Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Journey Ahead

It’s already Tuesday and our family is still reflecting with joy on the weekend that was, and thanking God for the tremendous success of this past Saturday’s Rummage Sale. As I last reported, we are approximately $600 shy of funding the Anslay Church of God Child Survival Program’s initial $4,500 start up costs. Though this represents a significant milestone, it is not a stretch to say that in many ways the work is just beginning in our efforts to completely fund this program. Once this task is accomplished, the Anslay CSP will be able to fully accommodate and save the lives of mothers and babies in Mbulu, Tanzania.
As of today, we still need to obtain right around 95 monthly sponsorships at only $20 a month. We need your prayers as we ask the Lord to continue to open doors and hearts as we seek to meet this challenge. We have been excited to see this number continue to drop from our original goal of 123 sponsorships, and we thank the Lord for everyone who has chosen to partner with us.

However, as you can see, there is still much to be done, and we would ask you to join with us as we walk forward. Think about it. For just $20 a month you will actively play a part in saving the life of a new or expectant mother and her baby. Best of all, your gifts will allow the local church to minister to their physical needs and introduce them to the love and person of Jesus Christ. Though it may be easy to calculate the amount of your gift, it will have an immeasurable impact upon the lives of God’s children both in this world and in the kingdom to come!
Click here to become a monthly sponsor or here to make a one-time gift today!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

So Blessed!

Well, my wife and I woke up this morning feeling a little bit as though we'd been struck by a rather large truck, but neither of us was about to start complaining. I also have the sneaking suspicion that there were several other individuals who felt quite the same way today. It's hard to know where to start but if you've been following this blog, you know that we've been preparing for several weeks now for a large rummage sale that was being graciously hosted by a church in our neighborhood to benefit the Anslay Church of God Child Survival Program.
I don't think that anyone who was involved in this process ever imagined the sheer volume of donated items, nor did we anticipate how great the response would be from our community. I'll begin with the results and let you know that our final count showed that we brought in a total of $2,055! That figure will likely change since we still plan to deliver several boxes of leftover books to the Half Price Books store as well a large elliptical exercise machine to a local sporting goods consignment shop. There are still a few other big ticket items we plan to sell on Craigslist, but in the end, this total puts us on the verge of a very significant milestone in our fundraising efforts.
For several months now we've been sharing that the overall cost to fully fund the Anslay CSP amounts to $29,500, of which is made up of a combination of $20 monthly sponsorships and one-time gifts. $4,500 of that total is needed in order to officially launch the CSP, and create the needed foundation so medical and educational supplies can be purchased to accommodate the influx of mothers and babies into the program. Well, yesterday's total puts us within a mere $590 of that $4,500 goal!! We are overwhelmed to get this close and feel so amazingly blessed to be involved in this incredible journey.

No part of this effort has been alone and we have been equally overwhelmed by the loving and gracious gifts of time and effort by so many who worked behind the scenes to make yesterday's sale become a reality. We want to extend our deepest thanks to so many who donated items, and for each individual who was involved in the hours it took to haul, sort, price, work the sale, and then finally deconstruct and haul away the mountain of leftover items to Goodwill when it all ended. The blessing of your servants hearts resonates with us still today!

To those of you who made a purchase, and perhaps are learning about the Child Survival program for the very first time, we extend our deep thanks to you as well. 100% of your contribution will go towards this program and will by God's loving providence and grace save the lives of many! If you like to do more, we would love to partner with you and ask if you would be willing to consider becoming a monthly sponsor. Your gift is an not only investing in the health and well being of someone in desperate need. It is an investment in eternity!
God bless you all!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Spread the Word

For a couple of months now, we have been working with several friends, family, and neighbors to prepare for a rummage sale that is scheduled to take place this coming Saturday, September 11th, from 8:00AM-4:00PM EST. What was originally planned as a simple garage sale, quickly blossomed into something much bigger, as we began to receive offers for donated sale items, and a simple willingness from many to pitch in where needed.

