This is my friend Emily Morgan. I met Emily four years ago while serving at Kid's Kamp at Seneca Lake Baptist Assembly. She always had a smile on her face and such a sweet generous spirit.
She has spent lots of time with my crazy family and I'm blessed to call her my friend. She loves God and has been faithfully serving Him in various capacities.
I've had the privilege of serving with her on short term missions trips in Oneida, KY and Managua, Nicaragua. She has a deep love for children and a desire to share the love of Christ with them.
Her desire to follow Christ will be taking her to Haiti for 9 months. She will be teaching English to the children of Agape House, a home to 14 orphaned and abandoned children in Montrouis, Haiti.
The prayer and heart of The Agape House is to provide a home for these incredible children in which they all grow up experiencing the love of Christ and the life-changing joy of knowing Him as Savior. While some of them may be adopted into loving families, TWC–Haiti recognizes many of them may not, so the goal is to offer these children the same opportunity to experience unconditional love and security. The Agape House’s prayer is that each one of these children–regardless of their painful pasts–would thrive and be afforded the opportunity to reach their fullest potential in all aspects of their lives. TWC–Haiti’s main objective is to provide a Christ-centered environment where these children come to find their greatest purpose, identity, and eternal worth in belonging to a Heavenly Father who has promised to never leave them and whose love will never fail.
Emily's time in Haiti will be a volunteer position. She is currently raising $6,000 to cover her basic expenses while she is there serving. One of the ways she is doing this is by using her photography talents to take family portraits.
She took pictures of our family at Christmas last year and did a fantastic job working with our crazy crew. Click here to see the photos she took last December. I was so excited to work with her again. And once again she did an outstanding job. Just look at these.
I didn't write this blog to brag on my friend Emily. Although, it's very easy to do when I look at the pictures above. I wrote this because I want you to help Emily raise the funds that she needs. Help her take the love of Christ to some pretty amazing children. She leaves September 4th so you can't waste a minute.
If you live in the local Dayton area, she might be able to squeeze a portrait session in before she leaves. Contact me and I'll give you her contact info.
If you're not in the local area or don't need family pictures, then go to the following site and donate today: http://togetherwecaninc.org/donate/
Make a small investment now that will make an eternal impact in the lives of the children of Haiti.
Most believers could give $1 a day- almost without sacrifice. Yet that small offering can mean the difference between spiritual life or death for children in Haiti. How much will you give?
Earlier this year I did a pico & chips fundraiser. I've decided to do another round of orders to help with the cost of our trip the Dominican Republic later this month. Here are the details:
We will be selling a pint jar of pico with a bag of homemade chips for $10. This fundraiser will only last for one week beginning today. I can make deliveries to church this Sunday or can make other arrangements for Monday thru Thursday of next week.
The pico choices are as follows:
~ Basic Pico
~ Pico with jalapeno's
~ Mango Pico
If you'd like to order, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or text me at 937-305-9256 to let me know how many you would like.
Rich and I are very excited about the opportunity to travel to the DR and learn more about the people and culture of the homeland of our baseball boys. Please pray for us as we travel and pray that God will give us divine appointments while we are there.
Everyone who knows the Carlson's knows that we love football. It's been a family affair for the past 10 years. It's the sport that we're most comfortable with. We spend several hours a week every fall cheering on our 3 favorite players.....our 3 boys!! When we're not at the field, we're at home watching our favorite college teams.
But God had a plan for our family that would take us way outside of what we knew and were comfortable with. He took this football family and dropped us right in the middle of a new mission......baseball.
He took our blank check to Him and our heart for Latino people and opened up new ministry opportunities. Opportunities that we were not equipped to handle on our own. We were passionate about football not baseball.
But God saw something we did not. He saw a way for us to serve the Latino people that we loved so much....a way that did not require a move. He saw a way past the obstacles that seemed so big. Obstacles that weighed heavy on us.
