Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Bands and Big Ticket!

Hello Blogland,

Long time no see.  These last few months have been a whirlwind of awesomeness.  Since I started full time with World Orphans in February, the momentum and work load has increased steadily each month.

Anyways, my goal with my blog was to continue to provide you with ministry updates and I have failed at that.  I am going to try to improve though.  To start, I will share my July newsletter, which really is about June, but whatever.  It is a bit on the older side now, but it still gives you a glimpse at what I have been up to lately.  Hopefully, I will remember to post my August one sooner.

The beginning of June was spent finalizing plans for my month-and-a-half long nomadic journey full of work events.  Then, on June 15th I headed home to Ohio to spend a few days with my family before heading to Michigan where the fun began.
 
"To the World" Worship and Justice Tour: On June 21st, I met up with two bands, Bluetree and The Informants, who were finishing up their World Orphans Worship and Justice Tour.  They had been traveling around Michigan playing in churches and other venues for the purpose of creating worshipful experiences and promoting justice for orphans.
            I joined the tour for the last few shows to help recruit Rescue Partners and to sell jewelry handmade by women in Guatemala and Haiti.  On Sunday, we played at an amazing church full of people with hearts for the world.  That morning alone, 21 new people signed up to be monthly partners with World Orphans.  Their support, along with all of the other Rescue Partners provides for our international church projects who are still awaiting U.S. church partners.  Thanks to Rescue Partners, these churches are able to continue providing holistic care for the orphans and vulnerable children in their community.  Over the course of the whole tour, 58 people signed up to play this important role.
 
Big Ticket Festival:  After the tour wrapped up, it was time to get ready for the main event: Big Ticket Festival (BTF).  It took two full days of set-up to get the World Orphans experience tent ready to go.  This preparation including cleaning out an old school bus, tearing cardboard, slinging mud, modge podging, hanging burlap, spray painting, stringing clothes line, and much more.   The result was a six-minute-long audio visual presentation that left many in tears.   The journey took people from the comforts of everyday life through our true brokenness, and into the life of an orphan in Cambodia.  They also were given time to pray for orphans and those in need around the world.
            Throughout the festival over 2,000 entered the bus and went through the World Orphans experience.  At the end, they expressed their sadness, conviction, and desire to do more for orphans with the staff members and volunteers working inside the tent.  Then, they stepped out into my tent where I shared about Rescue Teams and other ways to get involved.  It was such a blessing to empower people to turn their emotion into action. 


Amie and Me working the tent
            I had some great conversations with young people who hoped to get their youth groups to form Rescue Teams, adults who wanted to get their businesses involved, and many individuals who had great ideas for fundraisers.  The many different ideas included dirt bike races, hiking events, pie auctions, running ½ marathons, YouTube videos etc.  I look forward to following up with these passionate people and hopefully helping them start their Rescue Teams.
            In addition to serving at the experience tent and my own Rescue Team booth, I was also able to represent World Orphans in several other ways.  At least once or twice a day, my supervisors chose me to speak on stage to invite people to get involved with World Orphans.  Though a few of these stage times were sprung on me last minute, I had a blast at every one!


Selfie from the Worship Stage
            Also, on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, I helped out with the large appeals from the Main Stage.  On two of the three nights, Jared Faelleci, a volunteer advocate and public speaker for World Orphans, spoke about the work being done in Iraq.  He explained how God is using World Orphans to provide refuge for those fleeing ISIS.  Then, he asked the audience to give generously to support the over 600 refugees in our care.  Over 30 of us wandered through the crowd of 10,000 people carrying buckets to collect the donations.  Later, our hearts raced as we counted the money.  All of us were praying and hoping for $10,000, which would really mean $30,000 thanks to two matching donations.  Guess what.  God showed up!  The crowd donated $10,005!
            On the last night, Aaron from Bluetree made an appeal for Rescue Partners and 31 people responded.  Plus, others made one time gifts, which will also be used to provide for the children care for by our international church partners.
Aaron Boyd of Bluetree speaking about World Orphans from atop a bus
            Serving at Big Ticket Festival and alongside both bands was incredible.  It confirmed to me that I am just one person in the midst of a much greater movement.  God is at work through His faithful servants and He is providing for orphans.  Thank you for being a part of it all!

Hope you enjoyed the update!


Thursday, May 7, 2015

CAFO and Color Me Cambodacious!

Good Evening Everyone,

It's been a bit since I have blogged, but I just finished writing my slightly late quarterly ministry update, so I figured I would share the news with you all.

The first quarter of 2015 has drawn to a close.  Looking back now, it is hard to believe in January I was sitting at 78% support and unsure when I would begin full time work.  God provided in amazing and humbling ways through all of your generous gifts and prayers.  Thanks to you, I have now been on staff and working hard for just over 3 months.
 
