Archives For children

THE BIG DEAL!

November 27, 2011 — Leave a comment

Today is Cyber Monday. The internet’s version of Black Friday.

This just screams Christmas, doesn't it?

I’m willing to bet your morning inbox is filled with subject lines like this:

—>ONE DAY ONLY: Save 65% on a Burnt Chocolate Candle your Grandma will pretend to love

—>CLEARANCE!!! Imported handmade by a 6 year old in India knit scarf specially priced at $42.50

—>FREE SHIPPING!!! Don’t miss anyone on your list – Bulk order gifts to stuff everyone’s stockings!!!*

wowzer.

what.a.deal.

You can ask anyone who knows me, I love a good deal! I love the feeling that I’m getting something for nothing, especially at Christmastime. In fact there’s an adrenaline rush that goes along with it. Perhaps that’s why we Americans go ga-ga for 3a.m. Black Friday sales & Cyber Monday extravaganzas… we love getting a deal even more than we love giving the gift! 

I found a deal even better than all of this – the deal of the millennium!

You can give a gift that will be forgotten before New Year’s or…

You have the chance to change a child’s life forever!

Use Cyber Monday to Change the Story for a child in Swaziland, Africa and do it in honor of one of your family members!

Instead of spending $$$ to give Grandma the sweet smell of burnt chocolate, give her a gift that gives life. Spend the $$$ HERE, then write Grandma a festive note saying her Christmas gift is extra special this year, it’s bringing life & education to orphaned and at-risk children in Swaziland!**

All joking aside, if we as Christians truly believe Jesus is the Reason for the Season, if we truly believe heaven is for real, and that we are the Body of Christ here on earth, we will ACT on those eternal truths, we will GIVE as Christ has commanded… and we’ll do it with JOY!!!!

Learn to do right; Take up the cause of the fatherless

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because

   I was hungry and you gave me no meal, 
   I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 
   I was homeless and you gave me no bed, 
   I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, 
   Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’ Matthew 25:37-40

Do you see Jesus in her eyes?

“Don’t hoard treasure down here where it gets eaten by moths and corroded by rust or—worse!—stolen by burglars. Stockpile treasure in heaven, where it’s safe from moth and rust and burglars. It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being. Matthew 6:20-21

As you will read if you click HERE, as a family, we are each giving up one Christmas present this year and instead putting that money to better, eternal use by participating in Change Their Story. As much as I want my children to love the holiday season, I don’t want them to love the greedy, commercialized version. Giving up one Christmas gift so that a child across the world can have a better life seems like a great way to celebrate Jesus’ birthday! I challenge you & your family to do the same – to Give it UP! You may be surprised how willing they are to put Christ back into Christmas!

Shine On!!!!

Danielle

—>> How are you making Christmas more meaningful & Christ-centered for your family this year? I’d love to hear your ideas & insights! <<—

*fine print: Hello Kitty bookmarks sold in bulk quantities only – must spend $200 to get free shipping offer.

**BONUS: Not only will you save & protect childrens’ lives, trust me, you’ll totally be Gma’s new favorite grandkid! Now THAT’s a deal!!!

Help Haiti NOW!

October 16, 2011 — Leave a comment

Nearly two years ago a 7.0 earthquake rocked the Haitian world – all eyes turned to Haiti to grieve, to comfort, to aid in recovery. You couldn’t go anywhere without seeing the heartbreaking images of children being trapped, starving, dying. The American and world media swarmed to report the devastation, destruction, and despair for months after the quake. Call it what you will, but thanks to the media coverage we heard the stories, saw the images and many, many people were moved to pray and act.

But as with all natural disasters, there came a time when our attention turned elsewhere.

Will you fight for them?

Just yesterday I learned of yet another another disaster in Haiti that has continued to go on after the quake. The predators didn’t stop. The schemes of evil, money-hungry men only grew in the aftermath. Their target?

The most hungry Haitians.

The most needy Haitians.

The most vulnerable Haitians.

The orphaned Haitian children who have already lost everything.

They have cloaked themselves behind what was once a safe haven for the children to find shelter and food at the Son of God Orphanage.

This has to be stopped. An investigation started over 15 months ago and there is now more than enough evidence to catch these predators and REMOVE the children from danger. What can we do? PRAY & ACT!!! We need media coverage that will shine a light on the abuse, sex trafficking, starvation and even organ harvesting.

Please read  Tom Davis’ blog HERE for more details on how you can HELP HAITI NOW! 

then.. SIGN THE PETITION HERE!!!

10,000 signatures are needed – so far, there’s 325. Lets begin to END the hell the children are in today!!!!!

