Make Your Trip Count

I’m going to be honest—I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to write a post for today. Between numerous field trips to photograph bugs, flowers, and birds, a good friend’s birthday party, and an overnight babysitting one of my granddaughters, I haven’t sat down in days. Today I have a choice: write a post or clean the house. I really need to clean the house!

Now you have my list of excuses, but I’m not going to leave you high and dry. My sister-in-law sent me a link to an article in Leadership Journal that I want to share with you. Many of us go overseas on short-term mission trips, often involving orphans, work projects, or both. Yet, how often do we hear about our trip from the perspective of the children we go to visit?

This article was written by a Kenyan AIDS orphan who was on the receiving end of dozens of American mission trips.  It’s a real eye-opener! Once you’ve read it, let me know what you think.

The Good Missionary

God’s a Father Too

presentsThis Sunday is Father’s Day. You remembered, right? If you believe the ads, we’re all supposed to run out and buy our dads a tie / polo shirt / hand tool / golf club and wrap it up in manly paper. Along with that, we’re to buy a card thanking him for fixing everything / providing money / putting up with our youthful selves, and promising him a day in the hammock / on the golf course / at the BBQ.

You’ve made your gift list… something for your dad: check. Your father-in-law: check. If you’re a mom, the father of your children: check. If you have grandchildren, don’t forget to include your son or son-in-law. Now you can relax and look forward to the big day!

Well, there’s someone you forgot. Or should I say Someone. Ohhh, right, God is our Father too. Good grief, what do we give God for Father’s Day?

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Pretend They’re Wild Animals?

Gray Jay_LAHI love taking pictures of God’s creation. Soaring mountains, flower-bedecked meadows, the year’s first crocus, a Gray Jay landing on a boulder—they all remind me of the Lord who created them, and I love to capture his fingerprints in pixels. In fact, you might say it consumes me.

I remember a birding trip one cold February. It was a whopping eleven degrees with freezing fog. Everyone else was in the warm house drinking tea and watching the feeders through the windows. I was out in the yard snapping photos, oblivious to the cold.

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Swaziland Trailer

As I mentioned a couple of months ago, I’m signed up for our church’s trip to Swaziland this October. There we’ll be partnering with Children’s Hope Chest and a local church in providing food, educational assistance, and other resources for the many AIDS  orphans living near two CarePoints. I could describe what I’ve been told so far—or I can show you this video. Produced by CHC, it shows how one CarePoint is transforming life for those it serves. (This is a different Swazi CarePoint, slightly more developed, than the ones we’ll be visiting, but they’re all very similar. We’re going to Mankayane and Gege.)

Please be patient… the video takes a moment to load.

I can hardly wait to get there!

Partnering with Children’s Hope Chest

map_swazilandLast month, I mentioned that I’m signed up to go on a mission trip to Swaziland, in southern Africa. I explained that our church has partnered with Swazi believers to create a care center in a country struggling to provide for tens of thousands of AIDS orphans. Rather than build orphanages and remove the children from their communities, the goal is to provide enough support for them and their caretakers to thrive. (You might want to re-read my post on this successful strategy.)

A third partner in this endeavor is a wonderful ministry called Children’s Hope Chest. Several years ago, I recommended a book written by the CEO of this organization, Tom Davis. Scared: a Novel on the Edge of the World puts forth in fictional form the true story of many African children. Read this book, and you’ll understand a major reason why I’m going on this trip.

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Good Deeds: Orphans

It’s getting harder and harder to do a good deed anymore. This month and over the next two months, we’ll look at some case studies of good deeds gone wrong, and what we should do differently next time.

Africa is home to 15 million orphans and “children at risk.” Most Americans are very aware of this crisis, largely caused by the spread of AIDS. We also are familiar with James 1:27Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress….”

Clearly, the church needs to step up and come alongside these children, but how? The traditional answer has been to build thousands of orphanages. But is that the right answer?

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