Friday, October 27, 2017

Compassion in new ways!

This has been on my mind to do for over a year now, and this week I joined Trades of Hope as a Compassionate Entrepeneur! What is that? you might ask!

Trades of Hope was started by 4 women who knew they could change lives! They find women and families in dire situations around the world and in USA, and give them an opportunity to change their own lives! Paid a fair price for their crafts, these women create beautiful accessories that we have the chance to enjoy! They are certified with Fair Trade, an organization that ensures the women are paid a fair price and work in reasonable conditions.These are women that have been living in forced labor, saved from sex trafficking, had to leave their children to earn money, or in similar dire circumstances. They are empowered to change their own lives--and one reason women are selected is that when one woman changes her life, on average she helps another 4 people do the same!

If you know me well, you know I am busy! And I frequently take on new projects and commitments. But one of my biggest passions is missions. I am currently planning my 5th trip to the Manuelito Project in Honduras in 2018, a refuge for children rescued from living on the streets. Trades of Hope, with their own mission to end poverty and empower women to change their life circumstances, is a perfect partner for me! It fits so well with my goals to make an impact in the world, and at the same time, I can raise money for my trips to the Manuelito Project in Honduras! All of my commissions will go to our missions trip!

Trades of Hope has beautiful jewelry, scarves, bags, Christmas ornaments and more! Perfect for Christmas shopping. Please check them out here!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Mission Trip recap

A short video recap as told by some members of the team....

Honduras Recap 2017 from Butler First Church on Vimeo.

For First Church members and friends, we will be hosting a Soup & Salad luncheon on Sunday, September 17 at noon. Here we will share more stories about the trip and about how the Manuelito Project is doing, as well as announcing 2 First Church missions trips for 2018: one back to Honduras, another within USA. Please RSVP if you are able to attend.

Friday, August 18, 2017

A successful week at the Project!

Where to begin?  This year's trip to the Manuelito Project was probably our best yet. We had a wonderful team, we worked well together, everyone had a wonderful heart for the children, and we got to experience some incredible moments together, as we saw God at work in Honduras.

Here's a video slideshow put together by Jason. The music is Julio Melgar - Estás Aquí. This was a beautiful theme song of the week, sung by the children to us on the last night, as well as during some of the morning devotionals. 

Over the next week or so, I will share a few stories, some more photos. In the meantime, I ask for prayers for the kids at the Project, for the staff & for new leaders, as well as for plans to begin for next year's trip!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Mission trip prayer requests!

We leave soon, and so I want to be bold in my request for prayers, and some specific prayers at that. It's a long list, but not exhaustive. As a team, we always feel upheld by prayer and so we appreciate your precious prayer time!
Image result for prayer

Thank you for your prayer partnership with us. As I find myself rushing around, I have to stop myself, remember to pray, and remind myself that my urgency should be about Jesus, not tasks. So, that's number one. That we have good quality times to focus on Jesus, on our prayer time, and in sharing our witness and testimony, with love, in all of our activities, from now until we return.

That we have safe travels, without anxiety, and that we remain healthy and safe during the trip.

That the children are at the center of all our efforts, and that we can impact them for the Kingdom of God, as much as they impact us.

That the light of Jesus shines brightly through us, and that we show His pure and unconditional love in everything we do, and the fruits of the Holy Spirit are able to pour from us in abundance.

That we connect deeply with the Lord in new meaningful ways, and that we remain obedient to Him, being flexible as He reveals His plans to us.

For the children and staff as they adapt to some leadership changes, and that we can be a positive and loving community for them, reminding them of God's goodness in His plans for their lives, while deepening our relationships with them.

That we remain openhearted to what God wants to reveal to us, and He helps us with that in His grace.

That we remember it's okay to have fun. Though this is never about us, it's good to enjoy our time with the kids and each other. God blesses us with community and uses this time to enrich our souls, our worship, our service--and that's something to celebrate and embrace.

That we have meaningful bonding together as a team, and that any moments of negative emotion, weariness, home sickness or other pains can be dealt with through love and grace.

That we are moved to be more generous than ever before, in ways that enrich lives, and to bring back that energy to share in our home community, and that we have the words to convey to others the message of missions in a way that stirs them into bold compassion and action.

For God to protect us and those at the project from any spiritual attack, and that we resist temptation to give in to any doubts or worries, but always seek God's strength, wisdom and discernment; and that we remember the power that is the name of Jesus!!

That we give God the glory through all of this, and we praise Him, His work and His name!!