Over these past months, I have undergone training, worked on the Rescue Teams website, made hundreds of phone calls, started my own Rescue Team, and traveled to Nashville for the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference.  Having shared many of these efforts with you already, I will provide highlights for only my most recent work:
 


Color Me Cambodacious: Running to Rescue Orphans in Cambodia: The Rescue Team that my friends and I started has grown to include 11 runners and 9 fundraisers.  We are all in training for a 5k race on May 16th where we will run on behalf of orphans in Cambodia.  Our pre-race efforts have yielded $426 of our $2600 goal.  We are excited for the progress, but have a long way to go.  All of the Color Me Cambodacious team members and the children in Cambodia would be grateful for your support.  You can make a one-time, tax-deductible gift here: Donate to Rescue Orphans in Cambodia.

 
Journey Trip Calls: Throughout April, I spent most of my days calling nearly everyone who has traveled with World Orphans on a Journey trip in the past.  From 2011 to present, we have sent hundreds of people around the world to experience poverty, the orphan crisis, and the amazing work of the local church as supported by World Orphans.  During my calls, I heard many inspiring stories.  Countless Journey trip alumni have become lifelong orphan advocates through overseas missions, foster care, adoption, careers in social work etc.   Several are now prayerfully considering starting Rescue Teams to invite others to join the cause.
 


CAFO Conference: As I write this newsletter, I am just back from a two-day whirlwind trip to Tennessee for the annual Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Summit.  The event was a bit overwhelming at first with over 100 ministry booths lining the hallways, a huge list of breakout sessions, and crowds of people!  However, soon I realized how amazing it was to be surrounded by thousands of people who have dedicated their lives to caring for orphans.  From foster parents and adoptive families to church leaders and global orphan ministry workers, all were playing their role in defending the fatherless.
            Having accepted the fact that there was no way I could engage in everything there was to do at the conference, I decided to spend one day attending breakout sessions and the other day at the World Orphans exhibit sharing about our ministry and networking with other ministries.
            On Thursday, I attended three breakout sessions.  One emphasized the importance of caregiver well-being in the effective care of orphans and vulnerable children.  You must teach and support the entire family, not just the child.  This was encouraging to hear since World Orphans does provide this type of family-support in our home-based care programs.
            The other two sessions were taught by World Orphans (WO) staff and our partner ministries.  Scott Vair of World Orphans, Mark Gumm of Bethany Christian Services, and Chad Smith of AMG Guatemala shared about the importance and beauty of humble collaboration.  Mark Gumm summarized the impact that partnership can have by saying, "By collaborating we can reach more children, more families with the compassion and love of Jesus Christ and we can do it better.”

Left to Right: Mark Gumm, Chad Smith, and Scott Vair.


Kate Borders
In her session dedicated to "Empowering Short Term Missions Teams,” Kate Borders, Executive Director of Mobilization for WO, emphasized that when planning trips, “We do the logistics well, so we can do the heart level well.”  Once the details are in order, team leaders have more time to disciple team members.
            Friday was spent at the booth with my good friend and co-worker, Amie, whom I finally met in person at CAFO after months of working together long distance.  As newer staff members we spent plenty of time listening to the veterans share about our ministry with great depth.  When opportunities presented themselves, we too spoke with many who visited our exhibit.




Lindsay, Amie, and Me, the three newest staff members all working hard at CAFO.


I could go on for pages, but I will try to summarize.  CAFO was a fast-paced time of fellowship with fellow staff members, learning from leaders in orphan care, and sharing the vision of World Orphans.  I look forward to following up with the over 30 new contacts we gained to invite them further into the work of advocating for orphans.



Representatives from World Orphans and three of our partner organizations: Bethany Christian Services, AMG, and Together For Adoption

These past three months of serving with World Orphans have been amazing.  I hope that you are encouraged to hear how God is using your prayers and support to change the lives of children around the world.
 
Thank you so much and God bless!

 


Monday, April 13, 2015

Where's Your Tom Sawyer Island?

Where is your Tom Sawyer Island?

Where do you go to get perspective?  Where do find peace and open your mind to creativity?

Hmmm....

This question stumped me at small group last week.  The girls and I had just read the introduction to Love Does by Bob Goff in which he talks about making his office Tom Sawyer Island in Disneyland.  He describes how this place has become an escape for him.  A place of clarity and potential.

What a beautiful concept. 

Do I have a place like that?

