• ABOUT
    Did you know?
    All of our earnings go to Christian charities.
    Click to learn more about us!
  • SHOP
    View the latest sales and promotions going on now!
    When you shop, you give.
  • GIVE
    See our latest Giving Challenge.
  • GROW
    Our blog shares devotionals, interviews, contests & more—all to help you grow in your faith.

  • $9.97 What's in the Bible? DVDs

Tag Archives: Missions

  • Sponsorship keeps a future "doctor" healthy

    Posted on October 30, 2014 by Family Christian

    By Eugene Lee of World Vision

     

     

    Six-year-old Belen likes to play with her dolls. Like many young girls in Namotivas, Nicaragua, she models what she sees around the home. She likes to pretend her dolls are sick with a cough and fever, and then help them get healthy again.

     

    “I give them syrup so they can get better,” says Belen, who also has two younger sisters. In this game, her doll’s make-believe sickness is a reflection of her own real-life experience as an underweight, malnourished child.

     

     

     

     

    The effects of malnutrition are often underestimated. Even though many children may eat enough to feel full, the lack of nutrients contributes to weaker immune systems and limits mental and physical development. Undernourished children are more likely to get sick and not perform as well in school.

     

    The World Bank classifies Nicaragua as the second poorest country in the Latin America and Caribbean region, and the World Food Programme estimates that chronic malnutrition affects 22 percent of children under 5[1].

     

    Belen used to be one of them—but not anymore.

    Determined to find Belen a sponsor, Family Christian store manager, Shari Kuiken in Frisco, TX started asking her customers if they’d be willing to change Belen’s life through sponsorship. She finally found a sponsor for Belen in her dear friend and Family Christian customer, Margo.

     

    Sponsorship feeds a growing mind

     

    Through Margo’s support, Belen is able to get school supplies, new shoes, and a backpack. More importantly, her mother is able to attend World Vision nutrition workshops to improve the family’s eating habits. This in turn reduces illness and trips to see the doctor.

     

    “I could say that before she was having a fever or cold most of the time, but now she has improved a lot,” says Telma, Belen’s grandmother who lives with the family.

     

    In these nutrition workshops, called “Common Pot,” mothers learn to cook with more nutritious—and less expensive—ingredients such as soybeans and fresh vegetables grown in community gardens. And to specifically help Belen’s family, sponsorship funds provided Belen’s family with five hens so they can eat protein-rich eggs every day.

     

    “It [the new cooking techniques] can prevent illness with children. This is important to pass on the trainings to the children” says Geraldine, a facilitator of one Common Pot group. Her 9-year-old daughter is also sponsored.

     

    Because of what her mother learned in the Common Pot workshops, Belen’s nutrition has improved and she’s well enough to go to school.

     

    Hope for the future

     

    “I like to read. And I like to study with my dad,” Belen says. One of her favorite stories is Pinocchio and she loves to hear stories about princesses. Her teacher, Francisco, mentions Belen likes to learn about math and Spanish literature. He describes her as very disciplined — on time for class, never misses a day, and always has her homework done. She wants to be a doctor when she grows up, so she already has the right study habits.

     

    “As a teacher, we have a big task,” says Francisco of his students. “It’s to prepare them for the future … we are taking care of those dreams we talk about here and how we accompany them through the path to fulfill that dream.”

     

    Sponsorship has also shown Belen and her family a tangible expression of God’s love. Margo is a very active sponsor, sending letters, photos, and gifts to Belen. Belen is equally active in sending cards—and even drawings back!

     

    Shari explained that Margo would bring the cards she received from Belen back to the Family Christian store to show the team “They always traced her little hand, and we’ve just watched it grow. It’s neat, you know, we always put our hand on it ‘cause it made you feel like you were holding her hand when you did it.” When Shari had the chance to meet Belen, she couldn’t wait to tell Margo that Belen had kept all of the pictures she had sent, “She had a picture of Margo’s grandson that she sent her. He’s four now, and she still has his baby picture with her in her backpack. So, I mean the impact—they really do feel like they’re part of your family.”

     

    “It’s very special that these people who don’t know us personally, really care for us and have this love for us,” Telma says. “I’m really thankful.”


    [1] http://www.wfp.org/content/country-programme-nicaragua-2013%E2%80%932018

     

    Photos and article are by Eugene Lee from World Vision.

     


    This post was posted in Missions and was tagged with Missions, World Vision, Nicaragua

  • Fatherhood: Reflections

    Posted on October 25, 2014 by Family Christian

     

    After writing his first post titled Fatherhood, Steve felt led to continue the conversation.

    As I continue to reflect on my friend Joel from Bolivia, who was born with severe permanent disabilities, I am stirred by an expanding respect and even love for Joel’s parents. Even though I only met his Mom briefly on a site visit in a local child development center supported by World Vision, she is impacting me today.

