More Than Just Crafts

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So, if you have asked me what I have been up to for the past few weeks, I have probably told you I was crafting… because that’s the truth.  Pretty much every spare moment I’ve been cutting, pasting, painting, nailing something to make it beautiful. 

I haven’t just been crafting for the fun of it, I’ve been creating items to sell at my church’s Spring Market at a women’s rally.  938802_10151584209885861_738576393_oThe Spring Market is for local women to sell hand-crafted items to others attending the event.

When I first heard about the event, I immediately knew I wanted a booth.  Not because I’m a crafter.  I haven’t really made anything before.  But with the opportunity to raise some money for New Horizons for Children and tell people about our ministry, I’d be willing to make just about anything!

So, I thought about it for a whole 12 hours and decided to make things with a map theme.  It not only is very trendy now, but also goes perfectly with our ministry that builds lasting connections with orphans and families who would otherwise be worlds apart. 

Knowing I was doing this for a cause that is so near to my heart, I wanted to be sure to put my heart into everything.  I wanted to make things that people would connect with, that would inspire them, that would cause their spirits to compassion to the people and children from other parts of the globe.   I knew that as I was crafting things, there would be a story behind why people were drawn to the item and what prompted them to purchase it. 

I crafted day and night and came up with over 100 saleable items… ranging from coasters and lamps, to clipboards and bookmarks.  It was so fun to get everything together and sell them with the other local NHFC moms at the church last night.  Some even pitched in with their own items they made.  

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My favorite part of the night was just the affirmation that what I had made was more than just crafts.  It was the conversations and connections that people made with the items that made it worthwhile. 

A young college student came by and was so interested in all we had… and believe me, there was a lot to see!  The one she seemed most interested in was a nail and string depiction of Africa with a heart in the middle.  As I was making it, I had wondered, where in Africa do people have their hearts?  I knew that many people adopted from Ethiopia and there are also others who are passionate about missions in Kenya, so I figured someone’s heart would be drawn to this part of the country.  As the girl was reaching for her purse, she said “I have to get this for my friend.”  She went on to explain how her friend had gone on a missions trip to Africa and it completely changed her life.  She said when she returned to the US from her trip, she cried and cried because her heart was so broken for the people she met there and she longed to go back.  Her friend knew she would love this piece to remind her of Africa and the people she loved there. For that friend, I knew it would be more than just a craft.

Then there was a middle aged woman who came by our table, admiring all the things we had to share.  She loved all the different maps and places we featured on our items.  But as soon as she saw the blue “GO” I made with different Central American countries, she just had to have it.  She explained that she really wanted to give it to her business partner.  Her business partner has taken several trips to El Salvador and is in love with the people there.  When she returns from her trips she cries and cries because she longs to return so badly.  This lady knew she had to purchase this item for her because that is where she longs to be and spread the Gospel to the people she loves there so much.  For that business partner, I knew it would be much more than a craft. 

Together, the other host moms and I did not make a ton of money, but we did accomplish a couple of our goals.  We shared with many people about hosting and the dire need for people to love the school age orphans in Eastern Europe and got to share some meaningful items with people and their friends that will connect, inspire, and build compassion in their hearts for people around the world. 

I do have many leftover crafted items leftover from the market. Stay tuned to read how you can have your very own craft… that’s more than just a craft! Winking smile

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord
Colossians 3:23 (NIV)

NHFC in the News–Christmas 2012

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It’s been another great season of NHFC host families in the new news!  Check out some great news stories and news broadcasts that have featured our host families and ministry across the country!

11/5/12 – Rural Milford, IL family to host student (link to story)

12/12/12 – NBC15 in Madison, WI featuring a local host family on their “Family First” segment (video link)

12/18/12 – FOX55 in Wausau, WI featuring a local host family (link to story and video)

12/23/12 – Victorville Daily Press in Victorville, CA featuring a local host family (link to story)

12/30/12 – Battle Creek, MI “Couple opens home to Latvian orphan” (link to story)

12/31/12 – Orange County, CA “Resident hosts orphan ministry participants” (link to story)

1/2/13 – FOX55 in Wausau, WI “Weston family brightens Ukrainian orphan’s life” (link to story and video)

1/8/13 – Davidson, NC local host family featured in “Giving back over the holidays” (link to story)

1/23/13 – Ft Leavenworth, KS “Program connects girl from Ukraine with local family” (link to story)

 

116–Each One Matters

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116.

