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For The Love of Community

August 17, 2015 — 8 Comments

FORTHELOVEpicThere are few things in life that end up working out the way we envisioned them or had hoped they’d turn out, right? I mean think about it; did marriage, parenthood, complete financial freedom by the age of 40 work out the way you expected & dreamed when you were 18 and knew it all? How about that waistline? If you still have your 18-year-old-body after birthing several children, you’re a freak of nature. I mean, I love you, but you’re barely human.

I’ll be the first to admit, I’m a big dreamer. It’s gotten me into more than a few pickles in my life… because reality often wins out over dreaming big… and blah, blah, blah… whatever, man. I think I’m finally figuring out how to dream without being devastated when reality happens in the midst of the dreaming.

A few months back I prayed a big prayer for God to enlarge my territory & that His grace would empower me to be who He created me to be… to create hope & inspire others to know Him simply by loving them. earth-shattering, right? 🙂

Welp, the Lord answered that prayer but in exactly ZERO ways I thought He would. Of course. Yet His plan worked SO much better than my dreams! Imagine that!

I’ve had the opportunity to be involved in Jen Hatmaker’s Launch Team for her new book:

‘For the Love’. Y’all it releases TODAY, the 18th.

As part of the Launch Team, I knew there would be perks like an advanced copy of the book, the opportunity to write an endorsement, getting to be in a private FB group with the other #499 Launch Team members & Jen herself, but what I didn’t see coming has perhaps been the greatest gift…

Community. Authentic & Grace-filled Connection. I mean, as close as you can be to people online, that is what our band of #500 have become… a tribe, a community, a safe haven in which to blossom & be messy. No religious requirements. No hoops. No judgments. Turns out, it’s possible. 

And it’s crossed from just being online to truly developing friendship in ‘real life’ through meet-ups & such… for many of us I believe we’ll be friends long after the Book Launch dust has settled.

Rebecca Beckett said it best: “Jen didn’t just write a book; she wrote a community.”

These ladies & Jen have opened their hearts to each other. It’s a place to practice what the book itself is all about… giving grace, removing the impossible standards we place on ourselves so we can truly love our neighbor as ourselves… no matter how different we may be from one another.

This book is a melting pot of hilarity & practical wisdom. I’ve often talked about how funny it is, but one quote I want to leave with you, that I believe sums up not only the point of the book, but the point of the Gospel:

“Maybe we can lay down our fear and criticism, self-directed and otherwise. Maybe if we let ourselves off the hook, we can let others off too, and discover that God was in control all along, just as He tried to tell us. He is good at being God! Hooray!” ~ Jen Hatmaker, For The Love

Give it a whirl… the book AND laying down the fear & criticism… there’s so much freedom & peace in grace, y’all. So much.

If you haven’t already purchased your shiny new book with shiny new words, in honor of the book launching today, I’m giving away one of my ten copies (hey, no snickering! yeah, I ordered TEN! hush it!) Entering is super easy because complicated giveaways give me a headache and multiple instructions are sometimes hard to follow! Bless our hearts. 🙂

Share this blogpost. Then comment below OR on my Facebook/Twitter post telling me that you shared it! #BOOM you BOSSED it! 

Contest starts NNNNNN…NOW & runs through next Monday, the 24th. 

Thanks for sticking with me, readers! Thanks for letting me be a dreamer… sometimes a flaky one… okay, a lot of times a flaky one. I’ve received so much grace and you know what it feels like? It feels like Love.

Shine On… For The Love! 

Danielle 
Ps. Now go share this post with your friends, then let me know you shared it by leaving a comment here OR on my Facebook/Twitter post. Then, you are entered! Capeesh?

One of the many ways that God blessed our missions trip to Swaziland was to show us how the ministry between Children’s HopeChest, AIM, and the carepoints actually work. Obviously our chief concern is how these relationships & ministries effect our children who attend Bheveni Carepoint.

It’s about the Kids!!!!

