Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Faith in action

Being here on the mission field is something we never take for granted. The people we meet, the lives we see changed, the opportunites we are given to be God's hands and feet are truly a privilege.

  A privilege we'd like to extend...

What if you could, in just one day, have the opportunity to give HOPE to a child in Guatemala while impacting the life of a widow in your own community?

What if you could live out James 1:27 and not only touch the life of an orphan and widow-but the lives of those in your own community as well? 

Would you say yes?

 We are excited to announce a
(drum roll please)
(Trip includes airfare, incountry transportation, and lodging at Village of Hope for one)

To get your name entered for a free mission trip to Village of Hope Guatemala you must:

 Organize and execute a Both Hands project by Dec. 1st, 2012. (For every $1,000 you and your team raise you will get one entry.)

*To allow for funds to come in drawing will be held Feb. 1, 2013

 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
 James 1:27

image signature

Monday, July 30, 2012


One of the greatest blessings in our lives are our friends...

And I cannot imagine going through this life without them..

They share with us their greatest joys...

They put a smile on our face like no one else can...

And when we find ourselves in a situation that we never imagined we get ourselves in...

And the world around us seems to pull us down...

They gather around us...

And together we face whatever may come...

And somehow in the end,

we come out stronger...

Simply because, they were by our side.

Thank you to all of my precious friends for sharing your lives with me, for making me stronger, for lifting me up when I need it the most.

 My life is so much sweeter because you are in it.  

image signature

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A few weeks ago, we posted about a sweet mother who has two disabled children, Adela(18) and David(29). We knew that their living conditions were dire, but nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to see! As we entered the home, we saw Adela and David lying in their beds, which were covered with blue tarps. The sweet widow shared with us that 2 of her 5 children had never walked or talked and could only understand a few things through the communication system she had developed with them. It was obvious that Ana did all she could to care for her children and her home, but even with her efforts, the stench of urine overwhelmed our senses. It hit me while we were there visiting that David was 29 years old...the same age as me (Dan)! I started thinking over all the years of my life, all I've done, the places I have been and all God's blessings in my life. I can't imagine 29 years of lying on the same mattress day in and day out with NO hope!  These children of Ana's NEEDED wheelchairs desperately! What a difference in their lives it could make!
We were blessed to be able to go back this week with two wheelchairs and give HOPE thanks to the generosity of some great people! With the help of a team that is here, we were able to not only bless Ana and her children with the wheelchairs but also to paint her children's room and build in some storage for them! When we finished Ana just sat in her home and wept! She felt so blessed she didn't even have words to say!
Words can't tell the story, so I will let pictures and video do the job! 
 This was the first time we had seen them smile!
These AWESOME missionaries helped us get a hold of the wheelchairs!
 David and Adela's New room after paint, new shelving, and repaired roof

Before we left, Ana told us that "in 29 years no one had ever cared about them...but now God sent you!" What a humbling and honoring moment for us! To top it all off, Ana, who has very little to her name, offered us two rabbits in return for what we had done for her. We explained to her that God had done this and not us! It reminded me of what God has done for us. He gave His son to save us and what we offer in return is like "two rabbits" to God.

What are your "two rabbits" that you can give to the Lord to further His work at Village of Hope-Guatemala

Don't forget... you have until midnight on the 31st to get entered into this fabulous giveaway
image signature

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In His will...

I was talking with a friend the other day who was helping us raise awareness for Village of Hope. She shared with me her frustration over the lack of support she had experienced and explained that she just couldn't understand why people don't seem to care. 

This exact questions has left me sleepless many a night and I have spent many hours in prayer pouring out my heart to God asking Him the same thing.

What I have come to the conclusion is there are several different answers to this question.

Number 1.  I think part of the process of 'living for Him' is being willing to step out of the boat while the rest of the world stays in. It's about YOUR faith, YOUR heart and YOUR relationship with God. It has nothing to do with anyone or anything else. It has nothing to do with what others think of you, say about you or if they even agree with you- and everything to do with the question of YOU being willing to stand up alone for what God has called YOU to do. This is difficult for most of us because we humans want to be accepted, approved of and liked. The coolest part about this though is that YOU are not responsible for how others act, how others respond or what others think about who God called YOU to do. That is between them and Him. The bible tells us that when we live for Him we shouldn't expect things to be easy and we should expect to be different. Jesus lived a life that others questioned and he was anything but popular.You are not alone, He understands what it feels like to be different, to be questioned and to be down right rejected.

