What Does Intercession Looks Like

IntercessionThe title of this blog is Teens Interceding for Orphans, but what is intercession?

Over the past month, several posts here on TIO have focused on the concept of prayer. One of the “visions” cast in the post, Renewing the Vision, was a dedication to praying for orphans, particularly those posted biweekly in the Advocate & Pray posts. We looked at how to use the prayer chains and how to use Scripture to pray for those we don’t know well. These posts have been practical, how-to type posts. This post is intended light a flame of enthusiasm for prayer.

Prayer is something each and every one of us can be active in, but we need a vision for it or else it just won’t happen. Prayer is hard, and it can seem boring. We need determination and diligence in prayer. This sermon casts a vision for filling the gap by being willing to stay behind the scenes, on our knees, engaging in battle through prayer. If you don’t have time to sit in front of your computer and watch the message, you can download the mp3 to your mobile device and listen on the go. Will you be the man under the stage for orphans?

Want to hear more of Mr. Ludy’s messages on prayer? There are lots of them!


Making Notecards: A Few Ideas

Making Notecards (2)The idea of using cards as a tool for ministry keeps popping up here on TIO. First the post on being a correspondence sponsor through Compassion International and now the Valentine’s Day Card Challenge. In a day of e-mail and instant messaging, the extra time and thought that goes into a handwritten card can mean a lot–both to orphans and the people working on the front lines to care for them. Homemade cards put a cherry on top. Who doesn’t like to receive a handwritten, homemade card? To make things even better, there are very few barriers teens must surmount to participate in this type of ministry.

But wait. It might not be so easy. Card making requires creativity and crafting supplies, right? To some degree, yes. Every time I think about making homemade cards, I think of my friends’ special tools for stamping, embossing, precision cutting, inking… the list goes on. I own none of that. My card making supplies consist of scissors, cardstock, and some templates from an old Klutz card making kit. [Handmade Cards, the Klutz book/kit I’m talking about would be an easy way to get started (though rather expensive for a new kit with all the supplies).]

Lest you become paralyzed, as I often am, I pulled some easy ideas from Pinterest to get you started. If you don’t have rubber stamps, don’t worry about adding words. Also, a lot of cards use raised features for added pizzazz. You can just glue the raised pieces flat, or you can buy a package of them inexpensively on Amazon.


Teddy Bear
View on Pinterest
If you click through to the directions for this card, you’ll find the nose is embossed, but cutting a paper nose out and gluing it on would be just as cute! And you could draw the eyes on instead of stamping them. Isn’t that little guy adorable?

Piano Keys
View on Pinterest
How hard would it be to cut and glue white and black paper to make this cute pattern? Even the hearts would be easy to cut out and clue on!

Button Down Shirt
View on Pinterest
You might have a hard time finding an envelop for this one, but making it looks like a breeze.

Heart Bunting
View on Pinterest
Take out your needle and threat for this one. It looks like the cards sold on Etsy might use fabric hearts, but you could sew paper to make a bunting just as easily.

Flower Garden
View on Pinterest
If you don’t have little 3-D stickers, you could use buttons or just paper circles for the center of the flowers.

View on Pinterest
If you don’t have ribbon for the scarf, just use paper! Same for the beads the eyes are made of. To be honest, less dramatic 3-D might be easier to mail (and less likely to break in the mail) anyway.


Think these ideas are still too complicated? You could always cut old calendars into card-size rectangles, glue white paper to the non-picture side, fold, and write. Or you could quarter fold printer paper and draw or trace your own picture directly onto the paper. The possibilities are endless.

If nothing handcrafted appeals to you, revert to store brought cards. To be honest, that’s what I use most of the time. A handwritten note in a store brought card is way better than no note at all!

Do you have more ideas for great handmade cards? Do you know of any children, adoptive families, or orphan care workers who could use a handmade card to brighten their day and encourage their hearts? Leave a comment to share your ideas!


Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens: Resources

Orphans, Fundraising, and Teens Resources It’s been fun to spend the last few Fridays exploring how teens can financially support orphans. The fundraising ideas are truly endless. Just type “Fundraising Ideas” into Google and you’ll find enough content to keep you busy for hours.

I could continue listing ideas here, but I think the past few posts have enough to get you started. If any of you implement the ideas discussed in these posts, I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment or use the contact form to send me an email.

To close out this series on Teens and Money, I’d like to leave you with a few resources you can either use yourself or recommend to adopting families. All of these resources are meant for adopting families, but I think they can be useful either way.