But God brought the culture we loved right to our doorstep. He took our big hearts, small house and our love for cooking Hispanic food and used it to give a home to young Latino baseball players. He took my husband's Latino heritage that he despised and gave it new purpose...new meaning. He took my desire to care for orphans and gave me 4 new sons. They have moms and dads in the DR but I get to be their American Mom.
I'm so excited to travel to the Dominican later this month and visit the home country of my baseball sons. I'm excited for this new mission that God has brought to us. We don't know where this mission will take us.
But God does!!
Today I saw the following quote:
"Orphans are easier to ignore before you know their names. They are easier to ignore before you see their faces. It is easier to pretend they're not real before you hold them in your arms. But once you do, everything changes. ~ David Platt
I know from experience how true that is. Once you see the children and hold them and look into their eyes, your life is forever changed. I think this is true of orphans, abused children, victims of sex trafficking and especially the 276 Nigerian girls that were kidnapped from their school on April 14th by Boko Haram. If you're not familiar with this situation, go here and read more about it.
Two hundred seventy six daughters, granddaughters, sisters, nieces, friends. Two hundred seventy six young innocent girls with families who love them and are trying desperately to bring them home. Two hundred seventy six girls with names. Names like Deborah, Ruth, Esther, Mary, Grace, Gloria, Naomi, Rebecca and Rejoice.
A government intermediary reported that 52 girls escaped their captors, 3 of the girls have died and 18 others are sick. There's no way of knowing how many of the girls have already been sold and trafficked out of the area.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) released the names of 180 of the girls. These names represent real live girls who have been and will continue to be tortured physically and mentally until they are rescued. Below is the list of names. I encourage you to pick one or two names and pray specifically for that young girl until she is returned to her family.
I chose Rejoice Musa! Which girl will you choose to pray for specifically?
Deborah Abge, Awa Abge, Hauwa Yirma, Asabe Manu, Mwa Malam Pogu, Patiant Dzakwa, Saraya Mal Stover, Mary Dauda, Gloria Mainta, Hanatu Ishaku Gloria Dama, Tabitha Pogu, Maifa Dama, Ruth Kollo, Esther Usman, Awa James, Anthonia Yahonna, Kume Mutah, Aisha Ezekial, Nguba Buba, Kwanta Simon, Kummai Aboku, Esther Markus, Hana Stephen, Rifkatu Amos, Rebecca Mallum, Blessing Abana, Ladi Wadai, Tabitha Hyelampa, Ruth Ngladar, Safiya Abdu, Na’omi Yahonna, Solomi Titus, Rhoda John, Rebecca Kabu, Christy Yahi, Rebecca Luka, Laraba John, Saratu Markus, Mary Usman, Debora Yahonna, Naomi Zakaria, Hanatu Musa, Hauwa Tella, Juliana Yakubu, Suzana Yakubu, Saraya Paul, Jummai Paul, Mary Sule, Jummai John, Yanke Shittima, Muli Waligam, Fatima Tabji, Eli Joseph, Saratu Emmanuel, Deborah Peter, Rahila Bitrus, Luggwa Sanda, Kauna Lalai, Lydia Emmar, Laraba Maman, Hauwa Isuwa, Confort Habila, Hauwa Abdu, Hauwa Balti, Yana Joshua, Laraba Paul, Saraya Amos, Glory Yaga, Na’omi Bitrus, Godiya Bitrus, Awa Bitrus, Na’omi Luka, Maryamu Lawan, Tabitha Silas, Mary Yahona, Ladi Joel, Rejoice Sanki, Luggwa Samuel, Comfort Amos, Saraya Samuel, Sicker Abdul, Talata Daniel.