Number 2. Not everyone can do or give to everything- and that is totally okay. We have had people say to us 'hey we love what you are doing and we are praying for your ministry but we are already giving to ________ (fill in the blank). And let me tell you I am the first one to give them a high five and thank them- because people in China, Russia, Uganda and the United states matter the same to God as the people in Guatemala. It's not about us and our mission- it's about GOD and His. We would never want to get in the way of what God has called someone to do with their lives and nothing excites me more than seeing people follow His will for their lives. That said, we must be careful to examine that we really are doing something or else we might accidentally fall into category number 3.

Number 3The excuse. We humans have a long list of them too. We think someone else will give, we think someone else will go, we wait for the perfect timing, the perfect situation, the safest bet. We fill our heads with so many excuses- so many reasons why we can't, we shouldn't, we couldn't- that we begin to believe them ourselves. And, we are left sitting on the bench believing that surely God would never ask us to do something that radical, something that scary, something that BIG. And it is then that we miss out on the greatest blessings in life- getting ourselves out of the way and truly living for Him.

I don't know what your situation is, I don't know what it is God has called you to do- but what I do know is that you are called. You are called to live a life outside of what YOU could do on your own without Him. You are called to give, to send, to go, to reach, to love, to share, to forgive, to LIVE- for Him.

I don't know who you were called to send, to what you were called to give, where you are called to go, who you were called to forgive, who you are called to reach out to-but He does- and I challenge you to just ask Him. Ask Him to lead you, guide you and show you who He is. Ask him to show you the world through His eyes. Ask him to show you what it is He has for your life. Ask Him to give you the courage to step out of that boat and begin the journey of a lifetime through the power of His blood. It won't be easy, it won't be comfortable and I can guarantee you people will mostly likely think you are nuts. But it is then my friend, you will know down deep in your heart that you right where you are supposed to be- in His will.

   image signature

Monday, July 23, 2012

I am a list maker. I learned that from my mama.

To me, bring able to cross things off my ‘to do’ list, to grab my pen and scratch through a job as ‘finished’ signifies accomplishment.

Yet, ever since moving to Guatemala I have noticed that the Lord has been teaching me a different way. Since living here I rarely have the opportunity to cross things off. Actually, rarely do I even have time to make a list. And while I fully admit that can sometimes be overwhelming, what I have learned is that I need to allow the Lord the freedom to direct how I spend my days.

The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way? Proverbs 20:24

And so each morning, without fail, I get on my knees and ask God to show me what He has for me to that day... and that list in my head changes drastically.

A few days back God brought this precious family into our lives and they helped me see my to do list in a new light.

Aura Marina and her seven children live in a little village called Chi Tuk not far from Village of Hope. The main thing on Aura Marina's 'to do' list every day- is to simply survive.

As we visited with Aura Marina and her children, asked about their needs, prayed for them and got to know them better -for whatever reason the Lord brought my ‘list’ to mind. He reminded me that the bathrooms I complained about cleaning were a blessing…

                                                                   (family bathroom)

That the dinner ideas I had so often whined about trying to come up with were a blessing…

                                           (Aura Marina and her only means of cooking for her 7 kids)
And that the leaky roof we had been experiencing really wasn’t that big of a deal after all…

                                  (one bedroom, dirty floor home Aura Marina and her 7 kids live in)
And what I couldn’t help but to wonder was how many times in the past I had allowed Satan to distract me, to fill my head and my heart with my own shallow complaints, my own selfish wants, and my own agenda- that in the long run really don’t even matter. How much time had I wasted focusing on my own little world… when the world around me was crying out for Him?

So today I challenge you to ask God to arrange your 'to do' list for the day. I challenge you to not get so caught up in your own kingdom- that you forget about His.

If you would like to partner with us here at Village of Hope in helping families like Aura Marinas you can visit us at: Lifesong for Orphans- Guatemala.

   image signature

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We were invited into the home of a dear Guatemalan woman, Ana and her 2 children, ages 18 and 29, Adela and David. We knew that their living conditions were dire, but nothing could have prepared us for what we were about to see! As we entered the home, we saw Adela and David lying in their beds, which were covered with blue tarps. The sweet widow shared with us that 2 of her 5 children had never walked or talked and could only understand a few things through the communication system she had developed with them. It was obvious that Ana did all she could to care for her children and her home, but even with her efforts, the stench of urine overwhelmed our senses.

Ana has been carrying these two around their entire lives. She carries them to bathe them, to move them about their small, one room, cinder block home, and outside to sit in the sun. She most likely feels that she is literally carrying the burden of this family alone. This woman is getting older in age and is struggling to move them around by herself.

