• Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Day 3: Following Upward

    After going to bed with a heavy heart the night before thinking of the horrors the children I had just played with are facing, I woke up with the renewed excitement to be apart of standing against such evilness. Another day of enjoying an incredible team of people, the opportunity to attempt Spanish, to engage with the work that makes my heart & God’s come alive, to learn more about Guatemala and to know God more. To my surprise, God had a hope-filled schedule for us to stand in contrast to yesterday. Including an opportunity to visit our sponsored child Cristian once more in his classroom where we built puzzles…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Day 2: Denied. Precious. Joyful.

    The slum of La Limonada began as a squatter community in a large ravine between two zones in Guatemala City. In a 1 mile long and 1/2 mile wide, somewhere between 60,000 and 100,00 people live in 10 different barrios. An address in La Limonada conveys you are zone-less, unidentified on most city maps. Everyone is afraid of you, assuming you are a thief, criminal or gang member. This was the theme of our day 2 in Guatemala. Stories of women trying to get a loan from the bank and being denied based on their address. Men searching for honest work but not hired based on their address. Women and…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Fun Times,  Guatemala

    Day 1: Violence & the Aroma of Christ

    This is not the way it’s supposed to be. Today we walked around in a dangerous, gang-filled barrio. We saw the blood still on the street from yesterday’s shooting and listened to stories of heartbreak. And then we returned to internet and heard about more heartbreak from Boston. What causes people to act out in violence against other people? How can we respond? After 19 years of working with gang members, Tita pictures these fierce youth as scared children who were never given definitions for love unmingled with abuse, home separated from insecure and neighborhood un-dominated by tension. She believes in the power of love to break down these walls…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    Guatemala Preparation

    In heart preparation for our upcoming trip to Guatemala, I have been re-reading Compassion by Henri Nouwen. This book delves into this beautiful attribute of God which led him to act on our behalf by becoming “God-with-us”. “He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:7-8) On a trip like this, we will see much that will move us with compassion. Children living in extreme poverty, with constant abuse or neglect and without hope for any kind of future. How will we act on behalf of…

  • Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Fun Times,  Guatemala

    Bloggers Trip to Guatemala

    It has been no secret Tim and I have been big fans of Lemonade International, a community development organization focused on the largest urban slum in Guatemala City, Guatemala. When we discovered Lemonade,  we were immediately struck by the story of how God raised up local Guatemalans to walk into one of the most dangerous neighborhoods in the world compelled by love and hope for what could be done to renew this place. We were drawn to the deeply focused method of building relationships and restoring dignity to a group of people who often feel equated with the trash that surrounds the deep ravine they call home. So, you can imagine our excitement…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books,  Extensions

    My Top 10 Books from 2012

    Of the 50 books I read this year, it seems I enjoy memoirs the most. I do love hearing people share their stories and how they process those stories. With all my attempts to read widely, I always seem to end up selecting similar authors and style. I want to share my list of top 10 books read in 2012. Most likely their impact has had more to do with the timing and context in which I read them. I would love to hear your recommendations as well! Andi Ashworth, Real Love for Real Life: The Art and Work of Caring I’ve waited for a book like this to be…

  • Extensions,  Faith

    Dignity or Dichotomy this Holiday Season?

    The season has begun! And for those with big hearts, questions arise about who can be helped this Christmas. How can we give generously to those in need? What a cause for celebration, when Christians live counter-culturally. But as our thoughts go toward the poor, I think we often create an unhelpful dichotomy between us who have and them who need. This dichotomy seems to grow as our mailboxes are flooded with gift catalogs and opportunities to donate in the name of our loved ones. Some of us respond hoping to replace season greed with generosity or as a gentle reminder to our children to be grateful for the number…

  • Extensions,  Faith

    Love in Real Life

    “If there’s one thing that characterizes our modern world, it’s that people don’t have time for each other. We rush from one activity to the next; we’re overcommitted, overscheduled, frenzied and worn out.” said Andi Ashworth in Real Love for Real Life: The Art of Work and Caring. “If we want our lives to reflect the truth that people matter, we must live intentionally toward that end.” Everywhere we experience this frenzy and the city of Phoenix is no exception. As Christians, are our lives any different? Do we rush past people around us on our way to scheduled ministry? Do we miss opportunities to look and see the stories of those…

  • Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala,  Video

    Reparando, a Documentary Worth Sharing

    Tim and I had the opportunity to share a very meaningful documentary with a few people from our church this last week. Reparando (“repairing” in Spanish) is a story about the deep spiritual and physical needs in the largest slum in Guatemala City, and how God is at work repairing this brokenness through the love of Jesus in remarkable ways. The film begins by building the context of the deep poverty and gang violence found in the slum of La Limonada before unfolding stories of hope, joy and possibility. After the film ended, we processed together images and aspects that touched us the most. Many people gravitated to the story…

  • Extensions,  Faith,  Video

    Beauty to the Praise of God

    Tim and I had the privilege of hearing MAKOTO FUJIMURA at the Phoenix Art Museum this last Good Friday. Though he spoke with giftedness and authority on his craft as an artist, his love and passion for Jesus also exuded from every sentence. He is one who has entered into relationship with His Lord and Savior. He sees the Image of God imprinted in this world and imagines what it would have been if unmarred by the Fall and what it will be when restored on the last day. He calls our imaginations to do the same – to taste, experience and pursue beauty. Mako recently gave the commencement speech at…

  • Extensions,  Guatemala

    Our Wedding Lemonade Stand

    It is hard to believe Tim and I were married almost six months ago. We had a wonderful wedding day with family and friends in a little desert oasis in the Valley of the Sun. But throughout the insanity of planning a wedding from across the country, we were pumped to have the opportunity to support an organization we are really excited about. We created a Lemonade Stand to bring attention and support to the work of Lemonade International. In lieu of party favors, we gave towards this ministry and had the following message on our wedding site: As we prepare for our wedding and marriage, Tim and I are well…

  • Annual Top 10,  Books,  Extensions

    My Top 11 Books from 2011

    Although I share Tim’s desire to read widely to develop critical and discerning thinking rather than cloning myself to one or two author’s thoughts or perspectives, I have compiled a rather narrow top 11 reads of 2011. It seems somehow wrong to have two of the same authors as well as three books on the topic of justice, but these were the books I was honestly most impacted by this year. Gregory Boyle, Tattoos on the Heart An inspiring and informative read about how relationship and empowerment can bring change and self-respect to those who easily believe they are worthless. Boyle is a priest whose impact shows how each of us…

  • Ethiopia,  Extensions,  Faith

    Remembering Sarah

    We’ve all experienced pivotal moments in our lives where we come away with the realization we are forever changed. One such event for me was a two week visit to Ethiopia back in 2006. Remembering the people we met and programs visited ignites my heart once more for the daunting mission of addressing physical and spiritual poverties worldwide. The following story was originally written for my church team supporters. As I re-read it today, I remember Sarah. I remember how her absolute trust in God’s loving heart of compassion and provision floored me. I remember how her words fanned the flame of passion already sparked in my heart to pursue…

  • Extensions,  Peru

    Back to Peru

    After 3 years I returned to Lima, Peru for vacation and a visit to the Food for the Hungry Peru office. It was an incredible time to get to another country and culture, listen to and fumble in Spanish, enjoy amazing friends and good hugs, eat incredible Peruvian food, explore Puno and Lake Titicaca, see how the child development program works in Lima…and once again have my heart broken over the poverty, unsupported missionaries, dysfunction of my organization and wishing I could impact the work they are doing there. Heart breaking to watch people with very little choices who are working hard and long every day to provide for their…

  • Dominican Republic,  Extensions

    Quick Visit to the Dominican Republic

    Spent a great week in the Dominican Republic for a Teams Coordinator Conference. I really enjoyed spending the time with our field staff who provide me with great perspective for my job. Field realities, frustrations, joys, vantage points, questions and challenges are good and necessary for me to hear in order to do my job in Phoenix effectively. It is particularly interesting to hear from different cultures and sets of experience. We spent one day in a sponsorship community hearing from the local church and community leaders. It was encouraging to hear them share how the child development program had equipped them to care for their children. I am grateful…