Archive for August, 2012

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Giveaway to two who help me

Thank you so much for your responses when I asked for help. Don’t stop now!

You’ve reminded me of things I want to talk about at Together for Adoption 2012, You’ve given me more things to think about and helped clarify some things for me. Your stories make me thank God for his strength and wisdom that we need so desperately as we raise our children, whether adopted or born into our families.

Chosen By LoveI promised that in a “couple of days” I’d tell you about a giveaway. Sorry, a couple of days has stretched into ten thanks to my procrastination. Also, Talitha and I are volunteering at a Joni and Friends Family Retreat this week. But I do want to bring to your attention a new book I received recently. As I wrote at the Amazon page for Chosen by Love, by Tom Jaski:

Tonight, my husband and I both read Chosen by Love. We really appreciated the careful way Tom Jaski showed parallels between human adoption and divine adoption. Before we adopted our daughter, I knew what the Bible says about God’s adopting us into his family. But the details and reality came alive as we lived adoption at the human level. Chosen by Love is a good reminder, and with Scripture references.

Tom Jaski is offering copies of Chosen by Love to 2 of you who answer my question: What do you wish you had known? Those who have commented are already in the running. But if you have more to say, or if you haven’t responded yet, please read the original post and help me!

The deadline will be midnight CDT, Thursday, 30 August. After that, 2 commenters will be randomly chosen to receive the book.

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Saturday, August 18th, 2012

Free book: What I need more than my next breath

A few years ago, I told you about meeting Harry Kraus, author and missionary doctor in East Africa. I’ve enjoyed all his books and the two favorites I named then are still my favorites now.

Breathing Grace (Includes Study Questions): What You Need More than Your Next BreathSo I wanted be sure you know that you can get one of those favorites – Breathing Grace free for Kindle. (Also good on the free Kindle app for smartphone or computer.) I believe this offer is valid only the next couple of days, so don’t let it pass you by.

Each chapter begins with a medical emergency caused by a patient who isn’t getting enough oxygen. That deficiency becomes a parallel or parable of lack of grace–grace, which we need more than we need than our next breath. Dr. Kraus is kind enough not to leave us hanging. At chapter’s end, he lets us know how that chapter’s patient fares.

I think of Breathing Grace as sort of a story collection emphasizing the point of Future Grace. And we all know how good Future Grace is . . . don’t we?

Of course, Breathing Grace is also available as book-on-paper.

Let me know what you think.

 

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If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 

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Thursday, August 9th, 2012

Had I but known . . . Help me!

 

 

 

 

 

Less than a month from now is the 40th anniversary of my becoming a mother. Had I but known that 40 years into mothering there would still be so many things I wish I knew. . . . There are so many things I thought I knew, but I didn’t really. There are so many things I hadn’t even thought about knowing, things waiting to bless me or to blindside me.

That’s my speaking topic, especially as it regards adoption, at Together for Adoption 2012 in Atlanta, September 14-15–what I didn’t know:

  • If we just love our child enough . . .
  • Some children are added by birth and some by adoption–it’s a simple as that  . . .
  • We will treat our adopted child just as we do the ones who were born to us . . .
  • We will never blame adoption for difficulties our child may have . . .
  • and . . . and . . . and . . .

I need your help. If you’re a parent by birth or by adoption or both, I need your help based on your experience. If you know someone who’s a parent by birth or adoption, I need your help based on your observations.

  • What do you wish you’d known as you launched into parenting, whether by adoption or by birth?
  • What have you learned or are you experiencing that’s very different than what you’d expected, whether happy or hard?
  • What were you totally ignorant about at the beginning that you’re learning by experience?
  • What unexpected things have blessed you?
  • What unexpected things have blindsided you?
Those are just sample questions. You get the idea.

Your comments will prime the pump of my own thoughts as I prepare, but I will in no way compromise your privacy. In fact, if it makes it easier, feel free to respond anonymously via the comments to this post, or by using the comment button above to send me an email.

(In the spirit of “What I didn’t know,” I’ll announce in the next couple of days a gift that I’ll send to 2 commenters, randomly chosen.)

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If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 

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Sunday, August 5th, 2012

Glad you asked that question #1

 

 

 

 

I really meant it when I asked you to ask questions about Compassion. So thanks to Vicki for breaking the ice:

The only question I have is what is the criteria (denominational, doctrinal, etc). Compassion uses for selecting which local churches they will work with?

