Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Toy Drive for D.C.F.S. Makeover

For the next two weekends, the Vulnerable Children's ministry is teaming up with the Construction ministry at Willow Creek to do a makeover on the visitation room at the D.C.F.S. office in Elgin. 

The visitation room is where children and families meet to participate in supervised visits.  In some cases, this is the only place a child ever sees their parent(s) and siblings.  So as you can imagine, it is a very important place to those children.  The room is used on an ongoing basis, but unfortunately is in extreme need of a make-over.

Before: worn, dirty or unusable furniture. 

Before: worn, dirty, broken and unusable toys.
 Stay tuned for the after pictures!

The construction and design team has prayerfully considered each element in the room to make it a warm, inviting and special place for families to visit.  The castle themed room will have new paint and flooring, custom built cabinets, movable seating areas, a custom built toy box on wheels, a dress-up area, a game/coloring area, and a custom built reading throne for all the princes and princesses that will visit.  

But we need your help.  Due to the poor condition of the current toys and books, we will be replacing them.  We have set up an amazon.com "wish list" with the toys and books that are needed, and are asking people to go shopping on line and help us replenish the toys and books.  Here's all you need to do:

1. Go to www.amazon.com
2. Click on "wish list" in the top right hand corner.
3. Click on "find a wish list" on the drop down menu.
4. Type in "a2012makeover@hotmail.com"  There you will find about 125 different items to choose from. 

The Wish List includes a ship-to address, so whatever item you choose, it can be sent to Doug & Marie Kyllo who will transport all the donated items to the new room.

Donated Amazon.com gift cards are also welcome. 

We would be grateful if you would spread the word to your small group, colleagues, family & friends so that we can fill the room with toys and books that will help facilitate positive memories for the children and their parents. Please purchase all donations a.s.a.p. so the room can be finished by August 11th.

Thank you for your consideration.

Monday, July 30, 2012

OrphaNetwork featured in Forbes Magazine

Hope In Hell On Earth: Micro-Finance In Nicaragua

This is not a sermon or a sales pitch, but a story about a place as inspiring as it is disturbing, where greed has raped a people of their material resources and dignity but where brilliantly applied generosity has created hope and enterprise of which Fortune 500 companies would be envious.
For months I had prepared myself for this moment, stepping off of the run down school bus in the middle of La Chureca, the dump of Nicaragua’s capital city, Managua.  Listed among the Seven Horrendous Wonders of the World, Chureca is not just a collection of refuse, but also a refuge for over 300 families.[i]  Men, women and children compete with mangy dogs for sustenance and sex traffickers for their minds, bodies and souls.
I knew it was coming from the moment I accepted the invitation to join a contingent of teachers, health and finance professionals orchestrated by GraceCity, a young church in downtown Baltimore enamored with serving the poorest-of-the-poor in its home town and, interestingly, the Managua city dump.  But nothing could prepare me for the sights: homes manufactured of rubbish; smoke lifting from piles of debris; a multi-colored landscape of mountainous trash dotted with laborers scrounging for something of worth under a 98 degree sun; a makeshift school[ii] lined with barbed wire; and scores of children, many without shoes or a single article of clean clothing but with stunning smiles lighting up their dirty faces.  After all, they were thrilled to see us—we were there with the ORPHANetwork, a Virginia-based NGO devoted to serving malnourished and displaced children in Nicaragua.  We were at one of their many feeding centers in the country, designed to provide at least one nutritious meal per day to over 10,000 starving children.

For more information about OrphaNetwork visit www.orphanetwork.org. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Orphan Sunday 2012

CONTACT:  Ashley Otani                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 14, 2012

