Shaun Groves (Compassion artist, blogger, sponsor and advocate) needs our help....he's raising funds through Kickstarter so he can record a mini Christmas album.
Shaun loves the ministry of Compassion. You can tell it through his writing, his music and the message he shares when he's speaking.
I finally had the opportunity to hear Shaun present Compassion's ministry last summer when he was on tour with Amy Grant. You would think that he might be touring with other musicians as a musician. But he loves the ministry of Compassion so much, that he'll set down his own guitar and show up just to speak on behalf of the kids and work the table.
For as little as $1 you can support his next recording project. And for as little as $5 you can reap the benefits of that project through downloading the music when it's ready. And for $2000 you can get his old guitar!
You can read more about his project HERE and go HERE to support it.
When I logged into my Compassion account the other day to write some letters on line, I noticed there was a link to a crafts for kids page. Curious, I clicked and found several craft ideas that would be a lot of fun to do with my kids.
Some of the crafts would lend themselves to teaching your kids a bit more about poverty and life in other parts of the world. To see a full list, simply go HERE.
In fact, there are lots of ideas RIGHT HERE for your kids to be more involved and more informed about the work of Compassion. Get your kids and start looking around THIS SITE to see what interests them. My kids are usually more eager to learn when they choose the topic.
When it comes to writing letters to your sponsored children, the easiest way to get it done quickly is by using the on-line letter writing tool. It's been around for a couple years now, and it's just gotten better. They've changed the format a bit and added new templates.
It's so easy, in fact, that my 7 and 9 year old girls can do it! They LOVED typing out letters to their birthday buddies and then choosing what template to use. And adding photos is a breeze.
To use this amazing resource, simply log in to your account on Compassion's website (if you haven't set one up yet, DO IT NOW!) Then click on "write my child" and you'll find step by step instructions.
Do you have kids? Let them try it! My kids were very excited about it and were amazed that the letter was directly sent to Compassion's Global Ministry Center in Colorado Springs.
It seems that praise and adoration have been a recurring theme in my life the past couple months. It all started with the last "what to write" post when I wrote about prayer. You see, I ended up using the five finger method of praying as a springboard in my 4-5 year old Sunday school class. I realized that the concept of praise and adoration is not as easy to grasp as the concept of thanksgiving.
It was about the same time I was teaching my own girls and my Sunday school kids what praise is, that I discovered this instagram account and fell in love with the daily adoration posts.
I'm learning that praise and adoration is an art, and a wonderful way to soak in truths of who and what God is. It's a way to take a moment and tell God what we like about Him and his ways.
So this month, I'm writing about praise and adoration - specifically how God is using this to teach me more about Him.
Dear ...... How are you? We are doing well. Do you ever take time to think about who God is and praise Him for it? It's easy to thank God for what He does for us, but praising Him is a little bit harder to understand. Praising someone is telling that person what you like about him or her. For example, if you came to see me here's what I might say to you to praise you.... "Oh....it's so good to see you! I love to see the sparkle in your eyes and you always make me smile. You give me the best hugs and make me feel loved. I love how you always have a kind and encouraging word for me. You are so much fun to be around. You are a great friend and I know I can count on you." That's very different than saying...."Thanks for coming and giving me a hug." The Bible tells us so many things about God and we can take Scripture verses and turn them into praise. Here are a couple examples:
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil,
to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11
YOU ARE THE GOD WHO THINKS ABOUT ME
"Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior
and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope."
1 Timothy 1:1
YOU ARE THE GOD WHO IS OUR HOPE
"This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it." Psalm 118:24
YOU ARE THE GOD WHO GAVE ME TODAY
So what do you think? Can you give it a try? I've started making a list and I write down one praise to God each day. Sometimes it's based on a Scripture verse and other days it's just me telling God what I like about him. I've even praised God for bringing you into my life!
I look forward to receiving your next letter. Please give your family my greetings.
Have you written to your sponsored child yet this month? If so, I'd love to hear what you wrote about.
For the third year in a row, I was asked to head up the missions part of our VBS. Two years ago I presented Bite Back, last year I presented Water of Life, and this year we talked about modern day slavery.
You see, the theme for our VBS was Wilderness Escape - how God led the Israelites out of slavery, so I thought it would be cool to raise money to fight modern day slavery that affects so many children in the world today.
This can be a tricky subject to introduce to kids because there is nothing straightforward about it. And there is that whole sex-trafficking industry that makes up a huge percentage of modern day slavery. Probably not appropriate for me to talk about.
The past two years we raised money for issues that Compassion directly addresses. And although sponsorship is a great way to address the issue of modern day slavery (I believe that sponsorship is a great way to prevent modern day slavery for many kids), I needed an organization that was directly involved in the fight.
In the past I've put on a Bite Back t-shirt or Water of Life t-shirt for my presentation, so this year I made a shirt with a big red X on it. I also put red X's on the children's hands each night to help them to remember to bring money the next night.
I always like to send the kids home with something tangible for two reasons:
It serves as a possible conversation started between child and parent
It serves as a visual reminder to bring $ later in the week
Each night I had 3-5 minutes to talk about our mission focus.
Day 1 - I simply shared what we were collecting money for and why.
Day 2 - I shared simple facts about modern day slavery and shared a personal story of a boy named Gopinath, whom was freed through the efforts of IJM.
Day 3 - By this point we had raised $100 so we began to cut the chains off our "enslaved" child. Each chain represented $5, so I had the kids count by 5s until we reached $100. They loved this demonstration!
Day 4 - I showed this video....
Day 5 - I announced the total of donations that had been brought in - $303!! - and we cut the rest of the chains off our boy. I asked one of the kids to come up and pray over the money we had raised - that God would use it to bring freedom to some children who are caught in the cycle of slavery.
I love teaching children about some of the painful realities of our world. I am thankful for the opportunity to encourage them to see a need and do their best to meet it. I also love the conversations that were started between myself and several of the adults who were present. In those conversations we were able to talk about deeper things - like buying fair/direct trade coffee, chocolate and clothing.
My prayer is that through these opportunities, seeds are planted. In the years ahead, as these children grow up and begin to better understand the realities of this world, they will remember the seeds that were planted to help bring justice to the oppressed.