That’s an important question, and it just so happens that my daughter-in-law Molly Piper answered a similar question a couple of years ago, so I’m going to take the easy route here and just copy and paste her good answer.

Laura asked:

I sponsor a child in Kenya and wonder about the theology that she’s taught. How does Compassion choose which local churches to work with? Are they mostly theologically uniform, or is there some diversity of belief about what might be called “non-essentials” among the projects?

Answer:

  • Compassion International sets up their child sponsorship “projects” through local churches. That’s the only way they do it in every country they work in.
  • In the early days, Compassion had to go looking for church partners. Now, most of the time, churches come find them, because their reputation is so upstanding and the local congregations see the benefits of hosting a Compassion project and want that for the children in their neighborhoods!
  • All churches must subscribe to the statement of faith of the National Association of Evangelicals. No exceptions.

So if this was the burning question you had that’s keeping you from sponsoring, and you feel satisfied with this answer, go ahead and sponsor.

Or if you’ve just been undecided or forgetful or apathetic or confused (really, you can just insert any of those adjectives here & you would’ve been describing me a few months ago)… go ahead and sponsor.

Thanks, Vicki, for asking. And thanks, Molly for the answer.

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If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 

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Saturday, August 4th, 2012

What else do you want to know about a Compassion Child Development Center?

 

 

 

 

You can tell by its name that Tell Me When to Pack is my travel blog. I’ve been writing there about the Compassion Sponsor Tour Talitha and I took to Guatemala, because that was definitely a trip.

But we’re home now and as I’ve said before here and here, the ministry of Compassion International is intertwined with other special interests of mine. Adoption, disabilities, and poverty are not limited to places one must travel to, so I’m shifting to this blog to write my remaining thoughts and observations from Compassion and Guatemala.

Today, I’m thinking about Compassion’s Child Development Centers. Before we traveled, I was fuzzy about how Compassion relates to an individual child. One of the days of our tour was spent at a Center. Here’s some of what I learned, in no particular order.

  • At this point, in Guatemala there are 140 Compassion projects, ranging in size from 150-400 children, serving more than 33,000. At the Compassion Guatemala office we heard that there are 38,000 children now.
  • The Child Development Program is a holistic program “dedicated to helping children find a path out of poverty through the love of Jesus Christ. By working with local churches, the Child Sponsorship Program offers educational opportunities, health care and health-related instruction, nutrition, life-skills training, and opportunities to hear about and respond to the gospel.
  • Each center program is church-based, established by a local church in conjunction with Compassion. None is set up by outsiders coming in and deciding this must be done. Rather, Compassion responds to the needs presented by the church. Many of the churches already were doing similar work among families, children, and youth even before they connected with Compassion. Many of the centers meet in the sponsoring church’s building. Otherwise, the church obtains another location. The minimal paid staff and the many volunteers are all local people. All of this reinforces sustainability.
  • There is no requirement that a family or child be confessing Christians in order to be part of the program, But each family is told very clearly that their child will receive explicit Christian teaching and training. This happens even in countries where the prevailing religion may cause parents to decide against their child’s participation.
  • Children in the program range in age from 3-4 until about 16-7. I’m not sure what determines the top age, but I think it’s probably when a young person finishes school.
  • Program facilitators are the link between the national office (Guatemala, in our case) and the Child Development Centers. Each facilitator  visits 12-15 centers per month. He or she provides leadership training and ensures that each center is providing the services, resources, activities, Christian training, educational help, hours, etc. that is required.
  • It is expected that a center provides 8 hours of programming for its children. Some programs are after school, 2-3 times per week. When the children come from farther away, the program may be just on Saturday.
  • A healthy meal is provided for each child each time they are at the center.
  • At about 11, children begin learning different handicrafts and skills that help prepare them for life after school, if they don’t go on for further education.
  • Centers may also provide parenting training for families.
  • From its beginning, Compassion has had the policy that at least 80% of every sponsor’s monthly gift goes to the project where the sponsored child is a participant. We were told the reality is more like 83-4%. Compassion is a founding member of ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability). When a gift is designated for a specific project or family need, 100% goes to that specific need.
  • Through the children, whole families are helped. The project director where we visited said, “They come. We teach them the love of God. And God makes great things of these small children.” When God makes great things of a child, his or her family is blessed.
Below are a few pictures from our visit to a Center. If you want to see more, they’re at my Shutterfly travel share site.

Does this answer questions you’ve had? Are there other things you’re wondering about Compassion’s work?

 

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If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 

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Saturday, August 4th, 2012

Audiobook review: for juvenile audience . . . and unjuvenile

Habari? (What news?)

