Saturday, February 22, 2014

Snapshots from Our Annual CRI Staff Meeting

Last week we hosted our annual staff coference. This was the first one since I started working in the home office full-time. So this time around I was asked to take a lead role in planning and hosting the meetings. I really enjoyed it!

Our objectives for this years conference were threefold:
  1. Our missionaries would be refreshed and encouraged.
  2. Each of our missionaries would clearly understand their vital role in generating CRI's six ministry outcomes.
  3. Our missionaries would leave equipped to minister more effectively in their role.
When we started planning in November I suggested that we try something totally different than in the past. Instead of just a series of large group teaching sessions we should break the staff into smaller teams and have them rotate through a series of breakout sessions and team exercises. This way we encourage greater participation by making the meetings more interactive and engaging. And we allow everyone to get to know each other better in their teams.

There were around 40 staff there, including 9 indigenous missionaries. Our board of directors was also with us for part of the time. Thanks to everyone's hard work it was a huge success! Some even said that it was the best staff conference we have ever had. I am really glad that I got to contribute!

UPDATE: Haiti Development Trip

This Thursday, Feb. 27, I am leaving for a 6-day trip to Haiti. I will be traveling with Jean Joseph, a CRI missionary from Haiti. He just graduated from seminary and is currently fundraising with his wife to return to Haiti full-time. A year and a half ago he founded a Bible school for rural pastors who have no training in Mirago├óne, Haiti.

I am mentoring Jean and helping him develop his ministry with us. We are going down to see the Bible school, visit the teachers and pastors, and to flesh out the larger vision of what he and his wife hope to accomplish, which includes the Bible school, an orphanage for street kids, and a ministry to widows and abandoned women.

Please pray for us. Pray for safe travels, and a productive time. Also, pray for Sarah and Eli, and Jean's wife, Jean-Marie, as they are without us for the week.

Thank you for your partnership in this way!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Loving the Least of These

Fr. Theodore Jurewicz. Christ and the Children. 1998. Christ the Savior Orthodox Church, Harrisburg, PA.

"You will always have the poor among you." - Jesus Christ, Matt. 26:11

Considering Jesus' quote above, why do we do what we do? What is the point of doing relief work among the poor? Children's Relief exists for more than just relief work. We exist to take Christ to the poor in both word and deed. We recognize that because of human nature poverty will never be completely eradicated until Christ returns. Our motivation lies not in being the solution to the grand problem, but instead in being the solution for the individual. We want to change the life of Ndiri. We want to change the life of Dhanyavathi.

We can do this by providing them with tangible aid and education, but that's not enough. We must also preach the good news of Christ's love. It is through this that lasting change will come. Christ also said, "As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me." And that is why Sarah and I do what we do. Thank you for loving "the least of these" with us.

Click here to see Ndiri and Dhanyavathi's stories.

Meet Dhanyavathi & Ndiri

Meet Dhanyavathi

Meet Ndiri

Ndiri’s mom died after giving birth and his father abandoned him soon after. Now Ndiri and his siblings live with their grandmother. She is a widow and has buried all ten of her own children. After taking in her grandchildren, she had to beg to feed her new family. To make matters worse, Ndiri weakened quickly because he could not eat solid food. At the Tessa Grace Nutrition Center Ndiri is receiving his life back.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Settling in to Our New Season of Life

Dear Friends,

This new season of life has kept us busy! Like you, we find ourselves looking for balance between work and family, friends and ministry. You, our family, supporters, team, and partners in ministry, are some of the greatest blessings in our life and we want to feel connected to you through this journey of working with Children’s Relief International. Ideally, we would have you all over for dinner each week, but since we’re spread out across the country and busy doing life, we must rely on updates such as this to keep in touch. Please know that we pray for each of you often and would love to host you in our home any time you’re in the Dallas area! Ricky and I want you to know that we are committed to sending frequent updates, but a more lengthy and complete update will be sent every few months. This update will include more personal information about our family. We hope you will respond to these updates with news about the happenings in your lives!