One hundred sixteen.

Just think about that number for a minute.  Think about ‘Hundreds Day’ when elementary school students need to collect 100 of one item to bring to school that day.  To celebrate the 100th day of school… and to teach them how big 100 really is.  To us, it kind of sounds like a little, but when you have to sit and count out that many items, it starts to seem like a lot, like you will never reach that point when you finally get to say “…98, 99, 100!!!”

When I say 116, I’m not thinking of counting buttons, Legos, or Teddy Grahams… I’m thinking about souls.  One hundred sixteen souls, children, orphans.  116 children without parents.  Each with their own stories, hardships, losses.  116 names, faces, and special spirits that need love.

116 is the number of host families NHFC still needs for this Christmas.  We have 116 awesome kids who are still waiting to be chosen by a family who will love them, bless them, build them up this Christmas. 

On the other side of that 116 is another number 88.  88 families who have joined our cause.  Together they have committed to love and cherish a total of 118 orphans.  They have said they are going to give what they have been given and share it with these children this Christmas. 

Would you consider joining our cause, the cause to fight for these orphans? Will you do it for just 1 out of the 116 who are still waiting? 

I wish I had enough time and space to tell you about all the awesome children who are still waiting to be chosen. 

Each One MattersAndrey who is nearly too old for the orphanage, but he is committed to his education.
Beautiful Anastasija who deals with a poor self-image because of scars from her past.
Sasha who is not afraid to stand up for the younger orphans who are bullied.
Nikolajs who speaks with a strong stutter, but it disappears when he shares his incredible singing voice.
Deniss and Lena, brother & sister, who are talented ballroom dancers.
Markuss, who is a kind and gentle boy who gets bullied often.
Viktor who would love a new Bible after his old one was stolen.
Sweet Irina who dreams of a good family with a mom and a dad.

…and that is only 8 of them. There are 108 more out there who are just as loveable and in need of someone to love them!

What can you do to help?

116 waiting children.  Each one with a name, a face, arms to be hugged, a heart to be loved, a soul to be fed. Each one matters.

God places the lonely in families
Psalm 68:6a (NLT)

Still needing host families for Christmas 2012!

 

Do you shop on Amazon.com ?

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AmazonPinterest

Shop on Amazon.com?  Well now with the click of a button, a portion of your purchase can go straight to NHFC

  1. Click the link above (http://www.amazon.com/?_encoding=UTF8&camp=213733&creative=393193&linkCode=shr&tag=n0680-20)
  2. Shop on Amazon.com like you normally would
  3. 7% or more of your purchase costs will go directly to NHFC

It’s one of the easiest ways to donate.  Just click this link before you shop next time and you will be contributing towards scholarships for host children to stay with loving families!

Share the link!

Summer 2012–Orphan Hosting Update

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This has been a great summer for New Horizons for Children’s 20th orphan hosting program! Here are a few numbers to help you get an idea:

  • 140 host families coast-to-coast
  • 183 orphans hosted
  • 103 from Latvia
  • 80 from Ukraine
  • 106 are single children
  • 26 groups of 2 siblings
  • 7 groups of 3 siblings
  • 1 group of 4 siblings!

Each number represents one soul that will be touched this summer! We praise God for all he has done so far.

I wish I could share all the great stories and testimonies from our host families. For a few of them, you can see our July newsletter here.

July 2012 Newsletter

We compiled some photos of the host children from their original photolisting picture and after their time with their host family.  The previous pictures were sad, a forced smile, or empty eyes. So many of the after pictures show children glowing with joy, peace, and freedom to be a child loved by a family. Behind each of these photos is a child with a story of abandonment and a host family who has been transformed by loving their host child. Be blessed by the photos!

One of the boys I prayed for all spring! Click to see more!

We also challenged host families to find a promise from scripture that speaks strongly to them about their host child and take a photo of the host child holding on to that promise written on cardboard. In the coming weeks and months, we will continue to pray these promises of God over these children of God! May they be forever changed by the love of their host families and the truth of God’s Word!

We have learned we are not orphans… We are children of God!

13 Days of Prayer

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Join our public event on FacebookI’d like to invite you to join in New Horizons For Children’s 13 Days of Prayer! 

Beginning on Sunday April 22nd until May 4th – summer hosting deadline – you are invited to join us in prayer for this summer’s orphan hosting program! We will focus on something different each day.