     

    What stirs me is the requirement of endurance and steadfast love to care for a disabled child. The parents of a special needs child, upon reflection, are some of the most dedicated, committed, and selfless people I can think of. It stirs and inspires me as I dwell on this.

     

    Think about it:

    ·         Quite possibly the same routine, every day, for a life time

    ·         The setting aside of personal freedoms and independence quite possibly for a life time

    ·         The requirement to serve every day in the most back stage out of sight ways – for a life time…

     

    Yet they are faithful.

     

    Then I think about who I cheer for and give encouragement to. I cheer on the quarterback of the local team, or the lead actress in the musical. I cheer on the artist or musician who stuns me with their gifts and talents. I congratulate the parents of the valedictorian for their accomplishments in raising a stellar student. Now to be clear, these are all good and worthy of support. What eats at me is that I have not cheered as enthusiastically for the parents of the child with disabilities who are serving with endless dedication for the well-being of that special child. For these too I should and must raise my voice.

    BOLIVIA with Joel

     

    I am convicted that when I meet or happen across these incredible children and their inspiring parents it will be my privilege to call out in them the profound nature of their faithfulness. I am learning that faithfulness is one the most admirable character traits, yet incredibly difficult to achieve.  Faithfulness, when it is displayed, as with so many parents serving special needs children, it is over looked or under appreciated. Faithfulness is such a powerful attribute and so incredibly difficult to accomplish.

     

    Think about it:

    ·         It requires that I execute the mundane and routine as unto the Lord… every day for a life time

    ·         It requires that I set aside the pursuit of independence to be dependent on God and His will for me…every day for a life time

    ·         It requires that I may need to serve in the most back stage out of sight ways, out of love for Jesus…every day for a life time

     

    These parents are motived by a powerful love that compels them to serve. They faithfully serve, and serve and serve. They are doing what I am called to do – Wake Up – Serve – Repeat.

     

    To the amazingly faithful parents of special needs children, I can say, “Well done good and faithful servant”. I will cheer on the faithful servant in them that is such an example to me.

     

    May each of us run in such a way that we hear the cheer of our Lord and Savior, even now in the daily routine of service, “Well done good and faithful servant”.  This life we lead as followers of the Christ is hard, yet may we be found faithful.

    Written by:

    Steve Biondo

    SVP, HR & Organizational Development at Family Christian

     


    This post was posted in Missions, Guest Bloggers and was tagged with Missions, World Vision, steve biondo, Bolivia, orpa

  • Nutrition Group Means Life for Orphaned Boy

    Posted on October 24, 2014 by Family Christian

    Nutrition Group Means Life for Orphaned Boy

    By Laura Reinhardt

    Derre ADP, Mozambique

    Maternal Child Health, Food

    Thank you World Vision for providing us with this post and the photos.

     

    Summary: Madalena took in her orphaned nephew, but he suffered from severe malnutrition. Then a group of parents from a nutrition group provided her with training and he began to grow. Now he’s a healthy & hearty 3-year-old.

     

    A mother feeds a healthy porridge, which she’s just learned to make at a community training, to her young infant. Then she tries in vain to feed her younger child suckling at her breast. The child refuses to be comforted. The mother herself is malnourished and has no milk with which to feed the child.

     

    In 2011, Madalena Mulimba found herself in a similar situation. Only the malnourished infant was her sister’s boy, Betinho. Her sister died from complications during childbirth.

     

    Madalena took Betinho home to care for him, despite having children of her own.  “I felt compassion for the child,” says Madalena. “If God allows it, the child will grow up with us.”

     

    Madalena took cassava root, squeezed the juice from it, and added sugar to feed Betinho. But he failed to thrive. “The baby was so thin,” Madalena says. She puts her hand around her wrist to show how tiny he was. “The other children didn’t want to hold him, because he was so small.”

     

    Then she took Betinho to the hospital to get his vaccinations. Madalena remembers the doctor’s question to her: “Where will I vaccinate him because he’s so thin?”

     

    Hope Through Nutritional and Health Training

    Madalena’s first cousin, Anastacia Pais Barroso, came to visit with a group of parents. Thanks to child sponsorship in their area, World Vision’s Derre Area Development Program (ADP), community members had funds to form the Galave Health Committee in 2000. Part of the committee was a parents’ group who received training from World Vision.

     

    This group of mothers and fathers then scouted their community to find malnourished children. They taught the struggling parents or guardians new ways to increase the nutrition of the food they were feeding their children.

     

    The key to the success of the program was that the healthy meals used local foods that were readily available. Parents didn’t have to buy expensive ingredients since these items could be found right in their own community.

     

    Joao Siquissone, World Vision’s Health Assistant, says it’s important that parents learn from other parents within the community. “When it’s moms and dads teaching the interaction, the community is more receptive.” It can be difficult for one World Vision worker to reach as many people as the committee would.

