Water Saves

Hey guys!

So, I am going to apologize now that this post is going to be very brief, but I wanted to write a little bit about the organization that I am going with in August!

I am so incredibly excited to be venturing on my third trip, second one out of the country, with this specific nonprofit called “Water Saves”.

If you haven’t noticed by now, water seems to be in a lot of underlying mission trips that are out of the country. Why? Because what we take for granted in the states, others around the world are so desperate for it. According to the World Health Organization, water security affects approximately 40% of people on the planet. Women and children will spend an average of six hours procuring water in developing countries. SIX. Imagine that, in almost the time of your work day, someone has been out looking for water. I know I already mentioned a couple of posts ago about the need for water, and the facts behind it, but I am going to share some again, because they really just baffle me, and continue to blow my mind. Did you know that 2 billion people do not have access to safe drinking water, and that 2.2 million people die annually from unsafe drinking water diseases?  Every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-borne illness, and diarrhea kills more children every year than AIDS, malaria and measles combined! How crazy are these facts? No matter how many times I see them or read through them, they still hit a place in my heart that I can’t help but feel pain.

What is Water Saves solution though? They use Sawyer filters to provide families with safe drinking water. They install the cost effective, sustainable filters in homes, orphanages, school and churches in developing countries. The filters actually use the same technology found in kidney dialysis, and remove 99.99% of bacteria and protozoa. It requires no electricity, or fuel source! And while we are in their homes, or schools, we have the chance to develop a relationship with them, and learn more about them and their lives. The core values of the organization are compassion, integrity, and excellence. We are God’s hands and feet, and we are here to bring hope.

I for one am so incredibly excited to serve with them this upcoming August, in Panama. I will be heading out the 19th, so if around that time you happen to think of me and my team, send up a prayer for safe travels, and that we are able to help many, and even more importantly, form wonderful relationships while we are down there.

Children die every day from water related illnesses… but there is a way to help. Won’t you join?

Check out Water Saves website, to see what I will be up to, or to go on a trip yourself! http://www.watersaves.org/home.html

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For those who want options!

Okay, so I know that I have been focusing a lot on youth, and youth ministries, but I have come to the conclusion that I think it is so important to start a strong foundation in the young generation. We are the next generation, and we are the future. This is a daunting but encouraging thought. We have the power to change the world. While I am not considered a “youth” technically, I would consider myself to be in the next generation range. And there is something powerful about knowing that you have what it takes to make a difference and grow stronger and closer to our God. This organization that I learned about was kind of through a random encounter. I learned about it through a blog, which I found via Facebook. (PS, the blogger was using WordPress, you go girl!) The blogger talked about going on a 5-6-month trip on the DTS training with YWAM. I of course was very intrigued because she was talking about New Zealand, and I was so curious as to what these abbreviations were! So, I looked them up and learned of an organization called “Youth With A Mission”.

YWAM is a global movement of Christians from many different ages and walks of life, dedicated to serving Jesus throughout the world. There common purpose is to know God and to make Him known. They currently are working in more than 1,100 locations in over 180 countries, with a staff of over 18,000. This has many amazing opportunities within the YWAM, but the thing that really intrigued me was the training aspect that the organization provides, and the introductory course is called DTS (Discipleship Training School).  Through their training programs, they aim to better equip Christians to grow in their relationship with God and to serve others in anything from agriculture to health care. They have everything you could want! Their training school is offered in many nations and many languages. They even offer a YMAM University of the Nations, which offers specialized study in areas like science and technology, humanities, and Christian ministry.

The Discipleship Training School is a full-time program that last five or six months, and consists of two parts: lecture phase and outreach phase. And the other awesome part of this is that there are over 200 YWAM locations all over the world, so whatever country you have a passion to see, they can make that happen for you, and you can also look up certain areas that meet your passion, such as exercise and fitness. They also offer short-term mission opportunities that can last anywhere from 1 week to 2 years! I am so happy that I stumbled on this website, because as I write about it, I get more excited about it! This seems like the most well-rounded opportunistic website I have visited. It looks awesome!

