Reviews of albums by local Peace Country artists "The Honey Cowboy" and "Midnight Lights".
Last weekend's fundraiser was a huge success, for which I am grateful.
The performers gave it their all, and the show was top-notch. Our sponsors came through, and the fruit provided by our local Co-op received many comments as the best fruit people had ever tasted. (I was not fortunate enough to get any.) We were seated at around 60% capacity, and in all, raised a significant sum to help the children at Faith Children Home, for which I am excited, and grateful. Exceedingly grateful.
The week before, the east coast of India was devastated by a horrific cyclone that killed some, and left thousands of families without a place to live, or even clean water to drink. Thankfully, the children at the orphanage are fine, but many in their area are not. I am thankful for God's protection of those under Heart4Children's care.
And this week, a Canadian-born man, disgruntled at the delay caused by an extended investigation into his request for a passport (so he could allegedly travel to Syria), attacked our Parliament and killed one of our country's peacekeepers, who was on duty at our national war memorial. RIP Cpl. Nathan Cirillo.
Every time I look at that photo and think of what happened, I start to weep at the senselessness of it all.
Last week, the Faith Children Home team and I gave our all (including family time, sleep and our tip-top health in a couple of cases--excuse me while I go blow my nose) to help. To build. To love.
Why do people do such senseless, destructive things? Shouldn't we be helping each other? The forces of nature are destructive enough on their own.
At first, when it was thought that the shooter (whom I refuse to name) was acting out of militant religious motivation, and was executing some kind of indie terrorist attack for ISIS (which still may have played a role), I tried to make sense of it based on religious underpinnings.
Muslims believe: Everyone who does not know God deserves to die. His devout followers must enforce this option. (Yes, there are sects of Islam that do not believe this--but they ignore the parts of their holy teachings that command it.)
Hindus believe: To know God, you have to become God by dying, over and over and over again. Your life is the result of the karma in your previous life, and you are receiving what you deserve. This often results in a "not my responsibility" attitude among castes and people that have the means to help those that need it.
Christians believe: God loves us so much, and wants us to know him so much, that HE died to make it possible. His followers are to go out and spread the good news of this love to the whole world.
The first commands hate, the second breeds apathy, and the third commands love.
It is easy to blame God for the cyclone. After all, who else controls the weather but him?
One could even blame God for the random act of violence. He made people in the first place. If he is all-powerful, why doesn't he just stop people from doing these horrific things?
But then the still, small voice reminds me that God has laws, too. One of which is that actions have consequences, and "we reap what we sow." We live in a fallen world (because of one, history-altering choice), and just like you can't make the other kids on the playground play nice with your own children, every person has the right to choose the way of love or the way of hate.
After all, it really is all about love. Acts of hatred create vacuums where acts of love are needed.
God is a god of Love, he IS love, and every time we act in love, we are choosing his way. Every time we act in hate, we are rejecting him. Each of those actions will reap rewards.
When another's child strikes mine at the swing set, the way of love would be to gently correct them (if their parent hasn't already done so) and to strike up a conversation with their mother to let her know that it's okay. Kids are a work in progress, and I don't hold her responsible for her child's actions. (Next time, it might be my kid doing the hitting, after all.) It doesn't always work out that way, but choosing love requires putting our own hurts and anger aside and reaching out to help others.
The way of hate would be to throw a fit, create a scene, and storm off with my child in tow shouting threats to sue. In other words, to do the adult version of the very thing that upset me so much in the toddler that offended me. Because at that point, it would be all about me.
Every day, in every interaction, we are given the opportunity to love another. And whether the things we are dealing with are big or small, acts of God or petty acts of violence, they all present opportunities to love.
Sometimes, the amount of love needed is too great for one person to provide. This is what I am struggling with, personally.
I have chosen to love the kids at Faith Children Home. At the moment, I feel stretched to capacity with the amount of time and resources I have to give, so I look at the immensity of the vacuum created by a cyclone and wonder what I can do? I am trying to find out if there are relief organizations at work in the area. Do you have any ideas?
When you are faced with hurt, pain, and anger, natural disasters, raging epidemics, poverty, hatred, and all the other symptoms of our fallen world, what do you do? Do you do nothing?
I choose to do something.
I choose to love.
The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.
This morning, I opened my Inbox to an update from Pastor Kumar. In it, he included photos of the new water cooler the orphanage bought so that the children can have clean water to drink.
It was a timely encouragement. My life at the moment seems a little over-full, and a good chunk of my time, thoughts, and energy at the moment are bent towards fund raising for these precious kids. Seeing the result of that hard work was a total blessing.
On October 18, the orphanage's advocacy team (me, included) has organized a Comedy Night to benefit Faith Children Home. I am excited, nervous, and hopeful, as this is the first time I have done anything like this. However, I believe that it will work out just the way God wants it to--His hand has been so apparent in every step of the way so far. And these kids have been his responsibility all along--he has only brought me and my team alongside to be his hands and feet to help them.