That Debi and I can be the leaders that the team needs us to be as the months of preparation lead us into our journey.

On a personal note, for our families who are at home, for their health and well-being, and that any anxieties and worries from home or work, or about our trip, are settled in our hearts and minds.

Once again. Thank you for surrounding us and upholding us in your prayers.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Almost there!

This weekend, the Honduras team received prayer from our senior pastor and the congregation of Crossfire, one of our church campuses. It was a significant and beautiful commissioning prayer. Afterwards we packed up approximately 600-700 pounds of clothes, school supplies, games, activities and more from donated goods and fund-raised money!!

Thank you church, family and friends for supporting this trip! If you have prayed for us or the Project, if you have donated, volunteered or attended a fundraiser, then we thank you! Your heart travels with us!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Needs collection

I can't change the world. There is no question there, but a group effort can make a huge difference in the world of a few. And I say group, not just meaning those who get on a plane and travel, but also including the prayer warriors, the donors and supporters. And those who inspire and encourage us. All of those people send something with us when we go. 

This is the time of the year when we started collecting for the 'needs' of the project. That is, items that they currently have on their shopping list!  We'll be filling 15 cases to full of donations and things to do with the children: crafts, games, sports equipment etc. 

The following items are being collected over the next 2 weekends. If you sponsor one of the children at Manuelito Project, we can take your cards, letters, photos and gifts to them.

Kids soccer balls
Masking tape
White Board markers
White Board erasers
Round tipped scissors
Glue sticks for glue gun
Red ink pens
Permanent markers black, blue, red
Yarn of various colors
Finger paints
Disposable razors
Bars of soap
Sun screen
Bug spray                       
Women’s pads (thin)
Clothing: From sizes age 5 to age 14
Bras sizes 32-38.                        
Underwear for girls & boys (boxers/boxer briefs)
White T-Shirts
Jeans (max. size 34x32)

Monday, May 29, 2017

Progress and the Project

I am writing this early on Memorial Day with prayerful thanks for those who bravely stood for their country and cause, and with prayerful love and compassion for the families that sacrificed also.

I wanted to share our progress to date! So far our team has raised enough for our trip, plus the extras we need to buy work supplies, and crafts/games for the kids, some shoes to take for them,  and money to cook for them one night.  We will have a 'needs drive' next month for clothes, school supplies and hygiene items. We have 15 suitcases to fill with donations!
If you'd like the needs list or to donate money for that,  contact me.

Above is a photo showing a portion of our rummage sale! This annual event supports the trip and brings in a huge portion of our money. The volunteers that run it plus the team do an amazing job, then have this space cleared up again for church!

The vehicle fundraiser was a massive success! Our goal was to raise $15,000. I thought that was an impossible goal but we smashed it at over 22,000, allowing them to purchase a second needed vehicle.
The vehicles allow the missionaries to get the children to doctors appointments, or to take them a few miles home after a school event, or to continue their important outreach in the town.

Here are a few recent photos of the children from the Manuelito Project facebook page.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Fun video and some bowling!

So, I have to share this! At church, we are fortunate to have some great videos (the church sermon for one campus is broadcast live every Sunday on the website) and this video announcement shows the fun of some of the girls going with us to Honduras this year!  The kids and teens at the project love these girls, and I think you can see why!

This is advertising our bowling event this weekend!  The event is open to everyone of all ages, whether you attend our church or not, so please pop along to support us!  We'll also have some Sarris candy and cross necklaces for sale, as well as information on sponsoring the kids at the project. You can learn more about their lives before and after going to live at Manuelito Project!

There are a few more opportunities to help with the project.  In the past 6 months I became an independent consultant for Jafra, offering free facial and spa parties! It's a lot of fun, as you can imagine. If you would like to know more about the products, visit -- I ship anywhere and you can order online too!! To book a party, or learn more, contact me! All of my commission is used to sponsor the team or be added to missions in some other way. Between now and Easter, all my commission will be donated to the vehicle fund for the Manuelito Project.

Thanks for your support!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Team building, fundraising and a guest!

We're only in March (we're already in March?!) and already we have had several great meetings and fundraisers!  A couple of car washes and a chicken dinner have got us off to a great start.