Are you looking to change our future generation? A brighter tomorrow starts with a single step. Look at their website, and check out all the opportunities! https://www.ywam.org/wp/

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Flood the Nations

If you are a young adult, thirsting for something more out of this life, and a way to connect with the living God, then look no further than the organization called Flood the Nations! I love the name of the organization, let alone what they stand for. The mission of Flood the Nations is to bring the living water (Christ), to a world that is thirsting for the love and passion only God can bring us. He gave us His love and life, to go out into all the nations and share it abundantly. Flood the Nations reaches youth, students and young adults through cross cultural missions, Thirsty Generation conferences, and the mission water project. Annually, teams are heading to Honduras, and they are now expanding into Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

They haven’t stopped just there though! They are also reaching the United States by the Thirsty Generation conferences, which are impacting young adults and youth with the love, grace and power of God. They believe in reaching, training and sending out the younger generation to the nations, and see them transformed through service projects, worship conferences and discipleship.

The mission trip that you will be sent out on is called the “Mission Water Project”, which is an outreach where you will be providing clean and safe water for children and families across the globe. Their missions teams build partnerships with the villages that you visit, and this will then start opening doors to health, education, and hope for the future. Did you know that unsafe water affects more people worldwide than AIDS and cancer combined? Did you know that one child every 15 seconds dies from a disease related to unclean water? That last fact in itself should call us into action, and to go flood the nations! How do they do this? One simple filter. The Hyraid BioSand Water Filter removes parasites, bacteria, and viruses from contaminated water, making it safe to drink. And the best news about this filter is that it can provide clean drinking water to a family for 10 whole years. Flood the Nations isn’t just going in for a short-term hand out. They go in, open their hearts to these people, and provide them a lasting solution for an ongoing problem, all while introducing them to the Living Water, our God.

Think you are up to the challenge?

Check out their website here! http://www.floodthenations.org/

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Young Life

What is Young Life?

You may have heard it mentioned at a local college campus, or within your high school, but many aren’t aware of what exactly it is. I wasn’t aware of it either, and it was offered right on my own college campus, and I now have many friends who are connected into the YL program, and have seen lives changed for the better because of it. It has created a community of like-minded students throughout the country, who are on a mission to spread the love of God, just by being there and being in relationship with the students around them. At the end of the day it always comes back to the simple word: relationships.

Young Life isn’t a program. It is adults who care enough about kids and college students to go reach out to them, on their “turf” and building true friendships. These relationships don’t happen overnight though, they take time, trust, and consistency, so being a young life leader means spending many hours with kids, and meeting where they are, just as they are. They believe that kids’ lives can be dramatically changed when a caring adult steps in alongside of them, sharing in God’s love with them. The kids that they lead will begin to see that their lives really do have a huge purpose, and they are worth more than anything in this world. Their motto is “loving kids regardless of their responses”. They know firsthand how hard it is to love on kids that give you nothing in return, and don’t seem to respond back to you. But just as a seed that you plant takes time and attention to grow, the same could be said for kids, and the transformation is amazing to watch.

YL’s vision is that together, with eyes forward, they are diving deeper into their walk with Jesus while helping young people grow deeper in their faith, while building relationships with more young people all over the world. They want to help introduce young adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith. How do they accomplish this? They accomplish it by praying for young people, going where the kids are, and providing fun, adventurous and life changing experiences. They also work on preparing kids for a life-long relationship with Christ, and a love for His word, as well as having a like-minded adult community surrounding the leaders.

How can you get involved? There are many different option through Young Life, and it isn’t limited to just one age group! You can work with kids or college students, and they also have different chapters for adults and parents, as well as alumni. They also have different ministry opportunities in different areas like high school, international, expeditions, multicultural, Young Lives, and global leaders. Their ministry opportunities are unique, and they keep the options wide open so that you can find just the right one to fit your likes. Even if you don’t have Young Life in your community, they will help you get in touch with someone who is close and can help you to get started on creating it!

There is so, so, SO much within the Young Life realm, and the options are endless, I can’t even begin to write about them, I wouldn’t know where to start! If this interests you at all, I highly encourage you go online and check out their website to look into all the different experiences they have to offer.

Check out their website! https://www.younglife.org/Pages/default.aspx

 

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Good News India

I wouldn’t call myself a “kid person” by any means, but there is something special about being around a little one that makes you see the world a little bit differently. Children have an amazing ability to look at everything so simply, and to look at the positives that are hidden in this world, like the beautiful simplicity of an ice cream cone, or playing with a hose. They have a way of working their way into your heart, and making you chuckle a little and love more. So, it is only natural to feel your heart break when you think of children in any kind of pain or suffering, especially when it can be easily prevented.

