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Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

Little children, let us love, not in word or speech, but in truth and action

1 John 3:18

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About thirty of us headed down to downtown Phoenix to be a part of Feed my Starving Children’s One Million Meals campaign. FMSC is expanding and they held this 24 hour event that was trying to pack one million meals and raise one million dollars for the expansion. I serve with FMSC every six months and love being a part of a team of people who bonds together to make a difference in the world. FMSC is a food packing ministry that uses volunteers to pack food that is shipped all over the world to poverty striken areas to feed children that suffer from malnourishment. This event was held at the Phoenix convention center and they had time slots that you could sign up for over the weekend. Our group took the call and did the 3am to 5am slot. We were tired, but in the end our group packed 72360 meals – enough to feed 198 kids for a year. Overall in the 24 hours, 2,966 volunteers packed 1,023,408 meals (enough to feed 2804 children for a full year)! They also raised over $500,000 for the expansion. It was a blessing to be a part of this and a blessing to serve alongside my amazing friends.

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I've become an accomplished photobomber

I’ve become an accomplished photobomber

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I enjoyed PhoenixONE tonight. I got to worship with all my friends under the stars. I also got to catch up with some dear friends that I have made over the years while on mission in other countries. I met Pastor Joseph “Jojo” while in Kenya at an orphanage. He was brought to the orphanage at a young age and is now the Pastor there. I got to hang with him a couple of times this week and we had some great talks. I also chatted with Suresh Kumar from Harvest India for a little while. He gave a special prayer over us and I’ve always appreciated the role he has played in my life. I have had many great God moments with Suresh over the years. Jeff Gokee interviewed some friends of mine that recently got married – Johnny and Criselda Sweet. They have a great testimony and it’s awesome to see a couple that is sticking it out and doing marriage right. My good friend Ryan Axtell led worship and Jeff gave a pretty awesome message on relationships. After years of working under him in 5th/6th grade student ministries, I have never heard him speak on dating and was pretty impressed with his talk. He was pretty hard on both the guys and the girls, but I felt he did it in love and it was a sermon many of us here needed to hear. Ryan and Sara Senters gave their testimony of having foster kids afterwards and I enjoyed them sharing their heart. It was a beautiful night and a blessing to spend with good friends!

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Pastor Jojo

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Suresh praying for us

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Ryan Axtell leads worship

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Jeff Gokee interviews the Sweets

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Ryan and Sara Senters

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Today is World Water Day. It’s a day set aside to raise awareness for the more than 700 million people who lack access to clean water. When I was in Kenya, I joined many at an orphanage in making the trek back and forth with big jugs to bring water to the home. In India, we dedicated water wells to a couple of villages and I saw great joy in the faces of these people who had gone so long without clean water. Here in the states, we take water for granted. We forget how important water is to people. 300 million in Africa alone lack access to clean water. Charity:Water and  Blood:Water Mission are two organizations near and dear to me that are making a difference in the world today with their water projects. Take some time to get yourself educated on what is going on in the world today and how you can help.

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Sometimes there are things you can be very passionate about and God will use you to stir others up to get them passionate about your cause. Well.. that is what my friend Heidi from Food for the Hungry did to me. First of all, I’m a huge fan of FH. I have a long partnership with them through mission trips, fundraising events or just attending their annual summits. FH does a variety of things in the world by serving the poor with short-term emergency relief and long-term work to try to end world hunger. I’m enjoying getting reconnected with them and had a wonderful time at their luncheon at the Justice Conference in Philadelphia. I also spent time at a spring training game with some of the staff this week. Heidi just recently spent time in Bangladesh with an incredible team of people and she has used her passion of what she has experienced to help raise funds for the women there.

Earlier this week was International Women’s Day. I work with women from different countries at my job and enjoyed wishing them blessings on a day that honors them. I also enjoyed telling them about the walk I was doing. The Walk to Empower women took place at Steele Indian School Park today. The funds that are raised will benefit FH’s Women of Action program to help educate them so they don’t have to feel discriminated against and to give them an opportunity to have a choice. There were 126 in attendance and over $7,300 in donations given at the walk. That is enough to help nearly 50 women learn to read, write and acquire a business skill for additional income for her family. Praise God for this and special thanks to Heidi for all her hard work. I’m thankful to her for getting me passionate about her passion!