The fact that it did not immediately come to mind indicates that I do not go there often.  That I often fall into the busy routine and don't take time be still and dream.  Yes, inspiration comes.  God speaks.  The small voice whispers in between the cracks in my schedule and the brief moments of silence in the midst of the noise.

I wonder what He would say if He had more time.

After a few moments of contemplation and listening to my friends share, I realized I do have a place or rather a type of place.

High.  Wide.

 

 

Nothing offers perspective quite like an expansive horizon and a view from the top.  The rushing cars and crowds of hurried people are far below.  The earth stretches out as far as the eye can see.  Rooftops.  Fields.  Oceans.  Whatever the scenery, it all melts into the distance with the sky spread above.

Peace comes.  He's got this.  There is a bigger picture, a wide view.  Far bigger and wider than any height on earth could ever reveal.  God sees it though. 

Time to slow down.  Breathe deep.  Listen.  Smile.  Remember.

He's got this. 

Where's your Tom Sawyer Island?


Thursday, April 2, 2015

April Currently

Can it be April already?  How did this happen?

Not that I am complaining.  April is my favorite month.  Spring weather (hopefully), flowers, and my birthday!  Plus, this April, I have my first World Orphans event to look forward to.  I will be going to the Christian Alliance for Orphans conference in Nashville at the end of this month.  So exciting!

Today, I am linking up with Farley's Currently.


Listening
 
I am finishing up the winter season online.  Though I originally loved the characters, they are getting a tad bit annoying and the situations are getting less plausible.  Oh well, guess that's what happens with many TV shows.

Loving
My friends and I just formed a World Orphans Rescue Team called Color Me Cambodacious: Running to Rescue Orphans in Cambodia.  We will be racing in a Color Me Rad event and inviting people to sponsor us by donating to World Orphans.  It's going to be so much fun!

Thinking
I'm heading back to Ohio tomorrow to see my family for Easter.  I can't wait! 
 
Wanting
It's finally a beautiful, warm day outside!  I've been inside working at my computer all day, so I'm antsy to get outside.  Time for a walk!
 
Needing
Haven't packed my bag yet for my trip home.  It's only a few days, but I should probably get on that.
 
EGGS-plain Your Name
My blog name was born from me being a teacher and volunteering with Compassion International.  Now, that I am working for World Orphans, I still consider it an appropriate name since I am encouraging and leading people to raise awareness and funds for orphans around the world.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Colorado and 2 Weeks Notice

Hello!  Long time no blog.  Life has been crazy, but awesome.

Things with my new job at World Orphans are off to a great start.  More on that later.  I've also been busy with teaching children's church, babysitting, leading my small group, working part time , trying to figure out my next housing situation (to move or not to move, that is the question), taking a few salsa lessons, and trying to still get to the gym every day.  

Inhale.

Hold.

Exhale.

Though I am a high energy achiever and like to have lots going on, I am realizing it is time to make some changes and seek out balance.  Hard to believe that only two months ago I felt aimless and like I had too much free time.  Once one gear starts moving they all do.

That being said, I gave 2 weeks notice to my part time job today.  I have never done that before.  The only other times I have left a job the situation was out of my control or I moved out of state.  It was oddly empowering to decide to leave and then follow through with it.  Of course, I first had to verbally process the situation with my mom, ask advice from friends, and consult WikiHow's page to draft a letter of notice.  Quite helpful.

Now that it is done, I just have two weekends of work left and then I can focus primarily on my awesome job with World Orphans.  So many exciting things are happening!

The "Castle Rock"
Earlier this month, work kicked into high gear after a visit to gorgeous Castle Rock, Colorado.  Though the views outside were incredible, I spent most of my time indoors at the enormous World Orphans headquarters.  Note the sarcasm.  Though the office is small, it is all we need and it is quite comfortable.  It was great to be there and to spend three full days working in person with my supervisor, the Senior Director of Advocacy.  We started on Tuesday with huge to-do lists, but by Thursday everything was finished or set in motion.
World Orphans Headquarters

Our foci included freshening up the Rescue Teams website, revising and creating new online resources for teams, developing a marketing strategy, and preparing for two upcoming events where I will promote Rescue Teams.

Once the new World Orphans website is finished, all the changes to the Rescue Teams page will be made.
Aside from working at the office, I also had a wonderful time meeting the local staff.  On Wednesday night everyone came over with their families for dinner.  The kids had ping pong ball wars all over the basement while the adults chatted.  I felt very welcomed.  It is an honor to be part of the World Orphans family.


After such productive days, I did get to do a bit of sightseeing.  My boss took me down to Colorado Springs to Garden of the Gods.  Incredible.  The pictures can't do it justice.
Ahhhhh....Though I started this post feeling a bit frenzies, those views actually brought me down several levels.  How can you not feel a sense of peace looking at such beauty?

