Sunday, June 22

Creating Hope {Guest post}


Happy Monday! Thanks for being here for Make A Difference Mondays, a place to get intentional about starting our weeks focused on the positive and put our heads together to dream up ways we can make a difference in this world!

Today, on Make a Difference Monday, we're so thrilled to feature a guest post from Danielle Brower:

Five years ago, my husband Mike and I were well on our way to the beautiful, glamorous “City of American Dreams," where comforts and flashy lights abound. Though thankful, we were unsettled, feeling stirred to make some drastic changes in our pursuits. Neither of us could quite understand how we could have these so-called blessings and not be at peace. Wasn’t there more to life than obtaining and maintaining our comfy corner? 


Not long after that, Mike was handed a book called Red Letters that opened our eyes to a tiny country in southern Africa called Swaziland. Though beautiful and full of natural resources, this country of about a million people had an estimated 200,000 orphaned and vulnerable children left to fend for themselves, due in part to the nearly unbelievable 26.1 percent adult HIV+ rate, the highest in the world. A 15-year-old’s chances of reaching age 32? Six percent. SIX percent. Without orphanages, outside adoptions, and love, where were all these children supposed to go? Who was supposed to take care of them?  

Children’s HopeChest, along with the native Swazis, set up carepoints that serve as feeding centers and safe havens for the children. HopeChest’s vision is to connect these children in their local communities with supporting communities here in the States, partnering together to ensure that the children are fed nutritious daily meals, have access to clean water, and are given opportunities not only to survive, but to thrive and succeed. 

We now volunteer as coordinators for one of those carepoints, known as Bheveni Carepoint, not through a church, but through a like-minded social networking group. 

Geographically speaking, our community is all over the map. Spiritually speaking, our community is united in one heart, one purpose and that is to create hope in the lives of each other and the children growing up in the Bheveni community! 

We’ve had to seek God for creative ways to partner with each other and the Swazi community. I recently read something that summed it up: “Good ideas are good, but only God ideas change the course of history.” 

Beyond all else, we believe the children need to know they are not alone, not forgotten, that Jesus has not left them, and that there is HOPE for a brighter future, in spite of the disease and death that continually surrounds them. 

Taking a #hopeselfie
One creative God-idea has been the use of T-shirts to bring hope. Yes, T-shirts! At first I resisted this, because I didn’t want to bring more hype to missions than there already was. God made it clear: This isn’t hype, this is tangible hope! This is the third year we’ve offered our online community the opportunity to purchase T-shirts as a BOGO: Buy One/Give One. For $20 they receive a sweet tee, and we will hand-deliver the second shirt to a child at Bheveni Carepoint this July. The Bheveni kids look forward to getting their new shirt, as they quickly wear out and outgrow their old one. This year’s shirt depicts God’s hands of love surrounding the nation of Swaziland, signifying that he indeed has not forsaken them. 


There are about 200 kids who come and go through the carepoint at any given time, so we needed a minimum order of 400 shirts. I know it was a God-inspired idea, because it exceeded my expectations in sales and community excitement – in total, we’ve sold 754 shirts, hats and onesies! Praise the Lord! The surplus funding will be invested in fun activities and more meals, and will also extend into long-term educational projects. (If you'd like to order a shirt, there's still time! Get the details here.)

The online community of partners, friends, and family have been so excited to wear their shirts and post a #hopeselfie, which we then print and plan to give the photo to the Bheveni child who receives the second shirt. These children need to see that through God’s love, people across the world are rooting for them, cheering them on to a brighter future… giving them hope that can only be found in Jesus. 
Children who received shirts

My prayer for you is that you seek God fervently through the roads that twist, turn, climb and dip. May he become your First Love. And from the overflow, may you passionately pursue creating hope in the lives of others, from the end of the street to the ends of the earth. 

Shine on! 

Danielle

As a daughter of the King, wife and mother, Danielle believes we are all missionaries; we're here to love Jesus and share his love through active compassion, which brings tangible and eternal change in the lives of those we touch. She believes that no one should live more proactive, more giving, more sacrificial lives than those who claim to know Christ. Danielle resides in Kimball, Minn., with her husband, two sons and two doggies. You can find her via the Bheveni Carepoint Online Community Facebook page or blogging at Live4Change.net







Make A Difference Mondays is a weekly linkup designed to encourage and inspire us to live each day on purpose—making a meaningful difference in someone’s life in even the smallest of ways. There will be five women regularly co-hosting this link-up that will appear on all five of our blogs and we also have three wonderful co-hosts who will fill in as guest hosts on the occasional day that a regular co-host is not able to post. Read on to learn more about our vision, mission, and how to link up!

Mission

Our mission is to provide a consistent gathering place for like-minded women to build online connections, share inspiration, and provide mutual encouragement and accountability as we seek to live intentionally and make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Vision
Every Monday we will invite bloggers to link-up any blog posts that encourage women to live life on purpose. This could include testimonies or goals from your own life, small acts of kindness or service, creative tips or ideas for showing consideration to others — the possibilities are endless. Our objective is to use our God-given time and resources to His glory!

Also, just a heads-up: the Make A Difference Mondays team has created two fun new ways to keep us all connected! Now we have our own facebook community group to stay in touch beyond the blog posts AND we also have a new #MADMlinkup group Pinterest board and we will be pinning our favorite posts from the linkup that inspire and encourage us to make a difference. We are so grateful for you and would love for all of you to join us for fellowship in the above linked community group and you can follow the Pinterest board right here to watch for your posts: Make A Difference Mondays Pinterest Board


Be sure to grab the sparkly image above or grab the same image in the square version from the sidebar for your posts and/or include a link back here within your posts. Any on-topic posts are welcomed, no matter how old and no matter how many!

Add your link up here: InLinkz
   







This is the final week of our storyteller giveaway! If you are a writer or blogger (or just want to share your story!), don't miss out on the chance to win a one-of-a-kind storyteller necklace from Broken and Beautiful, along with linking up with TRE! Get all the details here

2 comments :

  1. awesome! Praying for the ministry and God's continued blessing!!

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  2. Absolutely love this! Thanks to all of you for sharing! xo

    ReplyDelete