Monday, January 30, 2012

Just A Minute

I was a little freaked out when this post suggestion was made. No positive moments came to mind. I don't know if it was because I was such an average and below average child that people simply didn't see anything they felt should be encouraged. Nothing came to mind and still doesn't. It could be I simply don't remember. Lots of things are fuzzy from my childhood. In high school and college there were people that let me know they really liked my writing style, but every time they expressed positivity, there was one certain person telling me that they didn't like anything I wrote. They felt it was their job to make sure I never thought too highly of myself.

Another reason I freaked was because I have five children. Three are grown and two are quickly on their way to adulthood. Have I done the same thing to them? Have I spoken life into them or have I squashed their dreams and desires? I think I have encouraged them more times than squashing, but I'm too scared to ask them how they feel on the subject.

Compassion's president, Dr. Wess Stafford, recently released his second book, Just a Minute. Watch the following to hear a story about his daughter, Jenny, and a moment in their lives:

Take just a minute to speak life whenever you can. Don't be freaked out like me. Make sure you pour into the children around you.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daughters of South Africa: Thuli and Annika

This piece was written for a site that got hacked and wrecked before it could be posted. So, I decided to run with it here.

While on a trip last March, I was blessed to meet two lovely daughters of South Africa. Both agreed to take time from their busy schedules to sit down with me to answer a few questions. Both spoke to my heart. And both have the most lovely accents. Wish you could hear them.

First up is Thuli Sannie, wife of Stembiso, a local pastor, and mother of Blessing, a delightful toddler that entertained me one afternoon with his laughter and silliness.

What was it like growing up as a woman in South Africa?
I think it was good. I'm happy to be a woman in Africa. I'm proud of it. I think it is very good.

Was there a hard time for you growing up?
I never had a hard time growing up. I had the support of my parents. I'm number five in my family so I had the support of my brothers. We had twelve at home. Six girls and six boys. Thuli is the third girl.

Do you think it is hard to be a man or a woman here?
It depends. It's how you grow up. Men have to work hard to get food and clothes to support the family.

What is one dream you have for your community?
To see the women be independent, having their own business that they can teach others and not have to depend on men. Not having that makes us poor.

What is one dream you have for your family?
To see my family safe. I'm praying for that. For us to love one another, to know each other deeply.

What is one dream you have for yourself?
To help people, to see people have hope, especially the women. Sometimes they don't have hope. My prayer is that God can help me about that. Thuli also desires to help the teenagers not turn to sex so easily. She wants to be courageous in teaching them a different way to live.

What are some of the lessons you think need to be passed down to younger women?
They need to be independent, go to school, not drink and not do drugs. Girls fall pregnant so easily and children grow up without fathers. We need to teach that it is okay to say no to sex.

Annika is an artist, wife of Zach and mother of Ariel, Zoe, and Charlotte. She is on staff with Ten Thousand Homes, an organization dedicated to the orphans of South Africa.

Annika feels she lived a very safe, sheltered life growing up which made for an easy childhood. Her parents were not racist, so she knew very little about apartheid and the horrors that were happening in parts of South Africa. It wasn't a subject covered in school. Because of her family's beliefs they had no qualms when the schools were desegregated.

One of her dreams for the community is to see her sewing project, SOSEW, expand for women struggling to feed their kids. It would give women a skill they enjoy. They would be able to use God's creativity while making a difference in their lives.

She dreams of her family continuing to minister together, that they will always have a heart for what God is doing and engage in that together.

One of the ways Annika connects to God is through her painting. She would love to be able to paint on a regular bases and someday have a gallery of her own. Her artwork can be found hanging in various locations on the Ten Thousand Homes base. The Ten Thousand Homes logo is based on one of her pieces.

When asked about what one lesson she thought needs to be passed down to younger women she answered: The greatest thing you can find is peace with yourself and how God has made you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ten Thousand Homes

Some people I know live in South Africa, just outside of White River, in a special place called University Village. They are a beautiful bunch with lots of variety in background and specialties. All that variety mixes together to make up Ten Thousand Homes. This is what they say:
Ten Thousand Homes is a movement of ordinary people actively building HOPE and creating HOMES for Africa's orphans and vulnerable children.
They call themselves ordinary, but if you have spent any time with them and watched them love and minister and disciple you know really fast that they are not ordinary.

At this time Ten Thousand Homes is working on University Village Phase 1: Three year campaign to finish the purchase of the 14 acre property. As this phase ends and Phase 2 begins, TTH will begin renovating all existing buildings to suit the needs of the campus as well as upgrade the property’s security in light of the crime problem in South Africa.

Three years will be up at the end of January. If you can, please help wrap up this part of the campaign. It's a very simple and safe process.

