February – Looking at love with intentional gratitude.
Week 1 – God’s Love
Week 2 – Family Love
Week 3 – Friend Love
And now, Week 4 – Neighbor Love
Let’s begin by looking at what the Bible says about loving our neighbor….
Whenever you possibly can, do good to those who need it. Never tell your neighbors to wait until tomorrow if you can help them now. Proverbs 3:27-28
“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment.A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Matthew 22:37-39
and Paul said:
Use your freedom to serve one another in love.For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:13b-14
I’ve seen the power of “we” in action. Oh, I’ve known its truth for a long time, but seeing it played out is huge.
You know it too. You know that when individuals join together to make a difference big things happen. Look at the impact October pink has on us. Everywhere you look men and women have united to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer. That is the power of “we.”
Our church sends teams to New Orleans, Joplin, and other communities in crisis. There they join their efforts with people from other congregations to restore homes and rebuild lives.
Last summer while traveling to Bolivia with the World Vision Blogger Team, I saw need like I had never seen it before. My heart melted.
This is Arminda. She was the face on our banner. The moment we met her we fell in love as we discovered she is even more engaging and delightful in person, than she appears in her photo.
Last week my dear friend Lindsey wrote a post titled – The Power of We. It would bless me if you took a few moments to read how our families have united in sharing our love for Arminda and her family.
Would you please join us and make a life changing impact on a family and community through Child Sponsorship with World Vision? For less than the cost of a cup of coffee or soda a day, you can provide:
I have seen with my own eyes the work that is being done in the name of Jesus.
I have seen World Vision Workers spend themselves completely as they care for the least of these.
The little ones, the least of these . . .
I have been asked since coming home, “Why doesn’t World Vision work in the United States?”
The answer to that question is… They do!
There are many domestic efforts being done everyday by the ministry of World Vision. However, it is not possible to have child sponsorship here because of privacy laws and the protection of minors act. Another reason why you don’t see us list specific details about the children we are personally sponsoring in other countries.
I am not ashamed to plead for these children.
I have seen poverty beyond anything I could have ever imagined. I have seen with my eyes and felt with my heart. I am no longer able to walk by on the other side of the road. I must do something.
And I am pleading not just for the children of Bolivia, but for the children of the world.
I am thankful to say that both boys are happy and very healthy today.
In December, I was thrilled to be with my daughter in the delivery room when my grandson was born. Those memories initiated my thoughts about the experience of pregnancy and deliveries in the United States vs. neonatal care and birthing in Bolivia.
The World Health Organization provides stastistics about health care for mothers and infants around the world.
The following are comparisons between the U.S. and Bolivia:
66% of women in Bolivian cities and 50% in rural areas have a skilled professional attend the delivery of their babies vs. 99% of U.S. women.
55% of Bolivian women give birth at home.
Maternal mortality rate is .29% in Bolivia vs. .o1% in the U.S. (Maternal mortality is defined as – the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of a pregnancy, irregardless of the duration or cause of the pregnancies end.)
The lifetime risk of dying while giving birth is 1 in 150 in Bolivia vs. 1 in 2100 in the U.S.
Infant mortality in Bolivia is 42.3 per 1000 births vs. 6 per 1,000 in the U.S.
In Bolivia 1 in 4 infants will not receive post delivery medical care.
The mortality rate for children under the age of five in Bolivia is 54 in 1000 live births vs. 8 in 1000 in the U.S.
Make every mother and child count.~WHO 2005
Can you imagine being nine months pregnant and having to walk three or more hours to the nearest hospital if you needed medical care?
Can you imagine your fear as a new mom . . .
If you couldn’t feed your children?
If you didn’t have any way to get clean water?
If you couldn’t keep your family healthy because of unsanitary conditions?
We learned last week that this is the way of life in many of the rural communities in Bolivia.
Then we met Ivan and Eva.
Ivan, 27, and Eva 19, live in Viloma, where World Vision has been working with families for 13 years.
So, when their little boy was born weighing a little less than 3lb Eva was able to deliver him in a hospital where he received care for six weeks until he was able to go home.
I’ve tried to compare their NICU experience to that of our grandson and it has been impossible for me to do so without seeing their hospitals firsthand. I have imagined that their fears and concerns were much the same as our children as their love for their little boy was apparent.
As part of their story Ivan said, “God has shown me that my son is a miracle.”
I understood the emotion behind his words. Our family has also known God’s miraculous touch in the life of a child.
Ivan and Eva participate in Marriage Mentoring Couples Workshops where they meet with others to learn about how to treat each other with love and respect. Ivan shared with us that because of the life of his son he wants to be the best husband and father possible.