What else can we do?

Repost on your blog, on Facebook, and retweet with the hashtags #cnnfreedom and #not_for_sale

This is an opportunity to be a LIGHT to the world in darkness!!!!

Shine On! 

 

Bheveni Love.

October 2, 2010 — 5 Comments

Our Bheveni Carepoint Children!

Upon returning from a missions trip such as this, you expect to hear and read about how our lives have forever been altered by what we have seen and heard. Right?

I want to give you that joy.

I’m just not sure how.

My life has forever been altered by Swaziland, and more specifically by the women & children at our Bheveni Carepoint. Yet, somehow words don’t seem to be enough to describe exactly how this happened. I fell in love. And love usually can’t be explained easily.

But I will try.

Notice the GORGEOUS mountains behind the Swaziland Market

I love Swaziland, Africa.

I love the terrain of expansive mountains & flowing valleys.

I love the hot sun.

A leopard casually crossed the road in front of us

I even love the African animals.

My special friend Siphiwe

But mostly, I love the people.


Swaziland’s currency is not money. It is relationships. Think about that for a minute. They don’t want my money. They want my heart. And they freely give theirs.

this young lady wanted me to see her pretty ring too!

Not once did I get the sense that the Swazi children or adults were looking for a hand out. No, they were looking for my hand and my heart. My hand and heart – to come alongside them, to serve with them, to work with them, to sing and dance with them.

I need Swaziland more than Swaziland needs me, if I’m really honest with myself.

I come away from Africa with a sense that I’ve been blessed more than I’ve been a blessing.

In a place that we know there is desperate need, a greater joy resides. We know there is starvation, poverty, lack, death all around, yet the African’s joy remains in their hearts and across their faces. Their heartfelt gratitude for small things was extremely humbling.

My focus has changed. It’s not so much now what I can give them or how I can show them to rightly live. They have taught me how to live above my circumstances in JOY, not with sermons preached, but with their actions.

The children at Bheveni have never flushed a toilet,  never taken a hot shower, most only have one outfit they call their own, and chances are they’ve seen more death in their childhood than you or I will see in our lifetime – yet their joy is FULL. Circumstance does not define them.

Jesus loves the little children

Preschoolers happily wash hands before porridge in the morning

Giggles resound all morning, as 25-35 preschoolers happily play in the dirt under the hot sun, with broken sticks and pipe they’ve found laying around. Soon the Bomakes (pronounced Bo-ma-gay, meaning mothers) and Go-Go’s (as grandmothers are often called) call them to wash their hands & eat their porridge and each child gladly washes their own plate when they’ve eaten all their food. They look for no one to entertain them. They know the go-gos are busy all morning cooking up pap & beans so more than 100 school children can have a meal when they come to the Carepoint after school.

The children heading home before the sun goes down...

The school children love learning and seem to know how meaningful a solid education can be in Swaziland. They come walking down the dirt road towards the Carepoint with big smiles, looking forward to their only meal of the evening and some free, safe play time before their walk home. Some live only a few minutes from the Carepoint, others live an hour’s walk away.

Inside the Beveni Carepoint Gathering Room

During our afternoons at Bheveni, children from ages 3 and up stood for 30-40 minutes shoulder to shoulder, intently listening to Jim, our storyteller. On Friday afternoon, some of the older children put on a drama for us that they had learned at the Carepoint. The drama was the story of Joseph being left for dead by his brothers and how God saved a dying nation through one man’s obedience. The drama was both meaningful & very entertaining. A couple of the boys seemed to enjoy reenacting the ‘fight scene’ where Joseph got beat up!

The young man who played Joseph in the drama

While we took many gifts & provisions for the children, I would venture to guess all my B-Team members would whole-heartedly agree that the Bheveni children blessed us far more than we could have blessed them.

Yes, I definitely fell in love while in Swaziland. I pray that over the course of the next weeks & months I will be able to share more stories with you about the children who come to the Bheveni Carepoint.

May all of us gain a greater insight as to how to pray for them and love them. May you know that every prayer & every letter you’ve sent to your sponsored child has been received with so much appreciation and love. You are making a difference in the lives of these children.

Thanks to everyone who has supported the B-Team through prayers, gifts of time and resources. Before our trip, we said many times that we go not only representing God, but representing more than 500 Carepoint supporters. Now, we return also hoping to rightly represent the children of Bheveni and those who minister to them daily. May our resolve to love and partner with them be even stronger in the coming days!

Keep lovin’

Danielle, Mike & the B-Team

B-Team Prayer T-11 days!