At one of our team meetings recently, we had a very special guest. David Medina spent much of his childhood living at the Manuelito Project. At the age of 6 (SIX!) he was on the streets: begging, sleeping rough, and drawn into the reality of drugs as a means to stave off hunger, cold and pain. However, thanks to the great work--bold and compassionate work--of Pastor Pinto, founder of the Project, David was eventually brought to live at the children's home after 3 years living on the streets. Pastor Pinto (called Papi by the kids) was once raised in a similar project and he was called to the ministry of helping street kids a couple of decades ago. Through a program of swapping their drugs for food, the children on the streets were able to get to know Pastor Pinto and to learn about places like Manuelito Project.

David's story is one of great success. His siblings also found refuge at the project. Some still live there, another graduated and became a school teacher.  Today, as an adult, David is well rounded, a father to an infant, and grateful for the opportunity given to him to have a normal healthy life.

The Project that saved David and his siblings relies on donations and volunteers.  Recently we were told of a pressing need. For several months, the Project has been working without the use of a working vehicle.  The vehicles are vital to get the kids to doctors appointments, special classes, emergency care and to continue their outreach into the poorest communities.  With David's help, our church kicked off a drive to raise $15,000 towards the new vehicle.

Upcoming events!

April 2, 5:30pm-8:30pm: "Build a School" Bowlathon at Family Bowlaway, Butler.
April 22 9am-2pm: Craft and Vendor Spring Show, Butler Library
May 19/20: Huge Rummage Sale, Crossfire

Past fundraising and volunteering helped the project immensely. Recent photos show the kids in their new school building, with Phase II underway: a vocational training school! 
If you would like to donate to the car fund, message me or mail a check to Butler FUMC with "Honduras Vehicle Fund" in the memo.We are also selling Disciple Crosses for $10 each, These make great Easter gifts and can be shipped anywhere in the world.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Mission progress

One of my favorite things about the lead up to our mission trip is the team meetings and fundraisers. Don't get me wrong--fundraising is really hard, and I find it very difficult to ask people for money or to come to yet another event, but the comraderie and support is well worth the effort.

What happens during these 6 months?

We study the bible together: what is God leading us to do on this trip, how can God help us to overcome our anxieties, how can we overcome our selfish desires so that we land on Honduran soil with a heart of servitude and love?

We bond.  I know it's only a week in Honduras and that doesn't seem like a lot. But this is no vacation by the pool. We share a dorm, we listen to each other snore, we sweat in the heat together, we dig holes and carry bricks and then we play with dozens of kids together, we sometimes get sick together and nurse one another, some of us get homesick or irritated by one another, we adapt to a very different culture, most of us nod in ignorance at a language we don't understand. All this is hard enough, but doing it with strangers would be even tougher so we take time to get to know one another, to become family to each other so we can be the best team we can possibly be.

Prepping take out at the Chicken Dinner

And of course, we raise funds. Why?  Some people ask why do we raise funds when we are choosing to go. We raise funds for several reasons: 
1) we are not picking people to go based on their wealth but on their heart.  In fact, I wouldn't say that we pick the team so much as God brings the team together.

2) a good chunk of the money we raise is used to fund the home we are visiting, to feed and educate the children.

Chicken dinner
3) On top of the minimum we need to raise, we raise extra so we can help the project with their urgent needs. In the past, our church has raised enough to help start building a new school, to buy toilets for the boys' dorm, a fridge, a stove, tables and chairs, dirt for a road. We also want to have fun with the kids so we take toys, games, sports equipment and treats!

And the #1 question: why not just send money?  Over time I have learned that building relationships with the children and staff goes much further than dollars alone. Rather like the saying, Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach him to fish and he eats for a lifetime. Much more about that in future posts!

Monday, January 30, 2017

2017 Bold Compassion Boot Up

After a long year off, as we re-charged and listened for direction, it's time to boot up and fire up again!  When we left Honduras in 2015, we really thought we'd be back again in 2016 but it wasn't to be.  But that's okay, we had plenty of important things to do. We're back again though, heading back to Honduras in August.

It seems to me that in the past 18 months, parts of the world and our society have become a slightly darker place, people seem meaner to one another, more critical of what others support or don't support. My belief is that if you are showing love, compassion and kindness to anyone, then you are moving in the right direction. My cause might not be your cause. You might support sick kids, or a cure for cancer, or animal rescue, homeless veterans or addiction recovery. That's all fantastic, and I am so glad that your heart beats for a great cause! It's wonderful that God gave us different passions so we can all work towards making the world a better place!

Over the coming weeks and months, I will share more about this year's trip, our fundraising efforts and, of course, about the children at the Manuelito Project.

To learn more about the Project, watch this great video!
If you would like to support our trip, we have a Paypal button on the side bar! 

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