Tuesday, March 31, 2009

International Justice Mission

May I tell you about a really incredible way I'm learning to impact the world for Christ?  Please indulge me.

Our church, Solid Ground Christian Fellowship in Redlands, Ca, has been discussing the International Justice Mission for the last few weeks and will continue until Easter.  It is an awesome organization.  IJM is committed to working with local police and prosecutors all over the world to stop oppression and slavery using the legal system already in place.  Did you know that there are more people in slavery right now, than in all the years of American slavery?  I didn't know that, but it is true.  

Children who are poor sometimes have to be sold into slavery to pay a family debt, and are charged incredible interest so that they will never be free.  And these are not just kids who are working to help the family.  They are beaten if they don't meet quotas, and put in very dangerous work conditions for sometimes 18 hours per day.  Women and young girls, are lied to, brought to brothels and beaten or starved into forced prostitution.  Often they are told their families will be killed if they escape.  These are more than sad stories.  It is the real way of life for way too many, right now.  The friends and families of these people are powerless to do anything about it.  But we aren't.  IJM, and other groups like them, use quality people, educated in their fields, and resources from Christians like us, to free these people, and put in jail the oppressors.  They also provide those freed with after care and share the gospel with them.   

Our youth group and our small groups are finding creative was to raise funds to help.  Prior to studying this I really knew very little about current day slavery, and felt like it was just so far away, what could anyone really do.  But after these last few weeks, hearing real stories and praying, it is so clear that I have resources and a desire to do something.  

In one of the videos a young American who was in India seeing first had the bonded slavery of children was saying to himself, "Why hasn't anyone done something about this?  Why haven't our parents already fixed this," and then he said that he realized, "It's us, we are supposed to do something about it."  

It is so cool because the youth, and many adults, have begun to see that we are God's plan to saving these people and we want to act.  About $500 covers the fees to free a child from bonded slavery, and about $1000 frees a girl from forced protitution.  One of my friends in our small group said something that has stuck with me.  He said, and I'm paraphrasing, "We spend so much time looking at our own sin, and how we need to change, but, we are ignoring the sin around us."  We think God is calling us to an opportunity, and we don't want to miss it.

Will you join us?  Who do you know that could influence more Christians to act?  Could you let them know about what is happening?  Could you tell anyone?  Would you like to do a study to learn what is happening around the world and what you could do about it?

Pray about it.  Go ahead right now.  Wouldn't it be awesome if we could actually stop current day slavery in our lifetime?  I learned also from my friend that when you offer God the little you have (remember the fish and loaves of bread story) he does abounding more with it.

Check out the International Justice Mission website www.ijm.org

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Sending Love Out

Last night our small group families made Valentine's for a local retirement home.  We had a really good time with the kids and found out that my friend Wendy is quite the impromptu card maker :)  (We missed Jen, Alec, Sophie, and Miles though).  We don't know exactly who will be getting the cards, as Steven is delivering them to the home for those who work there to decide what to do with them.  Please join with me to pray that the message we intend is sent, and the people God wants to bless through those cards is found. Thanks guys.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Doing Much Better

Update for those who haven't seen our crazy climber lately, he is doing much better.  It wasn't broken, and although he isn't really running yet, he is moving in the right direction (if you call eating his toes the right direction). Seriously, I did not pose this picture.  It's the real stuff, unscripted and undirected.

Tried to insert a video here of the new hobble but was given the ol' contact support it isn't gonna happen pop-up.

Too bad though, because if you had seen it you would have thought his little limpy walk was adorable, and you would have died for his cutie pie voice (sorry these are a mother's words). Not sure why he was wearing only one shoe during the performance, other than the usual reason, that one fell off and we never managed to get it back on.  I am also unclear as to why his words were unrecognizable since he always speaks very clearly when the video is off...what, oh, that last thing I wrote is not true.  Is it a lie even if you confess it right away?

