Teens In Action: Earrings for Life

Earrings for Life

This ministry first came to my attention through a post on The Rebelution. As I was brainstorming ways of making Teens in Action posts more regular here on TIO, Brooke’s ministry popped to mind, and I messaged her on Facebook. This post is the result. Hope you enjoy what she has to say. Don’t forget to check out the earrings!

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When I was asked to write this blog post, the first thought that came into my head was “Me? What? Why? I’m not an author, surely I can’t blog!” But as I continued to think about what I wanted to write, I was reminded-that’s just it. God does not call the equipped, but equips the called! So, here’s a little bit about when God called me.

I am only sixteen now, but when I was eleven, I started making earrings. Because I was (and still am!) a little entrepreneur, I immediately thought of the basic idea to sell these hand-made earrings and give the money to my local crisis pregnancy center, which helps young women experiencing unplanned pregnancies. I began by selling a couple of pairs to my family—it was not much, but it was something, and I praised God for each dollar raised. After promoting my ministry, which I named Earrings for Life, through my church, I was able to raise about $100 in the first year, and I remember being absolutely thrilled!! And that was just the beginning….

To be honest, I would have never been able to dream about all of the things God has done through me. Fast forward almost five years from that day I started selling earrings, and I am still blown away. So far, God has used me to raise over $3,000 just by selling earrings for $5 per pair! I have gotten the amazing opportunity to speak at small meetings, large gatherings, and churches. Gratefully, I have been featured on a website where over seven thousand readers were able to learn about Earrings for Life! AND now I am being asked to write blogs, which is pretty crazy and so humbling!

I chose to raise money for crisis pregnancy centers because it is an organization that is very close to my heart. Young women and couples choosing to kill their children just because it was not their plan hurts me. These sweet little children had so much promise and future…but their mother decided to do what was most convenient for her. The awesome thing about the centers I donate to is that not only do they come alongside young mothers-to-be and encourage them to save their children’s life, but they also provide counseling, parenting classes, and financial aid.

In James 1:27, it says the following:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”

To me, living out this verse means to come alongside unborn children that have no one to fight for their lives and say to their mothers that these children are worth it. They are alive and deserve to live long lives!

Thank you so much to Leah, for allowing me to write for her awesome blog! If you would like to help support Earrings for Life, the most important thing you can do is pray for the ministry! Also, please check out the Facebook page–Earrings for Life—if you are interested in either contacting me or buying earrings. In addition, you can email me at earringsforlife@gmail.com. Thank you so much, and God bless!

~Brooke Graham

Sometimes when we don’t feel we have much to offer, we don’t do anything. But story after story shows that God can take our little and multiply it beyond anything we imagined. Can you think of some Bible stories where God took something small and turned it into something big? Share your thoughts and encouragements for Brooke below!

Kang’s Heart of Hope

Kang's Heart of HopeLast month, a post on my friend Marli’s blog caught my attention. She shared a post about Timothy, a little boy in China who has both Downs Syndrome and a heart defect. Marli’s post linked through to the original post, written by Hannah “Jiejie,” a young woman who knows and loves Timothy. After reading the post, I contacted Hannah to see if she’d like to post about Timothy here on TIO. She replied that Timothy had received the full funding for his heart surgery, but she would love to post about another little boy. Here’s that post.

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I was chatting with my parents via Skype when my mom told me, “There’s a new little boy at the orphanage. He seems to have a heart defect.”

When you think of orphans and orphanages, maybe the first thing that pops into your mind is a row of cribs filled with babies. This is an accurate picture. But when I think of orphans I see another image; the two, three and four year-olds who are abandoned. These are the children who have known a family, and who have been loved and treasured by their parents, but when the medical needs became too much, or when the heart defect was diagnosed and a life-saving surgery quoted at way more than the family could ever expect to borrow from relatives, hope was abandoned and the children left alone at the orphanage gate.

This is Kang’s story. I know nothing of his birth parents. I know little about why he was abandoned, but I can guess.