I can say unequivocally that those who are ministering to our Bheveni kids have the kids needs at the center of everything they do. From the leaders of HopeChest here in America, to Jumbo & Kriek Gerber who are AIM’s Swaziland leaders, to the Discipleship Team who know the children and teach them about Jesus every week. IT IS ABOUT THE KIDS!!!!

What a relief it was to see for myself that yes, it is about the children – it’s not about making a name for their ministry, or having all the best technologies or vehicles to transport teams & staff. No. Let me be clear – it is most definitely about making sure our kids are cared for body, soul, and spirit.

Gratitude to Deb Gangemi

Deb Gangemi

I want to take a moment to thank a very special person. Deb Gangemi. Deb was Bheveni’s sponsorship coordinator from the beginning of the carepoint’s existence. Through God’s grace and her passion for the Swaziland kids, she led hundreds of people to pray for & give to our Bheveni kids for over a year & a half. The building, the outhouse, the fence, the garden, the water tower, the well – all these things you see in the pictures are a result of her efforts to seek funding and support. Deb I hope you know how thankful I am for the foundation you laid, for all the time you gave. We are reaping the rewards for the seed you’ve sown and so are the children of Bheveni. Thank you!

Let’s THRIVE together!

A solid foundation has been built at Bheveni. Kids are being fed and have access to clean water. Kids are learning. Bheveni has become what the vision was nearly two years ago – to provide a safe haven for the area children to not only be fed, but also to hear about Jesus & grow in Him. This is happening. To God be the glory!

The goal of CHC & AIM and our FB Community is to see to it that the children who come to carepoints are not only surviving now, but also thriving & succeeding. This definitely happens because of a strong partnership community. Our goal is to raise up a strong Bheveni Carepoint and surrounding community, one that is NOT solely dependent on provision by us, but one that thrives & is able to rise up and grow beyond what they thought possible. We want our helping to actually help – not hurt or cause dependency on anyone but Jesus.

One Striking Difference

I think this is one of the main ways that HopeChest and AIM differ from other large ministry organizations – they seek not only to give the kids a meal or clean water, but to genuinely help them to help themselves beyond mere survival by creating ways for them to thrive in areas such as:

(While some of these services may be supported by child sponsorship, additional sources of support are required)

  • Education – each child must have the opportunity to go to school.  School fees are costly and must be paid each year in order for a child to graduate to the next grade level. Many families, especially with multiple children find this very difficult. Soon I will be sharing with you a plan to help each of our Bheveni kids thrive in this area.

  • Enhanced medical care through cross Carepoint initiatives

  • Initiate activities through the community that increases ability to earn a living wage (micro-enterprise, occupational training)

  • Engage in developing or building up an indigenous led local church. Each child should be able to have access to a local church & body of believers.

Partnering & Sponsorship

You and I are partnering with this vision. By sending in $34 a month, you are not just supporting one child. You are supporting & helping to fund an entire community at Bheveni. It helped me to view sponsorship this way:

With my $34 a month, I am SPONSORING a community and I am MENTORING a child within that community.

Siphiwe & I at Bheveni

I love this approach – it gives me greater hope for my sponsored child that she will grow up in a safe environment with all the opportunities before her to be the best she can be. I know that Siphiwe (my special friend) is fed & cared for at Bheveni & has access to discipleship & medical attention if necessary. But my money also goes to support the greater Bheveni community needs that Siphiwe has full access to. And I have an opportunity to write letters & pray for her as she grows up in Bheveni Community.

Perhaps you currently do not sponsor a child, but still want to make a difference at Bheveni. I’ll be presenting opportunities soon whereby you can be involved in being a positive influence on children across our world without being a specific child’s sponsor. We are moving forward & growing along with the needs of our carepoint kids & community! I am thrilled to be a part of the plan!

God bless each of you!

Danielle

P.S. You’ve been receiving daily emails from Moms4Change due to our missions trip. But starting this week, Moms4Change will be publishing only two post per week on Tuesdays & Fridays, through the end of the year.  On my next post I’ll be announcing the winner of the Timbali purse – so get to commenting! 🙂