     

    Those committee meets once a month for planning, once a week for training, and each person visits between 10 to 15 families each week to look for signs of child malnutrition and answer questions parents might have.

     

    Joao says that the local health clinic used to see between 15 and 20 malnourished children per month. Now they might not even see one case.

     

    The training also focuses on diseases such as diarrhea, malaria, and HIV. They learn how to prevent diseases but also about the special nutritional needs of patients with HIV.

     

    As a result of this group, the community now understands the nutritional value and importance of each locally grown food group.  They’ve even started to change the crops they’re growing. Where they used to grow lots of cotton, now they grow foods like sesame.

     

    Another component of the Galave Health Committee is a group of community volunteers who go into the community to teach about sanitation and hygiene. They encourage people to build latrines to eliminate disease. They teach people the importance of a drying rack for the dishes instead of just washing and drying on the ground. And they instruct people in the proper way to dispose of their garbage.

     

    The final group of the committee is composed of community leaders who support the other two groups. When those nutrition group or the sanitation and hygiene group face problems they can’t solve, they can escalate them to the community leader group.

     

    World Vision helped set up this type of committee format to encourage the community to take charge of their own health, spreading their knowledge about nutrition, disease prevention, and sanitation and hygiene. This method allows the news to travel faster and reach more people.

     

    Betinho’s Turnaround

     

    The nutrition group taught Madalena to take cornflour, sugar, and egg together and make it thin enough so that Betinho could take it. He began to grow.

     

    They also demonstrated to Madalena how to take sweet potato or cassava leaves to serve over chima, a dish somewhat similar to soft polenta, but with finer cornmeal to make a healthier curry for her whole family.

     

    The new nutrition affected more than Betinho. “All the children have good health,” she says. Madalena, her husband Francisco, and her children all learned new sanitary practices.

     

    They built a drying rack on which to put their wet pots, pans, and dishes. They began to sweep the area around the house so as to make it less appealing to mosquitos and other bugs. They also learned to dig holes for trash to keep away bugs and rodents.

     

    The training has made a world of difference to Madalena, Betinho, and the entire family.

     

    “I was desperate,” says Madalena about when Betinho was malnourished. “But after [the training] I felt a kind of hope.” Now the family jokes that Betinho is so big that he’ll soon be the man of the house.

     


    This post was posted in Missions, Guest Bloggers and was tagged with Missions, World Vision, Orphans

  • Fatherhood

    Posted on October 17, 2014 by Family Christian

    Throughout my life as I considered or even dreamt about fatherhood, my thoughts always focused on me nurturing, supporting, and loving on children that were 100% healthy. The thought never crossed my mind that I may be called upon to serve a child that was disabled.

     

    By God’s grace, my wife and I were given three children who are in every way healthy. We have invested our energy, time and resource into each of three children over the past 27 years. Each of them thrives, loves the Lord and is independent of our parenting for the most part.

     

    What I marveled at as the kids grew was their drive for independence:

    ·         In the early years they wanted to do things under their own power – crawl, feed themselves, walk, tinkle, etc. As they made progress, they became less dependent on us and we in essence gained a bit of “freedom”.

    ·         As adolescents they tested their own power and independence as they did sleep overs, traveled with friends, honed their own skills, and could find their way back home. Their independence and confidence grew, and we accomplished another level of freedom.

    ·         As teens they wanted to do things with power – take the car, travel abroad, shave, mow my grass and certainly state their own point of view. For us we enjoyed greatly expanded freedom and far less parenting input as we watched them grow and thrive.

    ·         Into early adulthood now, each serves and functions with total independence. We enjoy vast amounts of freedom and our own independence.

     

    As I looked into the eyes of Joel, my Bolivian friend who is served at the Children’s Rehab Center of Colomi in partnership with World Vision, I was hit hard by the fact that God gave me three healthy children and they were very easy for us to raise. Hard in the sense that I was deeply grateful for our children, but in the depth of my spirit challenged as I wondered what kind of Dad would I have been to a child like Joel?

    It hit me hard knowing that Joel was not going to do many things under his own power – not crawl, not walk, not feed himself. He would not do sleep overs, travel with friends, nor could he get himself back home. He won’t likely drive a car, travel abroad, shave or mow anybody’s grass. It struck me that Joel will not know the independence many of us enjoy, or our children achieve as they progressively take on skills and abilities.  As I visited with Joel it hit me that he will require support and assistance all his life from his parents. That this assignment in vast in scope, long in duration, it requires constant sacrifice, it requires endurance, and it is nearly impossible to do alone. What kind of Dad would I have been when faced with this challenge and a boy like Joel?

    BOLIVIA and Joel

    BOLIVIA and Joel

     

    While I cannot give an answer to that question, I knew with absolute certainly that a child like Joel would require more of me than I had given to three healthy kids. I knew that for Joel’s parents it must be simply hard and that they would face weariness often. As precious as Joel is, it was apparent that his parents would need to be constantly active in every aspect of Joel’s life for as long as Joel lives.

     

    In that moment I was able to give praise and thanksgiving for the World Vision work in Colomi at the Children’s’ Rehab Center. Most third world or emerging nations do not have resources like this to aid in child development for special needs children. By God’s grace, there is one in Colomi, and it serves Joel and so many others. It is a respite for fatigued parents. It provides support to parents who otherwise would have no support at all in a community that often casts out the disabled or at best hides them. It is a place where caring professionals can develop skills in children and pass teaching techniques to parents who are starving for help in developing their precious child.

     

    While I wrestled with what kind of Dad I would be to a boy such as Joel, I knew with certainly that I would depend on place like this, The Children’s Rehab Center. Because of it, Joel is making progress and learning new skills. His parents are being given what I call “rescuing support” without which they might simply give up. Joel knows love. His parents have hope. Together they are making progress to lead fuller lives under the compassionate care of World Vision in Colomi.

     

    Written by:

    Steve Biondo

    SVP, HR & Organizational Development at Family Christian

     

     


    This post was posted in Missions, Guest Bloggers and was tagged with Missions, World Vision, steve biondo, Bolivia

  • Who Will Rebuild My Home?

    Posted on October 3, 2014 by Family Christian

    ‘Who Will Rebuild My Home?’

    By Laura Reinhardt

    *Post and photos are courtesy of World Vision.

    It was around noon on a day in 2012 when Adelina and her grandmother, Juliet, returned from working in the fields. They found their house collapsed into a heap of rubble because of poor construction.

    “I felt poverty,” Juliet remembers

    The 78-year-old widow recalls thinking: “My husband has died and now my house had fallen down. Who will rebuild it for me?”

    Adelina says, “I asked myself, ‘Where are we going to live?’”

    Twelve-year-old Adelina has known hardship before. Her mother died due to complications from childbirth. Her father abandoned her and she has lived with her grandmother since 2005.

    But she had always had a roof over her head. Now where would they go? She and her grandmother lived as subsistence farmers. They didn’t have money to rebuild a home.

    The loss of their home forced them to ask for help from neighbors, who allowed them to move into a nearby home. Sadly, that home also had one collapsed wall.

    Despite her advanced age, Juliet began doing extra farming to raise a little bit more money.

    Finally she had saved enough money to buy a few supplies for a new shelter. However, it was hardly a home. Four thin tree posts long by three tree posts wide with a grass roof over top—there were no walls on the sides. It was simply a roof for Adelina and her grandmother.

    Sometimes when it rained, they couldn’t even lay down. Water leaked through the quickly constructed roof. They had to stay awake and standing all night to avoid getting wet.

    Both Adelina and Juliet worried about snakes. Juliet also worried about strangers passing by on the nearby road. Would they see the wide-open shelter and come to harm them?

    Adelina’s biggest fear was simple: “I was afraid the house would fall.”

    Thankfully the story didn’t end there.

    Powerful Training for Pastors

    In the same community, Pastor Jornito Jorge, 35, had begun receiving training from World Vision thanks to child sponsorship in the Namanjivira Area Development Program.

    The training encouraged Pastor Jorge to work side-by-side with his fellow pastors. “Before I didn’t know it was important to have these relationships with other churches,” he says. “It feels like it’s important because if you have interaction with other churches, you grow spiritually and you learn to know much better the word of God.”

    Through this training, he learned about the Community Care Coalition (CCC), which World Vision had started in other communities. The CCC provides for the physical and material needs of children left vulnerable due to poverty like Adelina and Juliet.

    He also learned about World Vision’s Channels of Hope program, which helps pastors and church volunteers to support those who are chronically ill and their children. They work to provide for both the physical and spiritual needs of their patients.

    “Through this training I learned to wear the shoes of somebody else. If this was me, how would I feel? I thought it was good for me to help those in need,” Pastor Jorge says.

    Through the CCC, the community now cares for 144 children. Pastor Jorge gives credit to World Vision and the training he received. Without the training he wouldn’t have even begun “because I didn’t have an idea how to start this work.”

    A Donor’s Generosity

    A donor and child sponsor named Linda Fisher visited Pastor Jorge’s community and heard a presentation about the work that the CCC and Channels of Hope were doing. She asked the groups how would they support all the activities they had planned for the children.  They replied that they planned to pool the money they had to buy a mill to grind corn. They could then sell that corn flour to the community and use the money to provide clothing, school workbooks, and whatever else the vulnerable children might need.

    Linda returned home to the United States and within a month sent back the money for the mill.

