Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Be a part of something bigger, Part 2

Ok if your day has gone anything like my day so far, your kids woke you up early, spilled their cereal, went to the bathroom on the floor, someone ended up needing to go to the doctor, a grocery store run was a must, dinner made its way in the crockpot, and two different school pickups are about to ensure as I scramble to clean my house for a playdate. These are all fine things, but when this is what every day looks like for me I get bogged down, purposeless, defeated. Don't get me wrong, being a stay at home mom is a gift and a privilege I don't take lightly. But sometimes as women I think we settle in for the mundane because it is a LOT and "has" to be done.
I think there is more. I know there is. There has to be.
Ok, so hopefully you have read part 1 to know the back story. Now on to what is coming next. It's big. It's scary. I can't do it without God. And that is not my daily life. I can sometimes get by without "depending desperately" on him to come through. But not here. Not on this. This is God sized.

We are launching a new Care for Aids center. This will serve 90 people for 9 months until another group of 90 begins for 9 months and then another group of 90...until AIDS is eradicated in that community (It has happened before! 18 centers exist, 3000 graduates, 1000 families currently in the program, 888 lives dedicated to Christ through it!)  It will run through a local church in a village, area, or slum that has been identified as a high risk need for AIDS intervention. The face of this center is all Kenyan. It will be run as if done by the local church, so some American doesn't go in as the face of wealth saving a community and bringing health and hope. No, this is done through the local Kenyan church, empowering it to live and serve the untouchables of its own community. But it requires backing. 24,000$ to launch a new center. Gulp.

We are in. All in. God is going to do it.

Stop right here and throw out any guilt-ridden feelings you have because this task should not induce that. If it does, stop reading and don't think about it again unless God brings it up in your heart. But, if something about this excites you read on, if you- like me- are ready to trade in the mundane for the wild and get your crew on board, then lets go.
We all have extra, we live in excess. We don't think we have extra money, time, or gifts but we do. We have churches, small groups, kids, closets full of clothes, influence, gifts God has given us that are going unused.
What if we cashed in together? We were at first going to do this on our own but God said no. Then as I've written part 1 and already gotten texts, messages and calls from people on how to get involved, I even thought, what if God funds two centers through this? Insane.

Watch this video and see a family transformed by a center and program just like we can be a part of!

I've included ideas below if you are going to jump in with your family. Talk to your spouse, pray about it, bring it up in your small group, pray about it with your kids.  John and I are committed to the full amount, whether we raise it, pay it, sell stuff to get it, whatever, God is going to do it. I know it. But what if you are supposed to be a part? What would so many people miss out on if we just kept this to ourselves and did it quietly and alone? So many people wouldn't get to be on mission with what God is doing, see the struggles and the triumph, be a part of thousands of lives changed. I pray you'll join us if God so leads.
Here are a few practical ideas:
1. Yard sale- get the kids involved. Talk about how many people around the world have no toys, no extra outfit, no bucket full of shoes. Kids are great at putting stickers on things, it is a beautiful activity as a family to purge, downsize your closet and toy box, and do it with a purpose behind it. Donate the proceeds to get this center off the ground. 90 families will immediately be impacted. A community will change. A church will be the feet of Jesus in a new way.
2. Rice and beans nights- we did this every tuesday night for a season of time. It was a time to focus on what others lived off of (namely our son and daughter at that time). We would forgo going out one night and donate that nights dinner cost to a higher purpose. We would set aside 25$ that we would have spent on dinner for that night, thats 100$ a month, 1200$ a year. It focused our prayers and discussion that night of dinner, it got our kids excited about what might happen with that money. It wasn't always roses, there were whiney nights where they were sick of it and didn't want rice again. But sometimes the beauty comes in the "suffering". The sacrifice draws out the value.
3. Small group involvement- (watch out if you are in my group text circles or small group... its coming) what if our small groups got on board? What if we did life together in a new way? What if we came around a purpose together instead of just meeting each week to talk about how to be more like Jesus and we actually did something? Some groups do this really well. Some need direction. Pray about how you could leverage the families in your community. One small group I heard of delivered ziploc bags of rice to neighborhood homes nearby and had a note to "An invitation to 'not eat' dinner with us tonight" and eat how a family in Kenya would eat and then donate a suggested gift of 20$+ to Care for Aids. Opportunities are limitless.
4. Writing letters- if you have kids 3-16+ you can do this as a family. We use the verse "Encourage one another daily as long as it is called today" Memorize it with your kids, and do an activity together to encourage the people of this center and community that are about to enter in to a 9 month overhaul of their health, marriage, spiritual lives, family, learn a new trade, etc. Have your kids draw them pictures, encouraging verses, use stickers, paint whatever. Mail them to me (email me on tab on left for address) and I will get them to Kenya for you! This is a great way to involve our kids in the mission of lifting others up, living out humility and service, and brightening someone's day!
5. Lemonade sale, bake sale, sell African jewelry, etc- Make your community aware, let your kids get some experience in entrepreneurship, ours loved it. They had to take out a "business loan" from us to buy the supplies and make signs and use their kind words and invite customers in. It was a blast!
6. Give as a family- put out a jar as a family. Let the kids do extra chores to fill it up, when you catch your kids doing something kind put money in the jar, let them see you put money in the jar, make verbal choices in front of your kids to forgo something you wanted (coffee, coke, milkshake, getting nails done, whatever) and put that into the jar. See what you come up with at the end of a week, a month, etc.
7. Forward this on- send these two posts to people you know would like to be involved! We all have tons of friends who want to do something for the least of these.
8. GO- see for yourself what is going on over there. Expose your kids, your parents, your friends to this ministry and see how they work on a day to day basis. Stretch your family in a huge way to experience God where he told you he could be found, with the hungry, the sick, the diseased. I hope also we can get a group together for the first graduation from our center and see the first 90 lives changed because a community said Yes to God's prompting.

Now I am not Miss creative so I am sure there are 100 cute ideas to get your kids involved and get on board as a family on this with us. I would love to have you join. Comment with more ideas. Email me and let me know how it is going or if you want to get involved!
Then I pray one day that some of you may go and visit the center you helped plant. I pray you take your kids and say "Look, this is it, this is what God can do when we say yes and give, he gives more, he opens the floodgates, he changes families and saves lives half way around the world because we said yes".  I pray you see the life change that happened from getting on mission as a family, exposing your kids to what can happen when we give God our anything, our gifts, and our hearts. Think of the ripple effect, 90 families, 90 marriages saved, 180 adults presented with Jesus, most likely 180-360 orphans prevented, every nine months, because one center began.

If you are ready to jump in, your giving can go to this link for our center.
John and I are matching all donations 100% until at least one center is funded. We can not wait to see what happens, what God does in your hearts, your stories, your families, your kids hearts. I've already heard stories, gotten texts of already God moments and miracles, this is going to be amazing y'all.
God is huge, we rarely tap into his power and what he wants to unleash in our lives if we just say yes with what he has given us. I think the floodgates just may open...

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