global 6k

Go for a walk & change a child’s life forever {6k for Water}

Instead of cooking dinner right now, I get to curl up in my favorite chair, put my feet up, and share this post with you. See, a dear friend is generously bringing dinner to us tonight. She knew we had a hard few weeks, so she insisted on bringing us a delicious, homemade meal. Because I don’t have to cook dinner, I now have 47 free minutes ūüėČ to sit and share this with you.

Cooking dinner is such a small thing, and I’m grateful to do it. But imagine if you had to spend not just 47 minutes cooking dinner but¬†HOURS each day, walking to fetch water that’s unsafe to drink. Now, busy moms have dinner to make and babies to attend to, so guess who ends up walking an average of 6 kilometers¬†every single day carrying a 5-gallon bucket of dirty, contaminated water to bring back to his or her family?

Children. 

Six kilometers is the average distance that women and children walk, every single day, in order to fetch water that is unsafe to drink. I don’t even walk that far on a daily basis, for exercise, and these small children do it, usually barefoot, often through dangerous areas, carrying more than 40 pounds on the return trip.

But this week (3/22) is World Water Day & we have a fun and EASY way to provide clean water FOR LIFE for 500 children (or more) through the 6k for Water. I hope you will consider joining us, or contributing to this amazing opportunity.

Now hear me out, dear friends: I know there are so many great causes out there. I’m sure you are contributing to many of them. Here are some reason why this is one our family has chosen to focus our efforts on:

1. Water is life

I am all for¬†any cause that alleviates suffering and extends Christ’s compassion to those in need. And specifically, Titus 3:14 tells us to devote ourselves to doing what is good, so as to help cases of¬†urgent need.

Water is an¬†urgent need. Without water, we die. And to make matters worse, when children drink contaminated water, they die. Waterborne illnesses are the world’s leading killer. More than 3.4 million people die every year of water-related diseases, making it the leading cause of death and disease in the world. Every single day, 1,000 children die of preventable water-related illnesses.¬†Providing access to clean water is one of the most urgent physical needs there is.

2. Ripple effect.

Because someone sacrificed her time to make me dinner, I now am able to sit down and write this, contributing to the greater good. In a much greater way, the gift of clean water gives a child much more than a cool drink–it gives her freedom from the slavery of water-fetching day in and day out. When a community has water, its children go to school. They can learn to read, write. They can learn skills to break the cycles of poverty.

And, the children are safe. One of the greatest tragedies of little girls gathering water, is that they are often walking through dangerous areas and often assaulted. One man said, the very best part of their community having water, was that there was no more rape. 

I can hardly type those words. I cannot fathom my own little 8-year-old angel having to walk some 4 miles every single day, through dangerous areas, vulnerable, lugging water back home, water that most likely will make her sick, that could possibly even be carrying a deadly disease. When I look at my little girl, I think of those millions of little girls, and would LOVE to help in whatever little way I can. Providing water is a way to prevent rape, abuse, and keep those little girls safe.

3. Living Water

We believe¬†that humanity’s greatest need is¬†Christ. These physical bodies will someday die, but every soul needs the love of God and the promise and hope of eternal life. So it is our conviction that we give through agencies that will explicitly share the truth of the gospel and the love of Christ with those they serve. Jesus said to the woman at the well,

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 6:13-14)

What I love about World Vision is their commitment to excellence and to the truth of the gospel. So, would you join us?

2017 6K for Water

May 6th, 2017: 9am

@ Clackamette Park, Oregon City

This family-friendly run/walk event is a fabulous opportunity to go for a walk and change a child’s life. For just $50 you can provide clean water¬†FOR LIFE for a child (every dollar goes straight to water projects), and identify with them in a significant way by walking the length they walk each day. When you sign up, you get a unique bib with the picture of your child on it, and information about that child and his or her community.

We did this event last year, and I cannot say enough about how great it is. It is such a sweet opportunity to connect your heart and your family to another child, and make a real different in his or her life.

This year, they’ve expanded the regions where water projects are done, to include not only Africa but also India and Haiti.¬†And, we are THRILLED that a local business has made us an amazing offer:

If we reach $12,500 fundraising as a team,¬†they will MATCH us dollar for dollar. That means we have to reach that amount, but they will match it, and the sky’s the limit!¬†We have an incredible opportunity provide clean water for 500 or more children, just through this fun and simple event.

So, will you join us? Here is the link for registration, don’t wait! You’ll get your bib in the mail soon and be ready to go. And invite your friends! It’s always more fun to do together.

And if you cannot attend personally, would you please consider contributing to our team? Every $50 gift provides clean water for one more child. 

ALL THE INFO IS HERE ¬Ľ werunOC.com

Quick link to sign-up or donate:¬†http://lk.godrenews.us/OC6KforWater (click “Join our team” to join, or “Support” to give.)

Thank you so much for joining us in this great cause. I pray you are BLESSED for your generosity. 