    That wasn’t the only source of income for these programs. Pastor Jorge has a small bakery next to his church where he and church members bake fresh bread to sell and raise money.

    The church also owns and cultivates an acre of land growing fresh vegetables. World Vision provided Pastor Jorge and the CCC with seeds. A World Vision staff member who focused on food security trained them on best agricultural practices to increase their vegetable yield.

    Now Pastor Jorge sells cabbage, carrots, corn, and other vegetables to provide additional funds to help the orphans and vulnerable children of his community.

    A Volunteer Visits

    The CCC and Channels of Hope each are composed of 15 volunteers. The CCC volunteers come from throughout the community and the volunteers from Channels of Hope all come from Pastor Jorge’s church—Luz de Jesus.

    The volunteers scour the community visiting all of the vulnerable children and chronically ill in the area. Due to the vast area and the fact that people are most often on foot or bicycle, they usually are able to visit all the people they serve once a quarter.

    So it had been a couple of months that Adelina and her grandmother had lived under their shelter before a volunteer came and learned what had happened. The CCC sprang into action.

    They made bricks, then bought bamboo and grass to roof the house. “I was happy for the news of the house construction,” says Juliet.  “God is powerful because He saw that we have been through a difficult situation and now we have this new house.”

     

    When Adelina learned about the new home she says, “I was laughing [with joy].”

    “Thank you for the help,” says Juliet. “We would be facing hard times because in that house, which used to be so cold.”

    “They are good people,” says Adelina of the volunteers and donors who built her new home.

    Now, thanks to funding from World Vision’s sponsorship program, Adelina and Juliet have a permanent shelter over their heads. The sturdily constructed home should stand for a long time. No longer does Juliet have to worry about strangers passing by in the night. No longer do they have to sleep standing up to avoid the rains. And the future looks a little bit brighter.

    *This is a brief glimpse into the work that World Vision is doing 24/7, 365 days a year around the world.  Every time you shop in-stores, or online, with Family Christian, it helps fund programs like these mentioned above.  Thank you for your support and thank you World Vision for your service and for sharing this blog post with us.


    This post was posted in Missions, Guest Bloggers and was tagged with Missions, World Vision, guest bloggers, non-profit

  • Wisdom from Nicaragua

    Posted on September 17, 2014 by Family Christian

    While in Nicaragua, on a trip with World Vision, we visited a school in an impoverished community where World Vision is training teens to mentor younger students in their school on academic topics. Essentially, juniors and seniors are mentoring 3rd-6th graders in reading and math. As we listened to the student mentors, I was deeply inspired by their character, sacrifice, and effort in serving the younger students of their community. Because I was so inspired I choose to address the teens in a manner that was unique but very purposeful.

     

     

     

    With my interpreter, I pulled up a chair right in front of the twenty students so that I could be close to them and look each of them in the eye. As I began, I shared with them that I want to speak to them as if I were their father and that they were to hear me as if the words are coming from their Papa.

     

    What I said to them is this: “As your father I am incredibly proud of you. You are the very best this nation has to offer. You're sacrificial, in that each of you gives up your free time to mentor younger students. Most of you walk many kilometers to be here to instruct and encourage younger students. You, in fact, are not normal student leaders, but truly extraordinary leaders. Your hearts long to make a difference and give back to your community and thereby inspire students and teachers alike. Your effort is making a difference. You are raising up a strong generation. You are setting others up for success. You are setting this community up for success. You honor your family name and your honor your Lord Jesus Christ. As my son or daughter, I would choose you every time.”

     

    Each student was deeply engaged in receiving this feedback and encouragement. Some even had tears in their eyes.

     

    As I ended, the young 17 year old girl who was the leader of this team of mentors spoke these powerful words: “Thank you for seeing us for who we are, not for what we have.”


     

    She stunned me. In our nation many strive to be seen for what they have, not for who they are.  Just the exact opposite of this profound young lady.

     

    As I reflected on her deep comment, my prayer became; “Lord, by your grace may my heart and effort be focused on being seen for who I am in Christ, and not for what I have.”

     

    May we be as wise as this teen from an impoverished village in Nicaragua.

    Written by:

    Steve Biondo

    SVP, HR & Organizational Development at Family Christian

     


    This post was posted in Missions and was tagged with Missions, World Vision, Teens, Wisdom, Nicaragua, mission trips, steve biondo, FCtravels

  • In Me you may have peace

    Posted on August 22, 2014 by Family Christian

    "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace.

    In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

    (John 16:33)

     

    Jesus spoke these words to His disciples in one of their last meetings together. In the hours that followed, Jesus would be severely beaten, mocked, humiliated and ultimately hung to suffer on a Roman crucifix. The disciples' world was quickly turned upside-down and sideways, simply because they followed a humble carpenter from Galilee.

     

    The same is happening today to hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world.