I'm so glad I chose to blog tonight.  :-)


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Currently Starting My New Job!


February is here!  Hard to believe we are already in the second month of the new year.  Though January seemed to crawl a bit in some ways, it flew in others.

Anyhoo, now it is time for Farley's Currently.  It's a new month in a new year and new, exciting things are happening!  Hope you enjoy!



Listening
Being that most of my favorite shows are STILL on winter break and Switched at Birth is not available online without a subscriber, Netflix has been my TV salvation.  I think I posted about watching Gilmore Girls in another Currently.  Well, the obsession is still going.  I'm nearing the end of season 4, but have several more to go after that.  Keep the wit coming!

Loving
Tomorrow's my first official day with World Orphans!!!  

The support raising journey went from 0 to 60 in just 5 days this past week.  All month, I was stuck at 78%, only 2% away from starting work.  I kept praying and working hard to bring in the rest of the support, but nothing changed.  Eventually, I realized that God wanted me to let go and to seek His face, not just His hand.  

It was just a few days after I began to slowly let go that God showed up in a way that only He could.  Monday, January 26, was the one year “anniversary” of the Sunday when God confirmed my call to missions in a big way last year, I had a phone conversation with a new employee of World Orphans who has mentored me through the support raising process.  She encouraged me to send some bold reminder e-mails and to claim February 1st as my start date.  

I sent the e-mails and planned to make some calls later that night.  Before I could even make a phone call, I checked my online account and was astounded to discover that an individual whom I barely knew had donated $1,200 at once!  That’s $100 a month and more than I needed to reach 80%.  My breath caught immediately and I frantically calculated that I was now at 81%.  That’s when the weeping and laughing began.

God had provided more than enough through someone unexpected and He did it on a day that meant so much to me.

The story does not end there though.  By Tuesday night, God had provided 84% and I had a start date of February 1st.  I was ecstatic for about 4 hours.  Then, I got very sick.

For these last four days of the month, I was stuck in bed barely eating and drinking.  Even though I was not doing any support raising work, God kept bringing in new supporters.  By Friday, He had provided 88%.  That's a jump of 10% in under 5 days.  Amazing.

Long story, I know, but I just have to give God the glory.  Now, I cannot wait to begin the adventure of starting full time work with World Orphans, an incredible organization dedicated to empowering the local church to care for orphans within families.

Thinking


Excited.  Nervous.  Enough said.

Wanting

SNOW!!!  Last week's blizzard was a major disappointment.  6 inches does not equal 2 feet!  Grr.  I'm hoping the storm we get tonight is a good one and keep the world looking wintry for awhile.

Needing
New job = New paperwork.  Since I do not live near the main office of World Orphans, I have to visit a notary to get my I-9 form done.  Unfortunately, my bank only notarizes official bank documents.  That means I have to find someone/somewhere else, preferably free.  Any ideas where to go?

Pageant Title

Miss Child At Heart
Aside from the fact that everyone thinks I look super young, I like to wear bright colors, act goofy, and just be a kid.  :-)

Well, that's the end of my Currently.  Enjoy your February!


Friday, January 2, 2015

Threads

Happy Day 2 of 2015!  I know I already posted yesterday, but will all the resolution-making and goal setting going on, I felt it was time to share something I wrote awhile that might provide perspective.


Threads
Each human life is a different colored thread.  Thin.  Fragile.  Insignificant.

Useful.  Purposeful.  Unique.

Life begins waiting.  Then, attempts to move, to make.  The spool rolls as the thread creates endless loops on the floor.

A pause to admire reveals a mess.  The thread is wasted.

Until, the Sewer comes.

He sees the coils, yet chooses the color. 

He picks up the runway spool and winds the thread.  Sometimes gently.  Sometimes painfully as knots untangle and purpose is restored.

Soon, it's time to begin.  The Sewer threads His needle and starts to stitch.

The pattern is simple simple at first, but grows more intricate as the thread yields to its master.

At times the thread protests and the spool plunges to the floor. Though the thread unwinds, the Sewer never lets go.  The end is always in His hand as waits for spinning to stop.  The spool hits an obstacle.  Momentum dies.

Once again, the Sewer, gathers the thread.

Needle in hand, He guides the thread in and out many patterns. Numerous threads intertwine for a time, only to be separated to color new corners. 

Not one strand stands out.  Not one sees the whole design.  Each knows only the colors it glides by and the steady strength of the Sewer’s hand.  He knows.  He sees.  The picture forms before His eyes and by His hands.

When at last, He finishes, the tapestry shows no single strands, but a scene with each stitch planned.  A display of color with each thread in place.