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5 fabulous gifts for a Christ-centered Christmas

Christmas came early to us this year, in the form of some very generous saints who shipped us a boxful of books and DVDs, the perfect pastime as we’re snowed-in here at Papa & Oma’s house. It got me thinking that if you are still looking for a few fabulous items to bless your loved ones, items that will draw your heart and attention to Christ, here are some suggestions:

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  1. Seeds Family Worship.¬†Ok, I could go on for days about how great these are. Every song is a scripture passage, word for word. We use them at Renew for the scripture memory verses, but we listen to them constantly and the kids LOVE every one of them. We got ours at the end of the summer and I’m amazed that three months they’ve learned so many scriptures, just from having these on in the car. They sing along, and I even noticed how bad attitudes melt away when we start singing aloud God’s Word. They also have a brand new Christmas album, which is fabulous. Even if I’m driving alone I find myself turning these up and singing along. ūüėČ We’re not even big music people, and never used to listen to music in the car, so it’s pretty significant that we’ve been listening to these for three months nonstop. You can also get most of these as free downloads with Amazon Prime. But I like having the CDs in the car. There’s also FREE SHIPPING this week.¬†melodyandtruth
  2. Melody & Truth. These are some friends of mine who have put together a lovely assortment of Christmas songs. I listened to this on my drives back and forth from OHSU this week — so encouraging! I especially loved¬†Oh Holy Night and their original song¬†May It Be (#8), super fun! You can download individual songs on Amazon, or get the whole album. Enjoy!stnicholas
  3. Stories of the Saints.¬†¬†So we talked here about the story of the real St. Nicholas, and what an amazing godly man he was. We talked some about different books that help teach the real story. Well, there are not one, not two, but THREE fabulous books here that tell the true stories of the people behind Santa Claus, Valentine’s Day, and St. Patrick’s Day (click each one for separate links to each book). They are all FABULOUS. The kids love them. I highly recommend! They also have 6 of these same books about William Tyndale, Paul the Apostle, Thomas, John Bunyon, Richard Wurmbrand, and Stephen the first martyr. They look fabulous as well, though I haven’t personally read them.witnesses
  4. Bible graphic novels. If you have a kids 8-yrs-up on your list, these graphic novels are fantastic. Our kids have absolutely loved¬†The Action Bible for the last 3 years, so when they saw these New Testament graphic novels by the same artist, they jumped on them. They literally read these for HOURS that night, then woke up at 6am the next morning and immediately grabbed the books and continued reading. They are that captivating! I highly recommend¬†The Apostle (about Paul),¬†The Twelve (about the disciples), and¬†The Followers (about those who followed Christ after His ascension). (FYI: They also have the Kingstone Bible series, which looks great but I haven’t personally seen it.)torchlighters
  5. Heroes of the faith:¬†Torchlighters 12-DVD set. Okay, so we haven’t had time to watch these yet, but since my kids are completely mesmerized by anything on a TV screen, I venture to say that they will love having TWELVE dvds with stories teaching about amazing people who bravely followed Christ no matter the cost. We’ll definitely be watching some of these if/when cabin fever sets in!

Hope some of these can bless you and yours. Merry Christmas!  Thanks for reading. 

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That hidden handicap

It was just over 3 years ago we ventured into unpaid territory.

Looking back, it seems¬†scary. I can’t believe we did it! We’d strongly sensed a call to plant a church, so we left our well-paying pastoring position, and prayed constantly for His guidance as we slowly stepped out in faith and began gathering with a handful of folks in our backyard, serving barbecued hamburgers and often singing a capella, Jeff preaching above the noise of the neighbors’ wood-chipper.

I’m not sure if they knew what they were getting into because we didn’t know what we were getting into!

But they were sweet days, even when October came and we were still gathering outside on Sunday nights. We handed out blankets to keep people warm, but slowly the earlier-setting sun left us in complete darkness by the time we sang our last song. We thought about requesting that everyone bring flashlights, but figured it was probably time to get a building instead.

October 2012 was the first month we wouldn’t receive a paycheck. At all. Yes, Jeff could have gotten another job, but for us we just kept sensing we were to put all our time and effort into this plant, and trust our Provider to provide. Thankfully, we’d already slashed our monthly budget by more than 75% during this other crazy adventure, so God had, in His providence, already prepared us for this slim-pickin’s season.

To our everlasting amazement, our no-salary stretch only lasted one month. 

His faithfulness, shown through the faithfulness of His people, provided for us almost immediately. Sure, the salary was a teeny tiny one, but hey, we had food on the table!

It has been such a gift, these last three years, of truly walking by faith. God has¬†dumped His gracious provision on us–providing a home, fabulous housemates, plenty of food, clothes when we need it, homeschool materials, really anything we could ever need.

But now as we’ve gotten more comfortable we face a future where we’ll no longer¬†have to be skimping and penny-pinching. We haven’t increased our monthly expenditures at all, but the truth is — we have plenty.

