Mountain Bikes

We had the busiest and most fun weekend.  Paul was out of town but Sarah and Chris both flew home (which they can do on standby) and we packed way more into the weekend than usual.  The first part of our weekend was the mountain bike ride.  Chris, Sarah and I rode our bikes down from Mosier Gulch, about 4 miles total.

2014-09-22 17.43.24_500We were riding over big rocks and tree roots at times, which made for a very bumpy ride.  I admit that I got off to walk occasionally.

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But there were also some very smooth and beautiful spots through the woods and along the creek.

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The colors were just starting to change in the trees.

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We passed the old water power plant.

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What fun — riding down the mountain with my kids on a gorgeous day!

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Surfing, Dancing, Baking, Playing

Here, again, is the little girl from Kenya in need of a sponsor. She’s so cute!  She’s wearing a uniform that Compassion provided for her.  People often ask me, “Why do the children in the photos have such nice clothes on?”  Is that a hidden question that really means, “Do they really need my help?  They don’t look poor!”  I don’t know, but here is the answer:  Compassion values the dignity of the poor.  What parent would want photos sent abroad of their child in rags, or in no clothing at all?  With flies on their face or distended bellies?  No one.  So they give them something nice to wear, at least for the photo, at least until they get a sponsor and are provided with a school uniform, along with all the other support they need.

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Also related to the dignity of the poor is giving them skills, talents, education, purpose, hope.  Did you know that Compassion strongly urges the development of talents such as art, music, sports, baking, martial arts and other interests?  You don’t want to miss this fun video, especially the scene of children learning how to surf in Brazil–priceless!:

One Day

I’m looking for a sponsor for this little girl from Kenya — Irene.  Could that person be YOU?

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What difference does it really make for a needy child to be sponsored through Compassion?  It makes all the difference in the world.  Take a look at this independent study and you will see the amazing results.  Yes, sponsorship is changing the lives of children around the world; and they, in turn, are becoming great leaders  and changers in their communities!

Take a look at this video (below) and you will hear the facts in their own words from some of our formerly sponsored children.  Then contact me about sponsoring Irene!

Too Long to Wait

Irene has been waiting too long — over 6 months to get a sponsor through Compassion International.  Irene was born May 18, 2008 in Kenya, where she lives with her parents and 3 siblings.  Both parents are sometimes employed as sellers in the market.  Would you be interested in sponsoring Irene?  It’s only $38.00/month, just a little over a dollar per day.  It will provide food for her, immunizations, tutoring, social skills, technical skills and Christian discipleship.  The best part of all?  You can write to each other as often as you want, and you would be her one and only sponsor, a special friend indeed!

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So what happens to children like Irene while they’re waiting to be sponsored?  Well, they are already enrolled in the Compassion Child Development Center, where they can receive benefits due to Partner’s of Compassion — people that are willing to pay a little more than the monthly sponsorship rate in order to support unsponsored children like Irene.  This fund also provides immediate care for orphans, disaster relief, emergency care, educational and training programs for caregivers, nutritional support and clean water, toilets and hygiene.  What a great fund to contribute to!

Irene is living with her parents, probably in a typical home of the region constructed of dirt floors, adobe walls and corrugated iron roofs.  The regional diet consists of maize, beans, fish and cassava.  Common health problems in the area include HIV/AIDS, typhoid fever, septic wounds and malaria.  Irene has been chosen to be sponsored because of the great needs of her family.

She may or may not be involved in activities at the Child Development Center yet.  Until a child receives a sponsor, they often are involved in working for the family, caring for younger siblings or just staying home and hoping to avoid abuse or danger on the streets.  If she does attend the activities at the center, she is not receiving full benefits yet and unfortunately will not hear her name called when they are giving letters to children from their sponsors.  Irene desperately needs a sponsor to write and send love, encouragement, prayers and most of all, hope.

Could you be that sponsor for her?  Please leave a comment if you would like to know more about sponsorship and about Irene in particular.

Ending Poverty

The final quote this week comes from Scott Todd’s excellent book, Hope Rising.  He believes that extreme poverty can be ended in this world in a generation; it’s possible, and we’re getting closer all the time.  In my own experience as a Child Advocate for Compassion International, I used to say that 40,000 children were dying every day from preventable causes.  That figure is down now to only 18,000 children per day — still too many — but we’re making great progress.  Here is a quote from the book:

There is one institution on earth with the capacity, the presence, the credibility, the endurance, and the passion to perform the ultimate act of caring for the poor.  It is the church, the body of Christ…

The church is unrivaled in its capacity. If you want to respond to the massive challenges of global poverty, then the church is the organization with the legs to get it done…

The church also has street cred.  In 2006, a Gallup poll was conducted to discover which organizations Africans trusted and distrusted the most.  The poll, conducted in nineteen countries, found that they were most likely to trust their churches and least likely to trust their governments.  The study concluded that channeling aid through local churches may be more likely to maximize optimism among the people.