Adopt without DebtAdopt Without DebtThe handy little book has TONS of fundraising ideas and how-tos. The first half of the book focuses on how to get out debt, budget, and save money. The second half is devoted to all those fundraising ideas. I really enjoyed reading through all of them. Next time someone I know is planning to adopt and needs to fundraise, I’ll definitely recommend or gift this book to them. It’s fairly short, so it isn’t a burden to get through reading it.

Blog Posts:
Since money is the number one reason interested families never pursue adoption, many adoption blogs do posts on how to fundraise. Most of the ideas could be used to raise funds for any sort of orphan care, not just adoptions. Here are a few posts that I’ve stumbled across and liked.
The Ultimate List of Adoption Fundraisers, from Walking By The Way
30+ Fun Ideas for Fundraisers to Fund Your Adoption Process!, from Catching Up With Kate
22 Ways to Raise Funds for Your Adoption, from No Hands But Ours

Many of the suggestions on each blog post overlap with the suggestions on the others. They all bring some unique ideas and perspectives, though.

What Other’s Are Doing:
Just for fun, I thought I’d share some “Rebelutionary” projects and fundraisers other teens have undertaken. Not all of them are for orphans, but they’re inspirations for what teens can accomplish.
Broken Chords Benefit Concert (Human Trafficking)
Dollar for a Drink (Well Digging)
One Dress. 100 Days. For Orphans. (Orphan Care)
Save a Korean Refugee (Refugees)
Walk/Run4Freedom (Human Trafficking)
Gifts of Grace by Emily (Orphan Care)
Project Hope for Yuri (Orphan Care)
Bringing Christmas to Orphans (Orphan Care)
Everlasting Hope (Orphan Care)
Earrings of Life (Pro-Life)

Book Review: KnowOrphans

KnowOrphansIn order to help orphans, we must know orphans. That’s the premise author Rick Morton builds on in his new book, KnowOrphans. How are we supposed to know orphans. How can we as individuals and as a church reach out to vulnerable children? How are we supposed to navigate the complications and turmoil surrounding orphan care and adoption?

This book is written as a guide for how to understand and mobilize towards knowing and helping orphans. It covers a wide range of topics. Almost too wide. I felt the book lacked some of the focus needed to make it live up to its full potential. It probably isn’t a great “beginning” book to read on the subject. However, if you already have enough of a foundational understanding to keep up with the switches between discussing. individual possibilities, church responsibility, parachurch ministries, and adoption this is a good book to use as a brainstorming springboard. I especially appreciated the chapter discussing some of the criticisms the Christian orphan-care and adoption movement has been receiving. While this book was a little hard to get through the first time, I’m sure I’ll be referring back to it over and over again.

Note: I received a free review copy of this book in exchange for a review reflecting my honest perspective on the book.

Book Review: Becoming Home

Becoming HomeShort and sweet, Becoming Home is another fantastic book about orphan care. This booklet is just under 100 pages long. It’s the perfect way to get a well-rounded introduction to the topic without investing a ton of time. It’s also no waste of time, even if you’ve already read many books on the subject.

The booklet starts out with some great color graphs with stats about the need, public opinion on Christians working with orphans, and a lot more. It then moves on to talk about the way God calls us to be involved in this area, how to get involved, attitudes about adoption, and the way orphan care transforms people. Some of the stories are powerful.

I found out about Becoming Home through an email from CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) so I expected it to be at least decent but had no idea what to really expect. I’m so glad I got my copy. It will certainly come in handy. I may even find myself buying extra copies to give away.

Note: I received a free review copy of this book. I was under no obligation to write a positive review. All opinions stated are my own.

TIO Social Media

TIO Facebook

That’s right. TIO now has it’s own Facebook page. I’ll admit right away that I’m a complete Facebook newbie, and I may not have much time to devote to the page for a while. However, I’m hoping it might be a place for TIO followers to converse and share ideas. We’ll see how it goes.

P.S. For those unfamiliar with Facebook business pages, ‘liking’ TIO’s page is the equivalent of friending someone on a personal page. The more likes the better!

TIO Twitter

TIO is also on Twitter. I set up this account a while ago. Every time a post goes up on the blog, the link automatically gets tweeted. If you’re on Twitter, retweeting the links would be a great way to share favorite posts with friends. I’ll also try to occasionally retweet stuff from other orphan care ministries.