A neighbor reached out to her church located just a few blocks from our house, and just like that Pastor Tony Sobocinski, and the parishioners at Concordia Lutheran Church opened their doors and agreed to host the event in their fellowship hall. It's been a true blessing and we are so grateful to everyone who has given of their time and their resources to make this become a reality.

With that said, if you happen to live within driving distance of Dayton, Ohio, we would love to have you visit and consider stopping by. Concordia is located at 250 Peach Orchard Drive in Oakwood, Ohio. 100% of all proceeds will go towards the funding of the Anslay Church of God Child Survival Program!

Additionally, we will have a special table on display where visitors can sign up to sponsor the Anslay CSP for only $20 a month, and choose from a variety of premium gift items that will be available on that day. Also, the wonderful folks at Chik-fil-A have provided us with coupons that will go to the first 50 visitors who buy an item at the sale. Each coupon entitles the customer to a free chicken sandwich with any restaurant purchase.

For those of you who live out of state, we would love to have your presence with us on that day as well. Above all, we would value your prayers before and on the 11th and that the Lord would use this event to bring in the needed funds and attract new sponsors. If you are already a monthly sponsor would you consider making an additional one-time gift on behalf of the sale? If you're new to the program, monthly sponsorship is only a click away!

Lastly, as the sale approaches, would you also be willing to share the link to this blog on your Facebook account and on other social media outlets? We're looking forward to what this weekend will hold and continue to trust in the Lord's sovereign will. God bless!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Question

I’ve been thinking a lot these days about my grandfather, Norman. This is nothing new, but the memory of him always seems to be that much stronger as the fall approaches. It was nine years ago this month when he passed from this world into Heaven’s kingdom, and though this time of year strengthens my recollection, it is not the primary reason why he’s come to the front of my mind.

There is one memory of him that seems to transcend all others and is practically woven as if with a golden thread through nearly every long-term encounter I ever had with this extraordinary man. As I look back on the times when I had the privilege to be alone with him, either driving in a car or on one of our family’s weekly Sunday afternoon visits, I knew that it would only be a matter of time before I would be asked “the question.” At a certain point during our conversation he would inevitably pause and then re-direct the subject to gently ask, “So how are you doing with Jesus?”

This was not an intrusive inquisition of my faith, but was instead a gracious and loving invitation to reflect upon and discuss the state of my daily walk and relationship with my Savior. I think back to those moments often, and vividly recall those times as a teenager and young man when I wasn’t especially proud of the answer I had to give.

Over the past couple of weeks our family has found itself in a season of uncertainty. We recently received word that the Rwandan government has temporarily halted all adoptions while it takes steps to update its process to meet certain international standards. The news is a disappointing pause in what is already a very long journey. Additionally, though the work has continued on in our fundraising efforts for the Anslay Church of God CSP (more on this very soon!!) there are admittedly times when it seems that progress is slow, and we feel as though we are running in place.

We know that both of these endeavors belong to God, but during these times it has been eye opening to learn just how much I have assumed a sense of ownership over each one. Work and duty has been the defining priority as we knock down each task and tirelessly pursue every goal. As worthy as these efforts might be, the relative stillness of the moment has been the cause for reflection, and the question once asked by my grandfather, returns as if it is spoken softly by the one he now walks with in a place that is just a breath away from here. “So how are you doing with me?” I hear Jesus ask.

As I have searched for my response I have seen a person who is eager to work but is often too busy for fervent prayer, or the extra time it takes to truly study God’s word. How quickly can we allow our work to distract us from the person whose love drew us to it in the first place? It’s a humbling reminder to return to where we were called to live from the start, but if a season of uncertainty is what it takes to bring us back there, then it may be the best thing that could ever happen to you or me. As you read the passage below, I am compelled to lovingly ask the question, “So how are you doing with Jesus?”

James 5:31-20
Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops. My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins.