Getting slimed for Clean Water

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We recently completed a great week of Vacation Bible School at our church.  I was part of the planning team for my church’s Vacation Bible School.  This year we decided to select Compassion’s Water of Life program for our mission project.  We had a boys vs. girls “loose change war” with all money collected going to Compassion.

We had so much fun with this project.  I thought about what goal we should set. We are a church of around 250 members and our VBS attendance was 125 each night. I decided that collecting enough for 3 filters would be doable.   If we got enough for 5, then “Wow!” that would be great.  I decided to speak about Water of Life during our VBS promotion Sunday that was held in March.  We had buckets to collect loose change and donations at the end of the service.  We collected again during our VBS kick-off Sunday.  God began to show me how limited my thinking had been early on.  We collected enough for 5 filters during those 2 services and our VBS had yet to begin.

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During VBS we challenged our kids with the realities of what life looks like for a lot of children around the world.  The week would be the boys versus the girls with the team leader of the losing team being “slimed” at the end of the week.  The competitive spirit was great!  Our leaders and volunteers got involved as well.  Our pastor led the week’s mission class.  During the mission time he would encourage the kids to pray for those who would receive the water filters.  He suggested that they pray for God to provide funds for 4 filters.  When told this, one little girl said, “I’m not praying for 4…I’m praying for 5!”  That number continued to grow throughout the week.  Near the end of the week the kids were praying for God to provide 20 filters!  The excitement continue to build throughout VBS.  We demonstrated the filter and drank dirty water that had been filtered.  When asked who was going to win the response would be all the kids yelling for their team.   Boys!  Girls!  Boys!  Girls!  Without fail, one child would raise their hand and say, “No, it’s the kids who get the buckets that will win.”

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I have to think that after hearing my prayer for 5 filters God smiled to himself and with love thought, “Isn’t that cute.”  He had a much bigger plan in mind.  Not only did he provide the 5 filters I asked for, He provided the 20 that the kids asked for.  If only we would have the pure faith of a child!  The boys prevailed and it was with great joy that I was slimed at the end of the week.  I’ve never been happier to be that messy!

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When it was all said and done, $2,100 had been collected.   That money is on its way to Compassion headquarters in Colorado Springs.  It has been earnestly prayed over.   Prayers that the families who receive these filters would not only have clean safe water for life, but also with the dedicated work of Compassion staff around the world, they would know the True Water of Life that is found in a relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Fabulous Five

compositI recently spoke at my aunt’s church in Illinois about my trip to Tanzania.  I requested some child sponsorship packets from Compassion to have available.  I would like to share with you a little about these five beautiful children that I am currently advocating for.

KendryThis is Kendry.  His birthday is February 8th and he is 3 years old.  He lives in the Dominican Republic with his grandfather and his mother.  There are 3 children in his family.  Kendry likes to play with cars and ball games.

anna

 

Anna is 6 years old and lives in Tanzania.  Her birthday is March 12th.  (Fun to think that I was in her country when she had her birthday this year.)  Anna lives with her father and mother, and there are 5 children in her family.  She attends primary school and likes playing with dolls and jumping rope.

ViniciusVinicius lives in Brazil and is 4 years old.  His birthday is December 7th.  He lives with his father and mother.  There are 2 children in the family.  Vinicius is in Kindergarten.  He likes playing with cars and riding his bicycle.

anisaAnisa lives in Indonesia and is 5 years old.  Her birthday is on Christmas Day.  She lives with her mom and dad and 1 sibling.  She is in Kindergarten and likes to play with dolls.

Mohamed

 

 

Last but not least is Mohamed.  He is 4 years old and lives in Burkina Faso in western Africa.  His birthday is September 28th.  He lives with both of his parents and 5 siblings.  His favorite sport is soccer.

When you sponsor a child through Compassion, you get the chance to speak encouragement into their life.  Poverty tells a child that they are unimportant, but you can help change that.  Compassion uses your $38/month gift to help with your child’s education, provide medical care, nutritious meals, and family support.  Through letters and correspondence you get the chance to speak truth into their life.  You have the opportunity to let them know that they are important, they are special and they are loved.

I will have these children’s packets until July 18th.  If you’ve ever thought about sponsoring a child or would like more information, I’d love to speak with you.  My e-mail is dhhackney@sbcglobal.net.  Let’s work together to make a difference in the world!

Survival Mode!

Ever find yourself in survival mode?  That’s about where I’m at right now.  It’s a busy time of year for me anyway.  The last few weeks of October are usually jammed with photo shoots.  I’m moving into collection season for Operation Christmas Child.  Throw in a part-time job and life’s normal mundane tasks like laundry and cleaning and it’s a recipe for craziness.

I was cruising along in this mode when we got hit with something unexpected.  My daughter, Rachel, had not been feeling well for several weeks.  She had a reoccurring stomach ache and was fatigued.  Several other symptoms convinced me that this was not just a passing bug.  After a trip to the doctor and some tests it was determined that she had an intestinal infection and we started on antibiotics to clear that up.  Two days later the doctor called again.  The rest of her blood work was back.  They had also tested her blood for Celiac disease and her numbers were sky high.  We were referred to a pediatric GI doctor.  I began researching Celiac more in-depth and the symptoms were all lining up with what we had been experiencing.  The meeting with the GI doctor went as I expected and she is scheduled for a endoscopy to make a definitive diagnosis.  Her doctor is certain that we are dealing with Celiac.

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The test is scheduled for next Wednesday.  For the test to be accurate we were not to alter her diet.  Rachel loves fettuccine; so off to Fazoli’s we went!  We’ve got one more week of not having to worry about gluten and then we will have to go gluten-free.  Yes, it will be a pain, but there are so many issues that are far worse to deal with.  When we were at the children’s hospital for her appointment I saw precious children who had lost their hair walking with walkers while wearing masks.  In comparison, this is a minor annoyance.  Her body should begin to heal the damage within weeks and we’ll just adapt to a new lifestyle.  We’ll probably be all the better for it!

So for this day, it’s “one day at a time”.  Honestly when I try to think about all that I need to accomplish in the next month and the probable challenges that are coming my way I start to feel like I’m drowning in quicksand.  But I’ve learned that the best way to press forward is to focus on what has to be accomplished today.  Plan & prepare; but focus on today.

And then there were 9

As I wrote earlier, we had a wonderful Compassion Sunday at Hope Community.  I am so appreciative of our church members and their generous hearts.  In total our church’s members sponsor over 40 children all around the world.

After our event I still have 9 child sponsorship packets.  These packets have been prayed over earnestly.  I know that God knows who their sponsor is and he will provide.  However, I really don’t like to have to send packets back to Compassion.  I would be remiss if I didn’t give one more opportunity for someone to sponsor these special kids before they are out of my hands.

Patience - Ghana

Patience – Ghana

Steven  - Rwanda

Steven – Rwanda

Jhon - Ecuador

Jhon – Ecuador

Gayanaikha - Haiti

Gayanaikha – Haiti

Dessy - Indonesia

Dessy – Indonesia

Derick - Ghana

Derick – Ghana

Dalma

Dalma – Dominican Republic

Brice - Haiti

Brice – Haiti

Yididiya - Ethiopia

Yididiya – Ethiopia

One of the responses that I often get is, “They look so sad.”  And while this may be the case in some circumstances it’s not necessarily so with every kid.  It is very serious and important for these families that have a child selected to enroll in the Compassion program.  This is an important event to have their photo taken for their sponsorship packet and parents remind their kids of this fact.  What you may take for sadness may just be seriousness.

I will have access to these children’s packets for a few more days.  If you’ve ever considered sponsoring a child, I’d love to talk with you further.  Send a message to hhackney@visithope.org.

Unexpected day of rest

Our Sabbath day was wonderful!  Beginning with our enjoyable Shabbat meal followed by joyful worship services that included 5 baptisms, and completed with a day with our church family and friends the day was everything it should have been.  So this morning I was ready to hit the ground running.  Monday is one of my days off from work, but I had a morning appointment and several tasks to attend to.

Enter a 7 year old with a fever.  When that happens whatever role I needed to play for the day…employee, volunteer, photographer…faded away and my role simply became “Mommy”.  Appointments were cancelled and tasks delayed.  My phone alarm still rang with the pauses for prayer that I am working on keeping for this week, but I prayed silent prayers while cuddling a sick child.

The day was quiet and slow, and at 1:00 PM you would have found both of us wrapped up in a home made quilt asleep in our recliner.  The little one because her body was fighting off illness and me because my body was rebelling against an hour lost to the time change.

Too many times we won’t slow down when we need to.  We push through sickness and fatigue to keep whittling down our “To Do” list.  Sometimes all that is needed is that extra unexpected day of rest.

Shabbat Shalom

Continuing with this week’s theme of stress and taking time to slow down and focus on communing with our Lord, I prepared a meal to celebrate Shabbat.  The Jewish Shabbat meal takes place on Friday evening with ritual, blessings, and family.  Our meal would be on Saturday evening as a way to welcome the Sabbath.  I took some elements of the traditional Shabbat and made them our own.  We invited some friends to join us.  Out came the best dishes, napkins, and tablecloth.

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I thought the table looked beautiful.  We began with the tzedakah which is a box (or in our case a small jar) passed around as each person places some coins in as a way to remember that we are to give generously to the poor and needy.  We collect change throughout the year to use for shipping costs for our Operation Christmas Child boxes.  I lit the candles, and we remembered that we are to be lights in the dark world.  There was a blessing said over the drink (traditionally wine, but in our case grape juice) and bread (a traditional loaf of challah bread).  One element that I thought had a lot of meaning was a blessing said over each child.  We washed our hands in a basin and recited the Lord’s Prayer together.  We enjoyed our meal, not in a rush to get to the next thing but slowly taking time to talk about the day, our lives, the children we sponsor in far reaches of the world, and sharing fun memories.

It was such a wonderful way to welcome the Sabbath.  What better way to welcome a day of rest and worship than with friends and family.  We also had time for an after dinner craft.  The girls and I put together an Easter garden that I had seen on Pinterest.  Our crosses and empty tomb all came together, now we’ll see if we can get the grass seeds to sprout.

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And to you….peace on the sabbath.  Shabbat Shalom!

A new approach

There are so many things that I would have like to shared at the Transformed Conference this past weekend.  There just was not enough time.  In each of my sessions I had to skip over the following photo.

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Here’s the story that went along with the photo that I didn’t get to share with the ladies.

WHY I DIDN’T BUY MY KIDS ANYTHING FOR VALENTINE’S!
Yes, you heard that right.  I did not buy my kids anything for Valentine’s Day.  “How terrible” you might be thinking.  The bible study I’m currently in the middle of has really been challenging the way I look at a lot of areas of life.  One of them being just the vast excess we have in our country and our lives and how we casually spend money.  So to challenge my kids to think about ways to show love to others we did something totally out of the norm this year.  On Monday I gave Aaron & Rachel each $10, told them they couldn’t spend it on anyone in the family.  I didn’t tell them what to do with it, but wanted them to think about how to bless someone else.  I had a few suggestions ready for them however if they needed a little help.  So for this Valentine’s Day we started out with our traditional heart shaped pizza from Papa Murphy’s.  Then we loaded up and headed to Wal-mart.  Aaron & Rachel decided to spend their money on donations for two worthwhile organizations.  They bought baby supplies that we will donate to Lifecenters Indiana.

And we also bought household supplies that will be donated to Exodus Refugee services.  I recently learned that Indianapolis is home to one of the largest settlements of Burmese refugees in the nation.  Exodus sets up 5-10 apartments a week for incoming refugees.  They also help with transportation, English classes, job placement, and cultural acclimation among other things.
Take these purchases along with 2 clearance hats for our Operation Christmas Child boxes and this is what their $20 bought.
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Now lest you think my kids were somehow deprived, they received gifts from both sets of grandparents and come home from school with candy.  What we lost was another round of candy to add to the pile.  What we gained was an evening spent together thinking about how we can use the vast amount of resources that God has somehow seen fit to give us.  I’ll take that trade-off any day