And while it seemed scary to live on such little, it’s actually scarier to live on much more.¬†

What do I mean?

There are a lot of ways that the kingdom of God is an upside down kingdom, but perhaps most dramatically in this way: Riches are a spiritual handicap. 

Don’t worry, this isn’t a money-is-bad rant. Money¬†isn’t bad. At all. All resources are a gift from God and the means through which He often provides and blesses.

It’s just that a cushy income is common called a spiritual¬†danger¬†in the Scripture.¬†

This week my Bible study reading included Mark 10, the story of the rich young ruler and the remarks Jesus made to His disciples after the man sadly turned away from following Jesus, choosing His wealth instead. His words are startling to say the least:

“How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!‚ÄĚ ¬†And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, ‚ÄúChildren, how difficult it is¬†to enter the kingdom of God!¬†It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.‚ÄĚ (v. 24-25)

The disciples were amazed at His words and so am I! Every time I read this, I squirm a little. A camel through the eye of a needle? Yikes! It’s not just that it’s a¬†little¬†harder to resist greed and temptation when we have worldly wealth, it’s WAY harder.

Money is the hidden handicap of the Christian life. 

Again, we shouldn’t demonize money, but we must be sober-minded about the great temptation we face when a comfortable income comes our way. We must become extra vigilant to give sacrificially, evaluate our motives, and keep open-accountability with others about the way we spend our resources. In our culture we think money buys independence. Poor people have to give account of their spending because we’re suspicious, but rich people can do whatever they want because clearly they must be doing ok.

The gospel is the great equalizer. No one gets to gain independence from God or others. We are all to live in personal and financial accountability, asking the hard questions and helping each other genuinely grow in Christlikeness.

Please hear my heart:¬†Money’s not bad. The LOVE¬†of money is bad. Jesus says riches are¬†deceitful and can choke out the work of God¬†in our lives. But we don’t have to let them!

If we¬†do find ourselves making more money, let’s be ever-aware of the temptation and fight hard to remain faithful to the kingdom of God. Let’s not set our hearts on them, let’s give freely more and more and more, let’s use the world’s resources for furthering the gospel and blessing the world Jesus came to save. Giving breaks the back of greed and leads us into¬†joy.

I’m preaching this to myself: Thanks for listening in. ūüėČ

{Thanks for reading.}

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Water for life.

Hi friends!

I’m tip-toeing in here for a moment to ask if you’d consider contributing to a beautiful cause. I’m in the middle of this sacred August-rest, and so very grateful for the¬†slower pace. God has kept us on our toes (and our knees) this month, with quite an adventure on the home-front that has required much of my time and energy, and it was His grace and providential timing that this rest-month has afforded me the bandwidth for this. ¬†I’m looking forward to being back with you come September, and sharing some of the nuggets¬†God has been so graciously giving our family during this time.

But today I’d love to share with you an incredible privilege that my dear man has, to run Hood to Coast for World Vision, with Lopez Lomong (From¬†Running For My Life) and many others, working to raise one million dollars to provide clean water for children in South Sudan. Would you consider a donation of $50¬†to provide¬†clean water, for life, for one child?¬†¬†

You can read more details here, and give easy-peasy online: teamworldvision.renewjeff.com

Thank you so much for considering this. And if you’re near Seaside, Oregon, on August 29th, come cheer them on at the finish!

Have a blessed rest of your August …¬†Thanks for reading.

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World Water Day

The text came through in the middle of the night:

Amsterdam. Taking a shower!

I smiled. I could only imagine how happy my man must be, after nearly two weeks in Africa, to arrive at the Amsterdam airport and indulge in the most lavish luxury: A hot shower. What an ingenious amenity for an international airport to offer!

Of course he had access to clean water, staying with Next Generation Ministries missionaries Paul & Pam Hunter. But there’s nothing like the feeling of hot, clean water drenching you from above, water you know is clean, where you don’t have to remember to keep your mouth closed tightly.

And here in Oregon, of course, in what feels like the clean-water capital of the world, we can turn a facet and drink ice-cold, crystal clear, spring water straight from the tap.

I remember three years ago, on this day, we did an experiment on this day: We didn’t use any water for a whole day.

It was AWFUL. We couldn’t flush. Couldn’t wash. Couldn’t drink. ¬†It was a bizarre year and there was snow on the ground, so I spent the day melting snow just to satisfy our thirst a tiny bit and try to cook something for dinner. I remember feeling so panicky, even just for¬†one day, not having water available to wash my hands or drink, clean or cook.

I truly cannot even fathom having to live like that. And yet, so many do. To give you more info about the lack of clean water in our world, here’s a fun infographic, put out by one of our favorite mission organizations,¬†Gospel for Asia:¬†Perhaps you might consider today making a contribution toward a well, providing clean water for those who desperately need it.¬†Thank you so much.

World Water Day 2015