You see advertisements all over for these children, and most of them, are shown as being from Africa. Now don’t get me wrong, any child in need anywhere in the world, should have the chance to be heard. But what about all those other places in the world that gets less publicity? Who is going to hear them? Well, I have good news! (No pun intended by this). An organization called “Good News India”, is here to help cover the country of India, and all the hurting and needing children there. I had the amazing opportunity to meet and have dinner with one of the founders of the organization, and a better man couldn’t be found. He talks passionately about “his children”, and loves what he does with his life, which is helping provide for more than 3,000 children.

Good News India is the world’s largest network of 24/7 care centers for orphaned and destitute children that will see them through college or Vo-Tech training. Isn’t that amazing? They aren’t just offering these children a chance to survive until 18, they are looking after their long-term goals, and helping them to dream big, and chase after their dreams! They currently own and operate 31 “Dream Centers”, and have rescued more than 3000 children, and over 500 lepers from a life of hopelessness. Their vision is to transform communities in Eastern India through Children’s Homes aka Dream Centers, Leper Homes (Cities of Refuse), Youth Conventions and Strategic Leadership conferences. Through this, they hope to transform communities in East India, and keep children out of indentured servitude, sexual exploitation, and providing a safe haven for the sick.

Through the program, they hope to bring the Good News of Jesus for all people, and to promote charitable work like distributing food and clothes, educating the illiterate, and helping the destitute children. Their long-term goals are to establish 100 Dream Center in areas of Northeast India, 10 vocational and technical schools to provide career training, and to conduct 10 medical/Clinic Outreaches each year. The main goal of Good News India, is to provide a safe place for the children of East India, and giving them the better life that so many of us take for granted.

As with any organization, you can give a donation of any amount online, on their website. You also have the awesome opportunity to schedule a tour of the Dream Centers, which are listed online as well, and these “tours” as they call them are what we know as mission trips. You will get the chance to go and be with the children in a certain location, and help with everything to youth camp and VBS, to simply spending time with them and serving them. But most of the time I realize that they really end up serving us, as well as teaching us. The ability to love on children who come from broken homes is like no other.

Do you have a special heart for children? Then definitely consider this trip as your next stop.

Visit their website! http://goodnewsindia.org/

 

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Youth Students

I wrote a little earlier in my blog about how hard it is being a college student in this day and age, and being drawn further and further away from our heavenly father. But it isn’t just the college aged generation that has been effected. I am happy to say that I am a leader of my church’s youth group, and it is an amazing time to see these young men and women grow. But the more I get involved in it, the more I see what these kids go through. These young high school and middle schoolers have so much pressure these days. They are dealing with social media at such a young age, telling them who to be and how to “fit” into the world. And a lot of times honestly, fitting in doesn’t usually involve God anymore. So now we have a war of these youth students, going through so much, and so many times lacking guidance.

Well, thank goodness for company’s out there that are reaching our youth aged students! CSM, Center for Student Missions, is here to help and offer short term mission trips to youth groups across the United States. The CSM started in 1988, and their focus was on giving youth groups and churches a life changing short term urban experience. It started in LA and then shortly expanded to Washington DC and Chicago.

Their mission statement is to “provide an effective urban ministry experience that transforms lives, influences churches and communities, and honors Christ.” Their vision is to serve the city, and the often-forgotten communities in the urban area.

What do they do to help reach the urban communities within the city?

The CSM helps you to experience a city living. Their housing locations are right in the heart of the city you choose to go to, so you can experience the sights, sounds, and smells. This also allows you to have the chance to experience my favorite thing… the food! But besides things like amazing sights, smells and food, this allows you to really become one and learn about the city. It helps you to see the unique issues and problems that each city faces, and how God is present in each and every one of them, in different ways. At CSM, they are giving you the opportunity to become part of the solution for the city. You will be included in a variety of hands-on ministry, helping you to dive right in to the culture and problems that these city dwellers face every single day! This is all about opening your eyes to a broken world within our country, and showing that you don’t have to travel across the ocean to find poverty and broken relationships.

The trip can go on if you want it too, they have options that are as short as 24 hours, to a week-long trip. They have moved beyond their original locations, and now have institutes and offices in Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Houston, LA, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Tijuana, and Washington DC. So anywhere you feel led to go country wide, they have you covered. The cost of the trip is $68 dollars per person, per night, and this is not including transportation costs. There are six different group types while on the trip: Junior High, Senior High, Mixed, College, Adult, and Family, so they allow you to relate to your own age group, to have amazing fellowship.

