of this book for the purpose of reviewing it.  These thoughts listed here are my own and have not been influenced.}

Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress

Basic Info…

Title: Unglued Devotional: 60 Days of Imperfect Progress

Author: Lysa TerKeurst

Publisher:  Zondervan

ISBN-10:  0310320321

ISBN-13: 978-0310320326

Website:  Lysa TerKeurst

My thoughts….

I love how by the end of this book, I felt like maybe Lysa and I would be friends.  I have not read the book Unglued, so I wasn’t sure if that would alter my opinion, but I found the opposite to be true.  I found that the devotional was easy to read and it did not matter that I had not read the companion book.

I had heard of Lysa, but I was not very familiar with her work.  I am hooked after reading this!  I can’t wait to read more from her.  I also highly encourage you to hear her speak, she is phenomenal.  She’s so open and honest about her struggles, it’s easy to relate to her.

I found one of the best parts of the book is that it somewhat shatters this image of the perfect life that I would have assumed Lysa lives.  I realize that we all have struggles, but some people’s lives seem a bit charmed…not to say that they don’t have struggles, however they are not necessarily public struggles.  Lysa comes across as being authentic, without dramatizing or exaggerating  as a fellow woman who has her moments of becoming “unglued.”

I also how easy they are to read.  They are also short enough that if you only have a few minutes, you can still fit them in.  They are well written, begin with a thought for the day and end with a prayer.

I thought that this was a solid devotional and I can’t wait to read more from Lysa!

A Clear Vision

As I work on creating a clear vision for the future of Kupenda 127, my research has led me to many other amazing organizations doing phenomenal things.  I wanted to share some of these encouraging stories with you.  In the very near future, we will be releasing our vision for where we are headed.

Have you heard of Project 127?  They are out of Colorado and have made it their goal for Colorado to have no waiting children.  In 2007, there were more than 800 children waiting in foster care…today there are none.  Their mission is spreading…check out this awesome  news slip and article about what Arizona is doing to continue the mission.

This movement has also spread to Fresno, California.  Christian Alliance for Orphans has highlighted this program in a great blog that you can read here and here.  Or you can check out the full article from Christianity Today here.

And even right here in the Pacific Northwest, the least churched region in America.  CAFO also wrote a blog on the awesome upcoming events and programs in Oregon and Washington.  You can check that out here.  I am part of the planning for the Spokane Orphan Summit.  If you are in the Spokane area, I strongly encourage you to attend.  Portland churches are supporting their foster community, read this encouraging article here.

And finally, a video about a family who adopted 5 siblings from Peru.  While today’s post has been mostly about domestic programs and movements, our heart is for the orphan — no matter where they are from.  And this video is encouraging too, because domestically most waiting children are older and have siblings…  And we need families to step up and take in these kiddos too.

I hope these videos and articles encourage and inspire you.  If you would like to partner with us in some way, please contact me.  And please be praying for us and we move through the next weeks of changes and new exciting happenings.

Use Your Power For Rescue

I wanted to share an amazing opportunity to support a fantastic organization.  The guys (and gals) at The Exodus Road are changing lives.

They need to fund some upcoming investigations.  The time to end child sex trafficking is now.  Please check out this link for info on buying this fantastic shirt and supporting this organization.

 

I also encourage you to follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

They are working in the trenches to end trafficking.  Right now, they are in SE Asia working with investigators and local police to assist in investigations and prosecution of traffickers. And they need our help to keep these missions going.

So show them some love and get this awesome limited edition tee-shirt and show not just them but the world that you are committed to end human trafficking and the trafficking of child sex slaves.

Announcing…Our Partnership with Youth Sport Uganda

A couple of months ago, Joshua Opolot contacted me about partnering with his organization, Youth Sport Uganda.

Their mission, “YSU works towards a world where all young people have the opportunity to improve their lives through access to sports and recreation.”  {taken from their website}

They work in Kampala, Uganda in the slum districts.  Providing sports and recreation to the poorest of children, including programs for girls.

One of the reasons that I love this program is that they not only provide something for children to do that is healthy, they go so much further.

Started in 2006, they have helped thousands of children from all types of backgrounds — differences in socio-economics and religion come together to become friends.  They do other amazing things like address health issues (including HIV/AIDS awareness) and promote health and education across Kampala and into the rest of Uganda.

Their program started simply and has grown to truly be a “sport in development” program.  It provides these children with stability, opportunities, and a change for future success and to truly excel in life.

Joshua was kind enough to share some photos of their projects with me and now I would like to share them with you.  {These are not my photos, they have been used with permission by Joshua Opolot of Youth Sport Uganda}

Happy kiddos with new stuffed animals!

The amazing Joshua Opolot!

Looks like fun!

Field hockey rocks!

Check out their website and Facebook page for even more great photos and information on current stuff happening…and follow them on Twitter.

Youth Sport Uganda is able to grow and thrive because of people like you…and they are in need of sponsors for some of their participants.  In the coming days, we will be featuring some of these kiddos.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child, you can contact me or Joshua.  Sponsorship can literally change a child’s life — giving them hope and a future.

And more great stuff…if you live in the Spokane area, we are going to be holding a sports equipment drive this spring and want to send them lots of great stuff.  If you have sports equipment that you would like to send them, please contact me at spokanegirl26@gmail.com.  If you don’t live in the Spokane area but would like to send them some awesome stuff or host a drive yourself, let me know.

AND…even more awesomeness.  I might be most excited about this.  Joshua and some awesome, wonderful ladies are sending us beaded necklaces and bracelets.  100% of the money goes directly back to Youth Sport Uganda.  You will not want to miss out.  These are not only gorgeous, they support such a great cause.  More to come on the beads, but please comment or e-mail me for information on purchasing them.  {Pictures are courtesy of Joshua Opolot.}

So beautiful!

Hard at work!

These are must haves :)  Valentine’s, Mother’s Day, birthdays, just because!

So much more to come, but we are thrilled to partner with such an amazing organization.  They are truly the hands and feet of Jesus.

The Most Vulnerable of All

Today there are 140 – 210 million orphans in the world.  You can check out past posts for more statistics — here and here.

Today I want to focus on a special number of these.  According to Avert, at the end of 2010 there were 3.4 million children living with HIV/AIDS around the globe.  90% of these children live in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Africa’s struggle with the AIDS virus has caused a lot of fear in people.  There has been a lot of work done to educate the African people about AIDS and HIV…how it is spread, how it is prevented, and other facts about the virus.

However, fear remains.  This fear results in children who are orphaned and have HIV being shunned, sent to special orphanages, and avoided.

Project Hopeful has done some outstanding work in advocating for these orphans.

{Photo courtesy of MorgueFile}

These children are unlikely to be placed in families in their home countries.  They are often not able to access the anti-retro viral medications that they need.  And they often will not get the care they need because of limited resources and the belief that healthier people should get the resources.

Their best hope for the future is adoption.  And often, because of our own fear and lack of education, we pass them by as well.

There has never been a transmission of the virus between family members in a normal household setting.

These children have the possibility of living long, happy, fulfilling lives through adoption.  With the right medications, the virus can become nearly undetectable.  It is a chronic, yet manageable disease.

I encourage you to check out:  Positively Adopted, Reece’s Rainbow, Rainbow Kids, andProject Hopeful.

And I hope to begin featuring a special kiddo in need of a loving home here weekly, specifically focusing on those with HIV/AIDS.

You have the power to make a difference in the life of a child.