Kang is almost three. His lips are blue, his fingertips are blue, he is weak and he is small. He has little strength to do anything. Kang has a very complicated heart defect. I can only image that his parents took him to many doctors and most of them probably said that there was nothing that they could do – only big hospitals in the city have the expertise to do a surgery that would repair Kang’s heart. Maybe they took him to one of the bigger hospitals in the city? Maybe the hospital gave them an estimation of what the surgery would cost. They must have cried-ugly that night as they watched their little boy sleep peacefully without a clue that his parents were about to make a decision that would change his life and his story forever.

Kang_1 Kang was abandoned just a few months ago. He is almost three, y’all, almost three. Think about your own two year-olds. Are they aware that they have a mommy and a daddy? Do they understand that you are there to take care of them and meet their needs? They do! And so imagine what Kang’s little heart must have done when he woke up and found himself away from the family he had known and surrounded by the chaos that is a toddler room in an orphanage. Busy nannies scrambling to meet the needs of dozens of children… crying children who just want to be held… fighting children who have learned how to get their own way… quiet children who know that no one will come.

And so Kang’s broken heart that couldn’t provide his body with the oxygen it needed, broke again.

We worked with the orphanage and they were able to get him taken in to the local hospital for some tests. The doctor said that surgery was necessary, but impossible. We took the results to some of the excellent cardiology hospitals in Beijing, and the surgeons said that surgery could be done. They suggested that they could repair his heart with one major operation, and that it would cost $20,000.

Taking a deep breath we stepped back… wow. That’s a lot of money. We looked at some other hospitals and applied for a government grant. The government rejected Kang’s application, saying that it was too late, he should have had surgery years ago and that there was no hope.

I don’t know about you, but the thing that gets me riled up the most is when somebody says that there is no hope. I think that the hairs on the back of my neck visibly stand on end. And so when the government rejected Kang’s application and refused to fund his surgery because they said he, “has no hope,” I decided that we have to do something.

Yes, it’s true, Kang’s surgery is complex and there is a chance that he will not survive. But do we have the right to make this decision? Do we have the right to choose not to give Kang his only hope of survival? Where do we place our trust?

Kang’s surgery will cost between $16,000 and $20,000 USD. This is a lot of money, but not if we stand together, a little here and a little there. It will add up. Are you willing to take the risk, to give Kang hope? His life is worth it.

Kang_2 (1)

Kang is currently being cared for by Little Flower Project’s baby home in Beijing. His fundraising page is here.

Will you stand with me?

~*~

I hope you didn’t mind the slightly-longer-than-usual post today! If you have time an inclination, I’d really recommend checking out Hannah’s blog, Loving Dangerously. It’s a lot of fun to read through.

If you have any questions for Hannah (or me, of course!) please leave a comment. Comments are always awesome! 😉

Back to School Sales and Orphans

Back to School Sales and OrphansJuly and August can be great months for teens who want to help out with orphan care ministries. Why? It’s simple. Back to school sales are currently at their peak.

School supplies can be used by a wide variety of ministries that help orphans and underprivileged children. During back to school sales, you can find all sorts of stuff at huge discounts. My personal favorite is the Wal-Mart sale. Clip With Purpose is a great website to keep track of other sales. Last year I got notebooks for 20 cents and boxes of crayons for 25 cents. Most of us don’t have a lot of expendable income, so this is a great way to stretch what we have.

Okay. So you might be wondering how you can use all those school supplies to help orphans. Here are a few ideas.

1. Backpacks for Foster Kids

Those of you who participated in the group read of Orphan Justice may already know about this. Kids often enter the foster system with very few personal belongings. One way individuals and churches can reach out to them is by packing backpacks with toiletries, underwear, coloring supplies, etc. You can stock up on many of these items during the back to school sales.
Read more about this opportunity

2. Shoeboxes for Kids Around the World

This is where the majority of my back to school finds end up. Operation Christmas Child delivers boxes to poverty stricken children around the world. Though this ministry is not specifically targeted at orphans, it definitely impacts them. Plus it’s super easy and lots of fun. If you have questions, feel free to send them my way.
Read how Operation Christmas Children impacted one adoptive family

3. Donate Directly to an Orphanage or Sponsorship Program

This one can be a little tricky because international shipping costs so much. Some ministries have predetermined ways of getting donations overseas. If they don’t it is possible to raise the money to ship a box or carton of supplies. Or you could send your donations with someone going on a missions trip. That’s the route I’ve taken in the past, and this year I got to be on the delivery end of the deal!