     

     

    The list goes on and on; persecution of Christians is taking place on a worldwide basis. Check out this list our friends at Open Doors USA put together. It's called the "World Watch List", and it shows you which countries have the most violence against Christians.

     

    Peace may seem hard to find in this chaotic and often-violent world.  When peace is elusive, at least in my case, anxiety is quick to set in. When situations and circumstances spiral out of control, my knee-jerk response is to worry and fret.

     

    "In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

     

    These simple statements a two-fold promise: you will face trials, but you will also overcome them. We often don't know how the Lord will help us get through a hardship, or when we will see Him act. But, the end result is promised: we will overcome.

     

    When you know how a story ends, it often provides peace to "ride out the storm" and endure whatever challenges come your way.  Please join me today in praying for peace and endurance for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ around the world.

    Tornadoes, like the one that came through our neighborhood earlier this year, can cause major destruction in a matter of minutes. How do you find peace when the tornadoes of life come?

    How do you find peace in the middle of life's storms?

    BY: Katey Hearth

    Katey is a Staff Writer/Social Media Coordinator at Mission Network News. She has a heart for global missions and desires justice for the “least of these” around the world, from victims of sex trafficking to India’s Dalit people.

    You can find her latest thoughts at Mission Network News.


     


    This post was posted in Missions, Guest Bloggers and was tagged with Missions, Peace, guest blogger, mission network news, news

  • Jeremy Camp - Continuing to Live Recklessly

    Posted on February 24, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    Last year I had the privilege of sitting down with Jeremy Camp to talk about, then, his new album, Reckless (find the interview here). It was an honest conversation with a man who continues to struggle with what it's like to pursue Christ with his whole life. His whole being.

    I say down with Jeremy again because I wanted to "check in" and see what God has been teaching him through this journey. What follows is certainly a continuation of where we left off.

    John:               Jeremy, the thought behind the record is obviously living out this really reckless life with complete abandon to the call of what Christ has for you. What has that looked like in last few months for you?

    Jeremy:           Yea... We've been talking to some missionary friends in the Ukraine and Kurdistan. I didn't know much about Kurdistan at first and we were going, "Hey, let's do these outreaches. This has been in our heart to go to these places. Wherever God leads." Ukraine was coming at it pretty easy. We're like, "This is awesome." Everything was coming together. Churches were coming together. It was one of those, "Yeah, this is definitely the Lord's doing." Then, Kurdistan seemed like it was red flag after red flag. I'm getting all these papers and trying to get my government friends to get papers to say that the government of Kurdistan, "He's a legit person. It's okay." The KGB's looking at me and literally ...

    John:               This is serious stuff.

    Jeremy:           This is all serious. They were looking at YouTube videos and listening to my music and they were concerned. "Why does a Christian artist want to come over here?" I didn't really realize to the full extent that it was a Muslin country so I'm going, "Walking into this proclaiming Christ is not going to be well accepted." When we said we wanted to come over, there was a lot of question, "Why are you coming over?" What happened was it wasn't happening so I started feeling like there was some red flags, maybe we shouldn't go. That wasn't because I was afraid, but it was more like, "Wow. It didn't seem like it was coming together." My missionary friend who had been there for seven years, he emails me back and says ... I've been talking about going, "God, whatever you want, wherever you want me to go I will go." And I meant it from the bottom of my heart. He emails back and says, "Hey. If you don't feel like God wants you to come, that's fine, but just so you know, there's never been an outreach ever in Kurdistan. This is probably the last year that it'll happen because doors are closing very quickly." He said, "We need this. Churches are underground here. People are fearful in their faith."

    Here we are going, "Maybe we didn't really pray about this because my minister director's going, "If we started a non-profit called Speaking Louder Ministries to do these outreaches …" And he's going, "Should we do this? Because it seems dangerous." I go, "Listen, are you willing? Are you willing no matter what God has? We need to pray about this." So we prayed and God gave us, all of us, scriptures, instances where we go, "Yeah. This is definitely what we're supposed to do." We said, "We're going to go." I told my guys, I said, "Guys, here's the dangers: it's underground churches, persecutions, there's stuff going on. Are you willing? Because I don't know what's necessarily going to happen. This is trust in the Lord." I say all this and I'm going to share it tonight the more I think about it because I try to make sure that I'm not exploiting what I went through, "Look what I just did." Because that's not the point, but you're asking ... "Since you've been talking about being reckless. What's going on?" God said, "You want to do this?  You want to be completely surrendered and trust me in the mist of the hardest circumstances? Here you go." Not, "I'm going to teach you how to swim during this ... starting this new ministry that going to do that." I want to throw you in the water and say, 'All right. You're going to trust me.'" That's what it was. I was thrown in the water and said, "Okay God. I've got to look to you completely because I don't know what I'm doing."

    We get over there. Ukraine was amazing. We had 150 people plus come forward at the show and accept Christ in of Ukraine. It was amazing.

