Family · Jesus

“Come unto me…”

I started The Story Place last fall as a method to share and collect stories after realizing that most things I am passionate about are attached by the common thread of “story”.  HIGH on my list of good stories are those where people invest in the lives of children. Be it as a teacher or counselor, advocate or therapist, missionary or minister, mother or father.

I love the story found in Luke 18 about Jesus’ reaction when the disciples tried to shoo the kids away.  Children obviously mattered to Him. They still do.  As someone who works with children as a vocation and mother,  I am grateful to have His example to follow.

I wrote recently of the importance of becoming involved and invested in stories that matter. I suggested picking a place where you see God working and join him there. In whatever way that looks like. 

For our family, doing that has often seemed to involve children.  We were drawn to these five stories in very different ways. Our involvement has been equally different.  They have all become part of our story in some way.

  1. Thailand New Life Foundation –  In the fall of 1997, Russ and Tracy Pennington, friends of ours that were missionaries in Bangkok, Thailand came to us with a proposition. They needed to begin a non-profit organization to help support a vision God had given them to care for some orphans they had come to know, that were begging for food on the streets. They asked us and some other friends to help here in the U.S. do the paperwork and take care of the financials for this organization. This ministry has provided and cared for a variety of children and teens over the years.  The house parents, Ying and Suwit, are precious friends for whom we have prayed for years. We look forward to actually meeting them someday!483146_588052741204774_688180845_n
  2. Touch A Life – Pam and Randy Cope are rock stars in my eyes. Their story includes the tragic loss of their 16 year old son, a call to adoption, and the incredible tale of rescuing children from child slavery in Ghana. Their commitment to helping children has shaped their lives. You can read their story in a book Pam wrote called Jantsen’s Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue and Grace. You’ll want to buy the book today after watching  this video:
    We had the joy of getting to know this family before they moved. We absolutely love supporting this ongoing “story that matters“.
  3. Compassion International – Who hasn’t heard of the story of this organization? Each of our children has a child sponsored. In Indonesia, Uganda, and Brazil. Specific names that we have taken into our hearts. This group is on the cutting edge of the fight against injustice.
  4. Mission of Hope Haiti  – This story is one we have only heard recently, but are so excited to be involved with.  A few weeks ago at our church, we had the wonderful opportunity to be led in worship by an inspiring Haitian leader and to hear the U.S. Director tell the story of Mission of Hope Haiti. Our church is sponsoring two children from this program, as well as leading a mission trip to serve at MOH in the fall. We shall see, but I believe one of our own family members will be traveling on this trip.
  5. Agape Home – Again, this a very new story for us. Caitlin, our oldest daughter, is serving a summer internship at a beautiful orphanage in Chiang Mai, Thailand. I believe that our connections long ago with this far away country shaped a desire in her to be a bigger part of children’s lives in this particular country. I include this story, because our children’s stories become part of our own by default, right?576675_10152882568385354_1266088357_n

There are thousands of groups and organizations dedicated to the welfare of children, in our country and around the world. It can feel incredibly overwhelming hearing all the need carried within stories out there in this broken world.

Resist the impulse to throw hands up in futility. Pray. And then watch where you are led. Pick ONE story that strikes a resonating cord and get involved.  These are some of our favorite stories. What are yours?

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