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School supplies for our missions trip.

4. Shop for an Adoptive Family

Do you know a family who has adopted or is in the process of adopting? You could always take advantage of the back to school sales to bless them. Ask them for a list or just surprise them. Or, if you don’t have any money, volunteer your time. Maybe you know an adoptive mom who would love to take advantage of the sales but can’t find the time to go shopping.

Do any of these ideas appeal to you? Can you think of any other ways to use back to school sales to bless orphans?

Try the Spirits

tangleOrphan care and adoption are emotionally charged topics no matter who you talk to. Almost everyone has an opinion, even if it’s not something they’ve spent a lot of time and effort thinking about. There’s a lot of potential for hurt feelings, mistakes, corruption, and more. It’s difficult to know what advice to trust, what information is accurate, and which ministries operate with integrity. Plenty of advice is tainted in some way. Much information is mixed with lies. Many ministries either stumble or intentionally fall into deceitful practices.

I don’t say this to discourage you from seeking advice, absorbing information, or supporting ministries. Not at all! This website and blog would not exist if I didn’t firmly believe that all of the above are essential for each and every Christian. However, I encourage you to research well and approach each element of ministering to orphans with prayer.

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. ~1 John 4:1

Satan loves to muddy the waters surrounding these issues, and they have become very muddied indeed. Sometimes trying to uncover the truth might make you feel like a dog chasing its own tail…you run in circles and can see your goal, but it always stays just out of reach. (Dog’s do make a regular habit of catching their tails, though, so there’s hope! 😉 ) A few verses later in 1 John 4, it says,

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. ~1 John 4:5

It can be helpful to refer to organizations like Christian Alliance for Orphans that screen member organizations for “commitment to financial integrity, good governance and the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I also mention this subject because it’s impossible for me to do in-depth research for every ministry I link to from this blog and site. Please don’t support one of these organizations simply because you saw it here! Do your own research about it. And after you do so, share what you find with TIO! One young lady contacted me just this week to share a personal experience so I could make an informed decision about linking to a particular ministry. I appreciated that so much!

As TIO grows, I hope it becomes a team effort among young people (and older people!) to support one another in this work and share ideas on how to engage more effectively.

Do you know of any orphan ministries you believe are effective and filled with integrity? Are there any ministries you feel should be approached with caution? Leave a comment or use the contact page to share your insight!

Teens In Action: Everlasting Hope

Elisabeth

Elisabeth

Today, I’m excited to welcome Elisabeth Sullivan to TIO. I discovered her project through a comment she left on The Rebelution. When I emailed her to ask for a guest post, it turned out that she already followed TIO. And she agreed to write a guest post. Her project is fantastic! Just goes to show that young people can make a difference with a bit of ingenuity. I love how Elisabeth took an idea she saw somewhere else and modified it to make her own unique, effective project. And, even better, there’s a bunch of ways you can help her with it. Enjoy her article. 🙂

What we’re doing:

Everlasting Hope is a group that crochets hats to raise money for the Master’s Home, an orphanage being built in Uyo, Nigeria by MCCF International. (For right now, 50% of the profit we make goes to the Master’s Home.) Our goal is to raise at least $1000. We post different hats and crocheted projects we are working on. We also have an online store called Hope Eternal Enterprises (HEE) where have most of the hats we make that we are selling. HEE got 38 views 3 days after it was published and Everlasting Hope has gotten over 560 page views! We were really excited. 🙂

Polar Bear Hat

Polar Bear Hat

In December, I gave all the profit I made to the orphanage in honor of Christmas; a week after I sent it to the orphanage, I looked in my wallet for money to buy bunny food (you would not believe how much food my rabbit eats!) and it was empty except for a $5 bill. I now owed my mom $42 for bunny food and yarn. I questioned whether I should have put that much of my money into it and I prayed to God for financial help. A couple of days later, I got an order for over 15 hats! I thanked God with all of my heart. That was a kind of sign to me that God was blessing what I was doing.

