Thursday, August 21, 2014

Getting Ready for Ukraine, Armenia and Poland - Has Been So Fun!

We are in the final days of preparation before we leave for our trip overseas. Getting ready has been so much fun!   We will be taking trainee prizes like we have never taken before.We show you in a minute. (If you know me, you know I am not the crafts type, but I have been unleashed :) )

During our time there we will be training through the International Leadership and Development Center/ LAMb International for the first part of the trip. Then we join the Orphan's Promise staff in Kiev for three days of training with their centers from all over Ukraine. They are expecting about 60 of dedicated folks who care about the welfare of vulnerable children - now more than ever in Ukraine is this needed. We met many of them last year while there. These days will be follow up to our series on trauma competent caregiving, adding teen material and learning how to conduct nurture groups.  We then move on to Armenia with Orphan's Promise to train their staff on the first part of our  trauma competent healing caregiving.

Following our work with Orphan's Promise in Armenia, we will be spending a week working with some very special friends in Warsaw, Poland.  This is our fourth visit to this very special country and we so look forward to this continued partnership.

Now to the trainee prizes.   I was inspired by two friends of mine, Mary Vacario and Carol Huggins- Mitchell during their trauma training last week. They had with them magnets with powerful statements on them as prizes for the group.  I thought to myself, that would be cool to make for our trip.  And the idea grew and grew.  So now what you will see below are pictures of the mugs, buttons, and magnets that are going with us.  The ones below are in Russian, but they are also almost ready in Armenia and Polish. The front room has been a mess- a very fun mess! Get ready Back2Back - Spanish and Creole are next!

"Behavior is the language of children with no voice"  Dr. Karyn Purvis 

"Connect before you correct"    or "For children, presence matters."

The Safety Script Magnets
Everything Russian 


We do ask your prayers as we go as we take our time with these precious people very seriously.  We go simply to speak those things God would have us to into their lives.  



Monday, August 11, 2014

A Historial Place for Us




I am standing in the rain at a very historic site located deep within the Ozark Mountains just outside the village of Hilda, Missouri.  The historic value of this place applies to Jayne and me for a number of very special reasons.  It was were our journey began. We just wanted to share this with you.

1. This is the first church I had the privilege to pastor going back to 1971.  It was Ozark Chapel, Church of the Nazarene. 

2. Jayne and I were married here 39 years ago officiated by Rev James C. Hester, our DS at the time.  A number of our invited guests almost turned back thinking that the church surely could not be this deep into the mountains—fortunately, they kept going and all made it on time.  Some of the Ozark mountain children attended our wedding barefoot, they didn't have much.

3. Our daughter, Kristy, was born while we were here and she was dedicated by Dr. Remiss Rehfeldt one Sunday morning at this location with about 50 people there to bless us and our new baby girl.  She spent many Sundays sleeping in the church nursery between services as it was too far to drive back to Springfield.

4. It was here that we came to know some very amazing mountain folks that blessed us in many ways and taught us many things and were graceful and kind in all things.  We have memories of vacation Bible school, Sunday school classes, eating in the homes of folks from backgrounds far different from ours. Most of these special people have gone on now.  When we go back to this site, we visit the Brown cemetery a mile down the road where many of them are buried and as we visit their grave site we fondly remember the over 5 years we journeyed together.

As you can see, the Chapel is now in ruins.  Be assured this is not how we left it.  The congregation picked up and moved into Forsyth, Missouri, many years ago.  It now serves that community under the name of Trinity Church of the Nazarene.  Neglect and abuse have brought it to this place of disarray but it still remains an historic place for Jayne and me as we remember the people we loved and the amazing things God did there.  Sometimes it is just good to stop and look back. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Questions, Answers and Life Changes

Questions and how we answer them can alter the course of one’s life.  I googled “Jesus and Questions” the other day and up came a list of over 100 questions that Jesus asked.  How folks answered those questions changed the course of their lives.  That is true for all of us.

Questions for us started over 35 years ago.  “Would you become my foster parents?” Would you consider a pastorate in Lebanon, Ohio?” “Would you consider a pastorate in West Carrollton, