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!