What inspired me:

Flower Hat

Flower Hat

The book Do Hard Things is what inspired me to get moving and do some hard things for God. I wasn’t sure what I should do exactly until I looked at their website and saw a project that Elaini Garfield was doing to raise money for orphans in India. She styled one dress 100 different ways over a period of 100 days, blogging about it along the way. She raised more then $10k more than they initially hoped for, so now she is continuing the blog indefinitely to raise awareness. That gave me an idea: instead of styling one dress a different way every day for 100 days, I could crochet one hat a day for 100 days in different styles and sizes to raise money for the Master’s Home. My dad convinced me to change it closer to 50 days at least for the beginning so I changed it to 56 days (8 weeks). My goal was to raise $1000 in those 56 days. I made a blog for it called Everlasting Hope, where I post different projects I’ve made lately and other stuff like that. I was going to start on February 1, but since then, I have been absolutely flooded with orders for all kinds of hats so the 8 Week Challenge was on hold for awhile. LORD willing, I will begin on March 30. 🙂

God has definitely blessed us in this work; we’ve been absolutely flooded with orders for Minion hats, frog hats, flower hats, and more. It’s been really awesome seeing God work His will through us. I never dreamed it would grow as big as it is now.

How you can help:

If you would like to help, you can:
Pray – We need all the prayers we can get!
Donate – You can donate online on the MCCF International website
Buy some of our hats – We’ve got all kinds of cute hats we’re making! They are all $10, no matter what size or style you get
Spread the word – Tell other people you know about Everlasting Hope.
Join us! – If you know how to knit or crochet, you can make things and sell them too! My little sister is going to make 1 headband a day for 56 days along with me.

Have any questions for Elisabeth? What talents has God given you that you could use to help orphans?

Using Google Calendar to Pray

GoogleCalendar1If you’ve been around TIO for any length of time, you’re probably familiar with our Advocate & Pray posts. Every two weeks, we post about a child who is waiting to be adopted and ask readers to pray and advocate for that child. To help motivate everyone to actually pray, we put together a prayer chain. Right now we’re praying for a sweet girl named Candy (no pun intended). The prayer chain gives you an opportunity to sign up to pray for the child during a 15 minute slot of your choice and then pray daily for the child during that time for the next two weeks.

Now, if you’re like me, you probably start a prayer chain with great intentions and an eye on the clock. But as time passes, it might get harder to remember. That’s where Google Calendar comes in. Google Calendar allows you to schedule events and ask for email reminders. I’ve found it to be a great tool to prompt me to pray. Here’s how you do it.

GoogleCalendar3Start by figuring out how to get your calendar. If you have a gmail account, that’s as simple as clicking the link. If you don’t have a gmail account, you probably have to sign up for one to use the calendar. It’s free. After you sign in, it usually gives you a blank calendar to work with. If it doesn’t, go to the left side-bar, find “My Calendars”, click the arrow to the right of those words, and chose to create a new calendar. After you create it the program prompts you to name it, etc. etc. Fill out whatever you want, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click “create calendar”.

Now you have a blank calendar! Set it to show you a week at a time, then find the hour you’re supposed to pray in. Tap that time slot and it’ll pop up a box asking you to create an event. Click “edit event”.
GoogleCalendar4

Next you’ll want to title your prayer time and adjust the time to your appropriate time slot. When I sign up I usually take the 9:00 to 9:15 spot so you’ll see those times in the box for the example.
GoogleCalendar5

You don’t want this reminder to be a one-day deal, so check the “repeat” box and fill the boxes in. The “event” will start on the day you click on the calendar. Set it to repeat daily and end whenever you want it to…usually two weeks after the A&P post. Click done when you have it just the way you want it.
GoogleCalendar6

Finally, scroll down a little further and make sure you add a reminder. The pop-up reminder only works if you have Google Calendar pulled up all the time, so I use the email reminder. I set mine to remind me one minute before my time slot starts, but you can set yours to whatever works for you (obviously). I also set the event to private on the very bottom. It’s not a big deal if someone else sees, but privacy seems like a good thing to me.
GoogleCalendar7

When you’re done, scroll to the top of the page and click “Save”! If all goes well, you should get an email like this one reminding you to pray.
GoogleCalendar2

Hope that’s helpful!

