• Bloggers Trip,  Extensions,  Faith,  Guatemala

    What does Lemonade Child Sponsorship do?

    This week I witnessed an incredibly unique sponsorship program in a uniquely challenging and beautiful place. Focused on a single (but large!) slum in Guatemala City, Lemonade International is a small, intentional and relational organization which allows them to go deep rather than wide in their impact. Mobilized by God, local Guatemalans walk into this dangerous neighborhood with very specific goals for the children who live there. There is no presence of another development organization, government aid or even the police in these neighborhoods. One Guatemalan recently said, “I never stopped to think there are families with children living there. I just thought they were all thieves and gang members.…

  • 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…

  • Faith,  Fun Times,  Guatemala

    A True Love Twitter Story

    Once upon a time, there was a boy and there was a girl. They lived far apart and for the better part of three decades, they had never met. One spring day the boy decided to do a series of blogs about social justice. He also decided to tweet about them. The girl stumbled upon said boy’s blog while searching #socialjustice tweets. Through mutual interests, mutual friends and a dazzling dose of providential intervention the boy and the girl began to tweet, email, text and talk on the phone to each other. By Fall, the boy and the girl finally met each other in person and with a little help…

  • 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…

  • Faith

    Motivated by Worship

    I worked for a Christian organization for nearly 7 years where I heard over and over again motivational chapels and messages for working towards our God-given mission. Yet I grew weary and often avoided these times because I was left feeling overwhelmed. After sacrificing to work there, being fully committed to the mission and working over 60 hour weeks to accomplish it, I would hear about how much I have as an American, how much more I should be loving and how much more I should be doing. I could respond by digging deeper and giving more or feeling deflated and immobilized. How do you motivate yourself and others to…

  • 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…

  • Faith,  Mozambique

    Becoming Poor

    I recently returned from a shortened visit to FH/Mozambique. Due to an illness I came home without accomplishing my intended purpose – to offer training to Child Development Program (CDP) staff as well as have my dried up vision renewed. After six years of working for FH and two since my last field visit, I was full of anticipation for hearing the passion of field staff and appreciating what God is accomplishing through FH in the lives of the most vulnerable. But God’s ways are not my ways. Rather than give, I was forced to receive the unbelievable grace and kindness of FH/Mozambique. Rather than achieve my goals, I fell…

  • Faith

    Francis of Assisi, I See

    I just finished the biography of St. Francis of Assisi by the very eloquent G.K. Chesterton. I am left in awe, inspired by one of the characteristics that distinguished him from other men. It is a quality I was created to desire and redeemed to fully receive. But also what I am called to imitate if I want to taste God’s heart, particularly for the poor. As Jeremiah 22:16 says, “He defended the cause of the poor and the needy, and so all went well. ‘Is that not what it means to know me?’ declares the Lord.” [Francis] only saw the image of God multiplied but never monotonous. To him…

  • Faith

    But This I Call to Mind

    … bereft of peace, bereft of peace … There is so much overwhelming my heart right now; so much heartache and pain everywhere, I can feel my body absorbing it like a steam room. the earthquake in Haiti leaving many dead, wounded, homeless, scared and without hope; concern for my friends on the ground attempting to meet these needs; a program cut at work causing many of my friends to lose their jobs; under-funded programs struggling to meet overwhelming needs; coworkers demoted and weary; my brother’s state-funded salary cut in half because the State is broke and doesn’t seem to place much value on this important job that not only…