Nzuri. (Good.)

I heard that Swahili greeting & response numerous times in the  Jungle Doctor & the Whirlwind from christianaudio.com. At first I thought, “That’s not so different than a typical quick, polite, superficial greeting here.” But there is a difference. The American greeting goes “How are you?” . . . “Fine.” And that’s it. But the Swahili greeting often doesn’t end with Nzuri.

It might go something like this: “What’s the news?” . . . “Good. . . . But in our village many people are dying.”

That’s one of the reasons I appreciate books about other cultures: I learn about my own.

I’ve visited hospitals in Africa and I’ve written about medical missionary Helen Roseveare in Faithful Women and Their Extraordinary God. So I could imagine pretty easily the rugged, challenging setting of Dr. Paul White‘s stories from Tanganyika (now Tanzania) in the late 1930s when he was there.

Officially this book is for ages 10 and up. As I listened I realized, Yes it’s good for preteens and early teens, but it’s definitely not too young for me. I kept thinking of different sorts of people who’d get drawn into Jungle Doctor and the Whirlwind, of the Jungle Doctor Series (also available in paperback).

If you’re a  medical worker, imagine preparing for and fighting a deadly dysentery epidemic in a hospital where some nurses are on strike, where there are few beds, no electricity, no rubber gloves, and where water is hauled from an hour away. Just imagine that that “hospital, limited as it was, was the only spot where some quarter of a million people could hope for medicine that worked and facilities that put them back on their feet.”

If you’re the mechanical type, picture the hospital’s truck/ambulance, “the grandmother of machines,” that was dubbed Sukuma (push) because that was the only way to get her started. “She is old. She limps like I do.” When a mechanic happens onto the scene, he diagnoses “the sickness of the spark plugs and points.”

If you love stories of answered prayer and if you find truth is refreshed for you when you hear it in new words from unfamiliar contexts, you’ll find that sort of stories throughout the book:

We prayed to God for the strength to do what seemed impossible. . . . “How badly we need at least 2 more trained people. . . . I’m afraid the legs of my faith are not strong. But it’s not me that matters. It’s God. . . .”

Mboga . . . picked up a stick with a knob on the end—a powerful weapon. . . . “Once I hit a hyena with one of these. He was after my goat. Yo-o-o, I thumped him. He howled and ran. . . . His rod and his staff they comfort. They protect. It’s his arm that does it. . . . The little goat could do nothing by himself.’’ . . .

“Three people come toward the hospital. . . . Is it not Bibi  [Australian nurse] and with her Sala, who is a trained nurse? And that is her husband Yana, the one who sings.” . . .

Mboga said, “Rod and staff.”

If music speaks to you, you won’t be surprised at this insight:

I suddenly realized how we could help even the sickest of our patients to understand about God.  Music finds its way into the minds even of those barely conscious and plants itself in the memory. Yana seemed to sense what I was thinking. Softly he started to sing, ‘So I’ll not stop my song, the words of which carry life along. On the cross he died that I might be forgiven.”. . . That’s the medicine.

If you’re concerned about conservation of resources and if you’re the make-do-with-what-you-have sort, here’s just one taste from the book:

Water is our great need, and we have little of it. . . . The handwashing basin is now on the veranda with 2 kerosene tins—one full, one empty. There is also a jam tin beside the full one.  . . . Those that wash fill this small tin, pour it into the basin, wash their hands, and then empty the water they have used into the empty kerosene tin. Not a drop is wasted. This water can be used to wash floors, and if we are very short, to wash people.

I’m sorry if I’ve misspelled names. That’s one small disadvantage of reading with my ears instead of my eyes–especially when each name gets pronounced in 3 different accents through the story–American, Australian, Tanzanian.

Paul Michael narrates the story in American English, speaks for Paul White in Australian English and uses an African accent for many others. To my American ear Michael’s characterizations gave personality to the actors in the drama. He has wide experience narrating audiobooks and it shows.

I hope you won’t be as superficial as I have been all these years, letting the cover art put me off reading or listening to a good story. I guess I forgot what they say about judging a book by its cover.

My thanks to christianaudio.com for providing the review download. They also carry audio editions of many other books  by Paul White.

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If you make a purchase after you click on a product link in a post here or after you use an on-line shopping link in the sidebar at my travel blog, I receive a small commission, which costs you nothing extra. I recommend only items that I think will be of interest to my readers and that I probably have used personally or wish I did. 

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