Rejoice Musa, Deborah Abari, Salomi Pogu, Mary Amor, Ruth Joshua, Esther John, Esther Ayuba, Maryamu Yakubu, Zara Ishaku, Maryamu Wavi, Lydia Habila, Laraba Yahonna, Na’omi Bitrus, Rahila Yahanna, Ruth Lawan, Ladi Paul, Mary Paul, Esther Joshua, Helen Musa, Margret Watsai, Deborah Jafaru, Filo Dauda, Febi Haruna, Ruth Ishaku, Racheal Nkeki, Rifkatu Soloman, Mairama Yahaya, Saratu Dauda, Jinkai Yama, Margret Shettima, Yana Yidau, Grace Paul, Amina Ali, Palmata Musa, Awagana Musa, Pindar Nuhu, Yana Pogu, Saraya Musa, Hauwa Joseph, Hauwa Kwakwi, Hauwa Musa, Maryamu Musa, Maimuna Usman, Rebeca Joseph, Liyatu Habitu, Rifkatu Yakubu, Naomi Philimon, Deborah Abbas, Ladi Ibrahim, Asabe Ali, Maryamu Bulama, Ruth Amos, Mary Ali, Abigail Bukar, Deborah Amos, Saraya Yanga, Kauna Luka, Christiana Bitrus, Yana Bukar, Hauwa Peter, Hadiza Yakubu, Lydia Simon, Ruth Bitrus, Mary Yakubu, Lugwa Mutah, Muwa Daniel, Hanatu Nuhu, Monica Enoch, Margret Yama, Docas Yakubu, Rhoda Peter, Rifkatu Galang, Saratu Ayuba, Naomi Adamu, Hauwa Ishaya, Rahap Ibrahim, Deborah Soloman, Hauwa Mutah, Hauwa Takai, Serah Samuel, Aishatu Musa, Aishatu Grema, Hauwa Nkeki, Hamsatu Abubakar, Mairama Abubakar, Hauwa Wule, Ihyi Abdu, Hasana Adamu, Rakiya Kwamtah, Halima Gamba, Aisha Lawan, Kabu Malla, Yayi Abana, Falta Lawan, and Kwadugu Manu.
This summer Christian and I have the opportunity to spend a week in Guatemala City, Guatemala. We will be serving with an organization called Forever Changed International at their orphanage "Dorie's Promise". For more than 10 years, Dorie’s Promise has provided a loving home for Guatemala’s forgotten children. Up to 40 children live there at any given time. Some have been abandoned, others neglected or abused. Some are awaiting adoption by Guatemalan or American families. Others will spend their entire childhood here.
We’ll spend some time in the Ghetto, one of the poorest neighborhoods in Guatemala City. We’ll also spend some time visiting the Garbage Dump. The city’s sprawling dump serves as home to Guatemala’s most marginalized people. Thousands of families survive here by picking through the refuse for items to resell. We will also visit a government-run orphanage where more than 800 children live.
I'm excited to go on a trip with Christian just before he heads off to college. To help us pay for this trip, we will be doing a few fundraisers over the next couple of months. And most of them involve food...which if you know the Carlson's then it probably doesn't surprise you. Because, well, we love food.
Our first fundraiser will be for homemade chips & pico de gallo. We will be selling a pint jar of pico and a bag of chips for $10. This will be an ongoing fundraiser throughout April & May. Our goal is to sell a minimum of 100 jars.
The pico choices are as follows:
~ Basic Pico
~ Pico with jalapeno's
~ Mango Pico
If you'd like to order, please email me at email@example.com to let me know how many jars you would like.
Thanks so much for your support,
Christy & Christian
Tonight was the biggest game of the year for millions of football fans. It was the culmination of years of hard work and dedication for two teams of coaches and players. It was a great day for advertisers because people actually wanted to watch the commercials instead of using that time to run and get a snack! But I want you to take a look beyond the turf, past the lights of the stadium to see 26 billboards like these placed throughout New Jersey and New York:
“Despite the enormity of the problem, most people don’t even realize that human trafficking is happening in their own back yards, and those being exploited are largely unaware that help is available. This form of modern slavery occurs at large sporting events, in suburban brothels, and in farms and factories across America. We want people to understand that sex and labor trafficking is a huge problem across the country that demands our attention and resources – 365 days a year.” ~ Bradley Miles, CEO of Polaris Project.