Have any questions or suggestions? How do you remember to pray?

Teens In Action: Project 27

Kitanda ProjectHello everyone! I’m back with another teen who is making a difference in the lives of orphans. (If you missed last week’s Teens In Action post,  go over and read Blankets of Love at some point.) Abby found TIO through The Rebelution and shot me an email to say she liked the website and blog. She also mentioned a ministry she and some girls for her school run. I found her story inspiring, and I hope you will too. Here’s Abby.

“Religion is that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” James 1:27

After studying Romans 12, a call to a transformed and sanctified life, my peers and I were challenged to respond to the call of James 1:27. Praying for an open door through which we could serve, the Lord directed us to Agape Children’s Ministry. We knew missionaries who were stationed in Kenya, Africa with Agape Children’s Ministry. The focus of the home to is rescue street boys and girls from the homelessness and wondering of street life in Kisumu, Kenya (www.agapechildren.org), and present the gospel to the children. We began supporting this ministry through a program labeled the Kitanda Project, as Kitanda is bed in Swahili. Through this project, we raised monthly donations in order that a child would be supported safely in a ‘bed’, which included not only a place to lay his head, but also all other physical, educational, and health needs.

We all were excited to get to work for the needy and orphaned! Through car washes, bake sales, and jewelry sales we raised more than the amount of money we needed. God taught us how to serve others, sacrifice time, and pray for the needs of the unredeemed. Captivated by the mercy and grace of our Savior, we were awed by His abundant blessing on our Project. Continuously money poured in, and we were able to support the ministry far beyond our commitment. As I reflect on the goodness of our God through this learning process I can’t help but become overly excited because of the Lord we serve! God used little middle school girls with hardly a clue about fundraising and commitments to bring about His plan for the orphaned.

Isaiah 1:16-17 says: “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” We have learned that caring for the orphaned, the widowed, and the unredeemed is really a call for cleanliness on behalf of the believer’s life and heart. Once we have made our hearts right before the Lord, then we are able to serve, pray for, and become involved with orphans and missions. Our prayer is that on this road to answer the call of James 1:27 and Isaiah 1:16-17, we first prepare our hearts before our Holy Father.

As we continue the legacy of the Kitanda Project, we have taken on a new name, Project 27, based off of James 1:27 and the call for cleanliness in the last 27 books of Isaiah. We would be blessed if you lift us up in prayer as we pray for wisdom and guidance on how to live righteously and serve others.

I am so very thankful for the work, time, and effort Leah has put into this site! What a blessing it was when I came upon her website and her mission and heart for orphans. We don’t know how blessed we are to have the resources God has made available to us. Let us respond to God’s call of righteous, clean living! There are plenty of opportunities to serve; thank you Leah for organizing this precious mission and devoting your life to God’s call for the orphans.  

I also asked Abby how people can donate to Project 27, and this is what she said.

Thanks for your encouragement! The best way to donate to our project is to send a check, since we do not have an online account as of right now. Checks can be made out to Southside Christian School (my school where we have Project 27) with “kitanda project” in the memo line ( we have not yet changed the name officially). They can be sent to 2028 Orton Rd.

It’s so encouraging to me to hear stories like Abby’s and see that teens who care can make a difference. And I hope reading what other’s are doing will give you ideas for how you can take action as well. Have any thoughts or comments? Want to ask Abby a question?

