4.28.2011

help alabama

Feeling led to assist recovery efforts in Alabama?  Here are two ways that you can help (no matter where you live):

Grace's Kitchen
You can either assemble food bags for Grace's Kitchen, or make a monetary donation!
www.graceskitchen.org

Alabama Baptist Disaster Relief
Make a monetary donation, or volunteer your skills!
http://www.alsbom.org/dr

4.25.2011

It matters to God. My mailbox told me so.

UPDATE!  As of 4/28 Mother's Day cards have raised $2440 for Trees of Glory in Ethiopia!!

I hate to admit that this is very much a season in my life where my time in the Word and deliberate prayer often wanes.  That's just the way it is.  Yet this afternoon, I captured a moment while the boys were napping to read a few chapters in Romans and talk with my God.  A few thoughts surfaced--thoughts that have been heavy on my heart...

...is our concern for the least of these driven by impure motives...are we taking Scripture out of context, in order to prop-up do-good-deeds, because we're really just looking for an ego-trip...

So I simply asked God to examine my heart. To affirm our steps.  Or to redirect our paths.  We are passionate about serving the destitute and the marginalized.  We're always looking for ways to do more.  Not because we feel obligated, but because every need that is met is an open door for the Gospel.  For physical relief and spiritual healing.  Even still, the best of intentions always need to be examined before God, in the light of His Word.

After a few quite moments with the Lord, I closed my Bible.  And I walked outside to check the mail.  There were three envelopes inside.  One about our renters insurance.  Another, a thank-you note from a new mom that I had never met before, but several Believers wanted to bless her with a shower because she's not connected to a church (and I got to be apart).  The third piece of mail was from HopeChest.  It was a hand-written, translated letter from a child that we sponsor in Ethiopia.  He told us that he is doing well, and added 'praise God.'  He also wanted to know if we're coming to Ethiopia, and he asked that we pray for his school.

We've sponsored this child for over a year, and this is the first hand-written letter that we've received from him.

Can I just tell you that I was in awe.  I broke down in tears as I told Vince about what just happened.  I asked God to show me His heart, and test mine -- and with in a matter of minutes I found T's letter in our mail box.  Coincidence?  Absolutely not!  Affirmation?  Absolutely!

In that moment, I felt the weight of God's heart.  The marginalized, destitute and fatherless do matter to Him!  And He ordained in eternity-past that T's letter would be in our mailbox, to affirm our family.  Wow!  It's so easy to get discouraged by the noise of ridicule when it comes to Gospel social justice.  Thank you, Lord, that your voice rings truer and clearer!

May he defend the cause of the poor of the people,
give deliverance to the children of the needy,
and crush the oppressor...
For he delivers the needy when he calls,
the poor and him who has no helper.
He has pity on the weak and the needy,
and saves the lives of the needy.
From oppression and violence he redeems their life,
and precious is their blood in his sight.

Now switching-gears.  Kind-of.  (I feel this also falls in the it-matters-to-God category)   As of this afternoon, we're raise over $1200 for the Trees of Glory clean water well project.  Just $300-shy of last year's total for Kind Hearts play ground equipment.  What an honor is has been for me to make my simplistic cards.  If you haven't joined the fundraiser, there's still time to order cards!!  I will take orders through Sat, Apr 30.  For all the details, see my previous post below.

our sweet T at Kind Hearts in Ethiopia...he matters

4.04.2011

this mother's day: give her honor...and give THEM water!!

UPDATE!  As of 4/23, we've raised over $1000 together!!  $500 more to beat last year's total!!  $2000 more to double it!!
Thank you!!

You may remember, last year for Mother's Day, I teamed-up with Karen Wistrom & Kind Hearts care-point in Ethiopia (Children's HopeChest) to raise funding toward play ground equipment at the care point.  We raised over $1500.00 toward the equipment!  Other families also raised money via their own fundraisers, and the full balance required for the equipment was met (and even exceeded!!)!  And, as in any developing country, progress can be slow--but I'm excited to share that ground has been cleared and equipment is on order for the new play ground at Kind Hearts!!

This year I'm again working with Karen to raise money toward a clean water well project at another care-point in Ethiopia, Trees of Glory.  This is also a HopeChest program.  I asked Karen for the nuts-and-bolts of this care point, and she shared the following:

Trees of Glory is located 2 hours north of Addis near the village of Duber. It is very rural (beautiful countryside) and the residents in this area rarely have contact with Addis.
There are currently 99 kids attending TOG - with no running water. The staff walks a mile or more to a river and to a spigot to get water and they carry it back to the care-point on the backs of donkeys. It takes a ton of time everyday and it is very labor-intensive. And they teach the kids good hygiene - to wash before meals and after the toilet - so they go through a lot of water in addition to what they drink.
Every child at TOG is sponsored - but we will need more sponsor families as more children begin to enroll. Once we have a well - TOG expects that they can care for 200-300 kids!!

WOW!!  I have tears in my eyes to think that 200-300 could be ministered at Trees of Glory!! 
...could...
But without access to clean water, hundreds of children are missing meals, education, and (most importantly) the opportunity to hear the Gospel!

Clean water is a tender subject for our family, especially since both our boys were born in parts of the world where clean water often is nothing more than an empty water bottle tossed along a road-side...a reminder that it's available, but not accessible.  It's easy, in the comfort of America, to forget the health (and even life) that dirty water claims every day!!  Not to mention the care-givers at Trees of Glory--people with a passion for the children in their community...people that God has set apart to serve the children in their community...yet, often, most of their precious daylight hours are required to fetch water.  I cannot imagine how frustrating it must be to want so much more for these children!!

We raised $1500 last year....wouldn't be amazing if we could double that??  I know we can!  As always, 100% of your donation will go to TOG-- I'm donating the stamps, supplies, and paypal fees!

Below are the two Mother's Day cards that are available.  The card will be similar to last year's --

card A

card B


THREE WAYS  to participate:
#1)  I mail the card(s) for you!
Make a donation by using the PayPal donation button on the right column. While making your donation, there is a place for special instructions so you can provide me the name and address of the woman you are honoring. I will print and mail your card the week before Mother's Day.
#2)  I mail the card(s) to you!
For a minimum donation of $20 I will mail you 5 cards -- this is for those who'd prefer to hand-deliver, personalize or include card(s) with a gift.  Make your donation using the PayPal button.  Under 'special instructions' tell me how many of which design you'd like (feel free to mix/match).  I will mail the cards to your address within 24 hrs of your request.
#3) Just want to make a donation, but don't need any cards? 
Contact Karen, Trees of Glory & Kind Hearts Sponsor Coordinator at kjwistrom@yahoo.com
Still have questions??
Don't hesitate to contact me at alisafmartin at yahoo dot com

Follow this link to check-out the progess on Kind Hearts water well!!!!
http://www.hopechest.org/how-kind-hearts-carepoint-spend-world-water-day/

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