Wednesday, November 9, 2016

One of the Few by Jason Ladd (Bookreview)

 Jason Ladd is a US Marine Fighter pilot that is seeking the truth found through Jesus Christ. Like most of us he is on a journey to find out really what the truth is and how that can make a difference in our lives. I must say that this is not typically the type of book that I would just pick up and read. However I can totally recommend it for anyone (Christian or Non-Christian) that is willing to take some time and truly explore what is important in their lives.
    For the Non-Christian Jason provides a strong argument for the Gospel and Jesus Christ.  Going point by point he makes a very strong case and at the very least should provide some insight and thinking about one's worldview. For the Christian it is powerful and serves to re-enforce our Faith. We are constantly in Spiritual Warfare and his comparison of our battles to that of a Marine's training and duty really brought the point home to me. I related to his personal journey and insights. Though I am a Christian I have my own fears and doubts and this book served to strengthen me. What a blessing.
     It should be noted that I as given a copy of this book in return for an honest review. I was not required to write a favorable review (only the TRUTH) and I was not compensated. The comments are mine alone. The book is available at many retailers and in different formats. I encourage you to challenge yourself.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

We have a child!

      Several weekends ago Karen and I were asked to facilitate and staff the Ignite 2016 conference in Wildwood, New Jersey by Compassion. Expenses paid we were looking forward to a nice weekend away (at the beach) doing what we love (getting children sponsored). It was a rainy weekend but we still had fun. Sponsorships were going well and then Sunday came......
      This couple came up to our table and had decided over the weekend that wanted to sponsor a child. They had lots of questions that were easily answered and then they made our day. This was both of theirs second marriages. Their children from other marriages were grown and gone. They were not able to have a child of their own at this point but wanted to have a child together. They decided to choose a generic child packet. This is one without a specific child profile but rather an indicated country and then you pick boy or girl. They did not even want to do that. They wanted to leave everything up to God. Just as if they were having their own child they wanted Him to choose the sex and everything else. Both were actually crying that they were going to have their own "child" to call theirs. I gave both of them the premium for the event ( the t-shirt) and they ran to the bathroom to put it on. I grabbed them as they came out and asked for a picture. You can just see the joy and excitement that they had. I wish I could be there when they get their child packet. Three plus lives changed and this is just the beginning. I love that I get to do this and experience moments like this.
      Interestingly enough, after a weekend of rain, the sun started to come out and shine. I take this as one of those special moments where God is really pleased with His church. <><

Monday, July 18, 2016

Five Days / 8 Connections

      We specifically headed back to Honduras this year to see our 4 sponsored children and our LDP student.  We also wanted to host our final Quinceanera (for now). We decided to break from the norm and instead of staying at a typical "chain" hotel we tried a small boutique type hotel. It had only 23 rooms and is a little off the beaten path.  The neat thing was it was right by the Compassion country office and we got to stop in for a quick tour. From our arrival to departure it was a blessing. Our host Scarlett and her daughter Goldie made us feel right at home. In fact the best part of the trip was connecting with everyone we ever sponsored or were sponsoring. God made those connections happen.
Meet Sandra~ our newest sponsored child! We have only been sponsoring her for a year and she lives way north- close to Guatemala. We didn't think we would be able to meet her since she was so far from Tegucigalpa. Compassion made the arrangements and we had an amazing time with her. She has attitude and spunk. We ended up taking her (and her Dad) to their first movie ever, "Finding Dory". Great day!
From left to right> Jorge! Our 4th visit with him and he is growing into an amazing young man. Proof that sponsorship works. Fabiola is in the center. She is our LDP student, 24 years old, beautiful and about to graduate the University in accounting. Last but never least is Nataly. We choose her from a project center that is close to our hearts. Though we have been sponsoring her for about two years this was our first meeting. She just never stopped smiling or giggling.
Sophia and Jeyelly- If you read the prior post this was our opportunity to host the Quinceanera for Sophia. We last saw her three years ago and she has grown into quite the young women.  Our biggest surprise was getting to see Jeyelly after she had left the project two years ago. Such a God moment to have closure and know we were blessed.
Linda! Need I really say more? Those that know me understand she is the reason for my passion of
child sponsorship and my ministry. Without her, there would not be any volunteer work with Compassion or my actual work with RtC. She changed my life and we are blessed to be able to continue having her a part of our lives. She is getting married and we were fortunate to be able to have lunch together and meet her fiance. They make a great couple!
Finally Kellyn~ she surprised us. She has graduated from the program and we were only her Correspondent Sponsors for about about a year. We did meet her in 2013 and we are connected on Facebook. She found out we were in Honduras and messaged me. She wanted to come see us. She and her whole family took a bus into the city and we had a great dinner together. She just wanted us to know how important we were in her life and how much she appreciated us. Talk about humbling.

