Monday, April 20, 2015

Love Like Jesus.....A Challenge

Lately, I've noticed a theme in the sermons I've listened to and the studies and articles I've read.

All have asked this question:
How did Jesus love?

I'm doing Jen Hatmaker's study Interrupted: When Jesus Wrecks Your Comfortable Christianity with the group of women who I'm traveling with to Ethiopia.  It has really challenged us to think about how Jesus loved and what that means for us as Christians.

Jen writes, if we took Jesus' teachings away and just focused on the way He lived, He would still be radical."

So what do we know about how he lived?  What was Jesus all about?

Our pastor put it pretty simply. 
He was about looking, feeling and acting.

Who was he looking at? 
Those in need. 
The ones who are sick or hurting or lonely or outcasts or imprisoned or persecuted or hungry or orphaned or widowed.  The people on the margins. 

What was he feeling?

He felt compassion for them.

I think that many of us are getting these two steps right.  People usually feel compassion when they learn of someone who is hurting or in need.  Surely most of us have heard about or seen a hurting person and felt bad about what they were going through.

But this last step, this last one of acting, it is so often overlooked.

It's easy to do in our busy culture where every day is jammed packed with a schedule full of to do's and lists to check off and carpools to run and commitments to keep.

But this is not how God intended his followers to respond.

James 2:16 says,
If one of you says to them, "Go in peace; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about their physical needs,
what good is it?

It is not enough to simply "feel" for someone, we must follow that emotion up with an action.  When Jesus saw the poor, he felt compassion and he did something to meet their immediate need.

My friends and I will be traveling to Children's HopeChest's care point I Care for the Nations this summer to bring care packages from sponsors, donations and food for the kids and their families and hopefully to convey the message that we see them (looking), we love them (feeling) and we are working hard to ensure that they have hope for a brighter future (acting).

There are still THIRTY NINE kids at I Care for the Nations without sponsor families. 

When a care point is not fully sponsored, all of the children still receive some support, but it is at a minimal level.  Things like protein are unable to be added to the diet because the funds are stretched to cover all 150 children at the center. 
Even more heartbreaking to me though is that the ones without sponsors are missing out on that connection with another person or family who is standing in the gap for them, praying for them and encouraging them.
They don't yet know that they are seen.  They don't yet know that they are loved.  They don't yet know that they can depend on someone to help meet their very real and immediate needs for food, education, discipleship and basic medical care.

It is our prayer that all 39 kids will have sponsors
 before we leave.

(Update, 9 kids have been sponsored in 3 days so far! Keep it going.)

So here's the challenge:
***I need 12 people to volunteer to advocate for
3 kids to be sponsored.***
That's it.
Take 3 kids and use your circle of influence to spread the word about this need.
Please email me at or message me via facebook
and I'll send you all the details.
Here are my 3!

Esubalew an 11 year old boy

Miheret (means mercy) an 8 year old girl

Tsega (means God's grace) a 13 year old girl.

Look at these faces,
feel compassion for them and

I challenge you to do it for one year.
At $38 a month, that's just $456 a year.
(the average American spends nearly $1100 on coffee per year, $1200 on fast food per year and $2400 on entertainment per year).
If at the end of one year  you feel like your contribution to your sponsor child's life didn't make a difference, you can cancel your sponsorship at any time. 
But, I bet if you engage and commit to making a difference in the life of a child, you will not only change their lives, but yours also.

Plus, if you do it now, we can personally take your child a care package
 and hand deliver it to them.

Click HERE to start your sponsorship today!
And don't forget to contact me to get the names of
3 kid to advocate for.

And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.
Matthew 18:5

Monday, April 6, 2015

Easter 2015

I always love to get pictures of my kids on Easter morning.  Easter is one of those days when they all look so nice.  They have learned that this is important to me and so they humor me.

My handsome boys.

They requested this pose because they're so cool!

Our beautiful girls.  All I can say is their dad and brothers are going to be busy
running security in a few more years (well, like 20!).



And the cute one with the dimples.  Little Eli.  Just gets cuter by the day!

I love these kids! 

Happy Easter

But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared,  he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. 
Titus 3:4-5

Ethiopia 2015-Why it Matters

So, the big news around here is my upcoming trip back to Ethiopia in June!

I have been SO lucky to travel to Ethiopia 6 times over the past 5 years.  This will be my 7th trip and I am really excited to see what God will do with it.

I will be taking a group of 6 ladies with me.  Some of them are adoptive moms, all of them sponsor kids at either Trees of Glory or I Care for the Nations care points (click on the links to see kids who are still in need of sponsors), and one of them is our oldest daughter Rahel!

If you keep up with this little old blog or know us personally, you'll remember that Nick was able to take Hermela back to Ethiopia on a mission trip last August.  It was an amazing time for her to do mission work in her birth country, but especially awesome because she got to reconnect with her birth family.  You can read that story here.

With Hermela and Meron's permission, I am going to share why this trip ended up being such a gift and a blessing.  I want to share this story because so many of our friends and family contributed financially to make that trip possible and I want you all to know how thankful we are that you did.

When Hermela went to Ethiopia, she got to spend time with her beautiful mother Gergis.  We also had the opportunity to skype with Gergis while they were there so that Meron actually got to speak with her mom in person and they got to see each other face to face for the first time in nearly 5 years.  Gergis looked vibrant and beautiful and it was a really good time for everyone.

Over the years, Hermela would often speak of her mother and her desire to go back and visit her and her older brother.  On several occasions, she would even wake up in the night having had a nightmare that her mother had passed away before she ever had the chance to go back to see her.  We would always reassure her that we were praying for her mom and that "some day" we would bring her back to Ethiopia.

So, when the opportunity came up to go last summer, Nick knew it was Hermela that he should take.

Little did we know that the timing of this trip would be so crucial (God always knows).

Just 4 short months after their visit, we received word that her mom was very sick and not doing well and on January 16, 2015 we learned that she had passed away.

As difficult as this news was to share with our daughters, I can not even imagine how hard it would have been without their trip.  We had pictures of their time there and the knowledge that Gergis knew her girls are well and taken care of.  Most importantly, we were able to talk to Gergis and know that she loved Jesus and trusted him for her salvation.  Truly such a blessing.

I just marvel at God's most perfect timing to have Hermela on that mission trip just months before her mother passed away.

So thank you to all who supported us during that trip!

As you can imagine, these events stirred up a lot of emotions and it was with some urgency that we decided it was time to bring Rahel back to visit her birth family as well.

I have a group of friends who have talked about going back for years, so this time just seems right to do both a birth family visit and do mission work to connect with and serve our sponsor kids as well.

We will have opportunities for you to join in and make an impact on this trip.  We have several projects at both care points that we are planning and will need donations to make them happen.  We will also be taking care packages for any sponsor families at either care point who would like to send one, so stay tuned for more details to come on how you can get involved.

It really does matter!