Monday, May 23, 2016

Multitude Monday, Take 358's been a while, hmm? By special request, an old-fashioned round of the Monday gratitude list. Because, as G.K. Chesterton once said, “When it comes to life the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude.”

Thanking God recently for...

7816. strawberry season

7817. Jesus' glorious invitation: "Let the little children come to Me!"
7818. the privilege of leading them and telling them about Him
7819. an impromptu pizza date with Jude
7820. memories of countless pre-orthodontist-appointment pizza lunch dates with my dad
7821. peony blooms in the light of the magic hours

7822. six big bushes heavy with gorgeous peonies

7823. painting with a friend while we caught up on life
7824. grilled cheese with bacon jam(!)
7825. boys opening my car door for me
7826. the way the neighbors' white dogwood glows in the early morning
7827. walks to preschool

7828. friends' listening ears, empathetic hearts, encouragement
7829. two-year-old sleeping in my arms during church nursery duty
7830. super kind and helpful endodontist
7831. sweet church friends babysitting for the boys
7832. double date in Nashville
7833. the neighbors' peonies
7834. Northern friends' peonies to enjoy on Instagram after mine are dead and gone
7835. cool morning breeze after overnight storms
7836. sweet times of sharing and prayer with the women in my community group
7837. VidAngel: way better movie selection, cheaper + more convenient than Redbox, *and* the ability to filter objectionable content!
7838. the energetic, joyful, kind woman working at the donut shop--loving her job, loving people, loving life
7839. visits from both sets of parents
7840. makeshift Narnia costumes

7841. theology discussions with Steve
7842. bluebirds on the greenway
7843. the scent of honeysuckle
7844. a friend's example of staying in the fight
7845. a Skype meeting with an old college friend

7846. Talenti coconut almond chocolate gelato (check your grocery's freezer...oh man)
7847. time to pray and prepare my heart before a meeting I dreaded
7848. incredibly merciful and sweet answers to those prayers
7849. our pastors' care for us
7850. their families' sacrifices to free them up to care for us

7851. Jude saying "Bless me!" when he sneezes
7852. a clean desk--with space to actually work *at the desk*! what?!
7853. re-launch of our women's Sunday School class
7854. getting to snuggle a dear friend's impossibly cute grandbaby
7855. boys dressing like ninjas and taking their swords for a walk on the greenway
7856. Steve sneaking and swordfighting with them, to the great amusement of passersby

7857. this cutie pie (who's grown an inch and a half since his October birthday!) graduating from preschool

7858. five-year-olds in mortarboards

7859. three quarts of rhubarb from Ohio
7860. great big creamy white magnolia blooms
7861. their scent surprising me as I passed under several trees
7862. the privilege of intercession
7863. seeing the gospel in Ezra
7864. silent reading time with Elijah while his little brother naps

7865. at least one friend who reads my blog and misses it when I don't post
7866. summer break!

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Compassion: A Child is Waiting...for You?

Scripture makes it clear that God cares deeply for the poor and the oppressed. Do we share our Father’s heart for the poor? And if we care as He does, how can we help? The needs are overwhelming—-what can we possibly do?

Extreme poverty is a massive, complex problem. There are so many issues to address--infrastructure, water, sanitation, hygiene, public policy, justice...all of those circumstances are important. Yet, as Compassion VP Scott Todd argues:
"…the heart of overcoming poverty lies in developing people, and with people development you get the most impact during their childhood. Compassion’s program contains the core components of really good child development—it’s comprehensive in a child’s life, it provides long-term involvement, and it points kids to the only true source of hope, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

“When the tactical value of all these things really hit me, I understood that this Compassion thing that I was already involved in wasn’t just a cute thing to do to help out a kid. A Compassion sponsorship is actually a profoundly strategic approach to dealing with poverty. You enter into children’s lives with the message that ‘you matter,’ you introduce them to Jesus, you give them protection and opportunity, and then you watch them flourish. Then those kids grow up to be the kinds of people who change their nations. When the poor themselves become the solutions to the problems they face in their societies, that is sustainable development. So for me, the simple and practical step toward tackling poverty is to sponsor a child through Compassion."

I’ve been a sponsor with Compassion International for nearly 16 years now, and it has been a beautiful gift. What a privilege to receive letters and photos, to watch Leni grow up and graduate from the program, to hear about Bahati’s dream of becoming a doctor, to have Providence tell what she bought with the birthday gift we sent. What a privilege to be a vessel of grace and truth and love to these children, to encourage them and point them to Jesus.

You see, it’s not just they who are poor. I, too, am poor—to echo Psalm 34:6, “This poor man cried, and the LORD heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.” Steve and I are not Compassion sponsors out of guilt or a sense of duty. It is our joy to extend hope to children in need because in a spiritual sense, we know what it is to be poor and needy and then to be rescued and given hope. We count it a privilege to reflect the image of our Savior, who, though He was rich, for our sake became poor, so that through His poverty we might become rich.

Sponsorship costs $38 a month—an investment of about $1.25 a day. Some of you would hardly miss that kind of money; for others of you, it really would be a significant sacrifice. But it provides opportunities for your sponsored child that most of the world’s poorest children never see. We have so much to share--not just our financial resources, but our love, our prayers, our letters. And I’m confident you’ll find that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. The effects of your generosity will ripple through eternity.

Our church recently celebrated Compassion Sunday, and I received packets for 16 children. My church stepped up and sponsored nine of them! That means I still have seven left--seven precious children who need someone to come into their lives and say, "You matter. Jesus loves you, and I care about you. You have hope!" Orlin ... Bright ... Ariane ... Dorvensky ... Mohammed ... Immaculee ... Jonathan. Real people in need of real help and hope.

Could they be waiting for YOU? I would love to find sponsors for every one of these little ones before their packets expire and they go back onto the waiting list. If you're interested, leave a comment below with your email address, or email me at amykannel [at] hotmail [dot] com and I will get you set up.

I hope you’ll consider participating in this ministry of releasing children from poverty in Jesus’ name. I believe in Compassion and I'm thankful to participate in the important and beautiful work they're doing.