Teens In Action: Blankets of Love

Uruguay1Cathy Vollenweider contacted me a while back to share about her ministry to orphans in Uruguay and wondered if it might be something of interest to share on TIO.  I was so excited to hear about her heart for Uruguay and to learn about her ministry. Her story is perfect for TIO. Stay tuned to learn about another teen’s ministry to orphans next week. And now, here’s Cat.

God has given me compassion for children in one of the smallest and most secular countries in South America: Uruguay.  In Uruguay, many children are abandoned, abused, and unwanted.  Uruguay’s crumbling family unit and hurting children are related to issues such as legal prostitution and nearly impossible adoption, leaving a huge percentage of innocent Uruguayan little ones living in orphanages and hungry for love.

In spite of the darkness that pervades, God is bringing about a glorious change through His people there.  An example of such is the Stallings family.  They moved to Uruguay from Colorado specifically to love and mentor Uruguayan orphans (go to http://www.fieldsofthefatherless.org to see more about their mission).

I am coming alongside the Stallings’s to help these little children know that they are loved, through prayer and through a project called Bracelets4Blankets.  The Lord, by His generous grace, is using this project of selling friendship bracelets to raise money so that the Stallings’s can give winter blankets to the orphans that they have relationships with.

Uruguay is in the southern hemisphere, so their winters go from June to August.  Time is limited to complete this project!  Bracelets are $5 each.  All donations will go to the Stallings’s ministry, who will use it to give blankets to the orphans.

Uruguay2

To read more about my passion for Uruguay: either keep reading, or follow this link to my blog (both posts are different).  If you would like to give $5 to help keep these orphans warm this winter, follow this link. After donating, click the yellow button that says “Return to the Bracelet Project” (or something like that) to be redirected to a blog page containing an order form, where you can tell me your preferences for the bracelet (or follow this link to go directly to the project’s page – it explains in more detail how the donation/ordering process works).

Uruguay3So, why do I have a passion for Uruguay, specifically?  I really have a hard time with this question, and it is something that I have wrestled with myself.  I have asked, “why? Why does my heart ache for those in a far away country that I had not heard of before?”  And I’m still not sure of the answer, but I do know that the passion He has given me is real.

The Lord simply put a passion for Uruguay on my heart.  In February of 2013, I had been praying intensely about the direction in which God wanted my life to go.  During a conversation with my older brother, he wondered out loud why mission trips to Uruguay are unheard of, and as we began searching for the answer to this question, the people of this little country captured my heart.

I have never been to Uruguay; merely a year ago I had only vaguely heard of it.  Yet I have a compassion and broken heart for the people of Uruguay like I have for nothing else.  The only way I can explain it is that this is a God-given passion.

Sometimes, the hurt that I have for Uruguay seems unbearable, and sometimes I feel like giving up.  Those times, I hold onto what Christ did for me, and I remember that my life is “hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:1-3), and that my fingers are His anyway.  How could I stop them from doing the work He has given me?  So I make bracelets.  Please join me in this work – I know that united we can accomplish anything, and I believe that God will do something amazing beyond imagination.

Uruguay4

Does anyone have questions or comments for Cat? Were you inspired by the story of a fellow teenager doing what she can to make a difference in the lives of children? Thank you, Cat, for the article!

Book Review: No Greater Love

No Greater Love

We felt overwhelmed, trying our best to understand how someone could love a child–dearly love a child, just as we did our own–and then decide to kill that child because of fear.

With his real-estate business crumbling around him, Levi Benkert receives a phone call. An old friend wants him to travel to Ethiopia to aid an effort to rescue children who’ve been sentenced to death by an ancient tribal practice. The idea is ludicrous. There’s no way he can go. Yet Levi soon finds himself on a plane bound for Ethiopia. It’s the beginning of a change that will dominate, change, and revolutionize life for him and his family.

I got this book for Christmas and the whole family got a laugh when I unwrapped it. I already knew what it was about, but I flipped it over to skim the back cover. As I did so, my mom said, “It’s a really good book. You need to let me borrow it because I’m half way through it.” That’s right. She’d been reading my gift before wrapping it! 😛 Anyway, she was right. I read it in one sitting. It’s heartbreaking. It doesn’t have a strings all tied up “happy ending”. (The ending is happy, but only after a heart rending close to the first part of the Benkert’s journey.)

