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.

Unity — Reflecting on Making Jesus First & Living Second

Reflecting on Week 7, Day 7: Unity from Doug Bender’s new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First {buy it here:  Live Second and bonus! If you buy before December 15, author Doug Bender is offering an amazing bonus which you can find here.}

Check out: John 17:20–23

I chose this topic to finish my posts, changing my original selection to this instead  in light of the Sandy Hook shooting that took place yesterday.  (#sandyhook)

I have spent the last two days wrestling with emotions, praying, and crying — and enjoying the beautiful moments I have had with my daughter.

Events like Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, Clackamas, Virginia Tech, 9/11 — they all impact us.  They remind me that evil exists and that we can’t fix everything.

But Jesus can.  He can take begin the healing through our pain.  He is the great Comforter.

A beautiful thing happens after tragedy — people come together, they pray.  A resounding call to prayer went up yesterday.  People that are not usually one to talk about faith or prayer were praying, attending vigils, thanking God for their life.  This gives me hope for our future — that people realize where healing and comfort truly comes from — God.

My daughter, Fiona, spent the night last night with her grandparents.  She had heard about the shooting earlier in the day (she is home schooled).  Apparently while she was at my parents, they must have been watching the news.  She came home and definitely wanted to talk about it.

She said she wanted to call her friend right away to make sure they knew what was going on.  Then, the tears began to fall.  She said that if she was back at her old school, she would feel terrified to return.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but the pain that she was feeling almost surprised me.  I didn’t expect to hear her fear.

She wanted to try and find a vigil to attend.  She wanted to feel that unity and solidarity of community to overcome that fear.  To be a part of something bigger, to feel like she doing something.

Our country has felt so divided through the election and politics.  For a brief moment, we all stop to feel each other’s pain, to hold each other and comfort one another.  And realize God holds the key.

While I know that this feeling of unity may not last, it encourages me to push forward — that healing comes through unity.  And that Jesus can unify us.  But we must do our part.  And that really begins with living second.

Love Jesus.  Love others.  Live Second.

Love — Reflecting on Making Jesus First & Living Second

Reflecting on Week 7, Day 3: Love from Doug Bender’s new book, Live Second: 365 Ways to Make Jesus First {buy it here:  Live Second and bonus! If you buy before December 15, author Doug Bender is offering an amazing bonus which you can find here.}

Check out: Mark 12:28 – 34

I chose this topic to kick off my posts because when I think of living second, I think of loving God first.  And I also think of loving others before myself.

When I was younger I used to think of love as being this amazing feeling, you have it all the time.  Everything is happy.  Everyone is happy.  Life is good.  Love will make it all better.

Then, I got older.

Life happened.  I realized that life is not always happy.  That love sometimes doesn’t last.

But love can last.  Even through the icky stuff.  It’s that euphoric, over the top feeling that will never last.

Every relationship I have ever had (parents, siblings, children, dating, etc) goes through changes.  It’s that ebb and flow of life.

There is a person in my life, whom I love so much.  I have known them since before I had memories, they are a big part of the fabric that makes up my life story.  My life wouldn’t be what it is today if they were not a part of it.  But our story is not all happy.  There has been deep and immense pain in this relationship.  Broken trust.  Some of my greatest pain has been born from this person.  Times of not feeling love.  Times when I really truly felt that I didn’t ever want to see them again.  Deep wounds that have healed, but left a scar on my heart.

Thankfully I have another person in my life, who also loves this person and loves Jesus.  They consistently spend time in prayer for us.  Offer a shoulder to cry on when they pain gets too much.

But healing has come.  It happened slowly.  After a devastating event, I cut myself off.  No calls.  No visits.  No nothing.  I did not want to see them or talk to them.  This went on for six months (an eternity for us).  Through the prayers of a small little girl, my heart began to heal and soften.  Contact was made.  Redemption.  It hasn’t been all smooth sailing, but it gets better most days.

Over the years, a lot of reading, and even more prayers I have learned a significant truth.  Hurt people hurt people.  And only God can bring the kind of healing that will mend those hurts.  But sometimes people are so shut off that they don’t want to hear about or from God.  It’s easier to wallow in their own hurt and self-pity.

That’s where love comes in.  Our love for them.  Our love for God.  I could not love this person in my life the way that I am able to without God.  Humanly, I couldn’t do it.  It’s too hard.  But God breathes this beautiful love for them into my heart, that sustains even when the happy love feeling is no where to be found.

