Check out this update from my wife and the director of doma...
Happy New Year, friends of doma!
As I depart 2010 and head quickly toward 2011, I am so so thankful for all of you who support doma's efforts. We have had an incredible year-- and as we ring in the New Year, know how much you have done to encourage us and to bring restoration and healing to so many vulnerable women and children this year. From doma's emerging care center in Ethiopia (and the many, many short term medical trips last year)-- to the children's center in Uganda-- to the vulnerable moms we journey with in Russia and the USA-- we are truly seeing communities that were in ruins becoming livable again.
Thank you for your support throughout the year. And especially thank you to those of you who prayerfully considered the matching grant challenge. So many of you were generous in prayer and in financial giving. And yes, we are able to ring in the New Year with the good news that we are
1) proud recipients of a generous grant from The Women's Fund of Central Ohio;
2) donations and pledges to provide for 2 Russia ConnectionPoints for Vulnerable Women, 1 Ukraine ConnectionPoint in 2011, as well as continued support for our Uganda ConnectionPoint.
3) donations and pledges to completely build our Ethiopia Prental Care Center; and...
4) A total of $27,000 raised in the last two weeks to meet the $27,000 matching grant challenge-- for a total of $54,000 to go toward our efforts to fight Human Trafficking and bring restoration to the ladies of Columbus who are participants of Judge Herbert's CATCH court (article and video explaining CATCH here should be viewed if you haven't already!) ... YAYAY!! Thank You, Thank You!
Yesterday, the doma Bloom! home was full of beauty as the ladies reflected on their year of activity at Bloom! They truly feel it is a place of peace, healing, and safety as they journey toward full restoration. You should see these ladies shine!
That's exactly how I feel right now. Full of peace, full of joy...as I am glowing with thankfulness for such a great year. It's such a simple song-- but the one that pops into mind right now is the first song I learned on the plane while on my way to serve orphaned children in Russia in 1993 (on tape, on my Sony Walkman)--
God is so good. Бог настолько хорош!
Peace and Joy,
Julie and the doma team
Doma International | PO Bx 21987 | Columbus, OH 43221 | www.domaconnection.org
Julie and I have both been overseas multiple times serving the poor, vulnerable mothers, and orphaned children. And sure, sometimes we've traveled with our children. Judah went to Russia with us twice, at the ages of 9 months and 13 months. And Sadie went to Ukraine with us when she was just 4 months old.
But tomorrow, all five of us are going to Russia. Julie, me, Judah (5 yrs.), Lucy (3 1/2 yrs.), and Sadie (2 yrs.) will head to Moscow.
A couple days later, we'll be joined by the rest of our team, 7 adults and 1 child (a friend and playmate of our kids, and the child of 2 of the adult team members).
While we're there, we'll be offering camps to foster families, young mothers and their children, and working on a dacha (a country cottage) that we and Orphan's Tree will use in the future for ministry retreats.
After some time in Kostroma, we'll send the other 8 members of our team home, and head to St. Petersburg for a few days to check in with The Harbor, one of our partners in Young Mothers projects, as well as visit with some other orphanages that may need our assistance.
Check in at my blog, on Facebook, or on Twitter to hear and see more as our adventure of compassion unfolds. You can also check in with Julie on her blog or Twitter.
I hope you and your family will join Doma International as we seek to empower women and embrace children.
I am recruiting creative, adventurous, missional, visionary, & entrepreneurial people to go on an adventure of compassion to Ethiopia April 25-May 4. Comment on this blog or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Here is what you can expect...
The average Ethiopian woman will give birth to over 6 children, and 1 in 11 women in East Africa will die of childbirth related causes. When a mother dies, children are orphaned; and there are 5 million orphans in Ethiopia. Doma digs to the root of the problem. In Ethiopia, growing healthy families means removing obstacles to peace and joy, and preventing that which leads to more orphaned children and vulnerable women.
Doma is establishing a Prenatal & Early Childhood Care Center in Bora, a village in the mountains of southern Ethiopia. The problem of maternal and child mortality is much greater in Bora than the national averages. At this center, the mothers and mothers-to-be in and around Bora will be trained in simple healthcare practices and have access to prenatal and postnatal care, as well as pediatric care for their children. The center will also operate holistic programs that focus on such areas as agriculture, education, and workforce development.
As co-founder and Director of Marketing and Development for doma, I am leading a Vision Trip to Ethiopia April 25 to May 4, 2011. You will travel with leaders, pastors, activists, and business persons who are passionate and share your interest in Africa, orphaned children, and vulnerable women. You will see real needs first hand and meet these needs in simple and immediate. You will serve alongside one of doma‘s medical teams. You will experience the first stages of the center doma is establishing. You will build relationships with Ethiopians and earn life-long friends. You will have the opportunity to give to this and other projects, as well as come home inspired and informed to connect your families, churches, businesses, and communities to the adventure of generosity and compassion on behalf of orphaned children and vulnerable women.
The team will travel from Monday, April 25th to Wednesday, May 4th. The cost to cover all your needs while in Ethiopia is $1250 per person. This is a tax-deductible gift to doma, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You will also need to purchase airfare in consultation with a doma staff person. Additional cash for souvenirs, tips, and snacks is recommended. If you are even considering this opportunity, please be sure that you have a valid and current US passport as soon as possible. Go to www.travel.state.gov/passport for more information.
The Next Steps:
If you are considering traveling to Ethiopia with doma this Spring, please contact me at email@example.com or 614-648-3663 as soon as possible. Doma’s experienced and professional team will guide you through the steps of preparing for your adventure of compassion in the beautiful country of Ethiopia.
Most of us have grown up with a home and a family—mom, dad, and grandparents. And most of us have choices… college, job, marriage. But many people only know homes where there is abuse, hostility, pain, or injustice. Some only know an orphanage or the streets as home.
Doma International redefines home and seeks to break the cycle of orphaned children by empowering human trafficking survivors and embracing children here in Columbus and around the globe.
This year, our official charity running team will participate in the Capital City Half Marathon on May 7th in Columbus, Ohio. Join us as we walk and run for their lives.
To learn more, visit www.teamup4orphans.org. Attend our informational meeting on March 5th, 9-10 am to meet the event coordinator, captains and coaches, and to fill out your paperwork. Location Mill Run UALC, 3500 Mill Run Drive, Hilliard OH 43026. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to RSVP. If you're from out of town, and still want to join, email Jen to make it happen! It's not too late to walk, run, or (crawl!) for orphans and survivors!
I think that is one of the most important questions we can ask ourselves today at the end of our journey through The Hole in our Gospel and everyday as we live our lives with meaning and purpose.
What do you see when you look at the world?
Like a pessimist, do you see only obstacles? Like an optimist, do you see only opportunities? Or are you somewhere in the middle, some kind of committed and hopeful realist? Stearns calls us to be 'people of the possible.'
The first problem with engaging in an effective way with some of the issues that plague our globe is that many people are simply unaware.
The second problem is that most people don't realize that they really do have something of value to offer. Perhaps it is insecurity; maybe busyness. But most of this problem comes also from unawareness. Many people are unaware that whatever their skills, gifts, vocations, availability, resources, personalities, interests... everyone can be on the team in the fight against global poverty! No matter who you are, you have what Stearns calls 'the three t's': time, talent, and treasure.
Time is a valuable commodity these days. I can't decide if I would rather have more time or more money, but both seem to be elusive and in demand. The way the world works tells us that our time has value. This is how we are paid, for instance. But we often manage our time poorly, getting neither the amount of rest and recreation nor the amount of productivity and proactivity that we could if a different approach were used. Additionally, we often forget that giving our time in the fight against global poverty can often pack as powerful a punch as a check we write. What are you doing with your time? What do you need less of in your schedule? What do you need more of?
I guess if I could send one message in this post, it would be this: YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO OFFER. You are unique, talented, gifted, experienced, interested. Don't believe the lie that you have nothing to offer. And don't use that as an excuse either. Instead, figure out what it is that you have to offer. How many loaves and fish? If this is new territory for you, talk to a family member or good friend who can help you identify this. Also, check out one or both of these two resources for identifying what you have to offer: S.H.A.P.E. and Strengthsfinder 2.0.
We learned earlier in our look at The Hole in our Gospel that if you earn $50,000, your income is higher than 99% of the people on the planet. If you are reading this blog, chances are you have the opportunity to earn, spend, save, invest, and give money, no matter how meager, adequate, or impressive those dollars and cents may be. I urge you to earn, spend, save, invest, and give that money with an eye on the whole gospel. St. Augustine states it in a compelling and convicting way:
That bread which you keep belongs to the hungry; that coat which you preserve in your wardrobe, to the naked; those shoes which are rotting in your possession, to the shoeless; that gold which you have hidden in the ground, to the needy. Wherefore, as often as you are able to help others, and refuse, so often did you do them wrong.