This is an amazing trip that you can take with your local church, or even your friends! And you get to experience and amazing city, and see our amazing God at work. So, what isn’t to love?

Check out their website! http://www.csm.org/about/

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Doctors without Borders

I used to be a nursing major, and I loved the idea of being able to help people and be there for them through their darkest hours and time of need. While I am not a nursing major anymore, Doctors Without Borders still is a company who always has a special place in my heart. That is where I wanted to work as I was pursuing nursing, and I think the work they do is amazing and selfless. When disaster or war strikes, there almost is always need in the medical field for someone to come in and help pick up the pieces and help the hurting souls and bodies that are left behind in the disaster. That is where Doctors Without Borders comes in.

Every year, they provide medical care to millions of people in more than 60 countries around the world, aiding in armed conflicts, epidemics, malnutrition, or natural disasters. MSF (another name for the organization) stays neutral in all agendas such as politics, religions, or location. Every day more than 30,000 qualified professionals within the MSF system can be found providing medical care all around the world. In 2014, the teams conducted more than 8 million outpatient consultations, delivered 194,400 babies, and carried out more than 81,000 surgeries. They have active teams in Syria, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Pakistan, Yemen, Iraq, and Afghanistan. When MSF responds, they are there to save lives and to ease the suffering of those in crises, helping them to rebuild their lives and communities. They don’t just stop at sending professionals into the field, they also do a lot of behind the scenes work. They have advocates in capitals and board rooms around the world to fight against any policy that might limit access to medicine or health care that is needed in a certain country.

So, are you as excited as I am about this organization? The other great thing is that they offer so many ways to get involved! You don’t want to go? That is perfectly fine. They accept donations of any amount to help their different causes, but it doesn’t stop there. You can also fundraise for MSF by creating awareness in your community by hosting a fundraising event, and you can also look for upcoming events in your area to support them. There is also bequests and gift annuities, major giving, foundation support, corporate support, and they also encourage something as simple as sharing and learning more about their work to help spread the word. Even if you don’t feel called to go, or aren’t qualified, there are ways to help and to give!

But what if you do feel called to go and are qualified?

Doctors Without Borders is currently looking for several different medical personnel, from physicians to RN’s and nurse practitioners, to surgeons, midwives, anesthesiologists, and human resources administrators. If you are in the medical field, or considering it, they have a place for you! You can go onto their website and look up the different areas of specialty they are needing. And what if you aren’t in the medical field? They can still offer you the opportunity to help, through their office work. They are looking for office volunteers as well as full time employment, as well as offering office internships.

I love all the options this organization offers, and for what they stand for. They don’t discriminate, and wherever they see a need, they go. So, knowing all of this information, do you feel led to go and help as a medical personnel? Or even willing to give a small amount of your time or money to such a great cause?

Check out their website below and look at some amazing stories, and videos! http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/

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Love Conquers All

Love conquers all.

What is the problem?

Fear. At the center of violence and conflict is fear. We have a fear of loss, of being alone, and we fear being vulnerable. We fear ideas and religions that don’t match up with our own. So from this fear stems fighting. It starts with attitudes and words, and then it escalates to fists and bombs. So, when it seems that all of this unsettled attitude is all around us, what does one do? We call in the peacemakers. At Preemptive Love, it’s a global movement of peacemakers that are changing the way we engage the world’s most unsettled conflicts by confronting them with acts of love, not fear.

How does this organization show love to the world in the face of fear?

There are many ways that Preemptive Love goes out and reaches lives. They work in emergency relief for families victimized by ISIS, they help make lifesaving heart surgeries for children possible, they provide education for at-risk children, provide grants for small business owners, provide peacemaking in conflict-zones, and counsel to policymakers in Washington D.C, London, and Baghdad. They currently have offices in Tobruk, Syria, two locations in Iraq, and Iran. So far they have provided 2,200 lifesaving operations for children, over 1 million pounds of food aid for ISIS victims, and over 95 businesses have started by the displaced men and women.

