Archive of ‘faith’ category

On Contentment

I took an unintentional week off of blogging, due to a terrible, no good, really bad week. We have been dealing with a few health issues, broken computers, broken air conditioning [the upstairs thermostat read 90-degrees one night], and overall crummy circumstances.

In the middle of the week, as I was running late for work and bathing Leia because she happen to roll in poop that morning (oh yeah, that happened too), I started to think about Paul and his little secrets.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. – Philippians 4:12

Uhhhh… HOW Paul?!? How in the world do you remain content when you are in want? When you are hungry? My body is naturally always unhappy when I am hungry because it needs sustenance. How can your circumstances really not effect your content-ness?

He answers it in the next verse:

I can do all things through him who gives me strength. – Philippians 4:13

Ah. Well there is the most over-used and inappropriately misinterpreted verse in the Bible.

Sometimes when I’ve heard a verse so many times, it loses its power. I can do all things through him who gives me strength. Yeah, yeah. He can help me. I pray a “get me out of this mess” prayer and ask for that supernatural strength to change my circumstances.

But last week, I stopped and thought about what it would look like to practice contentment when your circumstances don’t change and are still very much annoying.

Through him who gives me strength. 

The one who gives us strength is the Holy Spirit, and there are two major things that the Holy Spirit does:

1. Points you to the cross.
2. Enables you to love others.

When Jesus summarized the law into two statements — love God and love others — it wasn’t just a way to justify, it is the only way to set us free. The more I focus on the cross and what it represents, the less important my cares seem. It reminded me of the lines of this old hymn:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

And the more I look around at the needs of others, the more petty my problems seem.

As some of you may remember, my best friend’s baby died earlier this year. He would have been six months this past Saturday, and oh how I wish I could see what he looks like at six months! To honor his life, his beautiful parents encouraged people to participate in doing random acts of kindness on the 23rd of each month. My “bad week” seemed so insignificant in light of Owen’s life and death, and it was pure joy to find ways to spread love and kindness in his honor. I was moved to tears seeing all of the ways people celebrated his life.

Love God, and love others. That’s the secret of contentment.

Letter to Myself

Letter to Myself - Five things I want to focus on during this season in my life.

Dear Self,

I thought about writing a letter to your younger self, but she has already lived those days so what’s the point of going back? Life is too short for regrets and today is too important to worry about the future, so let’s focus on this present day. These beautiful, golden days that you wake up to every single morning.

Here are five things I want you to focus on during this season of your life:

1. Enjoy this free time. I am not even going to pretend like your life is busy because it’s not. You have a lot of free time. Continue to fill up your free time with J. He is really funny and makes you happy. Go on trips together and get to know your city. It’s a pretty place. Try new things and learn as much as you can. Don’t bother spending time doing things you don’t enjoy — you don’t have that much time. Figure out what makes you come alive and spend your time celebrating that.

2. Invest in girlfriends. You have some pretty awesome friends. Keep them, and keep making them a priority. Text them when they pop into your mind and have them over when your house is really messy. I have a feeling these relationships are going to be pretty important in the years to come. Don’t be afraid to make new friends, either. Kindred spirits are just a hello away.

3. Make church a priority. Do you remember how long it took you to find this church? And do you remember all of the mediocre ones you went to before? This one is a gem, and you are so lucky. Continue to attend and sing and soak in the wisdom. Smile at the people in the hallway, because attending a new church is scary. And say yes when you are asked to help in the nursery. Those kids may be your babysitters one day.

4. Improve your inner beauty. Stop looking at yourself in the mirror so much. Continue to make healthy choices, because it makes you feel good, but don’t be consumed with it. Attraction is 90% personality and 10% looks, so focus on making your personality beautiful. Be kind and wise and helpful. Speak up against injustices and fight for what you believe in. Listen more than you speak, and when you feel like giving others advice, give them a hug instead.

5. Don’t worry about the future. Do you remember years ago when you were worried about college and grades? God provided and you went to a great school. Do you remember crying ugly tears, worried you would remain single forever? God provided and you get to do life with a great guy. Do you remember when you were worried about moving to DC? God provided and you met some great friends and started a wonderful career. Do you remember when you were worried about money after paying for a wedding and replacing both cars in the first two months of marriage? God provided and you were able to save enough to buy a house in the next two years. Whatever you are worried about, just stop. God is going to provide.

The days are long but the years are short, and being content with today is hard. One day you are going to be so nostalgic for this time in your life, so try your very best to savor every single moment of it while you are in it.

I’m not sure how to end a letter to yourself, so we will just leave it at that.

- Ginna

PS – Photo above from Death to the Stock Photo

Help for a Haitian Orphanage

On our last day before we left, we visited an orphanage near where we were staying in Titanyen. The orphanage is run by a couple, Yvon and his wife, who care for 46 children ranging from 1 to 15 years old in their very small home.

Haiti is a dangerous country, especially for children, as kidnapping, child sacrifice and trafficking are very common. Over 350,000 orphans were created after the earthquake, and Yvon and his wife saw a need to care for these abandoned children. They started bringing a few of them into their home at a time, and over the last few years it has grown to a large orphanage of 46 children living in very small quarters.

The folks at Global Outreach work closely with this orphanage, and it was a true privilege to meet Yvon and see how he loves these children dearly. While we were there, the children sang us two songs, recited scripture, and showed us around their small, humble home. They were so darling.

