Thursday, March 29, 2012

More than a Match...

Recently we got this AMAZING news...

Great, you say... a matching grant... it's pretty cool! It's a great time to give, for sure.

What's better than having your gift DOUBLED?

Well, to me... the Kingdom work being multiplied by YOUR dollars simply can't fit into a mathematical equation.

To me, this means more than a match... it's more than dollars being multiplied.


It means that I can look at JoNAtHAN, in Baby class and say that next year, he won't have to sit on the ground outside... in the rain... or crowd with 252 kids bigger than he is into a small space to eat in a dry spot.

It means that I can confidently look at the double orphan on the street who desperately wants to come to school and say "yes, next year we will have the classroom space to add a class for YOU."

It means that the boys, who live on campus, can experience what it would be like to live in a home....

It means that I can look at 22 GRADE 7's and say... "Lifesong is here to FINISH WHAT WE'VE STARTED... we will be able to continue educating, discipling, and training you through graduation."

The kids sing a song here that says
"He give's me joy-O, He give's me peace-O, everything He gives is double...everything is double double."

This match means so much more than double to our team... it means continued growth in ministry. It means that we can continue being about what God brought us here to do. It means that the children who have been abandoned and forgotten in the past, won't have to feel that way again, simply because of a lack of financial support. It means "buying" more time for God to continue working in the hearts and minds of the children Lifesong has been pouring into for the past 6 years. God simply isn't finished with them... and we don't want to let them go due to lack of space.

I rarely ask for things on this blog... but I'm asking you to consider joining Lifesong in raising funds to help with our match! This isn't our personal support... this is directly going to the needs of growth at our school. Each and EVERY dollar will be going to construct the necessary buildings we are mandated to have in order to grow through grade 12 with our current students. I PROMISE your dollars will be MORE THAN DOUBLED by investing in the lives of these very special children...

To join us... email!


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When the streets find your home...

(Ok, before I get to this serious post... Is it REALLY MARCH 20 and I'm JUST NOW posting my first post in MARCH?!?!?! Maybe I could blame the 30 member vision team that came, or KGs 4th bought of malaria, or E's stomach virus, or Zack's finger infection, or us being extremely short staffed, or KG's allergic reaction, or what I'm about to write about... But I'd just be lying. I'm a blog neglector... it's true. forgive me.)

Last Friday evening, I found myself opening the door to something pretty special.

I opened the door and am certain the look on my face was one of confusion. (they try to train you in grad school to control your facial expressions, but I'm certain I failed at that moment.) Some of the kids who were hanging out at our house came carrying big bags full of stuff and saying "they've come to stay with you." WHO? And around the corner crept 4 teenage boys with sheepish grins on their faces... like "hey... uh... haha... kinda need a place to live right now." There wasn't a moment of consultation, Shane and I both grabbed their bags and welcomed them in.

This is where the streets found our home.

You see, these boys aren't just "any" boys. They used to live on the streets... not just for a day or two, but for YEARS they lived on the streets. Some had abusive homes that drove them to the streets. Some had families force them to live on the streets and beg. Some had no family at all. Either way, they all had one thing in common... life on the streets. This life consisted of abuse, sometimes drugs, and a true "survival of the fittest" mentality.

BUT God had a plan for their lives. About 3-4 years ago, they were rescued from the streets. They were trained in structure, and given the nurture of Jesus Christ.

But this day, they faced the choice of living in a situation that wasn't healthy for them, or going to the streets. They desired to leave, and were told to go.

And they came to us.

There was no way that our spirit would let them go back to that life on the street, not even for one day.

Yes, you may think we are crazy... careless... or thoughtless. But if you were in my house this weekend, I can promise you a few things:

1. If you didn't know they had lived on the streets, you would have NEVER known.
(actually, I'd be honored if someone tried to give me credit for raising these boys)

2. You would have been amazed at the work ethic and respect that NATURALLY flowed from them... truly the fruits of the Spirit flowed out of them.

3. You would have laughed your head off.

4. You would have had the opportunity to have conversations with them about how hard, yet worth it, making life change really is.

5. You would have seen them truly enjoy being around our kids, and you would have seen our kids enjoy having 4 big brothers around the house.

6. Your pantry would be empty.

7. You would see them for who they are... P is the clown, JR is the "tough guy", F is the smarty pants, and E is the super sweet, try really really hard kind of guy.

8. You would see brotherhood at its finest. They keep each other in line, and hold each other to a high standard.

And my favorite memory of the weekend was this:

We went to a pizza joint that we frequent. Our family is there often, and it happens to be where many of the street kids are... begging for food. We've tried to build a relationship with some of the boys there. They know that they can "watch" our car, and we give them dinner. It's our deal. Even our kids give them the food, we aren't afraid... and they've never tried to be rough to them. (now, each other... that's another story)
So... here we are... our "family" for the weekend... 4 FORMER street boys. We eat until our bellies are going to explode. We had an entire pizza left (because we really have NO IDEA how many pizza's 4 teenage boys can eat). Before we even mentioned giving it... the boys looked through the iron bars that separated us from the streets... and saw them. I believe they saw what COULD HAVE BEEN in their own lives. They said "can we give it to them?" And of course, we said yes. They each took some food over and gave it to the street boys. (I could have fallen in the floor crying if it wouldn't cause a scene.) I saw the street boys looking as we were eating. They know our boys. Maybe they lived together on the streets. They see the life change. And I believe they want it to. That's the power of the Gospel. What you see in E, P, JR, and F... it's simply the power of JESUS CHRIST in their lives. They will say it themselves. They know truth. And now, they are living it out...

We are thankful that God reunified them with the people who have walked with them through their journey of change. They are in a great place. The best place for them.

I, however, will always treasure conversations that were had... and I am so terribly grateful we were able to be the safety net... and in turn start a wonderful relationship with 4 of the most amazing young men.

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, and the new has come." 2 Cor 5:17