Sunday, January 31, 2010

A Taste of Zambia

*Note: Images at bottom of post!

It has been less than 24 hours since I have stepped foot into the states, and already I am wondering if it's too soon to go back.

Everyone warned me that I would leave a piece of my heart in Africa... and a common welcoming statement from many of the African people was, "Welcome. You will come see us again?"

I nodded and smiled politely.

Now, I am convinced they all knew something I didn't... falling in love with Africa and its people is inevitable, and once you give a little love to those who need it, you don't want to stop.

Tonight, I spent a nice evening with my family, eating dinner and telling them all about my trip. But as my 10 nieces and nephews ran around our big house screaming, scattering hundreds of toys all over the house, and I ate my easily provided supper & dessert, I had to think. I just returned from a place where children their age go all weekend without a meal... a place where children their age sleep on a hard, dirty floor every night in a room with several other people... a place where children their age don't have 50 different toys to choose from, so instead, they learn hand-clapping games and kick around half-deflated soccer balls. I'm not faulting my life and family back at home; only observing the difference. And now that I've seen the other side of the story... not just read about it, hear about it, or see a movie on it... but actually have seen it with my eyes, held the hands of the kids affected, and looked into the hearts of the people who live in it everyday... this difference really bothers me.

We have so much; they have so little. I often wonder... what can I do? Currently, I feel like God has clearly defined my purpose in this 10-day trip I just returned from, and for that I am thankful. In tow, I have hundreds, possibly even thousands of images that I captured while there. I also have a handful of video footage. My heart is tell the story of Zambia, of these orphaned children, and of Lifesong. Raise awareness. Help others attain just a taste of what I just experienced.

For more information on the awesome organization that allowed me to take this trip in the first place, visit this website.

That's all for tonight... I will be back soon with more. I wrote in a journal about my trip at the close of each day, so I would like to do a nice re-cap on my experience or at the very least, share some more thoughts. For now, a combination of jet lag and hunger are allowing me to come to a close.

Love you all, and enjoy the images. More to come!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

The $100 Project

Yesterday, I sent a letter to 20 randomly selected individuals that I know. Some are friends that I've had for years, some are new friends, some are family. The letter was sent in an effort to start a project... a project that I hope to see grow.

I was sitting in church a few Sundays back, thinking about money; how different people obtain it, how a certain importance is placed on it, and how it is used. I thought, there has to be a way to give a little bit to a lot of people in order to do something big. And then, the $100 Project was born in my mind. 

I often get big ideas, but I seldom act on them. However, this is one I had to act on.

I have had this project in my prayers for a few weeks now, and my prayer is that it will be a blessing to more people than I could have ever imagined. It will start out by taking 20 giving hearts, but it has the potential to affect endless amounts of people. My hope is that the money itself is only a catalyst to give more than just monetarily... that it would inspire others to give of their time, their hearts, their ears, their care, their concern, their aid, and their love.

Ultimately, my prayer is that God will get the glory, and many lives will be touched.

I would like to conduct this project again in the near future. For now, the first batch of 20 received instruction to comment on this post if they wanted to share how their story of giving took place. I may get 0 comments or I may get 20; my goal is not to see how many comments I can get, but to inspire hearts to genuine generosity. May God get all the glory for this act of giving.

Here is the letter:

Most of us have heard of the “pay-it-forward” concept. Today I was thinking about creative ways to give that would generate further giving. I love the idea of copious lives being touched, starting with just one person who knows 20 people. What if those 20 people each gave in a way that would touch even just one more persons’ life? That is one person, one individual, one soul who I may not even know, but now through this “giving” process, it’s another life touched.

This project cannot be successful without your help. Your task is simple. Enclosed with this letter, you will find a $5 bill. It may not seem like much, but it can help buy a small lunch, a cup of coffee, or even a few pairs of socks for someone who doesn’t have any.

Chances are, you know of someone who is in need of something. My prayer is that as you read this letter, someone comes to your mind. If not, pray for an opportunity to use your $5. Whether if it’s to purchase something for someone who needs it, or if it is to take a friend out for coffee who needs a listening ear, I want you to bless someone else with this money. Let the Spirit lead you.

In doing so, you will have another experience in generosity, and a story to tell. In whatever way you choose to give, my prayer is that your act of generosity will be an encouragement to that person to also “pay it forward.” As the process continues, many people will be blessed!

If you would like to share your “$5 Story” of giving, visit my blog at I am going to have a special post that will run for about 2 weeks, and I would love to hear how God used your experience! Comment on the post to share. If you don’t want to be public about it, drop me a note—I love mail!

I recently heard that “We should focus more on the Giver than the gift. We can be content with what we have when we realize that with God we have everything we need." (Eccl. 5:19,20) With those thoughts in mind, may our thoughtfulness, time, and joy of Christ give more to the person than the $5 that started it in the first place.

God bless you!


*Note- this post will remain for 2 weeks.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Passion 2010

I just returned from Passion 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. It was an amazing few days. At events like those, it is like "information overload." To remedy that problem, I took with me my giant "prayer/notes" book in which I record all prayer requests and tidbits of wisdom and notes from sermons/talks that I hear. I love it-- it's this gigantic, hard cover book with endless space and lines on each page. Anyway, I was able to take notes during the entire experience so that I can go back over everything that I learned.

I heard speakers like Francis Chan, Louie Giglio (founder of Passion), Beth Moore, Andy Stanley, and John Piper. Providing worship were singers like Chris Tomlin, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill, Hillsong, and David Crowder. It was incredible. 20,000+ individuals 18-25 attended, and awesome organizations such as World Vision, OneVerse, Operation Mobilization, Hope International, Compassion, Not for Sale, and Gobena coffee were present. A huge area with fantastic exhibits gave an exciting opportunity to give.

Amazing things happened while there! I couldn't possibly sum up everything in a blog post, so I'm not even going to try. I'm just going to tell you my personal goal. My prayer before going on this trip was that I wouldn't just go to this conference, sit and listen to each speaker, sing the songs, experience how awesome it is, and then just come home and live my life. My prayer was that I would do all of those things, and then come home and actually be changed. The only way to be changed is by the Holy Spirit, so my hope is that I will live out the truths and wisdom that I heard over the course of the past several days, and that others may see the true JOY of Jesus on my face so that God may be glorified. 

See this article for more info.

My Simple Diary entry for today:

Your day was
a treat
taken away
a runaway train

Explain why
Slept in until 11, no work, great sermon

Leaving aside property and privilege, what is your greatest advantage in life?
Passion for my work

To be lovesick, to be nowhere.

1. a mother and a father
2. all the attention
3. to be well
4. safe and sound
5. a goodnight kiss
6. white hair
7. Passover

I don't much believe in fate. I believe in God, I believe in His working, and I believe that a lot of our circumstances are due to our own sowing. But if I had to pick one as being "fateful" in nature, it would be those who receive all the attention. What makes someone more apt to be in the spotlight than another? Underneath it all, we all have potential, talent, and brimming stardom. It's just that some know the right people, have the right connections, or were born at the right time. If I had to believe in fate, that's what I would call fate.

1. either or
2. maybe some other time
3. well, not so well
4. no savings account
5. a late night show
6. a wig
7. passing out

That's a circumstance!

Something is in your way: 

Love you all!