September 6, 2010 — Leave a comment

11 days & counting!

Let EVERYTHING that has breath...

Philippians 4:6-7

Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Yesterday we requested that you pray for our children & families who remain in the States during our Missions Trip.

Today we ask you to fervently pray for the children & their ‘families’ at the Beveni Carepoint.

Please pray for the following:

There are 131 children sponsored & cared for at the Beveni Carepoint, many of whom one or both parents have died due to AIDS. (Swaziland has the highest rate of HIV/AIDS in the world at 44%)

  • Ask God to protect our Beveni kids from the dangers that surround them – that He would put a hedge of protection around them to keep them from the sickness & disease that runs rampant all around them.
  • Not only do they face dangers of sickness & disease, but in Swaziland orphaned children are often seen as a curse & can become victims of despicable crimes. Please pray that God’s angels would be their safe keeping.
  • Ask the Lord to prepare the hearts of the children to receive His love both now & also while our team is with them. In spite of the language barrier, that they would feel God’s presence & be able to receive the ministry that is being taught.
  • Pray for their caregivers to have wisdom & strength. This includes the volunteer cooks (called go-go’s), the AIM (Adventures In Missions) staff, and the Discipleship Team, all who work diligently to help the children of Swaziland, including our Beveni kids.

Here is an article that, honestly, is hard to read. But it’s reality. Use the compassion that you feel in your heart to give you better insight in how to pray. Albino (11) shot, beheaded

Thank you for your prayers,

Danielle & the B-Team

P.S. – we should be hearing from Delta Airlines in the next few days (today would be great!) concerning the request for our team’s extra baggage fee to be waived. Continue to believe God with us for favor! Let’s have faith & give God the glory! I will update you, our prayer team, as soon as I hear from Delta.


B-Team Prayer T-12 days!

September 5, 2010 — 10 Comments

That’s right only 12 days & our feet will be on African soil!!!!

My parents are going where? without me?

Today’s Prayer Request is for the B-Team’s families that remain in the United States during our Missions Trip.

Pray for the following:

  • For our children & families as they deal with our approaching departure. It can be difficult especially for the younger kids. Colossians 2:2
  • Ask for God to help us with needed childcare & family care.
  • Pray for protection over our children & families while we are away, that God’s hand would be upon them to comfort them & keep them healthy.

Thank you for your prayers. I hope you know how comforting it is to have a prayer team supporting us!

God bless your Labor Day Weekend!

Danielle & the B-Team

A short P.S. ~ Praise Story ~ we received our first donation through PayPal (that bright yellow button to the left!) as of this morning! You know who you are – thank you for $50 that will be used for much needed aid for our Beveni Kids!

The Missing Peace!

July 20, 2010 — 3 Comments

The Missing Peace!

They screamed. I screamed. We all screamed…

Not for ice cream, though I could’ve used some today. My kids fought most of the afternoon about one thing or another – who tooted on who, who’s turn it was to pick up the dog poop, who stole money from the Monopoly bank, etc. etc.

But did I come to the rescue with laughter or a calm attitude? Nope. They were screaming at the each other, so the obvious answer was for me to scream louder, right? So I screamed, “PEACE!!!!”

All I wanted was for them to get along & play Monopoly peacefully. I could think of no other word (okay, well, I could, but PEACE is what came out, thank God!) Unfortunately my scream scared my seven year old and made him cry all the harder & louder. Ugh. I wanted a do over. And the only way to get it was to create peace – not just scream about it.

