Wow! We have been busy lately! I'm thankful the holidays are amongst us, as I hope to slow down a bit, and just take in... family.
I will say however, even during the running, our hearts are in the right place... pursuing our family's ministry of orphan care.
I took the above photo, during one of our trips to Russia. I promised God I'd never forget what I saw or how it made me feel. So... two things lately. First, a bake sale that I helped Karis coordinate at her school. We baked... and baked... and even little sister, Karrigan, got in on the action!
In just one hour, we raised $60.50 for World Light Foundation, an organization that provides housing for orphans in Ukraine. Lots of yummy treats were sold by this group.
Most recently, all three of our children participated in Operation Christmas Child which is an annual affair in our household. If you're unfamiliar, check out the website:
Karis, Evan, and Karrigan enjoyed picking out (and sorting) all of the items to include in their shoe boxes.
They sorted... and sorted... and sorted...
They wrote letters...
And they prayed before bed.
As our family begins to slow down this holiday season and enjoy our time together, we won't forget the 143 million who don't have the love of a family. Hopefully, this very small gesture, of shoe boxes filled with holiday goodies, will help brighten the holiday... of at least three.
I get just two days each week with my 7th and 8th grade students (Mondays and Fridays), as the class I teach, is an elective. I'm told by several parents that their kids choose to put more time in for projects, in my class, than their other classes combined. Maybe that's a compliment- that the students like the class which happens to be, video production. This year, I decided to take a new approach in teaching. Instead of just learning about how to produce videos, we are stepping outside of the box. We are seeking to make a difference for the Kingdom by letting God guide us in our content and creativity.
The students were challenged to come up with a peer topic or cause and make a whole campaign around it! They had to think strategically about their audience. We look to the current election and all that has gone into those campaigns! As for my students, they chose the following campaign topics: Child Abuse, Teen Suicide, and Human Trafficking. Whoa- right?! Some pretty deep topics.
As a whole, our entire class has learned a lot about these topics... especiallyhuman trafficking. We have looked to resources such as Joyce Meyer Ministries and the A21 campaign. On October 18, we will be wearing keys, just as the A21 website tells us to do... we will attempt to: wear the key, share the key, raise the key, and be the key... to ending human trafficking. Another way we have chosen to help is by writing letters to the rescued victims of human trafficking. We understand that some of these gals carry the letters in their purses and get them out daily, for encouragement. That's one small thing we can do, that God can bless in a BIG way.
27 million victims is unfathomable... this big business MUST COME TO AN END.
The girls are taken
from all over the world. The majority of victims come from Eastern Europe.
The fall of communism, extreme poverty, and not knowing God and His HOPE and His LOVE are major reasons girls in Eastern Europe fall victim to this industry.
We, however, are blessed. We are educated. We know and have a relationship with a living God. So... as a class, we prayed. We prayed for what God would have us to do. We prayed which countries God would lead us to write to (U.S., UK, Australia, Ukraine, Greece, or Bulgaria- addresses all on the A21 website)... and He gave us an answer... each student received an answer to which country God would direct their letter, for a former victim.
Proverbs 24:20 For the evil man has no future; the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
Ephesians 6:12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
We will do our part to: wear they key... share the key... raise the key... BE THE KEY.
The pieces of the puzzle are all coming together, and I'm continuing to see God's work in our lives, in such amazing ways. I believe that throughout our whole lives, He gives us clues into our giftings and areas to pursue...
He has structured my life in such a way that has prepared me for work in ministry. I'm proud to say, I'm now working full-time as the Director of Marketing and Communications at a local facility that offers retreats, conferences, weddings, and camps... all of which are part of an over-all ministry.
So, what is a ministry exactly? I found this definition that I believe describes what we do:
"Ministry" is from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning "to serve" or douleuo, meaning "to serve as a slave." In the New Testament, ministry is seen as service to God and to other people in His name. Jesus provided the pattern for Christian ministry—He came, not to receive service, but to give it (see Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 13:1-17).
The Christian should minister by meeting people's needs with love and humility on Christ's behalf (see Matthew 20:26; Mark 10:43; John 2:5,9; Acts 6:3; Romans 1:1; Galatians 1:10; Colossians 4:12). Christians are to minister to others out of their devotion to Christ and their love for others, whether the other people are believers or unbelievers. Ministry to others should be impartial and unconditional, always seeking to help others as Jesus would.
The people God has placed in my life, the timing, the training... looking at all of it now, WOW... God is amazing. There is always a plan and a purpose for everything...
Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you.”
This past weekend, I took our kids out to walk around this truly majestic place that God has called me to, for work.
They had a blast, running around, getting fresh air... taking in nature.
God has truly blessed ALL of us, with an amazing... playground. So we must remember to take time and... PLAY!
She has an understanding now of a love much deeper than what even Kevin and I can provide. She now understands mercy.
A song by the Rhett Walker Band says it all...
And in one moment everything changed, who I was got washed away... when Mercy found me. My savior's arms were open wide, and I felt love for the very first time, when Mercy found me... my mind found peace, my soul found hope, my heart found... a home.
Karis Yulia has been home for one year and three months.
Here we are keeping busy in mid-September! We have a football player, a volleyball player, and a little "supporter" who enjoys playing Barbies, at practices! We have Reds games, house chores, and leaf projects all going on. That's what we're up to, and although busy... Kevin and I are enjoying every moment... especially on Saturday mornings as we're leisurely drinking our coffee, thinking about the week that just blew by!