They do amazing work in providing for those overseas in the Middle East to have a second chance and a brighter future. One Empowerment story, as they call it, comes from a woman named Madeeha. Madeeha’s family and family farm was attacked in 2003, when Coalition soldiers entered the farm where her family worked. Fighting broke out, and too late for them to flee, her family came into the line of fire, killing her mother and brother, and leaving her with an arm that had to be amputated. She and her sister were left with ten orphans to feed and take care of. ISIS then came, and the horror was relived and Madeeha and her family escaped to Baghdad where other families were staying, and that is where she found Preemptive Love. She decided it was time to start working and provide for her family, and she borrowed 70 American dollars and began selling vegetables, and now, her business is growing with all her hard work. The grant that Preemptive Love provided her allows her to keep expanding her store and her profits, so that she can continue to take care of her family and community.

If that isn’t an amazing redemption story, I don’t know what is!

Their impact is reaching deep, and they have core values to match with the impact. Preemptive Love’s core values would start out with one of the most important ones: love anyway. We all have our own political beliefs, and our own religious beliefs, but we are called to love anyways. They call us to wrap our arms around those we fear, and invite others to do the same. Their second core value is to simply show up. Presence matters. Healing starts when we bring our entire being into a problem, including our fears. Ask questions, risk failure, and don’t hide. Their third core value is “get out of the way.” This means stepping back after we show up, so that others can stand on their own. Step back and see the bigger picture.

How can you help this amazing organization? As with every non-profit, there are ways to give. You can go online and donate any amount to help provide for things such as business empowerment, surgeries, or disaster relief. You can also go on to their website and shop their collection, where the proceeds go to areas in need. You can buy products that are specifically made by refugees! They make things like soap and candles that you can purchase, and you can also invest in a refugee’s small business, and provide the tools or animals they need.

Will you join the fight in the Middle East by acting out of love, and not fear? By opening your heart and arms to those in need?

Check out their website! http://www.preemptivelove.org/

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Nature and Animal Lover’s Petitions

Happy Friday everyone! This next non-profit is a direct call for all the animal lovers out there, as well as nature lovers. I personally am not a huge animal lover or nature lover, I know I know, I am weird! But my friend Katie recommended this specific organization to me and said that she fully supports it and all that it stands for. She stated that she loves this council because it covers a lot of ground, and doesn’t just concentrate on one area of the world, but it spreads out and tackles big issues as well as small issues. The organization’s name is NRDC, which stands for Natural Resources Defense Council. NRDC “works to safeguard the earth- its people, its plants and animals, and the natural systems on which all life depends.” The council has more than 2 million members, as well as online activists comprised of 500 scientists, lawyers and advocates across the entire globe to ensure the rights of all to air, water, and wild.

I like the idea of this one, because there are so many different options, depending on what your specific interests are! Their areas of work include climate change, health, communities, energy, food, oceans, water, and the wild. NRDC believes that the world’s children should inherit a planet that will sustain them, as it has for all of us. Online, you can check out each avenue that might interest you.

The way that the company works is by having experts using data and science to discover the root cause of problems that the world is facing. Using the information that they have given, they create transforming solutions, and then from those solutions they get support from partners, members, and advocates from law and policies to come together and protect our environment. They do this through litigation, business, science, partnership, and advocacy. They are planted globally, with sites in the United States, all the way to Southeast Asia and Africa. They pride themselves on being available to communities across the globe, to your very own backyard.

Once you find the specific area that speaks to you, how can you help?

On the website, there is a “Get Involved” tab, and if you click on it is provides a place to give your email to stay connected with the numerous calls to action they have to present to the world. The top three that they are promoting today is a petition to stop climate destruction, a petition against Trump stating that they won’t stop fighting global climate change, and then one to help protect the beautiful Monarch butterfly from toxic pesticides. There are so many other petitions that you can take action with and sign, the options are endless! On top of allowing you to be a part of the movement, they also provide great information on each different movement, such as “10 ways to reduce plastic pollution” and such. It is a great resource information site. It also has a donate tab, where you can donate a one time gift, or become a monthly giver. You can also give through estate planning, honorary gifts, and sales/event proceeds.

This is an amazing company, and although they don’t provide the opportunity for you to go into the field and get your hands dirty, it is still amazing to be a part of making our world a little bit brighter and better for our future generation, even by sitting in a coffee shop and just giving.

A petition just requires a signature, won’t you put aside a little bit of your time to go and see what changes can be made?

 

Check out their website! https://www.nrdc.org/

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