Please be patient with these baby steps. And if any of you are Facebook or Twitter pros and want to offer some advice, I’d love to hear what you have to say!

Fabulous Life of a Teenager: A Video

If you’re like me, the idea of young people making a difference in our world makes you think of Alex and Brett Harris’s book, Do Hard Things. If it doesn’t, you probably haven’t read the book, and you should add the title to your reading list. Anyway, their website/blog features a video series called The Fabulous Life of a Teenger. If you’ve read the books, most of the video will sound familiar. It’s worth reviewing though, and a good encouragement for those times we feel like we can’t make a difference.

30 Ways to Care for Orphans

30 Ways in 30 DaysI recently read a book titled Orphan Justice (great book, click the link to read my review of it). Anyway, I found a series of posts on the author’s blog listing 30 ways to help orphans. Many of them aren’t suitable for teens, but it’s always good to be informed in case you get into a conversation with someone older. I’ve marked the opportunities that look possible for teens to get involved in.

  1. Become a Prayer Champion
  2. Start an Adoption Fund at Your Church (Possible for teens.)
  3. Educate Your Local Church (Possible for Teens)
  4. Get Families to Share Stories (Teen Friendly.)
  5. Check out the Heart Gallery (Great teen friendly idea.)
  6. Understanding the Importance of Scripture in Orphan Care (Teen friendly!)
  7. Host a Sponsorship Sunday
  8. Investigate Current Church Mission Work (Very possible for teens.)
  9. Host a Foster Care Prayer Vigil (Another good opportunity for teens.)
  10. Do Something About Human Trafficking
  11. Provide a Regular “Night Out” to Foster/Adoptive Families (Possible for teens to participate in.)
  12. Give to a Microfinance Ministry (Check out number 16 if you have limited funds to donate from.)
  13. Host a Regional Conference
  14. Community Based Care
  15. Balance Your Ministry
  16. Rethink Adoption Funds (If you ever feel discouraged about not being able to donate much monetarily, read this article.)
  17. Start a Special Needs Ministry
  18. Start a Book Club (Teen friendly opportunity.)
  19. Start an HIV/AIDS ministry
  20. Be Nice! (Very possible for teens. :))
  21. Safe Families for Christians
  22. Start a Backpack Ministry (This option is definitely viable for teens.)
  23. Educate Yourself on the Complexity of International Orphan Care
  24. Become a CASA/Guardian ad Litem
  25. Adoptive Parent’s Missions Trips
  26. Become a Mentor (Not sure how old you have to be for this, but it might be available for 18/19 year olds)
  27. Become a Respite Care Provider
  28. Start a Support Group for Safe/Foster/Adoptive Families
  29. Become Certified as a Foster Parent
  30. Adopt!

This is just a great list both for personal use and to share with others. Each link goes to a blog post giving an overview of the opportunity and linking to more resources.

Which of these opportunities most excites you? Which choice would be most practical for you to act upon?

New Stuff (11.22.13)

New StuffThere are so many ministries and adopting families, resources and information available. I add more to the various pages of this site as I find them.* Every now and then I’ll make a new post to share my new discoveries with you.

ONEless Ministries
Located on the Resource page.
ONEless is listed under “Adoption Grants” on the resource page. The primary goal of ONEless is to combat human trafficking. One aspect of this is supporting the adoption of children who might otherwise remain vulnerable to traffickers.

Rahab’s Rope
Located on the Ways to Help page.
Rahab’s Rope does not specifically help orphans. It aids women at-risk for or coming out of India’s commercial sex trade. Orphans are always at high risk of being being trafficked.

Wild Olive Tees
Located on the Ways to Help page.
A business offering t-shirts with Bible verses on them. 10% of the profits go to orphan related charities.

147 Million Orphans
Located on the Ways to Help page
This ministry is categorized under “Donate Your Birthday.” 147 orphans is a fun site to explore. You can learn about 147 Million Orphans, check out their current projects, and find out how to get involved.

Give 1 Save 1
Located on the Resources page.
This blog encourages followers to put aside one dollar each week to donate to Give 1 Save 1’s featured family.

You Caring
Located on the Resources page.
A website that allows you to create fundraisers free of charge. I really like the appearance of the fundraisers on this site.

Have you discovered any new orphan ministries, sites, etc. recently? Share them!

*Reference to these sites do not indicate endorsement for them. Please do your own research to validate the integrity of organizations before supporting or using them.