Even if you were an atheist, thought the Bible was total hogwash, but wanted to effectively help the poor, you’d be a fool to overlook the church.  It has the largest labor force gathered in the very locations you’d wish to reach, speaks the language, and possesses local credibility–everything necessary for effective action.  Not to mention the church’s strong moral commitment to integrity, honesty, and countless other virtues gained in its unprecedented track record for perseverance in such service…

Here’s what you, one of His people, can do–support Christian, holistic ministry for the poor.  [Hope Rising, by Scott C. Todd, pg. 144-151, excerpts]

What can you do?  Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed 100 people, at least feed one.”  You can start by helping at least one child in need — sponsor a child today and their life (and yours) will be changed forever!

Chet

Another book I’m reading at the moment is a fun detective mystery.  The reason it’s so intriguing is because the main character is a dog named Chet.  His master, Bernie, is the detective but Chet is the one that usually solves the crime first, and helps out along the way.  Here is a fun scene where they have just gone into their back yard and found a stray tennis ball.

Bernie was gazing up at the sky.  A beautiful night–soft breeze, lots of stars, lights twinkling down the canyon, and what was this?  A new tennis ball on the lawn.  I went over and sniffed it.  Not one of mine, not anyone’s I knew.

“Wanna play fetch?”

I pawed the thing.  How did it get here?  Cooped up all day, but I’d kept an ear cocked, except for when I dozed off, of course.

“Bring it here, Chet.”

I didn’t want to, not with this stranger’s smell on it.

“Come on.”

But I never said no to Bernie.  I gave the ball a lick or two, making it mine, then took it over to Bernie and dropped it at his feet.  Bernie reared back and threw the ball up the canyon road.

“Uh-oh–where’d it go?”

Where’d it go?  He really couldn’t see it?  That never failed to surprise me, how poorly he saw after the sun went down.  I tore after the ball, bouncing up the middle of the road in plain sight, got my back feet way forward and sprang, totally airborne, snaring it on the short hop, the way I like, then wheeling around in one skidding motion and racing full speed, head low, ears flattened by the wind I was making, and dropped it at Bernie’s feet, putting on the brakes at the last moment.  If you know something more fun than this, let me in on the secret.

[Dog On It, by Spencer Quinn, pg. 2-3]

 

 

The Sword

This week I’m sharing quotes from some of the books I’m currently reading.  For some reason, I always have several books going at once.  I always wanted to know more about the King Arthur stories, so am finally reading the book.  You may recall that the wizard, Merlyn, taught life skills to Arthur (called “Wart” as a child) by turning him into various animals.  Here is the scene where Arthur has run to find a sword for his brother Kay, who had forgotten his at home.  The only one Arthur could find was the one stuck in the stone (only able to be pulled out by the future King of England).  Here is T. H. White’s account of what happened when he attempted to pull out the sword from the stone:

There was a kind of rushing noise, and a long chord played along with it.  All round the churchyard there were hundreds of old friends.  They rose over the church wall all together, like the Punch and Judy ghosts of remembered days, and there were badgers and nightingales and vulgar crows and hares and wild geese and falcons and fishes and dogs an dainty unicorns and solitary wasps and  corkindrills and hedgehogs and griffins and the thousand other animals he had met.  They loomed round the church wall, the lovers and helpers of the Wart, and they all spoke solemnly in turn.  Some of them had come from the banners in the church, where they were painted in heraldry, some from the waters and the sky and the fields about–but all, down to the smallest shrew mouse, had come to help on account of love.  Wart felt his power grow.

“Put your back into it,” said a Luce (or pike) off one of the heraldic banners, “as you once did when I was going to snap you up.  Remember that power springs from the nape of the neck.”

“What about those forearms,” asked a Badger gravely, “that are held together by a chest?  Come along, my dear embryo, and find your tool.”

A Merlin sitting on the top of the yew tree cried out, “Now then, Captain Wart, what is the first law of the foot?  I thought I once heard something about never letting go?”

“Don’t work like a stalling woodpecker,” urged a Tawny Owl affectionately.  “Keep up a steady effort, my duck, and you will have it yet.”

A white-front said, “Now, Wart, if you were once able to fly the great North Sea, surely you can co-ordinate a few little wing-muscles here and there?  Fold your powers together, with the spirit of your mind, and it will come out like butter.  Come along, Homo sapiens, for all we humble friends of yours are waiting here to cheer.”

The Wart walked up to the great sword for the third time.  He put out his right hand softly and drew it out as gently as from a scabbard.”

[The Once and Future King, by T. H. White, pg. 204-205]