Ever have a day like that?

~~~~~

Peace.

An amazing word that nearly evokes a sigh of relief when spoken (not screamed). A word that seems to breath hope at its very mention. Peace. We long for it. We seek after it. And many times we are left questioning, “Why don’t I have any?”

In this world we live in, how can we truly ever have peace or hope of peace? Won’t there always be conflict & turmoil? Won’t there always be famine & disease?

Yes. It’s true. But true peace does not come from everything in our lives being perfectly in order. Nor does it come from being accepted or being popular.

Do you hear that?

You will NEVER achieve peace if you are looking for some outside force to bring it to you.

Success.

Relationships.

Sex.

Donuts.

Money.*

Peace comes from within. You may have heard that before, but are you living as if you believe peace comes from within or without?

God’s peace is not a promise of the absence of turmoil, but a promise of peace during crisis & chaos. I can think of no greater comfort than knowing that God’s peace is available to me regardless of my circumstances.

Isaiah 53 says, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”

Did you catch that? It was Christ’s punishment that brought us peace. We already have peace because of His suffering & His punishment.

So how do I live according to that peace Christ died for?  And how do I communicate that peace to my children without duct taping their mouths? (Did I just write that?)

  • Seek the Giver of Peace ~ “Turn away from evil & do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” Ps. 34:14 – Action is required when pursuing peace.
  • Release the Care ~ “So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs. God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right time. Live carefree before God; He is most careful with you.” 1 Peter 5:7 I love that God is careful with me. He is tender with me as a mother is with her newborn baby. He loves & holds us close.

Corrie Ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of sorrows; it empties today of strength.”

  • Create an Attitude of Thankfulness ~ your attitude determines your altitude. Find the things & people in your life that you can be thankful for in the midst of a difficult time. We don’t necessarily thank God for the turmoil or chaos or disaster, but we thank Him in the midst of it, knowing that He says all things work together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.
  • Don’t Give Up ~ “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Your story, God’s story through you, IS NOT OVER!!!

So today I hope you are encouraged to seek & stir up the peace that is already within you.

When you are stressed & ready to duct tape someone’s mouth shut, how do you respond? 🙂

SOS! Shine On Sisters

*not listed in order of importance, mind you

Stir up the Lovin’!

July 9, 2010 — 2 Comments

I’d like to hear from my readers today! Tell us all something extra special about one of your kids – your daughter’s beautiful smile, your boy’s adventurous spirit, his tender heart, her latest accomplishment… Or share one of your best memories together ~ like the time your four-year-old  ratted you out as the one that passed gas at the table (oh wait, that was my son!).

I find that when I remember the good times with my kiddos, is often when I’m stirred to create new good times! How about you?

Stir up the lovin’! What’s great about your little bambinos?

Shine On Sisters!

P.S. Hey, you don’t have to be a writer to leave a comment! Just say it as it comes! It works for me! Besides, how often does someone actually ask you to brag on your kids? Exactly!

Hope Is FOUND!!!!

June 25, 2010 — 2 Comments

We have sponsored a young girl, Siphiwe, for over a year now through Children’s HopeChest. HopeChest along with Adventures in Missions has 19 Carepoint Sites through Swaziland, Africa. Siphiwe comes daily to the Beveni Carepoint along with 131 other orphaned and vulnerable children.

The Beveni Carepoint is where the children receive food (usually their only meal of the day), clothing & medical treatment if needed, education & love because of the committed workers who run the Carepoint, but also because they have sponsors who give $34 a month to Children’s HopeChest that sees to it these individual children are cared for body, soul & spirit.

Sponsorship is a $34 a month commitment, with the opportunity to communicate with a sweet, but needy child via letters & translation of emails by Children’s HopeChest. Please contact me, Danielle, to begin to change a life & be their HOPE!  danielle.moms4change@gmail.com Thank you!!! You won’t regret it.

These six children were in need of new sponsors, but in a few short weeks, families stepped up & stepped in to support them both financially & with love. Thank you sponsors for being HOPE!

Won’t you be the change 4 a child’s life?

SPONSORED on 07.21.2010 Thokozani, age 13, lives about 15 minutes from our carepoint with nine other children. He enjoys sports, singing, agriculture, and reading to name a few. If you can support Thokozani, please message or email me. I have more details about him & how sponsorship works. danielle.moms4change@gmail.com THX

~~~~~~~

SPONSORED on 06.29.2010 Little Bukiwe is about 6 years old. Her personality is best described as active, composed, introverted, and competitive. Know any other little girls like this!? 🙂

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SPONSORED on 07.01.2010 Nomcebo is a beautiful 16 year old girl who lives a 20 minute walk from our carepoint. She likes singing, dancing, cooking and reading, among other things. She is described as good-natured, introverted and sensitive.

~~~~~~~

SPONSORED on 07.12.2010 Zandile is about 8 years old. Her current home is about one hour’s walk from Beveni each day. She is described as composed, friendly, and curious. If you can support Zandile, please message or email me. I have more details about her & how sponsorship works. danielle.moms4change@gmail.com THX

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SPONSORED on 07.12.2010 Mhlengi is 19 years old and in the 11th grade. He lives with his aunt and 6 other children. He is described as an extrovert and competitive. If you can support Mhlengi, please message or email me. I have more details about him & how sponsorship works. danielle.moms4change@gmail.com THX

~~~~~~~

SPONSORED on 07.12.2010 Mduduzi is about 14 years old. He lives about 20 minutes from the Beveni Carepoint. He lives with his parents & eight other children. He is in the 5th or 6th grade now.  If you can support Mduduzi, please message or email me. I have more details about him & how sponsorship works. danielle.moms4change@gmail.com THX

Moms – here’s your chance to become HOPE to another child, who needs love & care just as your own do.