You can learn more about the people of Ten Thousand Homes at the following:
Saving The Lost
Zachary + Anneke - The artwork on this site is by Anneke.
The McMillian Tribe

or find the all of them on this page.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Save The Nuba

by Jessica.Dotta
Have you ever wondered what you would have done had you been alive in 1940 and was one of those who knew about the Holocaust?

Would you have been a person of action or a person of silence?

It is perhaps one of the most important issues to wrestle with. More than once in our lifetime we will find ourselves at a crossroad, one where the decision we make will reveal as much about our character as our convictions.

There is a genocide happening right now in Northern Sudan. The government is eradicating their own people. If we don’t speak up and help, no one else will. Each time North Sudan launches an attack to kill their own people, and we in the Western world remain silent, we give our permission to continue.

It is easier to overlook what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Sudan because the task feels overwhelming and thinking about it can make us feel helpless.

The truth of the matter is that one person alone cannot save the Nuba People. But a community of people acting in unison can.

One of the most extraordinary acts found in mankind is when a member of the human race deliberately goes out of his way to help another. It is love in action. It is loving your neighbor. It is doing unto others, as you would have them do unto you.

This month, The Persecution Project Foundation has launched a campaign called Save the Nuba. In order to prevent another genocide, they need the help that only a community can offer.

For those who can afford it, the need for food and medicine is desperate.

For those who have little to give, they’re asking for petitions signed, for awareness to be spread through social media (Facebook, Twitter and blogs.)

For those who are passionate about this cause, they need your help raising awareness.

Will you join us in speaking up for those who cannot speak for themselves?

Please visit to learn ways you can help.

Active Compassion for the Persecuted from Watermelon Ministries on Vimeo.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Come Together Trading Company

Have you ever walked into a place and immediately known you want to live there? And, I'm not talking about homes.

It happened to me the other day. I had to be in Canton for a funeral and decided to step into a store I had heard good things about. I could live there! In the store!

Come Together Trading Company is in downtown Canton, on the square. Yes, that Canton. The land of First Monday. Those of us that grew up in the area call the town Canton and the monthly event First Monday. Most people not from around those parts just call the whole thing Canton. I think they sometimes forget there is an actual town beyond the acres and acres of the largest flea market in the world.

Back to Come Together. This place is delightful. It is so warm and inviting. There are several arrangements of couches where you can curl up and read and drink coffee and knit and talk and rest. I would have all my meetings there if I could. Really, I would move in. It's that comfy.

AND they are Fair Trade! YES! Clothing, jewelry, coffee, chocolate, scarves, purses, etc...all Fair Trade. They partner with over 200 artisans from 40 different countries.

You have to check them out, either on-line or in person. If you don't want to wander off the First Monday grounds they can be found in Arbors II - Space 115-116. But, I highly suggest going to their store at 116 East Dallas, right next to the Van Zandt County Courthouse. I remember when that courthouse seemed so big. I noticed the other day that it didn't seem that big anymore. Wonder what changed.

Oh! On the weekends they have live music. I know! I told you they are great. I want to move in.

And they are huge Compassion supporters. It was on a Compassion trip to Africa that their world got rocked and they knew they needed to do something different. They've got tons of Compassion information to look at and sponsor packets if you want to start that journey.

I'm not exaggerating. Come Together Trading Company is special. I so, so wish we had a place like it here. I would move in.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hard to imagine

Some things are just hard to imagine. Living in the middle of a red-light district is one of them. The fact that there is a designated red-light district is hard to imagine. But, it is a grim reality in a lot of the world.

It makes me happy that Missions in Action called it the slavery that it is. These women are trapped and their children become trapped. My heart broke for those kids, because I know the ones that don't get help soon will be sucked into the same nightmare their mothers are in.

As you can see in the video, Compassion is reaching out to these children. You can take part. Just follow the steps at the end of the video.

Change a life.

Monday, January 2, 2012


I don't do resolutions. I'm not good at them. I can't even begin to remember the last time I attempted to make a New Year's Resolution.

I have, however, been thinking about the new year and what it will look like and how I want to be in it. And then I got a email from Brianne at Compassion suggesting an approach different from a resolution. (You can find it here.) Things started meshing in my brain at that point.

Two verses jumped out at me the next morning.

1 Kings 8:58 May He keep us centered and devoted to Him, following the life path He has cleared, watching the signposts, walking at the pace and rhythms He laid down for our ancestors. (The Message)

Romans 3:31 But by shifting our focus from what we do to what God does, don't we cancel out all our careful keeping of the rules and ways God commanded? Not at all. What happens, in fact, is that by putting that entire way of life in its proper place, we confirm it. (The Message)

So, different snatches that had been floating around in my mind came kept coming back to the same word over and over again: FOCUS

Focus on Who is most important.
Focus on who He focuses on.