As we talked with her, got to know her, and asked her how we could pray for her, she was SO incredibly humble and gracious. All she could do was thank us for coming to visit them. When we asked if wheelchairs would be helpful to her, tears welled up in her eyes, her head sunk, and she graciously agreed that they would be helpful. We knew that being ‘helpful’ was a complete understatement but it was obvious that she was thrilled that we came to visit them and didn’t want to ask for much more. As we rubbed the cheeks of Adela and David and stroked their hair, it was obvious that they knew they mattered! The Lord provided through the team that was visiting at the time and we will have the honor of taking wheelchairs to them soon!

Would you search your heart and ask the Lord how He would have you partner with us in ministering to families like this, to orphans living with HIV, and orphans with other special needs in Guatemala? We are surrounded by people in need just like Ana, Adela, and David and need your help. We can’t do this alone! If you feel led to do so, please check out our current giveaway and consider how you could be involved!

May God break your heart for the things that break His!
image signature

Friday, July 6, 2012

“Anyone who says sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.”

image signature

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I gotta be honest with you and tell ya that fundraising is the part I like least about being involved at Village of Hope.

  And yet, while of course God doesn't NEED our help in providing for the orphan~


 He expects us to give back a tiny portion of ALL that He has given us.

When we first went on the mission field I remember someone saying to us "All missionaries do it beg for money." I gotta tell ya, that stung. Hit me right in the gut. Because you know, we humans have been trained to be strong- to be able to do it all on our own so that everyone will say 'wow, look at what they have done'.

But you know what, that is so wrong.

Village of Hope does not exist because of anything 'we' have done. It exists because God ordained it. It exists because a body of believes understood God commandment to care for the orphan. To give and expect nothing back. To have their hearts broken for what breaks His. To live for something more than themselves. To live- for Him.

And if that means begging people to give and begging people to care- well then so be it.

Because I think that she...

and I think that He...

are MORE than worth my fear of someone judging me for asking for help to help them.

And if people get tired of us sharing their needs- then I am totally okay with them clicking the mouse and moving on.

Because as I shared my hurt and my heart with God and asked Him HOW...How we could do this for her...

and for Him...

He told me not to worry.

 He told me His followers would come forward.

He told me to just do what He called ME to do...

 To GO (I'm here) and to SHARE...

And the rest is between Him and them.

And so I am not afraid...

If they choose to sit in their comfy houses, with their comfy lives and turn a blind eye to those in need I am not responsible.

If people choose to drink their lattes while climbing the corporate ladder and never once stop to notice those who have never been given such an opportunity-they are the ones held accountable.

And so I trust.

One day at a time,

and I watch Him-

 be God.

 Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:24

image signature

Monday, July 2, 2012

We have been absolutely blessed by the amazing teams that have been coming through Village of Hope this summer. God is blowing us away and we are seriously in awe! We are exhausted and at the same time filled with joy at all that the Lord is doing. So thankful for our partners, our interns and these teams for all of their hard work in making this place a reality. I love how God knows exactly who to send at the exact right time and one thing we know for sure is that this place exists because God and His people.

Lord, may you get the glory for ALL that is accomplished here.

image signature

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Awesome chance to win!!!

It takes a village to raise a child!
– African Proverb

When God called us to start Village of Hope, we knew that HE would put together the pieces and bring those that He would have serve alongside us. We are completely blown away by all the people He has been sending our way… but, then again, we really shouldn’t be blown away by how great our God is and how HE provides to bring His work to completion.

As we prayed and asked the Lord to provide for the first $20,000 needed for
God’s people stepped forward to provide an incredible gift basket.
From now until August 1st, you have a chance to win!

The gift basket includes:

HOPE jewelry from Funky Fish Designs

Village of Hope t-shirt (your choice of color and size)

$100 TOMS gift card

$100 Amazon gift card

$100 itunes gift card

How do you enter?
-share on facebook, twitter, or blog:
1 entry for each time you share (you MUST contact us at Christi@lifesongfororphans.org to let us know that you shared)

-each $25 donation you give: 2 entries

-each $100 donation you give: 10 entries

To make a donation to Village of Hope, click here.

Village of Hope is a ministry of Lifesong for Orphans in partnership with Project Hopeful. The vision for Village of Hope was born out the knowledge that God has a heart for the least of these. Scripture reveals a God who is passionate about the sick, the widow, the orphan, the alien, and the poor.The purpose of Village of Hope is to provide family, faith and a future to the least of these by providing holistic orphan care to special needs orphans, primarily focused on those living with HIV/AIDS in a family-style setting.