Friday, February 9, 2018

Update from Moldova!

I was so excited to receive an update from Moldova this week. The P family has been receiving help from Mission Without Borders for a couple of years and I was excited to hear how they were doing. The average monthly income in Moldova is only around $320 while consumer goods are comparable to western prices. This economic reality is why so many families are being torn apart by emigration to the West and Russia as they seek a better life. The monthly visits (and care packages) from a coordinator are truly a lifeline for the sponsored families.  Once a family is stabilized, they can focus on long term goals and move forward. 

Thankfully, both parents are present for the children in this family. Sadly, sickness and addiction are huge obstacles in their lives. Sickness prevents one parent from working. I googled the diagnosis and it's not good- it sounds terminal. One works but struggles with alcohol. With 5 children to feed, clothe, and get to school.. well the challenges seem insurmountable.

Honestly, when I first read the update, I was discouraged. There are so many challenges- it appears that the deck is stacked against this family. But that's exactly why Mission Without Borders exists. "To reach people.."- meeting people where they are- often in seemingly hopeless situations and bring hope. "Reaching people for Christ: helping thousands of people out of poverty into a sustainable future" Because of Christ there is Hope- for a better life in the future but also in the present.  This year the children received school supplies, medical help (one child broke her leg), and Operation Christmas Love parcels, in addition to regular food and hygiene parcels and visits.

By praying for and investing in the P family, I hope to see a dividend- even in this life. A family that knows Jesus and is active in church, not struggling to meet their daily needs but able to plan for the future.  A family that has the means to help others in their community. Children who are educated and have job skills they can use to provide for their families in the future. Breaking the back of generational poverty one family at a time.

All of this takes time, prayer, encouragement, and the grace of God.  I have seen the results in Albania.  Families are changed over time!  Hopefully sometime in the next 18 months, I'll be able to revisit Moldova and meet this family.  I'll take more pictures this time (I think I figured out Instagram..maybe..)  It'll probably be a longer trip with visits in Romania as well.  Right now, I want to be more faithful in praying for this family and sending them encouraging notes and Scripture.  

What verse of Scripture would you send to this family?  I'd really like to know!  

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Wednesday, February 7, 2018

"You Can't Take It With You" (But you can send it ahead!)

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither  moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Matthew 6:19-21 (ESV)

Next month I will be paying off a huge debt which will free up some cash every month.  This, along with the recent tax reforms, is leading to a much better financial picture by the end of the year.  All of this is very exciting.  I am checking out flights again (Moldova, Romania, Albania, etc)  thinking how I can save each month, take more time off, invest, etc.

The question is not will I invest or not- rather it's what will I invest in?  Sunday evening I quickly read The Treasure Principle by Randy Alcorn.   A relatively short book, he encourages Christians to remember that this world is not our home.  Jesus makes very direct statements about money in the Gospels.  He talked about money (and how we should use it) more than He talked about heaven or hell!

Alcorn encourages his readers to write their own obituaries.  Really.  What do you want to leave as a legacy?  A big house?  A shiny car?  Cash?  Everything I just mentioned is LEFT BEHIND.  You can't take a single penny with you.

However, you CAN send it ahead!  Jesus encourages us to "lay up treasures in Heaven"  Investing time, labor, and money into reaching people for Christ, helping the poor, the elderly, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting prisoners.  All these activities are  an investment that will never go down in value.   In fact, they are the only investment that will last.  So I guess I need wisdom to invest wisely.  And God promised He would give us wisdom if we would only ask.

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Monday, February 5, 2018

Missions Monday! Operation Winter Rescue 2018


"On Friday morning in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, a groundhog named Phil emerged from his hole and saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter."

Thankfully, we have had a mild winter- only a few storms and cold spells that vanish within a few days.  The worst that has happened is a few very high utility bills for some.

20140627 Bra┼čov 220The first time I ever visited Romania ( or flew in a plane, or went overseas- several firsts!) was in January 1992.  Brasov, Romania is ringed by the Carpathian Alps, leading to very cold and very snowy winters.  Perfect if you love to ski.  Not so much if you are poor and have a wood stove for heat.  We stayed in a building that had ceramic gas heaters that kept the room above freezing but provided little comfort.

For many poor families in Eastern Europe, winter is a very real struggle for survival.  Heavy snow can make roads impassable- essentially cutting off families and villages from the outside world for days.  Mission Without Borders coordinates Operation Winter Rescue during this coldest time of the year to provide warm clothes, firewood, and essential supplies to the poorest of families.  Even in Albania, it was so very cold last year when I visited.  The poorest always suffer the most but did you know that-

$25 can provide a child with a pair of warm winter boots.
$50 can give a family firewood for a month.
$100 can provide a family with warm clothing.

$300 can keep a family warm for the entire Winter!

A donation of any amount helps.  88% of the monies raised go directly to help needy families! I visited sponsored families and talked with the Mission Without Borders staff last year.  I've seen the warm coats delivered to a young woman who did not have one.  A little goes a long way.  Won't you help meet the immediate needs of the poor in Eastern Europe?
You can make a secure donation of any amount at the MWB website.

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