One of the things Levi says in this book is that orphan care is inherently messy. This becomes obvious just reading books about it. It gets confusing. The last book I read about orphan care, Orphan Justice (great book!), really stressed how important it is for kids to be in real families…that orphanages aren’t the solution. This book shed light on how messy international adoption can be. Another documentary I watched shared the tremendous need for international adoption. It’s confusing! But it’s also really good to get all the different sides of the picture.

This book is definitely one of the best told/written orphan care stories I’ve read. Thumbs up for recommending it.

5 Ways to Help TIO

TeamworkA reader recently wrote to me asking if there was a way she could help with TIO. What a nice question! I didn’t have an off-the-bat answer, but as ideas starting coming to mind I figured I’d make a post of them. Hopefully some of you have the same question. 😉

Word of Mouth
Seriously. Word of mouth is one of the most important ways you can help TIO. Getting people talking is more effective than any paid form of advertising. Here’s some ways to share about TIO.

  • Tell your friends. If you care about doing hard things and orphan care, your friends probably know about it. (If they don’t, you really need to get talking!)
  • Share about it at group(s). If you’re part of a youth group, homeschool group, AWANA, etc. find a way to tell other group members about TIO.
  • Share it as a resource. Do you know any adopting families or families considering adopting? Give them the link to the resource page.
  • Use the internet. Write about TIO your own blog, invite me to write a guest post, tweet a recent post, share on pinterest, etc.

Help Generate Content
Coming up with posts all the time isn’t easy! I’d love your help.

  • Share your contacts. Do you know an adopting family or orphan care worker who would be willing to share their experience on the blog? Ask them to contact me or send their info my way.
  • Write a post yourself. Seriously! Share your passion for orphans, doing hard things, or a specific ministry. If you’ve been on a missions trip, participated in orphan related ministries, have an adopted relative, or are adopted yourself, your experiences would be a valued addition to the blog.
  • Contribute to regular posts. Scan the internet for children waiting to be adopted and send them my way to be the next Advocate & Pray child. Or write a poem that can be dedicated to one of the Advocate & Pray kids (this would be a huge blessing to me!).
  • Share resources. If you know of a ministry, adoption agency, blog, book, video, etc. about orphan care, send it my way! Please!

Participate in Existing Efforts
We need more people actively engaging in the opportunities already available here on TIO.

  • Join the prayer chains! This one doesn’t require a lot of work or a big commitment. Every time an Advocate & Pray child is listed, a prayer chain is set up for that child. One young lady faithfully signs up to pray for each new child (thanks TW!). We need more like her. I know praying seems like a let down sometimes when we want to do “big” things, but we need to be faithful in little first. And besides, if we can encircle each child in round the clock prayer for two weeks, that’s a big thing!
  • Join the book club. We need some more people to join the book club so we can start reading books together and learning more about orphans, orphan care, and missionary orphan workers around the world.
  • Become an adoption partner. Volunteer your talents to help adopting families and/or refer adopting families to TIO. So far three volunteers are ready to design adoption blogs for families setting out on adoption journeys.

Help Brainstorm
Get involved in the visionary side of TIO. I’d love to have other young people brainstorm ideas for the future of TIO. Do you have ideas for ways young people could minister to orphans? Thoughts on how we could better advocate for the Advocate & Pray children? Lots of brains working together have a lot more power than my little one working all on its own. It would be wonderful to be able to bounce ideas off other people and get other ideas in return!

Get Creative
If you’re thinking of a great way to help and don’t see it on this list, chances are I didn’t think of it. If you want to help in that way, chances are I really want to know about it! Get creative and get involved. Let’s grow TIO together.

Pray
Yes, I know. This is a sixth way to help. But a bonus item is always good. Please don’t forget to pray for TIO. Thank you!

Can you help in any of the above ways? Can you think of a way to help that I missed?