Witnessing Firsthand the Work of World Vision
Through maternal and child health care, clean water and sanitation programs, training for the provision of healthy foods and nutrition, mentoring, and education . . . World Vision is lifting communities from scarcity to self-sufficiency and hope.
Since the Bolivia Bloggers have returned home we have each allowed the tears to flow. For one of us weeping came suddenly in the cereal aisle of the grocery store. For another the bins of available fresh fruits and vegetables made her cry.
We are each feeling the heavy weight of seeing and knowing the needs of those whose lives crossed paths with ours last week.
This week we are unable to ignore the opportunity we have to share with those whose lives can be changed with the help of individuals like you and me.
After twenty three and a half hours of travel, I arrived at home last night not too much worse for the wear and with all of my luggage in hand.
I relaxed in a long hot bath and snuggled into my own bed remembering its familiar coziness. Even as I appreciated the comforts of home, I couldn’t shake the pictures and memories flooding my mind. The truth is I don’t want to forget. I want to forever have a tendered heart for the faces of little ones in need of life’s basic necessities.
You and I can make a difference.
We can be instrumental in providing things like:
Quarterly Physical Exams
Improved Education for Mothers and Children
Programs that Work With Leaders toward Community Self-Sufficiency
And So Much More . . .
The Impact of Child Sponsorship
On Day 3 in Cochabamba we began asking the tough questions about child sponsorship — how does sponsorship really impact the life of a child and their community? What role does the sponsor play in this?
So we asked ADP sponsorship manager Erika…. and here’s what she had to say. (She’s joined by the lovely lady helping for us for the week, Andrea, with World Vision Bolivia’s national office)
How does sponsorship really impact the life of a child and their community?
Do you still have questions you need answered before sponsoring a child with World Vision?
Please leave your questions as a comment. I would love to have the opportunity to answer all I that I am able to about our trip this past week and about the work of World Vision. And if I don’t know the answer, I know the people who do . . .
This morning my husband shared this quote with me from Peter Kreeft:
“On my door there’s a cartoon of two turtles. One says, ‘Sometimes I’d like to ask why God allows poverty, famine, and injustice why He could do something about it.’ The other turtle replies, ‘I’m afraid God might ask me the same question.’”
After a little over twenty four hours of travel, broken up by a three to four hour nap in La Paz, we arrived safely in Cochabamba. The “Garden City” of Bolivia. Living up to its name it boasts of mild temperatures which coax the growth of beautiful foliage, and the skyline in every direction is lined with blue heavens, fluffy white clouds, and gorgeous mountain ranges.
But we had places to go and people to see. So, we dropped our bags off in our rooms, hopped on a bus, and headed to our first day’s destination – The World Vision Area Development Program (ADP) in Tiraque.
Throughout the day we were warmly greeted by moms, children, and World Vision staff each of whom made us feel warmly welcome. More than that, they humbled us by making us fully aware of the difference their community has seen over the last thirteen years through the help of World Vision.
World Vision Sponsors have raised up their community by sponsoring their children.
These are some of the programs World Vision has been able to implement through the generosity of people like you and me:
A Working Library that benefits the entire educational system.
A Working Dam that has taken a system that provided water to a handful of small farms and now serves to water 178 larger properties, feeding families and producing small incomes. Something that is vital for a community where the average family income is $450.00 annually.
A Bakery that began with five moms and now employs twenty at a better than minimum wage hourly rate, and produces 30,000 units of bread daily to feed breakfast to school children in Tiraque as well as neighboring communities.
A program which helps families to have small cuyes (guinea pig) farms. Each beginning with a gift of ten cuyes and once that farm has grown large enough it will provide ten cuyes to another family. It turns out that guinea pigs are a very healthy low fat meat that is very easy to raise. Once again providing food and income for a family.
We visited a mom raising eight children. She generously showed us wonderful hospitality with grace and kindness.
The other group of bloggers visited:
A preschool where the children are taught lessons while the moms help each other learn skills while providing encouragement and emotional support to each other.
A mom of a handicapped child whose life was dramatically changed through heart surgery that was made possible through the help of World Vision. (Check out the World Vision Bolivia Bloggers page to read their stories.)
What did I learn today?
I was right when I believed that moms are the same everywhere. They all dearly love and want the best for their children. However, in this community their best is simple yet filled with joy through the blessings of World Vision sponsors.
Lord, I have given up my pride and turned away from my arrogance. I am not concerned with great matters or with subjects too difficult for me. Instead, I am content and at peace. As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms, so my heart is quiet within me. Psalm 131:1-2
I am excited to be sharing Rev’s first guest post at CMB. I’m hoping it will be the first of many.
It doesn’t surprise me in the least that Debbie said “yes” to going to Cochabamba, Bolivia with World Vision. She loves children. What shocked me is that she said “yes” immediately.