Anyway, we are very pleased about his speedy recovery and are taking full advantage of grandma's guilt ridden heart, (since the deed occurred on her watch) okay not really .  

To sum up, Luke is better, I am...in need of repentance.  

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

First xray at 19mo

Earlier in the day.

So Luke sits on my lap today to watch the coverage of the inauguration from our computer, with his right leg and foot in a splint.  This boy, at only 19 months old has allowed me to feel that ikky concern we have for our kids when they need some kind of physical healing.  Climbing in a family members backyard he managed to fall and, well... he hasn't walked on it since.  Xrays somewhat unclear, possible fracture or maybe not.  The point is this baby who should be running around is now crawling.

Somewhat interesting is that he never really crawled before he walked, he kind of walked on this hands and his feet to help him along.  So this is very new to him and he is not too happy about it.

Heard a song today by Plumb called "Better", the lyrics spoke to me as I thought of my boy "What leaves you broken, in the end, makes you better."

As setbacks go, this is a minor one.  It has left him broken for now.  Right now it is my job to make things better for him with help and the splint and holding him when he needs a break from crawling, but God is the ultimate determiner of how He plans to "Make things better" as Luke finds himself broken in his life.  This minor setback, casts that light on the future for me.   

God intended us to live in a place of no sin.  That is not the world in which I now raise my child.  He will break again and God will make it better.   

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Will always be little sis.

Friday my little sis (Heather) graduated from CBU with a Bachelors in English Lit./teaching. I am so very proud of her. 

As I was watching family and friends jockeying into position for their turn to photograph the new graduate, I realized my little sis had grown up. She will be married in July and conversation the past few weeks has revolved solely around her eagerness to find and close escrow on a home of her own.

(my little man and my little sis)

I am having a difficult time trying to understand how she grew up so quickly. It doesn't seem like very long ago I was teaching her how to ride a bike; then laughing when she failed to successfully land a respectable jump...Ouch(sorry again sis). 

Ok, so I could tell story after story. The point I am trying to relay is that, regardless of her age or status, My baby sister (Heather) will always be me little sis.    

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Greeting That's a Gift

Sheridan has been driving now for over 6 months.  It hasn't gotten easier yet. On us I mean. I hear you get used to it.  

Tonight, when I came home from small group, the weather was perfect and the sky looked beautiful.  I was drawn to stay out in my front yard and talk to God for a while.

Having no place to sit, I just sat down in the middle of the driveway.  I knew Sheridan would be driving up soon and wondered if I would still be sitting there when she arrived.

Sure enough, about 15 minutes later, she came driving up in Josh's loud truck, safe and sound (she was a little bewildered to see me sitting in a dark driveway).  It was great to greet her with a hug and to walk into the house together, hearing about her evening.  She has no idea how much I loved it.  She won't until she has a teenager of her own.

But that's okay.  It was a gift from God.  He had me stay out there.  I love how unusual He is.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

God speaks

So I've been praying and listening...and researching.  God's answer to what does he want me to do right now about the number of people groups around the globe that haven't been reached with the gospel message...Care.  Care enough to be heart broken like He is.  

Researching some web sites I found some amazing statistics.  For instance, in North America there are approximately 591 people groups and 3 have not been reached.  Contrast that with Europe's 784 people groups with 717 not reached.  And of course no surprise, South Asia has 1444 groups with 1133 not reached.  

I am.  Broken hearted that is.  All the words I hear from the pulpit and from others speaking His word generate a vision of the people who have grown up their whole lives never seeing the beauty of Christ in even one other person.  It brings tears to my eyes.

I'm thankful that Josh and I listened when God prompted us to give regularly to missions.  But now, my heart is differently burdened.  These numbers, while not completely out of left field, have stirred an ignition in me.  I live in a place on this earth with A LOT of people who have Christ living inside them.  What am amazing blessing!  I truly want that for every people group on this earth.  Much more importantly, I know God wants that too.  

My prayers continue.