A simple vision born in an Africa church now echoes worldwide
WASHINGTON, DC — Thousands of churches across the U.S. and around the globe will celebrate Orphan Sunday this November 4, calling Christians to reflect God’s heart for orphans through adoption, foster care and global initiatives.   It is yet one more vivid example—as well as a powerful catalyst—of the rising Christian engagement in a Gospel-inspired vision for living out the “pure and faultless religion” described in James 1:27.
Following an example first set by Zambian churches, hundreds of thousands of American Christians have participated in local Orphan Sunday events each year since 2009.  Orphan Sunday has become a major factor driving what Christianity Today labeled the “burgeoning orphan care movement.”  According to ECFA’s most recent “State of Giving Report,” three of the top four categories for increased giving over the past two years have been directly related to adoption and/or orphan care.
On Orphan Sunday, churches and families spotlight God’s deep love for orphans and how ordinary people can make that love tangible, from adoption, foster care and mentoring to global ministry.  Locally-organized events range from sermons on how adoption reflects the Gospel to orphan care fundraisers, foster family recruitment, community-wide rallies, concerts and prayer gatherings. 
Last year, Orphan Sunday began to echo back across the seas as well, with celebrations in 22 countries as diverse as Russia, the Philippines, Guatemala and Kenya.  More than 1,000 churches participated in Ukraine alone.  This year, Orphan Sunday websites appear in French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Russian.
Although each Orphan Sunday event is created locally, a coalition of more than 120 organizations have joined forces through the Christian Alliance for Orphans to champion the campaign—from Focus on the Family and Bethany Christian Services, to Family Life’s Hope for Orphans, Buckner International and Show Hope. 
The website www.orphansunday.org serves as a hub for the campaign, offering event ideas, downloadable posters, bulletin inserts, videos and other free resources that can be used to hold local events.  Families and churches can also participate in “The Orphan’s Table” by ordering a simple orphan meal package and discussion guide. 
The Christian Alliance for Orphans will also be releasing a compelling new video the week before Orphan Sunday, enabling local event organizers to use the film as part of 2012 events in churches and homes.  “Zambia's Gift to the World: Celebrating God’s Heart for the Fatherless at the Birthplace of Orphan Sunday” will feature captivating images, interviews and music from Christians in Zambia, where the first Orphan Sunday was celebrated in 2002.  It will also include glimpses of how Orphan Sunday has echoed out from Africa to inspire Christians around the globe to reflect God’s heart for the orphan.
Jedd Medefind, President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, expressed, “When Christians grasp God’s heart for the orphan, we see more fully His heart for each of us as well.  We don’t foster or adopt or mentor or give financially out of guilt or duty.  Christian care for the orphan is just a small reflection of the way God first loved us—pursuing and rescuing us when we were destitute and alone.”
More than 400,000 children live in the foster system in the U.S. today, with nearly 110,000 waiting to be adopted.  Globally, an estimated 17.8 million children have lost both parents, and many times that number live with a single surviving parent, most often their widowed mother.  The Orphan Sunday campaign works towards a day when local Christians in every nation will be known as the primary answer to the needs of orphans in their midst.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Understanding Orphan Statistics

Please take a few moments to read this important paper written by the leadership of Christian Alliance for Orphans.http://www.christianalliancefororphans.org/cafo-white-paper/
Christian Alliance for Orphans’ White Paper

If we are to communicate with humility, credibility, and integrity, Christian orphan advocates must both accurately understand and carefully present orphan-related statistics.  Failure to do so undermines the strength of our advocacy and can misguide the actions that organizations, churches and individuals take on behalf of orphans.   Meanwhile, an accurate grasp and communication of the true nature of the need provides a strong foundation for an effective, well-focused response.  To read the full paper, click here: http://www.christianalliancefororphans.org/cafo-white-paper/

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Webinar: The Unadoptable Orphan

Alliance Webinar Series
The Christian Alliance for Orphans Webinar Series is designed to help individuals like you create and grow effective adoption, foster care and global orphan ministry in local churches.
You're Invited...   

The Unadoptable Orphan 201: Octopi Care

Millions of children globally live without the love and nurture of parents. Yet adoption, whether local or international, is currently available to only a fraction of these children. Standing for these children includes efforts to remove barriers to adoption and to grow a culture of adoption in the church worldwide. Yet Christians also can play a vital role today in the lives of children for whom adoption is not currently an option. Approaching this vast and complex need requires more than a single approach. Rather, we must begin to think like an octopus with many arms reaching out in a broad variety of ways, custom designed for each culture and crisis.

At Summit VIII, Kimberly L. Smith led “The UNadoptABLE Orphan 101” workshop. This well-received workshop left many hungry for further steps on how to care for orphans for whom adoption is not currently possible. This webinar will summarize the first workshop and go deeper into the question, “What does the ‘true religion’ of James 1:27 look like when adoption is not an option?” This webinar will be an excellent resource for both churches and individuals seeking to discover their unique “arm” in Octopi Care for some of the world’s most at-risk orphans.
Presenter:  Kimberly Smith, Make Way Partners
                  Pastor Kim Ryan, North County Christ the King Church

Date:  Wednesday, July 25, 2012             Time:  2:00 PM Eastern
Each 60-minute webinar in this series will give local advocates access to the knowledge and experience of top Alliance member churches and organizations nationwide, covering key topics on adoption, foster care and/or global orphan care.  Every webinar will be hosted by a local church orphan ministry and co-presented by one or more national experts on the subject matter.  This pairing will deliver a combination of specialist information and resources alongside a “here’s how it works in a real church” perspective.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Passing of a Hero