    John:               That's awesome.

    Jeremy:           We get to Kurdistan and I'm not going to get fully into it, but we had ...it wasn't well received. We had a cable news program; basically, spreading lies about us saying, "Don't come to the event." The main cable news program in Kurdistan saying, "Don't come." We were warned not to speak. I couldn't speak at the concert they said. They were like, "Jeremy can't speak." This is all the truth. It sounds like, "This really happened?" Even when I looked back, I was going, "This really happened?" I was there and I was in it. I was just in the warfare of it having to get on my knees, basically, and cry out to God. They said if we do something wrong, they were going to imprison one of the locals there for a year. Here we are, faced with reality, faced with like, "Okay God, we’re actually doing what you've laid on our hearts for a long time." I had to get to a point where I said, "Alrigh, God. My life's not my own. Called my wife weeping saying, "Okay. Here we are. What do we do?" It's so hard sharing this because I don't want it to be ... It's not ... I'm still processing it. I just got back a month and a half ago.

    John:               It's real. It's real life.

    Jeremy:           It's real what's happening and people being persecuted, people being afraid of sharing their faith. Their fear is gripping them, all that. I'm fine with the point where I'm weeping saying, "God, I can't do this." And he says, "Perfect, because you can't do it." We get there and hundreds of people left. Eight thousand people showed up, hundreds of people left when we said, "In the name of Jesus," because it was offensive. [inaudible 00:06:01] who were stumbling, in the name of Jesus is. To us, it's life. We saw that. Lyrics meant so much more to me than I can even ... I'm talking about not being ashamed of the Gospel. I'm going, "Oh, wow. We have lyrics on the screens huge in the stadium in their language so they can see what we're saying." It's not just hearing music. They know what we're saying. At the end, people came down to hear more about Jesus. The sad thing is, we got to leave and the missionary friends over there have a warning. If they speak at church anymore, then they'll be deported and they'll close the church down. That's what's happened from this. You know what they told me? The locals have all stepped up and they're on fire because people are wanting to do an event in the stadium, a worship event with the local people. Not an artist coming, but the local people saying, "Let's get together. Let's do this if we're going to really ... "

    I saw the affect of that and it was nothing I did. I was like, "I don't want to go." God goes, "You will go and be obedient." I was like, "Okay." Then, he just showed up and we said, "All right. This is not us, at all." We knew that. It wasn't anything we did. It was God leading and directing. That's what's happening. Speaking louder ministries is the next season of my life where we're ready to go and preach the Gospel. We're going to Japan next year. Going to the Philippines, going to Guatemala.

    John:               That's awesome.

    Jeremy:           That's what I feel like is the next step for us. Whatever it is, wherever he leads, I truly will go and lyrics mean a lot more than they used to because I realized I'd actually lived them out more than I ever have before.

    John:               How can we be praying for you and Addie and the kids? Especially in this next ... whatever this next season, year, whatever this is.

    Jeremy:           We need wisdom. We need wisdom because there's a lot of things we could be doing. Going, "Yeah. That sounds great. We're in a new season." We just need a lot of wisdom because we want to be ... I know it's the basic thing of Christians, "Always want to be in God's will." Honestly, stepping out into something like that, we don't want to be ahead of God's will. You know what I'm saying? It's a serious thing. When I realized the very words that I could have said could have affected the missionaries and the local people there in a heavy way, I realized that my very words and the very actions that I take, if I'm not led by the Lord, could be devastating. I want wisdom to be led by him in everything I do. That's where we're at and I don't really know what this next season looks like. I know what we're going towards, but we don't want to be on the side building our little kingdoms, I know that. That's very easy, especially in this industry. You know?

    John:               Mm-hmm. (affirmative)

    Jeremy:           Everyone had built their little kingdoms and where's the balance? I don't know. That's where we're going. Give us wisdom. I don't want to build my kingdom because that's going to crash and burn. We're here to build the kingdom of God and that's it. That's where we're at.


    This post was posted in Music, Interviews, Missions, John van der Veen and was tagged with Featured, Missions, Jeremy Camp

  • Growing in Christ

    Posted on February 12, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John van der Veen

    There are a bunch of "how to" books, seminars, conventions, pamphlets, etc. out there that deal with almost every topic under the sun. In fact there is even a great web site that shows one how to do most of everything. Click here to see for yourself.

    Now I am one that doesn't know a lot of information about much. In fact I know very little information about a lot of stuff. Which pretty much makes me dangerous. Don't ask me to come to your house to fix your plumbing, sew a hem on your pants, or help you train your dog to do tricks. I guarantee you, it would end up in a mess. I do know to how do the dishes though... (please don't ask me to help you with that)

    OK - I feel like I am rambling now. Back to the "how to's."