Human trafficking cases have been reported in all 50 states. The National Human Trafficking Resource Center hotline receives an average of 100 calls per day from all corners of our nation. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children estimates that there are 100,000 youths under the age of 18 in the commercial sex trade in the U.S. In 2012, 1 out of 8 endangered runaways reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children were likely child sex trafficking victims.
The number of human slaves in the United States is just a fraction of the greater worldwide total of 27 million plus victims of human trafficking. Each year that number continues to increase. There are more human slaves in the world today than ever before in history.
We can no longer ignore this worldwide problem. It needs our attention and our resources. We may not be able to spend our time on covert operations investigating brothels and farms looking for victims. But we can give financially to organizations to provide equipment and funding for covert operatives to conduct investigations and raids. As well as providing after care for victims once they have been rescued.
I would like to introduce you to an organization called "The Exodus Road". While at the PAO MLB Conference, we had the privilege of hearing founder Matt Parker share the heart and mission of Exodus Road. "The Exodus Road is not a single investigative organization, but rather it is a network of surveillance teams and individuals, committed to fight trafficking, one legal court case at a time. Currently, we are working with 45 operatives, representing over ten different investigative organizations. Most are current or former police or military men. As a coalition, The Exodus Road has directly supported the rescue of 250 victims of human trafficking since July 2012. "
I challenge you to learn more about how you can be a part of ending human slavery. It's time we use our resources for something more important than snacks for the "Big Game" party and 30 second commercials.
Imagine for a moment what it would be like if the US government chose to attack some of its own citizens with aerial bombings, ground raids and starvation because they were Christians. Then they chose to intercept all forms of humanitarian aid to those same people.
What if you were one of those citizens and you were forced from your home and had to flee to another state with no money and nothing but the clothes on your back? How would you provide for your family? What would you eat? Where would you live?
This situation is a reality for over 190,000 Sudanese refugees who have been forced to flee from their homes for their own safety and the safety of their families. 190,000 refugees is more than the entire population of Dayton, Ohio, or
Knoxville, TN or Charleston, SC having to flee to a neighboring state to
give their families a chance for survival. A chance to not be killed by soldiers
or bombs. A chance to find food and water.
190,000 men, women and children who had to leave everything behind and are trying to find food, water and shelter where there is nothing. When these families flee they're heading into desert land and mountains with no food and supplies for the journey. Many of them make it to the refugee camps in desperate need of food, water and medical care.
Samaritan's Purse works with partners within the refugee camps to be the hands and feet of Jesus to provide food, water and medical care for the Sudanese people.
Many of the children arrive in the camp weak and malnourished from the long demanding journey. Their little bodies show the signs of hunger and lack of water. They receive special attention and care from the medical staff to help them regain their strength and health.
One of the most difficult things about a refugee camp is having access to clean water and ensuring good hygiene to prevent sickness from spreading through the camp. Samaritan's Purse is providing the majority of the water for the refugee camp at Yida. In August alone, they produced over 13 million liters of water, built 173 latrines and trained 1,900 people on the techniques and importance of good hygiene.
It's not a new project for Samaritan's Purse to be providing humanitarian relief in this part of the world. They've actually been working in Sudan since 1993. They have built relationships with the local people as well as with other relief organizations. They began working with the people in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan areas in 1998 and conducted extensive humanitarian efforts until 2011. Then in June of 2011, the Sudanese government cut off all access for humanitarian aid to reach these people.
In 2012, Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham called on international leaders to take strong action against the atrocities being brought upon the Sudanese people. "“The United States government and our allies need to increase the pressure and force a regime change to allow an opportunity for peace. Until then, I remain committed to meeting critical needs of those who are fleeing for their lives into South Sudan.”
Franklin continues to uphold his commitment to the Sudanese people and has continued to supply life giving resources to the refugees while our own government ignores the problem and the Sudanese government continues to slaughter its own people.
