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Alexandra, looking ready.

Sometimes there’s a lot more going on than we can see with our physical eyes. At least, that appears true in the case of Alexandra Warwick.

I first introduced you to Alexandra in this post, Rejecting Slacktivism. I was intrigued by the massive response to the Kony 2012 video campaign. As the likes and shares reached into the millions, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if even a small fraction of those young people did something more than just click, “Like.”

And that’s when I read this blog from Alexandra. In it, she describes the kind of passion and commitment that I felt was missing from all of the Kony craziness.

What happened after that, well… I wanted Alexandra to share that in her own words. So she’s going to take over the next few posts to explain to you how a t-shirt turned into something much larger. Something that you had to live through to believe.

Following Jesus: Part 1
by Alexandra Warwick.

“Are you ready?”

My friend Carrie stares down at me from her bed with a small smile on her face. We’re at the guesthouse on our first night in Swaziland and she’s bundled up in her soft white comforter, protected from the cool evening air. The sound of her voice floats through my head but I don’t really listen to what she’s saying because I’m curled up in the corner of the room writing.

“What?” I say absentmindedly as I pull my head up from my journal.

“Are you ready to go to the CarePoint tomorrow?” she repeats a little louder. I close my journal, put my pen down, and think.

“No,” I say.

“I’m not ready. But I’m doing it anyway.”

Months before, I saw one of my Facebook friends post about a trip to Ludlati CarePoint in Swaziland. I don’t remember where I was, what day of the week it was, or what time it was, but I do remember being overcome by the gripping idea that I needed to go on this trip. However, almost as soon as the desire popped into my head, doubts and worry popped in also.

I knew it was a Christian mission trip, and I wasn’t Christian.

Would the team even want me to go with them? And besides, this was a third world country we were talking about. I could think of much safer ways to serve my brothers and sisters. I couldn’t shake the desire, though. Something kept telling me, “Go! Go! Go!”  So, I took a leap and contacted the team leader.

When I told my friends and family about my desire, I got asked so many times, “Do you think you are ready to go on a trip like that?”

Every time this happened I would think about how crazy I was for wanting to fly across the planet with a group of Christians I didn’t know to spend time in a third world country serving children at a CarePoint I knew almost nothing about.

And I’d tell people the truth and say, “No, I’m not ready. But I’m going to try to do it anyway.”

The next question I started getting was, “But how are you going to raise the money?” And again I’d have to be honest and admit that I had absolutely no idea how I was going to raise the money because unlike the other team members I was traveling with, I didn’t have the support of people from my church. I didn’t go to church at all.

I knew a total of about three people who wholeheartedly supported every aspect of this trip and wanted to do whatever they could to make it happen, but I doubted even their best efforts would get me the $3,411 I needed. I knew that I was supposed to go; at least I thought I knew, but I had no idea how I could possibly make it happen.

And then came the t-shirt contest.

How would you help kids in need?

Hosanna Lutheran Church asked their kids to answer this question as part of their “Kids Matter” sermon series, and shared the answers in this video. This weekend was important for HopeChest, because Hosanna the church was also launching their sponsorship of Hosanna the CarePoint in Ethiopia.

We started the weekend with 300 available children. And by the end of the second service on Sunday, all 300 kids were sponsored. 

Kids do matter. Kids here, kids around the world, kids everywhere.

Why?

As was pointed out in the sermon, Jesus teaches that we must become “like little children” to understand the kingdom of God. And also to not look down on children because their angels are constantly watching over them.

If you’ve spent any time around children, you get the sense that they truly are in touch with the wonder and endless possibility of God. Their faith is so limitless.

Wonder, imagination, creativity…these are all things we tend to lose as we become “grownups.” But Jesus teaches otherwise…that kids teach us what God’s really like. That looking at God through a child’s eyes is really the right perspective.

You can see the Hosanna Church kids answer the question about how they would help kids in need around the world.

Thanks to all the great people at Hosanna for reminding us that Kids Matter, and then getting 300 kids sponsored in one day.

This week, a group of volunteers from “The Orphans of Teso” are visiting their two CarePoints in Uganda.

To get a glimpse of what they’re doing, their leaders are posting a day-by-day journal of activities. Here are some highlights:

The New Well is Now Flowing: Americans and Ugandans celebrated the new well, which included the formation of the “well committee.” That committee is made up entirely of Ugandans who will set small but fair usage rates for the community. Funds generated by the well go into a maintenance fund to keep the well in working order.

Hope for Widows, Orphans and Vulnerable Children: They visited children in their homes, checking in on their progress since their last visit.

Pictures for Sponsors.  Over 4 hours were spent taking pictures of kids at the CarePoint for sponsors and sponsors-to-be.

Reading through their blog posts will give you much more detail, photo, and video of their trip. Please check out their trip blog, and consider how you can sponsor one of the children at the Bukedea CarePoint.

Sayyid Azim/Associated Press. Meles Zenawi, shown here in 2007, became Ethiopia’s president in 1991 after helping to oust the Communist military dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.

Today is was reported that the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, has died. With an American presidential election, you might miss this news unless you are tuned into to what’s happening in Africa.

One of Ethioipa’s national leaders is gone. Our friends in Ethiopia are praying for a smooth transition. This morning we received this note from our Ethiopia Country Director, Tesfa:

I was heartbroken by this sad news. We will never forget his great leadership, dedication and commitment to bring dramatic change in Ethiopia and in Africa in general.  I would ask you all to pray in this very critical time of leadership transition.

Please join them in praying for the leadership of Ethiopia. 

From the NY Times: A former rebel leader who had dropped out of medical school in the 1970s to fight Ethiopia’s former Communist government, Mr. Meles was considered one of Africa’s shrewdest and most intelligent leaders. He was known to be a voracious reader with a steel-trap mind who could rapidly digest mountains of statistics and quote large chunks of Shakespeare. He worked closely with Washington to combat Muslim extremism in the Horn of Africa, though there were growing complaints, even among his backers, about his penchant for violently quashing any dissent.

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