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Steele Indian School Park

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Busted out my old FH shirt

Heidi talks about the women of Bangladesh

Heidi talks about the women of Bangladesh

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A cupcake with the FH logo

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Through dignified work, Basha provides a sustainable livelihood for women at risk and survivors of trafficking. Women gain job skills and the opportunity to develop into leaders and entrepreneurs in a healthy, healing environment.

BASHA’s house of hope is a small business based in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka. The slums of this city are bursting talent: careful tailors, printers and embroiderers. These women have little status and live in extreme poverty. They are often forced into work they would not choose for themselves, and many are unemployed. To help them build better life, now BASHA is training a number of them to turn their talent to jewellery and beautiful Kantha throws and bedspreads. 

I received this blanket today from Lindsey Nobles as I’m packing for the Justice Conference. Lindsey is director of strategic partnerships for Food for the Hungry. This is pretty special to me for many reasons. I love FH and what they do. I have quite a collection of collectables from around the world that have a story behind them and this beautiful kantha blanket is no different. I have been following and promoting the FH bloggers trip to Bangladesh since they left earlier this month. Lindsey and several other amazing people (including my friend Heidi Hatch) were a part of this trip. I felt a connection to this team and this blanket will serve as a reminder of how God spoke to me and reconnected me to FH. God has been preparing my heart to re-engage with cross-cultural missions for the past 6 months. I’m thankful to realign my heart with His and a part of what He is doing in the world.

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Tonight was a pretty fun night for me at PhoenixONE. I had my own booth set up and was able to connect with lots of people from different churches. I ran into my old buddy Malachi and chatted with lots of friends that I have made over the years. I then looked across and saw that my friend Heidi from Food for the Hungry had her booth set up across from me. She was fresh off her trip to Bangladesh with the FH bloggers. She was there to get people to sign up for the FH Empower Women 5k walk.

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Brian Wurzell and Ryan Axtell

It’s always a blessing to have my long time friends and worship leaders Brian Wurzell and Ryan Axtell lead worship for PhoenixONE. Brian always picks a song to get us moving around in our seats and tonight it was Hillsong’s “Break Free”. Tonight’s speaker was Brad Lomenick of Catalyst. I’m a huge fan of Catalyst and have been to a couple of their West Coast conferences in Orange county. Brad helps raise up leaders and Catalyst is a movement that helps equip them through amazing speakers and teachers.

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Brad Lomenick

Brad’s talk was about the four keys to being a change maker (the theme of the Catalyst conference this year). My notes:

1. Understanding your calling

– Our talents and passions should intersect

– Salvation and Vocation

Write down your three greatest strengths and then your three greatest passions

2. Create a legacy

– Your 20’s will establish your 70’s – start creating your legacy now.

– Be Kingdom entrepreneurs – both business and the Bible.

– Own a vision bigger than what is in front of you. Perseverance is important.

3. Excellence – be the best in the world.

– Set a standard of excellence.

– Be good at everything you do – father, co-worker, etc. Work hard and be a good finisher. The world will notice.

4. Be more like Jesus.

– Passionately pursue Him. There are too many average Christians.

– His grace leads to our passion of worship which leads to joy in our lives.

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“Break Free”

I sat with my friend Heidi during the service. She was up next to talk about Food for the Hungry‘s International Women’s Day. The Walk to Empower Women 5k walk at Indian Steele Park is in March. This is a walk to raise awareness of the women around the globe that face violence, discrimination, lack of basic rights, lack of education. Heidi has a huge heart for this and God has taught me a lot about partnerships. Heidi has put a lot of time and effort into this and I’m thankful be a voice to help raise awareness for her. Plus I have the utmost respect for Food for the Hungry and always blessed to be a part of what they are doing in to world.

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Heidi Hatch

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So… there is this amazing team from Food for the Hungry headed to Bangladesh next week. They are the FH Bloggers and they will be using their voices to tell the stories of what God is doing there and to mobilize others to make a difference in the world. I have worked alongside Food for the Hungry many times in the past and have so much respect for them and what they do. I can’t wait to share the God story of how I got connected with this. But right now you need to follow these guys and keep the team in prayer.

FH Bloggers

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