You can be a part of giving life and freedom to the people of Sudan. You can start by praying for the violence to stop and for comprehensive peace for all of Sudan. Pray for new government leaders to step up and speak up for the people of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.
Then give as God calls to help meet the needs of displaced people living in South Sudan. It's as easy as clicking here to help provide food and clean water to 190,000 displaced people.
Finally share this blog to spread the word and raise awareness of the problem and encourage others to get involved. Together we can make a difference for our Christian brothers and sisters in Sudan.
To learn more about Samaritan's Purse go to www.samaritanspurse.org
We are a missionary family whose current mission field is student athletes and coaches in American public schools. We reach out to them by starting Bible studies in the schools where God is not allowed to be taught by the teachers & staff. We pray with and support the coaches as they mentor their athletes.
Just like foreign missionaries we must raise 100% of our support to cover the basic living expenses. However, since we don't serve in a foreign country, it's a lot harder to raise that support. But why?
Why are so many Christians resistant to support US missionaries? Is it because they don't see us as missionaries? Is it because they don't think what we're doing is making an eternal impact? Is it because they think we sit around doing nothing all day?
It can become very frustrating to see my husband continuously pour himself into the ministry with so much passion and continuously be denied support from churches and businesses in the area. Sometimes they give him a chance to come share the vision of the ministry but many times it takes months to get a meeting.
And when he does get the meeting, there's lots of excitement about the ministry and many of them offer prayer support but don't make a financial commitment.
But he continues to spend hours and hours each week calling, emailing and sending letters asking people to partner with us to make an eternal impact. And when someone calls needing advice or assistance, he does stop to think if it will somehow benefit the ministry. He just goes and ministers to that person.
He mentors coaches, facilitates a weekly morning Bible study, volunteers as a baseball chaplain, serves with the youth group when needed, travels to school assemblies with special guests when they're in town, travels to speak at chapels at Christian schools, and is available to anyone who is struggling and needs advice anytime of the day and night.
To help make ends meet & to make it possible for him to continue serving in all those ways, I'm working a seasonal full-time job, which I love doing. However, that means he also takes on the schooling responsibilities for our youngest 2. So now amidst all of the daily ministry stuff, he also makes sure that two of our kiddos get their lessons done.
We must depend on God and the generosity of friends to help us cover the most basic needs of our family. God has been so amazing in His provision for our family. He is constantly blowing my mind with how he provides for our family. However, there are very few extras and that's not always easy to explain to our children.
We have been on this journey for almost 2 years now and there are days when I wonder if it's worth it. There are days when I just wish there was enough money to pay all the bills at one time and not have to choose what gets paid and what doesn't. There are days when I just want to know why people don't see us as missionaries. There are days when I just want to know why people say they can't afford to give $25 a month when their lifestyle choices say differently.
In those times, I cry out to God and He reminds me that He has a plan and He cares about me deeply. He cares for the needs of my children more than I could ever imagine. He shows me that this ministry is not about me and what I think should happen. He reminds me that no material possessions can take the place of an intimate relationship with Him.
So whether we reach our support goals or not, we will continue to serve in ministry here in the US, trusting God to meet ALL of our needs....financial, physical and spiritual!!!
Why do we obey God? We obey because He is God. We obey because He knows what's best for us. We obey because we are His hands here. We obey because obedience brings peace and joy.
We can be confident that when God calls us to something that He will take care of us. He will take care of our children. We can trust that He will help us navigate whatever is ahead. We know that as we draw closer to Him, He will make His direction clear.
God's faithfulness has been proven over and over again in our lives. He has done so much to provide for our needs in big and small ways. He has answered so many prayers in ways that only He could. And last week He answered a prayer we had been praying for over two years.
After our first trip to Nicaragua in 2011, God began changing our perspective. And that began to change the way we lived our lives. We began building our lives for Him instead of for ourselves. We began asking God to show us what His purpose was for our family here on earth.