4/22 – Host Families-to-be
4/23 – Non-Scholarshiped Children
4/24 – Sibling Groups
4/25 – Host Only
4/26 – Current Host Families
4/27 – Scholarships
4/28 – Chaperones
4/29 – Newsletter
4/30 – Travel
5/1 – Hosted Children
5/2 – Scholarshiped Children
5/3 – Back-Up Families
5/4 – All Remaining Children

We are believing God for great things as we unite in prayer!

Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.
Take up the cause of the fatherless…
Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16b (NIV)

Guest Post–“Vacation?” The story behind orphanage visits

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It’s been a couple weeks since the NHFC missions team has returned from their trip to Latvia and Ukraine to interview orphans for the Summer 2012 host program.  I want to thank you for praying for them, their trip was very cold but safe and successful!

One of my regional volunteer partners was a part of the missions trip for the first time.  She wrote very eloquently and candidly about the trip and I am sharing her words in a guest post for this week:

Vacation?
Since returning home from my trip, I’ve had a lot of people ask me how it went.
I’ve found some of their phrasing a little strange.

It may not really be indicative of anything, but I’ve found it interesting nonetheless.
“Did you have fun?” and “Did you have a good time?” are the ones I find the most thought provoking.

Maybe that’s just what people ask when they know you’ve been away…. maybe that’s just what they think they’re supposed to say…. or what they ask when they think they’re expected to comment, but don’t really care about the answer.
Maybe I’m being completely unreasonable and  reading WAY too much into the words people use and need to instead, be glad they asked and thankful for the opportunity to share about New Horizons. (Yeah, that’s probably it.)

For the record, I DID have fun, and I DID have a good time…. but this wasn’t a vacation.
This wasn’t a trip to the Bahamas.

On this trip I visited orphanages that smelled like 3 week old boiled cabbage and unwashed bodies.
I slept in a hotel that smelled like dead, decaying rats complete with faded leopard print sheets and bed bugs.
I met children who, upon turning 16, will “graduate” from their orphanage with little chance of living past their next birthday.
I spent a week in a van that didn’t have any heat in the 2nd and 3rd rows, in a country that was experiencing record breaking cold.
I met children under the age of 12, who had already started smoking.
I wore the same jeans for 6 days in a row and washed my socks and underwear in the sink.
I met girls, who upon “graduating”, will turn to prostitution as a way to stay alive.
I tried squid flavored potato chips. And yes, they are as NASTY as they sound.
I played UNO with kids who have NEVER known the love of a mother.
I met an orphanage director who didn’t want anything to do with our program because there was a chance “her” kids might be adopted.
I showered in bathrooms that smelled like a sewer.
I met children who had been abandoned by a parent because they were seen as an inconvenience.

But I also met a boy in Latvia who had such a great sense of humor, I nearly wet my pants from laughing.
I met orphanage directors who loved their kids and were eager to hear about New Horizons.
I met kids who practically begged to come to America.
I got to surprise Mareks with my visit to Riga. (It took nearly 10 minutes on the phone to convince him that I was actually there.)
I met an orphanage director who is actively pursuing educational/job training opportunities for his “graduates.”
I visited orphanages that had medical and nutritional personnel on staff…. a speech therapist… an area for physical therapy… laptops… exercise equipment.
I met a brother/sister duo who were so personable and quite frankly, blew me away…. I wanted to hide them in my suitcase and smuggle them home.
I saw AMAZING artwork, needlework, paper crafting, beadwork, woodwork, sewing projects– all done by the kids we were interviewing.
I got to see parts of the world that I never would have seen otherwise.
I met a boy with spina bifida and other medical issues, who’s very life may depend on him being adopted.
I tried Borsch… and I liked it!
I spoke with kids who wanted to know about me, and my life, and life in America.
I met a girl who intervened for another who was being picked on, standing up to a “popular girl” at her orphanage.
I met a boy who wanted to “friend me” on Facebook.
I met children who wanted to be teachers…. an engineer…. an architect…. a doctor…. a dancer….
I met kids who were proud of their accomplishments.
I drank enough tea in which I could sink the Titanic.
I played games with kids who wanted to hold my hand– even though they didn’t know me.
I spoke with 16 year olds who are too old to be adopted- and they know it— and it breaks my heart.
I met kids who when hypothetically given 3 wishes… time and time again, their 1st wish was to have a family.

No, this wasn’t a vacation.

But it beats Disney any day.

 

You may visit the original post on her blog here! http://backyard-blessings.blogspot.com/2012/02/vacation.html

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