My ever cautious, protective side spoke: “Don’t you want to sleep on it for another night? Or, a week or month of nights?”
Debbie said it wasn’t necessary. She knew the Lord wanted her to go. Then, however, she reached out to me. “I won’t say ‘yes’ unless you are comfortable with it.” My jaw dropped and I told it like it is: “I’m not comfortable when you travel to Kansas City or for that matter drive up to church at night.”
We decided it probably wasn’t wise for the decision to wait for my getting “comfortable.”
Debbie’s readiness made all the more sense to me when I read Acts 16 recently. Luke tells of the Apostle Paul’s vision:
And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.Acts 16:8-10 (ESV)
Debbie’s “vision” came via email. She had written — on this very blog — about boldness. A few hours later there was an email about this trip. Debbie knew God had asked her to not only write about being bold…but to be bold. So, immediately, concluding that God had called her, she said “yes.”
I’ll ask you the same question I asked myself. What has God nudged you to do that you are delaying because you are not quite comfortable? Reach out to a friend or stranger in need? Reconcile with a loved one? Say “yes” to finding $35 a month to change or perhaps even save the life of a child by becoming a sponsor through World Vision? Maybe it’s time for you and me to respond … immediately.
Planning what I am going to pack. Still shopping for shoes and a suitcase.
Imagining what I will experience, and hoping our group leader was kidding when he talked about some of the foods we will be eating. Ha.
Trying to learn more about the country of Bolivia and World Vision.
As often happens when I am wandering the web, my search led me to YouTube where I found myself watching this great video.
What do Veggie Tales and World Vision have in common?
They care about children. All children. Everywhere.
I was blessed to see a bit of footage from a previous blogger trip on this video. I am getting so excited! Hearing stories from people who have gone on mission trips heightens my anticipation.
Like the conversation Rev and I had this past Sunday morning with a family who had recently returned from a mission trip to Haiti. We were touched by the young adult daughter’s comment when she said, “It was hard, but I liked it. It was harder coming back home.”
We asked her “why” and she replied, “Because we have so much that we don’t need.”
They also shared with us a Haitian proverb that says, “God gives, but He doesn’t share.” The point of this proverb is not that God is stingy. He provides enough resources for everyone to have the provision they need, but He leaves the responsibility of sharing to us.
I am thankful that World Vision has provided a way for us to share. Would like to know more about how you can share with a child in Bolivia? Click on the sponsor a child button in the column to the right.
Would you please pray?
Please keep the entire team traveling to Bolivia in your prayers? We are each working on long to do lists as we count down the days until we leave. And would you also pray for the children of Bolivia? Our greatest hope is that through sponsors like you and me, they will be blessed with the gift of lasting change and bright futures.
I spend a great deal of time thinking about my trip to Bolivia with World Vision. One month from today we will be in the middle of our week there. I wonder will sights, sounds, and smells be familiar by that time.
Many children around the world need the basics of clean water, food, clothing, shelter, medical care, and education. I could sit at home and just feel bad about it, or I can try to do something. I want to make a difference, and telling their stories is something I can do.
I have to admit that I really didn’t know very much about World Vision a few weeks ago, but I am making a point of learning all I can about their life changing efforts.
Did you know that World Vision has been helping children since 1950? I didn’t.
I also learned that:
Dr. Bob Pierce, World Vision’s founder, was an American evangelist and war correspondent who traveled to China with Youth for Christ in 1947. He has been quoted as saying, “Let my heart be broken by the things that break the heart of God.”
On that trip, Bob’s heart was broken when he was confronted with the need of one little girl. He pledged a monthly amount to a local missionary to ensure her care, planting the seeds of World Vision’s future child sponsorship model. (World Vision- History)
Please join me in the weeks ahead as I share more about WV and their efforts to bless the lives of children in need around the world.
If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. Isaiah 58:10 (ESV)
This all began the morning I posted Three Truths to Make You Bold. I was having trouble sleeping; so, I grabbed my iPad and began reading through my email. One in particular caught my attention and as I read through it I heard the Lord whisper to my heart, “Are you going to be bold or just write about it?”
I rolled over, said a quiet prayer, and caught another hour of sleep. Later as I got busy with my day that question just kept tumbling around in my head. I’m really not a risk taker. I am not bold. But it couldn’t hurt to get a little more information….
An email. A prayer. Another email. Another prayer. A phone call. More prayer and talks with Rev. . .
Somewhere in the midst of all of that my goose bumps and nausea turned to excitement, and I knew that God was giving my hesitation – boldness.
Are you ready?
I am going to Bolivia.
This Midwest girl who hasn’t left the country since college is going to join a group of bloggers and representatives from World Vision and travel to Cochabamba, Bolivia, the end of July.