    In my head, I am always thinking on how to grow in Christ. So for fun, I thought I would check out the site to see if it could give me some good advice. Not really. Religious listing can be found here (with over 4,500 entries), but I wasn't satisfied. The closest thing I could get to actually growing in my Christian walk was found in this article on how to convert to Christianity.

    It's not what I was looking for.

    I guess, I should have known. The internet is good for a lot of things, but certainly not everything.

    Here are some basic principles that I have gathered through the years that, perhaps, would help you in your pursuit of Christ.

    1. The Word. First and foremost be in the Bible. Read the Bible. Pray the Bible. Share the Bible. Teach the Bible. Listen to the Bible. If you want to see Jesus, you must read the Word. I would suggest that most of us say that we are "lovers of the Word," but few of us actually live that out well. I don't want to guilt you into reading your Bible, but I do want to say that you will miss out on so much joy if you don't get into the Word.
    2. Exalt Christ. Many of you are probably saying, "Of course John. Duh." Let me must just say from my own personal experience that the draw of the things of this earth are so extreme it is very hard to keep a focus on exalting Christ. Of of life is about Christ and our goal should be to lift His name higher than any other name. When we do, it seems that the things of this earth are easier to deal with. Problems are easier. Life is easier. It's mainly because we aren't keeping our eyes focused on ourselves, but on Christ. Worship Him today. It will make your heart glad.
    3. Worship God in Every Area of Your Life. This is very different from item #2. Worshiping God in every area of our lives means to live doxologically. You know the hymn, work the lyrics of that song into your soul. Living doxological means to worship God in every moment of your life. When you are kissing your best friend - worship God. When you are riding your bike - worship God. When you are washing the dishes (did I say I wash dishes well?) - worship God. You get the picture here.
    4. Pray. Pray for everyone and everything. Bring it all to the Father. He hears and He cares. Bring every question, every thought, every concern, every tiff to your Father. Pray because we are at war. The devil prowls around ready to pounce. Have a stance of constant prayer puts us in the right mindset. Pray for your neighbors. Pray for your family. Pray for your school. Pray for your job. Pray for your spouse, or future spouse. To borrow the Nike phrase, "Just do it."
    5. Serve. Serving others helps us get our minds off of our own circumstances. As I have already noted, we get so bogged down by the stuff of earth. So do others. When we are serving someone else we quickly loose site of our own problems. We often forget to serve others. It's one of the hardest things to do, but once we do, we find that it actually was very easy. Serve someone today. If you need ideas, check out this book.
    6. Fellowship. Get together with your church family. Get together with someone's heart. Get to know me. I need to get to know you. Have people over for a meal, or dessert, or coffee, or a game night. It doesn't matter. Spend time together encouraging one another in a pursuit of Christ.

    Phil. 3:8 says "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ"

    So there are some thoughts on growing in Christ. Let me also say that growing or sanctification is not just your doing. The Holy Spirit is doing a lot "behind the scenes" in your life as well. Trust Him and He will lead you.

    Now - I need to figure out to change the coolant in my car...


    This post was posted in Daily Devotion, Books, John van der Veen and was tagged with Missions, Philippians

  • Look What You've Done

    Posted on January 2, 2014 by Family Christian

    What a year this has been.

    262 people traveled with us on 20 mission trips.

    29,798 child sponsorships through World Vision.

    $50,000 raised to aid an orphanage in China.

    Raised through The Haiti Challenge: $280,33 funding for the first year of construction for a neonatal and infant orphanage.

    43 adoptions through our nonprofit ministry.

    4 new widow homes built.

    8 widow homes restored.

    16 fuel efficient wood-burning stoves installed.

    33 water purifiers provided.

    114,531 Bibles donated to military members and their families.

    And we couldn’t have done it without you.

    Together, let’s accomplish even more next year!

    When you shop, you give.


    How do you put your faith in action?


    This post was posted in Missions, Bibles and was tagged with Featured, Missions, World Vision, Adoption, Orphans, Widows, Haiti, Water

Items 1 to 10 of 12 total

Page:
  1. 1
  2. 2
Helping you find, grow, share and celebrate your faith
Who doesn't love free shipping!? At Family Christian, you can qualify TWO ways:

1. To your door (just $50 minimum)*

No coupon required! Simply add $50 worth of merchandise to your cart and select the "Free Shipping" option under "Shipping Method." Easy as pie.

* Valid on merchandise totaling $50 or more before taxes. Please keep in mind this is valid on domestic ground shipping to addresses within the U.S. only, not valid toward international delivery. Additional charges apply for express shipping. Terms subject to change without notice.

2. To your store (no minimum order required!)*

At checkout, select "Ship to your local Family Christian store" and enter your zip code to find our closest location. Not sure if there is a Family Christian nearby? Find your local store now.

* Valid on select merchandise only
Loading... Loading...