Do you remember the excitement you felt as a kid when it was finally time for your family’s summer vacation? You’d wake up with the sun and bound out of bed, pulling your bags of goodies for the drive and nearly bursting with energy. You just KNEW this year was going to be the best yet!
Gathering supplies and adjusting to new schedules can make a new school year rather daunting. But as you’re preparing for classes to start, take a moment and think about how incredibly blessed your family is to have the chance for your children to receive a quality education!
Consider this from Haiti, a country not so far away from here… Hundreds of thousands of children have no access to school, or have seemingly innumerable obstacles in their way, such as: What would you do if you didn’t have any money to go to school? What if there was no school near you, and you had to walk miles each day without any food in your belly? What if, when you got to the one-room school house, you found that there were no books, and you sat on a bench all day in the heat to memorize from a chalkboard?
Isn’t it fun to look forward to an evening out with your family? What if you could change a life at same time?
At the 2015 Gospel Sing on Saturday, August 22, 2015, you can do just that. Join us at the Wilkening Farmstead (Cissna Park, IL) for an evening of down-home, southern gospel music. You’ll hear inspiring stories of hope, enjoy amazing food, and listen to encouraging music for the heart – all while having a great time with your friends and family. But the best part is, all freewill offerings collected that evening will benefit the lives of vulnerable children.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
Did you watch your dad in the shop, or discover a love of teaching from your 4th grade teacher? Did you job shadow someone or plan ahead to see what career you wanted to pursue in college?
Imagine what it would look like if the majority of the people you knew didn’t have a formal job. Imagine what you would dream about becoming when you only knew of three main professions in your community. What would you say then?
With a curious smirk, sporting a vest and tie, you smile and think, “What a cute boy.” What isn’t captured is how powerful this moment really is. You see, Obie*, the little guy pictured, had just joined his new Home of Hope family when this photo was taken. It was his first day in a new home. His first day eating three full meals. His first night sleeping in a bed all his own. It was the first of so many new things he never had before.
This weekend, we will celebrate our country’s independence and freedom. We will gather with friends and family and thank God for the freedoms we have been blessed with in this land – mostly things we have never lived without.
But we don’t begin to understand the magnitude of what we celebrate if we don’t know the power of what freedom really is. Today, there are people around the world who have never known this kind of freedom. They are men, women and children who do not know what it means to dream of a better future. They do not know what it is to celebrate freedom, either individually or as a nation. They are the world’s most vulnerable.
I sat in a dimmed auditorium listening to powerful words from a host of speakers at the Justice Conference 2015. Those two days were full of passionate leaders who are tackling extreme poverty, promoting peace in Israel and rescuing trafficked victims. Each has there own area with their own challenges. But each came back to the same place, reminding us that:
“Justice is what love looks like when we are facing the problems that our neighbors are dealing with.” – N.T. Wright
The tension was unnaturally thick in the concrete building last week. Nearly 40 people were there facing several LSM staff in what was quickly turning into a different meeting than LSM anticipated. They’d met last Tuesday to discuss with the community the security issues around the 40-acre LSM Ranch. Some local boys had been wriggling through the barbed wire and cactus fence to go swimming in a steep and deep pond on the LSM property. Concerned for their safety, LSM staff had told the boys to stop, and then approached the mayor when they kept sneaking over. But now, sitting across from some upset men, women and the local judge, LSM staff sensed it was about a lot more than boys swimming where they shouldn’t.