Thursday, January 29, 2015

Asher's 4th B-Day!

Our little man, Asher James, isn't so little anymore! He just turned 4 years old and is getting so big!

He wanted to have a "Wild Kratts" birthday party because that is his ultra-favorite show on TV. He invited his closest friends - Mason, Cameron, Sammy, Mylz, Desmond, Isaac and Mary. So much fun...

We had a family party at Steve's parent's house and here we are singing to him at our house on his actual b-day...

Sure do love that big boy!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Reconsidering the Meaning of Poverty

I love these video series by So many good-intentioned people try to help the poor but in so doing, often times end up hurting them long-term. These videos encourage a new way of considering the meaning of poverty and how we can help without hurting...

"Helping Without Hurting" - You. Me. All of us are more alike than we think. No matter how we look, where we live, or how our day begins, we are all the same. Each of us, born with unique gifts, but all share the same inherit value. All of us possessing desires and dreams for what our lives may be. And although our circumstances may vary, we all experience happiness and pain in our lives. When we encounter poverty on our street or across the globe, we are compelled with a desire to reach out and end the suffering. However, our well-intended good deeds may be contributing to the long-term harm of the poor and ourselves. Perhaps we have forgotten that even though we have our differences, we are still fundamentally the same. And until we realize this simple truth, we won't be able to help the poor without hurting them.

What if poverty isn’t about a lack of food, money, or clothing? If we only treat symptoms of poverty, we can actually hurt the poor in our well-intended efforts to help them. As the Church, we offer immediate relief during times of intense need, like in the aftermath of natural disasters. But, we're also called to lead people toward restoration in Christ, and that requires relationship. Rather than go into neighborhoods, cities, and countries to offer relief, we should partner with the local ministries that are already helping the poor and disadvantaged find total restoration--both in physical needs and in spiritual relationship with Christ.

PovertyCure - I have just recently learned about PovertyCure and can not say enough good things about this organization. They are an amazing resource and I have learned so much about seeing poverty in a different light. "When we understand people, made in the image and likeness of God and with a creative capacity, it changes absolutely everything about the way we understand wealth and poverty." 

Their website says, "PovertyCure is an international network of organizations and individuals seeking to ground our common battle against global poverty in a proper understanding of the human person and society, and to encourage solutions that foster opportunity and unleash the entrepreneurial spirit that already fills the developing world.

We know there is no single solution to poverty, and good people will disagree about methods, but we have joined together to rethink poverty, encourage discussion and debate, promote effective compassion, and advance entrepreneurial solutions to poverty informed by sound economics, local knowledge, the lessons of history and reflections from the Judeo-Christian tradition.

Christ calls us to solidarity with the poor, but this means more than assistance. It means seeing the poor not as objects or experiments, but as partners and brothers and sisters, as fellow creatures made in the image of God with the capacity to solve problems and create new wealth for themselves and their families. At a practical level, it means integrating them into our networks of exchange and productivity."

Here's just a few of their videos...

You can also purchase their study guide with videos for only $5.99 on

"Restore: Doing Better at Doing Good" - Have you ever thought helping others could actually hurt them? Without the right approach, we can start with good intentions but end up hurting those we want to help the most. We need to learn to think differently about missions. Restore is a three-session, documentary-style video learning experience that challenges us all to do better at helping others. It will help you, your family, and your LifeGroup gain a new perspective on the most effective ways to help those in need—around the world and in our communities.Together, let's do better at doing good. Restore will help you identify how God has called you to help others, evaluate the best way to respond, and commit to your next step.

"Helping the Hurting" - When the unimaginable happens and reality begins to sink in, we begin to wonder… Where is God in this tragedy? What can I do to help? Join us for answers to these difficult questions in Helping the Hurting.

On a side note - I have been to Africa 3 times now and am heading back this summer. I have found there are very fine lines between those who honestly want to go and be the "hands and feet of Jesus" and those who want a pat on the back for doing something "good". If we, the volunteers, can honestly benefit from going (spiritually and long-term after we get back home) and we don't hurt those we are trying to help, then I think it's a good thing. But if we have the "White Savior" complex and think the poor "need" us and our material stuff and the American way of doing things, then we are in the wrong. I have also spent time in orphanages and on the last day when it's time to say our goodbyes, both the children and the volunteers are crying. And I have to admit, I am guilty of this. We get so attached to our new "friends", it's hard to leave them. But I can only imagine what this does to orphaned children. Being deserted over and over again. The pain is real and has to effect them emotionally. But on the contrary, a lot of good has come out of those trips, as well. New friendships have been made. In small ways, I've been able to help others help themselves. My family has gotten involved and now they also have huge hearts for Africa. My girls and their friends raised enough $ to purchase 9 baby cribs for an orphanage in Uganda. We have even adopted from Africa within the last 2 years, but are also very supportive of keeping kids in their biological homes, whenever possible.

All that to say, I don't necessarily agree with everything in the following articles, but I do think they leave us with some good food for thought...