And because God has given me this beautiful love, I can show them that love.  But I had to make a choice.  A choice to accept the love God has for me.  A choice to show that love even through my own pain and hurt.  And sometimes I don’t make the right choice.  But thankfully God continues to work on me and His love is unconditional.  Available.  And it redeems the broken.  Overcomes the wrong choices.  Offers healing.

In the devotional, Doug Bender, writes, “Love is not a feeling.”  Amen.  It’s not a feeling at all.  Sometimes it comes with a feeling.  But love itself is not a feeling.

He goes on to say that love is, “The reason for our creation and the foundation of all relationships.”  If we don’t accept that, our life’s purpose will be unfulfilled.  Our relationships will end without that foundation.  Life is meaningless without God’s love.

I hope that you have chosen to accept God’s love for you.  To live for Him first and foremost.  Because in living second, there is immense freedom.  There is joy where it seems impossible; hope in the darkest of places; and healing in the most shattered and broken places.

Love Jesus.  Love others.  Live Second.

Updates, Announcements…Good Stuff

So much going on here!!

First off, I wanted to share with you about the Spokane Orphan Summit.  It’s going to be AMAZING so put it on your calendar NOW if you live in Eastern WA/North Idaho or somewhere else…we’d love to have you too.  You will be hearing more about this in the months to come.

Next, we are finalizing an official partnership with our first organization, Youth Sport Uganda!  More details to come on that as well!!

Look out for lots of blogs this week…Compassion, I am Second, and I am now a blogger for Exodus Road, so I will be posting a new blog about that as well!  Yay for awesome partnerships.  These are all organizations that I believe in and I am so thrilled to be a part of!

God bless!!

Exodus Road Blogger

World AIDS Day

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It’s World AIDS Day.  I wanted to provide some links to organizations who are doing some phenomenal work in this area.  We can make a difference.  Testing HIV+ no longer means an AIDS death sentence.  Get informed.

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Before & After:  90 Days of taking the ARV

Before & After: 90 Days of taking the ARV

Check out:  (RED) for all the great statistics and what is being done to prevent AIDS.  Project Hopeful is an organization that advocates for the adoption of children who are HIV+.  The Luke Commission works on the ground in Swaziland, the country with the most cases of HIV/AIDS in the world.

Get informed.  Get involved.  Change lives.  Change the future.

 

Contemplative.

I haven’t been posting a lot here (although I have been posting on my personal blog recently).  I have been thinking about how to be most effective.

I can recite or post a million statistics or stories of horrible atrocities.  Sad pictures of children who need a mommy and a daddy.  Awful realities of what it’s like to live in the 3rd world while we enjoy a rather lovely 1st world experience.

No matter how poor (which believe me, I am poor) we are or how hard times can get, I still have a home.  I still have indoor plumbing and running, clean water in my home.  I still have heat in the winter and a/c in the summer.  I have a car.  I have food and can easily obtain more, even if I can’t afford it — only 2 blocks to the nearest food bank.  I have parents who still help me when I need it and I always have had loving parents who made sure that I knew how loved I was.

I get weary of defending my passion for Africa and the orphans there.  I care about ALL orphans, but God has placed a burden for Africa on my heart.  It’s hard to stand alone for a long time.  It’s hard when money is tight and you try and you try and you try but it doesn’t happen.

It’s just hard.  But I am learning that relying on God and His strength can renew you.  And not exhaust you.  And it’s worth it.

But I want to be effective.  Not exhausted.  So, I am figuring this out — little by little, step by step.  And in God’s time, it will happen.  Meanwhile, I am going to pray and advocate and do whatever I can for these precious children.

Book Review: Kisses From Katie by Katie Davis

This is from my personal blog…I thought I would share it here as well.

Journey of a Thousand Miles

Basic Info…

Title: Kisses From Katie

Author: Katie Davis

Publisher: Howard Books

ISBN-10: 1451612095

ISBN-13: 978-1451612095

My thoughts….

Probably the best book I have read in years.  I literally could not put it down.  My conversations have been littered with…Katie Davis said…and in the Kisses From Katie book…and so on.  When I was thinking about what I would write about the book, I picked up it and again….could not put it down.  I could re-read it again and again, learning and growing each time.

After finishing the book and through reading Katie’s blog, she really writes honestly and transparently.  It leaves you feeling like you are her friend.  Like she is writing to you, to tell you about this amazing adventure.

I already had a soft spot in my heart for Uganda and their people, but this book really took that to a whole other level.  I long to be…

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