As the Founder and Executive Director of Starfish Children’s Service, operating the Starfish Foster Home in Xi’an, China, Amanda de Lange accomplished an incredible, loving feat in just seven short years. While she was in the hospital last week, Amanda reflected: “168 babies, nearly 250 surgeries, and 81 adoptions – that pretty much sums up my life!” There is so much humility in that one phrase – and even more impact. Eighty-one Starfishes with their forever families, and so many more ready for their turn, thanks to Amanda and the incredible Starfish team and volunteers.

Amanda also reflected, “I was blessed beyond measure to be given the opportunity to found and direct Starfish. I love that I took the opportunity when it was presented. God was good to me. My work has been a testimony of God’s love for the kids.”

We all mourn the loss of one who gave so passionately of themselves for the sake of orphans.  Let us pray that her legacy lives on and that the work at the Starfish Foster Home continues. May her life continue to inspire us all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Free Download of "Passport Through Darkness"

Passport through Darkness has just hit NUMBER 1 in all Amazon Christian books, and NUMBER 2 in nonfiction memoirs!

Book Description

 January 1, 2011
As she shares her extraordinary stories of fighting human trafficking as an ordinary mom, Kimberly Smith offers hope for readers who wonder if God is calling them to greater things.

Passport Through Darkness takes readers on Smith’s journey from normal family life and business, to Europe, to the deserts of Africa and ultimately, to the deserts of her own soul as she tries to live well as an imperfect American mom, crusade for justice for orphans around the world, and embrace God’s extraordinary dreams for her. When Kimberly and her husband risk everything to answer God’s call, they see God change and restore them—even amid exhaustion, marital struggles, and physical limitations.

This heartbreaking, heartlifting book is for anyone who longs to see God move their life from normal to one that matters. It is a call to readers to take one more step on their journey to know God’s heart.
Publisher, David C Cook, is running a promo just through this Sunday, July 15—they are giving away FREE downloads of Passport through Darkness for Kindle, Nook, Sony and all electronic platforms!  So, if you already have a hard copy, enjoy a free e-copy.  
The main point is to help us go viral with the powerful story of what God wants to do in and through our lives. 
Four things you can do:
1. Forward this email to everyone you know!
2. Go to my author facebook page to “like” and “share” the link today!
3. Go to Amazon to "like" and download Passport through Darkness for free!
4. If you’ve already read it, write a review on Amazon now!

Monday, July 9, 2012

The Only Mommy War Worth Waging

Check out the recent post, The Only Mommy War Worth Waging on Kristen Howerton's  blog called Rage Against the Minivan.  
I don't much care if you breastfed your kid until they started kindergarten or if you fed them formula from day one. I don't really care if you turned your infant car seat forward-facing prior to age 2, or if you homeschool, or if you send your kids to daycare while you go to work. Do you cosleep? Did you circumcise your son? I DON'T CARE. Do you "babywear"? Push your kid around in a stroller? Use a leash for your kid at Disneyland? Whatever. Good for you.
When it comes to issues of motherhood, there is one issue I care about: some kids don't have one. All of these petty wars about the choices of capable, loving mothers is just a lot of white noise to me, Quite honestly, I'm often astonished at the non-essential parenting issues I see moms getting upset about. Particularly when there are so many kids in this world not being parented at all.
Click here to read the entire post...

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Creative Arts Series for Adopted Tweens

Sunnyridge Family Center Presents ....

Creative Arts Series for Adopted Tweens (Ages 10-13)

Tuesdays, July 10, 17, & 24, 2012, 6:30pm-8:00pm

Creative Arts Series Sunny Ridge Family Center
Is your Tween looking for a creative and fun activity this summer while connecting with others? Sunny Ridge presents a Creative Arts Series for children ages 10 to 13. Choose from either the Drawing or Creative Writing track; attend three (3) Tuesday evening sessions. The Drawing track allows your child the opportunity to explore the basics of drawing cartoons, characters, storybook sketches or anime. The Creative Writing track will introduce your child to different types of writing, such as fiction, journaling and poetry -- using word games, storytelling and free writing to creatively write a short story. 
Creative Arts Series fee: $60 per person for 3 sessions; two or more family members: $50 per person
Choose either Drawing or Creative Writing track when registering.

Limit: 10 children per track

More information and registration
For more information call  Pam Shepard, LCSW at (630) 754-4522