Alright, so I told you I was going to share some ideas of what our family was going to do this year......
This first picture is a picture of a picture that is hanging on our refrigerator. This is Thokozani, a 10 year old boy in Malawi. We have been sponsoring him through World Vision for about two years now. For Simeon's 8th birthday, we let him pick a child to sponsor. What I love about child sponsorship through WorldVision, is that you have the opportunity to correspond with your sponsored child. Simeon picked Thokozani because they were both born on the exact same day of the same year. It is pretty neat to know they are exactly the same age and they both love the same game of soccer halfway across the world from each other.
The next two pictures are not hanging on our refrigerator......yet. We just committed to sponsor them for the next year. The boy Jude picked to sponsor is also exactly his age (same birthday too) and the girls wanted to pick this baby girl in pink from Lesotho. Isn't she adorable? I can't wait to see all 3 pictures hanging on the refrigerator together.
This next little boy hung on an ornament on our Christmas tree this year. We sponsored him through....my favorite....Reece's Rainbow. He is waiting for his forever family, and our donation will go towards an adoption grant for him. It's too late to get a Christmas ornament, but it's never too late to make a donation for adoption grants, adoption awareness, even donations to orphanages to help kids in need. I have a particular heart for Haiti right now as I've been following a fellow bloggers Haiti adoption journey, and their little girls are so tiny and frail, simply because of the shortage of food there. It is so heartbreaking.
We happen to personally know and dearly love three different couples who are all directly involved in missions to Africa right now.
Our good friends, the Palmers, who I have mentioned before, are leaving in less than a month to Uganda to adopt a little boy. While they are there they will be working with an organization to bring clean water into the little town and surrounding areas.
My old roommate Rachel and her husband David are the founders of Open Arms International. David is an evangelist, and Rachel is a registered nurse, and together they have an incredible ministry in Kenya, administering medical care, food, Bibles, and setting up children's homes and communities for AIDS orphans and widows. We have supported them some over the last couple of years. You should really check out what they are doing in Africa.
And then there are the Koens, our very very dear friends. They are from South Africa, and will soon be returning there as missionaries to their own people. I just spent quite a bit of time talking to Tina earlier today, and I am so excited about what God is doing in their lives and through their family. A couple of years ago Tina and I spent time talking about her desire to go to the mission field and administer love and the gospel to the poor and to the orphans there. And now her dream is being fulfilled. Their ministry is Bridge to Cross, and we certainly plan to be a support to them as they are launching their ministry. Please check it out.
A couple of people mentioned World Hope International, another wonderful organization helping to break the cycle of poverty and slavery. My friend Melanie worked for World Hope and this is what she said about it: Someone mentioned World Hope which is an agency that I have worked for and they work very hard not just to provide disaster relief, but sustainable development that will offer long term hope and independence. One of their larger projects is the community orphan trust which assists a community in developing an economic endeavor which then supports the orphans and widows of the community. Each self-sustaining orphan trust can support hundreds of people depending on the needs of the community. I'll be looking forward to hearing what other ideas you may have and joining with you in your efforts.
Also, my parents are missionaries in Mexico, and while they don't have a ministry website, they too have a heart to help people. My dad has a heart for business missions, connecting christian mentors with Mexican businessmen. My mom and dad are honestly the most hospitable people I know, constantly entertaining the poor and distraught, bringing them into their home and loving on them. If you have a desire to get involved in their ministry I can give you more info on that too.
Have you heard about MinistryWatch? It is a website that basically "grades" ministries and charitable organizations on how they manage their donations, how transparent they are with their income and expenses, etc. Before you give, you can make sure you are giving towards an organization who will not use and abuse your money.
So here are just a few of the ministries that I am excited about helping. These folks are living out the gospel, being Christ's hands and feet. I know there are many more, and I want to hear about them in the comments.
Open Arms International
Bridge to Cross