Check out this fun promo video for the Comedy Night by a couple of the performers:
I hope you have received an unexpected encouragement today, friends. And if not, be encouraged with this:
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11
What has been the most encouraging thing that happened to you recently? Please share in the comments below.
In the past, I have mentioned briefly on this blog an orphanage in India that we help.
The time has come to expound.
In September of 1997, I went on a life-changing trip to India. I was joining Jason on his third trip to volunteer at a small Bible School of Discipleship in central south India, close to Bangalore. (This was before Jason and I were a couple.) When I set foot on Indian soil, all I really knew about the country was that yoga originated there, and I liked the pretty dresses that the ladies wore. I didn't even know that they mainly ate spicy food! Way to be prepared, right? However, I knew God had called me there, so I went.
Jason was working as the Assistant Director. I did glamourous things like weed the garden. Honestly, I'm not quite sure what I did that helped at the school that year--most of the things I tried to do, some other person insisted on doing it for ME. But God used that year as a pivotal season in my life, both in my character growth, my world view, and in the relationships that I would carry with me to the future.
That year, there was a pastor there that had come to the school for further edification and training. His name was D. Isaiah Kumar. As the oldest student, the other students liked to tease him a bit, which he took good-naturedly, most of the time.
After the school year was over, and we all returned to our homes, Pastor Kumar kept in contact with me, sending pictures of his wife and daughter and updates on his ministry. Very soon after returning home, he started an orphanage in his small village.
As the years passed, Jason and I would send what little we could afford to help Pastor Kumar in his ministry, but several years ago, God began to lay on my heart the need of these kids--they needed better funding, and someone who could advocate for them to a wider audience. At the time, I did not feel that I could be that person, as my own life was so very crowded. However, I began searching for an umbrella organization that would take this orphanage under their wing.
For various and sundry reasons, every organization I contacted said no. After four years of following up on every lead I could find, I was becoming seriously disheartened.
Then, several months ago, I received an email from Pastor Kumar that he was considering closing the orphanage, as he had no funding (except some donations from his small congregation, which were not enough to cover even half of the expenses of the orphanage), and was in such debt to the local vendors that they were not extending him any more credit.
God used this to smack me upside the head. I amped up my efforts of knocking on the figurative doors of organizations, and simultaneously started the ball rolling for a major fund-raiser and started looking into registering my own charity for the orphanage.
Of course, God had the whole situation in hand. Through a mutual friend, the answer was provided when our long-time acquaintances Gordon and Laila Craddock agreed to take this ministry into the fold of Heart4Children Canada *, a small ministry they started fifteen years ago to help the children of the Ukraine. About a week ago, it was passed by their board of directors, and Faith Children Home is now part of Heart4Children Canada, with Jason and I as the Canadian directors (for the orphanage)!
While this was in the works, we had already made contact with some of our Indian friends, and had a trusted emissary go to the orphanage and assess the situation there, so we have a pretty good unbiased opinion about what the immediate needs are. While Jason and I plan to go to India ourselves sometime in the next several years, for now, this was invaluable intel about where to start from.
We are so excited to be part of this ministry. There are currently fifteen children being supported by the orphanage, and I have been poring over their photos and learning their names and falling in love with every one of them. Making a difference in the life of even one child is so powerful, and here are fifteen children who can grow up to affect the future of their country positively by being given this better chance at life.
For those of you who read this blog, please consider helping in the following ways:
- Commit to pray for these kids, Pastor Kumar and his wife Mani and their children, and the staff at the orphanage.
- Send financial support. You can send a cheque directly to Heart4Children using this form. We need one-time donations for some immediate projects such as better accommodations for the children (the house they have been staying in does not have sufficient space for 15 children), and a computer to enable quicker, better communication between us as well as providing ease of access to teaching materials for the children. We also need people to commit to sending in monthly support to help feed the kids, pay for school books and tuition, and more. Even a small monthly amount can make a difference. Donations can also be sent via email transfer (for Canadians only-please contact me for payment email address and question/answer.) Or, you can give via Paypal from Heart4Children's website. *All donations over $20 will be issued a tax-deductible receipt after December 31.
- Keep tabs. I will be sending out an e-Blast every couple of months to present current prayer requests and to help supporters get to know the children that their dollars are helping. You can sign up for that newsletter here, and edit your subscription at any time. You can also Like Heart4Children Canada's Facebook page.
- Get involved. Many of you have known me for a long time, and know of my heart for India and for children. While we didn't want to advertise our "secret" charity work before, now, we need to in order to help these kids. Please prayerfully consider whether or not you, too, could help spread the word about Faith Children Home and Heart4Children Canada by doing a presentation at your church (I could send you a Powerpoint presentation, and I am working on a video), or raising support among your circle of friends. Think of ways you could raise funds to support this orphanage--your time is a valuable gift, and it can be used as effectively as your money to help these kids.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at talena [at] wintersdayin [dot] ca, and I would be happy to answer them to the best of my ability.
Thank you for reading, and for caring for these kids!