    So again~ a simple trip to be a blessing and we end up being blessed more. Sponsorship is truly about changing lives though it often is the Sponsor that gets changed the most!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Closure!

   Three years ago we last traveled to Honduras. Besides going to see our sponsored children we were going to host the Quinceanera for Jeyelly. She (on the left) was our second sponsored child ever and we were excited to provide this for her.
    Fast forward about nine months later and I got that dreaded call from Compassion. The one that every sponsors fears~ Jeyelly had left the project and the program. She had decided to leave her family and move in with her boyfriend. Our hearts were certainly broken. We obviously did not know the reason for her decision and could only pray that we had planted seeds in her life and God was in control.
    When a Compassion child graduates out of the project you have the opportunity to write a final letter. Sometimes you even get to stay connected in our social networking world. However in a case like this it is over and there really is no closure. You can only hope for the best.
    Fast forward to this year. We returned to Honduras to host the Quinceanera for Sophia~Jeyelly's half sister. (Note: The 12 year old girl we remembered has turned into a beautiful princess!) We kind of hoped we would see Jeyelly.  However we did not even know if she was in the same area now. Well Sophia entered and our eyes were on her. All of a sudden we got hugged from behind and there was Jeyelly. She had come but most important we were able to have some closure. Lots of hugs and tears were spread around. She was glad to see us. We were thrilled to say hello and remind her how important she was in God's eyes and ours. She is now married and pregnant and we are reconnected through Facebook. God is good!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

~One More Time~


Here we fly somewhere between Philadelphia and Miami.  For the fifth time we are on our way to Honduras to see our Compassion sponsored children. It has been 16 years since we first sponsored, 9 years since our first visit and 3 years since our last visit. A lot has happened during that period.
-       We added a second child on our first visit. After that we would add 5 more with Compassion as financial sponsors and 2 as correspondent sponsors.
-       We involved ourselves in Compassion’s ministry as advocates and volunteer leadership.
-       We would have our first child graduate from the project, another leave the program and one leave to move to the United States.
-       Our love for missions would grow and we would visit Mexico and Romania. Romania would become a focus of our hearts. We would return their 2 more times, start sponsoring 4 children there and renew our wedding vows in Ciumeghiu.
-       God, understanding my heart, would partner me with Remember the Children to develop their child sponsorship program in a part-time position.

     It has been an amazing time and sponsorship has been such a part of our lives ministry wise. Our lives changed nine years ago with that first visit and we are excited to be able to return. We are going down to celebrate the Quinceanera for one of our children and to visit the other 4 children we sponsor there. It is going to be a quick but fun trip. Two of the children we have never met before and are looking forward to that connection. We still connect with Linda (our first sponsored child) outside of Compassion. Several months ago she told us that she was engaged. We are truly hoping to get together with her and her fiancĂ© for lunch. She was our “game changer” and we have written her a letter to let her know how important she was to us. Sponsorship truly changes two lives and she did change ours. None of the above would have happened with meeting her~ now we return one more time.
Please keep us in prayer. We know we are blessed.


Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Update to the Update!

~Roma Village~
Well it is official! We are going to build (or at least start) a church/community center in Santandrei. If you refer to the previous posts things were changed at the last moment and our previously planned Christmas Eve offering was now going to be going to this purpose. This was something near and dear to heart. Two years in a row we were going to be supporting Remember the Children with their mission in Romania.

Let me preface this and state that Christmas Eve offerings are always special. They always go 100% to where the funds are directed to. Our typical Christmas offering is usually around 20-22k. We have helped numerous groups such as Southern Mexico Missions, CMF and Blood Water over the past few years. Last year though we raised 26k to help build a camp in Romania with RtC. Supporting the same mission two years in a row is unique and it would be interesting to see how people respond and what God had in store.

So after all the beans were counted guess what? No really take a guess. ( Pause for response)

When Josh (our lead Pastor) stood before the congregation with the announcement I literally jumped out of my seat and cheered in the middle of church. Willing hearts had give...$42,000.00. Wow! More than expected and double the normal. People got it! God is moving in Romania. It was estimated that the building that we want to see built between the two villages would be around 60-70K. Fork provided almost 2/3 of that. The rest will come but it will easy to bring people alongside when they see something like that. The people previously shunned from local Christian churches will be able to hear the Word in their own place of worship.

(NOTE: THE LAST TWO MONTHS HAVE FLOWN BY. I STARTED AN AMAZING WEIGHT LOSS JOURNEY AND A NEW JOB~ MY NEXT TWO POSTS WILL COVER THAT . STAY TUNED! )