IMG_0528

We brought the kids some Easter candy. :)

IMG_0529IMG_9686 copyIMG_9679 copy     IMG_9673 copyIMG_9676 copyIMG_9672 copyIMG_9694 copy
IMG_9662 copy IMG_9660 copy IMG_9656 copyIMG_0531

Pictured above is their kitchen, and below is where they wash their clothes. I didn’t get a good picture of their bedrooms because they were so dark. There are two small rooms packed with bunk beds, one for girls and one for guys. The older kids get to sleep in the beds, while the little ones sleep on cots on the floor. 

IMG_0537

Funding for the orphanage comes from churches and non-profits, but many sources have decreased and they are suffering to stay afloat. There are no public schools in Haiti, so if you go to school you have to pay tuition, buy uniforms, books, supplies, etc., and the few that were in school had to be removed to help pay for food, etc. They have a deficit of $4,418.

My team members and I started a t-shirt campaign for the next two weeks to get this orphanage out of debt and hopefully get kids back in school: https://www.booster.com/haiti-orphanage-fundraiser.

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 11.19.21 AM

I know, another t-shirt campaign and another request for money! But as someone who met these children and know the hearts of the ministry we worked with, I have complete confidence that all of the donations will be used for good and none of it will not return void.

All of the profits from these t-shirts will go directly to help this orphanage. The more t-shirts are sold, the greater percentage of profits go to the children. For example, if 50 are sold, $11 or every t-shirt cost will go to Global Outreach, whereas if 500 are sold, $14 of every t-shirt will be donated. If you feel led, there is an option to give above and beyond the t-shirt cost.

Please consider buying a t-shirt, sharing the campaign with your friends or followers, and praying for these kids. Thank you so much for your support!

Global Outreach’s Work in Haiti, and How We Helped

Before I went to Haiti I knew very little about the ministry we were going to help and the work we were going to do. Well now, as someone who has spent a week with this organization, I seriously cannot say enough good things about Global Outreach, the people that run their mission, and the work that they are doing in Haiti. It is absolutely incredible, and I’m so honored to be a teeny, tiny part of the beautiful story God is weaving in that area.

Dinnertime quickly became the favorite time of day. The food was fantastic, of course, but also because of the great conversation. Each evening the full time missionaries would eat with us and share their story of how God moved in their lives, brought them to Haiti, the work they are doing here and their vision for growing the ministry. Hearing their stories was like listening to characters in the Bible — there were so many amazing tales of protection and visions and incredible ways God is moving in this country. There are two older couples with kids back in the states, one family of six, one family of four, one older single lady, and one younger single girl.

IMG_9637 copyHere is one of our beautiful cooks. They made the best food!

Every time I was overwhelmed by the poverty or hurt in Haiti, I was immediately encouraged to see a way in which Global Outreach are meeting those needs. Here is a very quick overview of their programs, how we helped, and a few photos. :)

Burn Clinic
My initial question when I heard there was a burn clinic was — why is there a clinic just for burns? That was until I realized that everyone cooks their food over an open fire, so there are a lot more accidents and burns. They care for other ailments, but the majority of their help is for burn wounds. The clinic opens every morning at 7:30, and the ladies got a chance to help assist wherever was needed. One of the major ways we helped was by loading our suitcases with donations. There is a huge issue with importing anything into the country and it can take months for things to go through customs, so they rely heavily on short term trips to bring as many donations as possible.

IMG_0442

Feeding Program
About 60 elderly people (or their kids/grandkids if they can’t make it) come to the gates of Global Outreach every Monday to get a weekly supply of food. We passed out beans, rice, oils and spices while we were there.

IMG_9618 copyIMG_9609 copyIMG_9605 copyWell Drilling
If you don’t have water, you don’t have life. And many Haitians (a lot of them children), will walk miles to bring water back to their families. Global Outreach has drilled over 300 wells in the area, and we drove by a few in the community. On our last day a few of the men in our group helped repair one while we were there.

IMG_9480

Schools
Global Outreach partners with a school in Titanyen by providing supplies and assisting the teachers. We brought a ton of school supplies with us, and a few of the guys built three desks which will seat 12 kids. We visited the school, but the kids weren’t in school since it was Easter week and they were out on break. Although a few kids were there helping their mom/aunt. :)

IMG_0571 IMG_0592

Church partnerships
They are very involved in the local churches in the area and help by preaching and offering support when necessary. Teaching and training the Haitians to lead is important for the missionaries. A few of the churches in the area are in the middle of building a large building, and we were able to tour the structure. It’s going to be beautiful!

IMG_0450

Orphanage partnerships
They also partner with a few orphanages in the area. Those kids deserve their own post, so more to come on that. :)

IMG_9668 copy

Conference center, camps and facilities
The land and facilities that Global Outreach has is pretty impressive and used year-round for Haitian school teachers, pastors, health care workers, project directors and kids. There are enough accommodations to feed and sleep hundreds at a time. They host camps each summer for Haitian kids, and it is one of the few places in the area with running water and electricity, so it’s like a vacation! They also provide housing for other organizations and groups. There are so many non-profits and NGOs in the area, so missionaries, relief organizations, adopting parents and many others are welcome to stay on their property. Samaritan’s Purse used their land for three years doing disaster relief after the earthquake. Our group painted the outside of three homes at the edge of the property to be used by future missionaries and intern groups.

IMG_9233 copyIMG_8974 copyIMG_9012 copy

We also got to hear about their vision for expanding and bringing kids across the country for soccer programs and ministry growth. They have some seriously awesome plans for helping people and creating a haven in the midst of such a painful country. I loved every minute working alongside with them, and am so thankful for the generosity and influence I see them having in the country.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

1 2 3 10