What if you won the Worst Mother Ever award?

Lindsay Lohan’s mom did. How awful is that?

It was bestowed upon her by TMZ, a celeb gossip/news company (okay, technically from an online poll TMZ held). TMZ is not known for their excellence in journalism, but they are well-known & have a sizable following. And now Dina Lohan is known. Not just for being famous LiLo’s Mom, but for wearing the label of “Worst Mother Ever”  for things like dropping her daughter off at a bar when she was supposed to be in rehab… yeah. Wonder if her younger kids ever use that award against her? Probably. I would have when I was a kid, for sure.

~~~~~~

This story is not to shame or judge Dina Lohan. Lord knows she needs prayer! Just an example to show that you are in fact NOT the worst mother in the world.

Besides the fact that you AREN’T, do you ever FEEL like the worst mother who walks the planet?

How about when your 2-year-old child falls head first, out of the cart onto the cement ground at the grocery store? Or when you get a call from the kindergarten principal saying that your kid threatened another kid with a pair of safety scissors? (pretty sure these two incidents are related somehow)

At times we all feel as though someone is about to hand us the Worst Mother trophy.

We screw up. We blow it. We scream.

We scold & talk to our precious child as if they were an idiot.

We spank in anger. We want to run away!

{I might need some confirmation that I’m not the only one who blows it.}

I can guarantee that all of you reading this blog love your kids. And I wouldn’t be going too far out on a limb to say you’d gladly lay your life down for them.

Just like we shouldn’t take all the credit when our kid scores the winning hit in the little league baseball game or invents the next Nobel Prize winning genetic code that stops cancer in its tracks… we can’t take all the credit for when things go wrong.

Moms, don’t allow your guilt to suck out the joys of motherhood. Realize you & your kids are gonna make mistakes: some more embarrassing than others ~ some with life-altering consequences.  It’s in those times that our kids need our love the most, not our shame.

We should strive to be the best examples, but lets allow for screw ups.

Tantrums will be thrown in public.

Naughty words will be blurted out in front of your MIL.

And don’t even get me started about what the kids will do! 🙂

Love them through their humanity ~ the good, the bad, the ugly. In that process of letting our kids be human, how about we do the same for ourselves? When you blow it, go to God, and your child, if necessary, and ask forgiveness. Teach them by example to forgive & move forward.

Release the burden of ‘motherhood’ guilt. Chances are no one is going to show up at your door and slap you with a “Worst Mother Ever” award. Unless you’re Dina Lohan. Yeah. We need to pray for that woman! 🙂

I wanna hear from you!

Have your or your kids done something lately that have made you feel as though the paparazzi might chase you down with an award you DON’T want? 🙂

Shine On Sisters!

Please take time to read this brief, but informative article via Tom Davis’ Blog & Childrens HopeChest.

Too Many Children in our World Suffer Appalling Abuse

Today, the UN outlawed abuses inflicted on children including prostitution, pornography, and the sale of children. I don’t know why this took so long, but good for them. It’s good to see world leadership stepping up and doing their part to protect kids from abusers.

What if the church stepped up to do something radical? What if the church said, “If there are any children in the world in danger of being exploited sexually or trafficked, we will take them in. We’ll find families. No questions asked.”

That’s the kind of Acts 2 love and sacrifice that would change the world.

New York — The United Nations on Tuesday launched a major campaign for universal adoption of treaty protocols that outlaw the sale of children, child prostitution and pornography, and protect youngsters in armed conflict, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon calling for full ratification by 2012.

“The sad truth is that too many children in today’s world suffer appalling abuse,” he told a ceremony at the headquarters of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in New York, marking the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the two optional protocols strengthening the Convention on the Rights of the Child by providing a moral and legal shield for youngsters vulnerable to prostitution and pornography or caught up in armed conflict.

“Two-thirds of all member states have endorsed these instruments. On this tenth anniversary of their adoption, I urge all countries to ratify them within the next two years.”

Mr. Ban cited recent advances: the release three months ago by the Maoist army in Nepal, under UN supervision, of more than 2,000 soldiers who had been recruited as children; the UN-assisted freeing of children from the ranks of armed groups In Côte d’Ivoire; the prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC) of former Congolese militia leader, Thomas Lubanga for war crimes against children.

He noted, too, that fewer and fewer states now permit children to join the armed forces and reiterated his previous calls to the Security Council to consider tough measures on those states and insurgent groups that still recruit children. From AllAfrica.com.