When we returned to Nicaragua in 2012, we felt like we were going home. God was revealing to us that full-time missions was going to be part of His plan for our future. We just weren't sure when or where He would call us to go.
Over the past year we have continued to surrender our lives and plans to wherever God would lead us. At times things have been difficult but through those difficulties we have grown stronger. We've had doubts because of the risk or the cost. Our faith has been stretched and God has become so real in our lives.
As we began this year's trip to Nicaragua, I asked God to give us clear direction if he was calling our family to full-time missions. And while we were serving in Nicaragua, God answered that request.
Rich was offered the opportunity to direct the sports ministry at Centro ABEM in Managua, Nicaragua. When Rich shared the opportunity with me, all I could do was smile and think about how I had asked God for clear direction.
I continued to smile as I told Rich about the conversation I'd had with God on day one of our trip. At that moment we both knew without a doubt that God was opening a door for us. We have peace knowing that this is God's calling for our family.
As we begin the long process of becoming full-time ABWE missionaries, we know that there may be times of doubt or concern from people who love us. We will most likely have doubts of our own. And in those times, we will pray and lay everything, again, at the feet of Jesus.
God's voice has been vividly clear...clearer than it has ever been before. We will trust that voice and will follow it wherever it leads us. We covet your prayers as we take these first steps in the application process.
In our family, we put a big emphasis on serving others. We want our children to be outward focused. That's why we spend lots of time as a family serving in various places. We try to live out what James talks about in James 2: 14-17 "What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and be filled,” and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself."
We can't just say that we have faith, we must live it out. We can't be a follower of Christ and ignore the needs around us. We can't end world hunger or poverty alone, but we can change one life at a time. If we ask God for opportunities to show His love in tangible ways, He will open lots of doors. The question is, "Will we walk through them or will we make excuses to not get involved?"
We have the opportunity to host 3 Latino minor league baseball players in our home for the next 4 months or so. My first thought was "Do we really have the space? Wouldn't they be more comfortable in a larger space?" But when this opportunity first came about it was like God was giving me the chance to live what I was studying in the book of James. It's time for me to apply the knowledge that I learned from studying God's Word. It's time for me to be a "doer of the Word and not just a hearer".
These players are from Venezuela & the Dominican. The money that they make each month is sent home to help support their families. Large families that live in homes much smaller than mine. Large families that survive on a lot less than we do. As a recipient of so many blessings from God, there was no way I was going to say "No". Especially since God knows my heart's desire and was fulfilling it ...in His own way of course!!!
You see my desire is to one day move to another country and operate a children's home. To take care of children who have no one to take care of them. To feed them, clothe them and share the message of Jesus with them. Like May Carlson did for 2 young boys a long time ago.
Now of course these baseball players aren't little boys but they still need to be taken care of. What better way to show them the love of Jesus then by opening our home to them and taking care of their most basic needs of food & shelter? By taking them in we will be given the opportunity to share the gospel with them, plant seeds and possibly lead them to Christ. Then when they return to their home country they can share the gospel with their families. And isn't that why we're here? To make disciples?
We've talked about adopting children and bringing them here to the US but the financial cost is so great. I personally feel that the resources would be better used caring for several children in a foreign country rather than bringing just 1 or 2 to the United States. As we pray about this, we feel that God is leading us to South America....possibly to Colombia or Venezuela.
The great thing about our God is that He has been opening so many doors for us to minister to the Hispanic community right in our own backyard. We have opportunities to serve students, families & baseball players in Dayton. We also get to serve in Nicaragua this summer and Colombia & Venezuela in the near future. I think God is preparing us to one day serve full-time in a Spanish speaking country.
Until God opens that door, we will walk through the ones he opens for us right here. We will use the blessings he has given us to bless others. We won't worry about what we can afford or what's comfortable because this life is not about us. It's about living in a way that points others to Jesus. Living in a way that gives life to our faith.
Is God giving you opportunities to serve others? Are you making excuses or joyfully jumping in?