Eli continues to grow and develop into quite a social boy. He recently began attending Mother’s Day Out two days each week and has surprised us with his courageous and adventurous spirit. There have been no tears, only excitement to arrive in his class and see his teachers and friends. His first day he spent the drive home telling me about his day – “Momma! Shoot! Ball! Happy Birthday! Share! Nap mat! Paci! Toys! Yep!” We are so grateful to the Lord for this little guy. Eli brings us so much joy! Ricky would like me to mention that Eli is slowly mastering the phrase, “Gig’em Aggies!” He is a proud papa. We are learning more and more that good parenting is only possible by the grace of God. Our desire is to raise Eli to fear the Lord and grow in His wisdom and love. Please pray with us that we would be faithful to this important calling in our lives.

Having our own child impacts our perspective on our work with children around the world. The love we have for Eli is so strong and so innate, it is hard to imagine that there are children in the world who live without love or whose parents are financially destitute, rendering them unable to care and provide for them. These are the people we seek to love through CRI’s ministry.

Ricky is faced with the reality of these struggles daily. One of the most exciting projects Ricky is developing is an event called “10 Days 4 Change.” The goal of this project is to generate awareness, funding, and a willingness to go and serve amongst college students across the state. Ricky has been gathering a team of college students who are working to organize a Change event on their campus. Please pray for Ricky and these students as they prepare for the first round of events this fall. We’re excited about the opportunities these events will open up to CRI and to children around the world!
I spend my days caring for Eli and our puppy Beau and managing our home. Some days are more successful than others☺. In a few weeks I will return to Aikin Elementary where I worked as a special education teacher for five years, to tutor students two days a week. I’m looking forward to reengaging my teaching skills and interacting with the always-entertaining group at Aikin. Ricky and I have enjoyed hosting friends and family throughout the summer, especially when our guests willingly participate in house projects with us! (Thanks family!)

As I have been thinking through this update, I have been overwhelmed by the many ways we have experienced God’s provision, grace, and peace since our move to Rockwall six months ago. We have a wonderful home, amazing coworkers, a healthy family, food in our refrigerator, friends near and far who visit, and the opportunity to impact the lives of those whose needs are astoundingly basic but overwhelmingly great. Thank you for partnering with us in this work of sharing Christ with those near and far. We cannot express how grateful we are to you for your support.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Run for the Homeless, the Widow, & the Orphan


Last month we hosted our 4th annual Green Door 5K, a race that raises funds and awareness for CRI’s home building projects in Africa. Houses are built for the homeless, widows, and orphans. As a final touch the doors are painted green as a witness of new life through Christ. These homes speak volumes, proclaiming a message of hope, security, and love in communities filled with oppression and fear. They change lives, like AIDS orphan Domingo’s and his grandmother’s.

This year the race nearly doubled in size and raised enough money to build several homes for those in need. Ricky and I loved witnessing first hand CRI’s involvement in our community. We were blown away to have over 70 volunteers – friends and family who are taking ownership of CRI’s values and are willing to give of their time and resources to impact those so very far away. Team Allegretto and Friends made an impressive showing – thanks for coming out you guys!

Scroll down to see both Green Door 5K and Green Door House photos.

Green Door 5K Race Day

A Few Green Door Houses in Mozambique

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Trip to India

Once in a while we experience something that knocks us out of our everyday routine and wakes us up to a bigger world. I recently had one of those experiences. Sarah, Eli, and I moved to Rockwall at the beginning of March, and a few days later I left for my first trip to India. What a wake up!

While India is a land full of rich culture and warm people, it is also a developing nation plagued by deep poverty and oppression. Even though I was asked to teach at several churches, I was humbled by the faith and compassion of our national leaders. Really I was the one being taught. Even the children instructed me. One little girl named Nagalaxmi (pictured with orange bows) gave away her birthday cake until we made her keep a slice for herself. Her generosity in spite of having so little reminded me that there is nothing better than loving God and loving people. Thanks for partnering with us in this great work!

Scroll (or click) to see more photos.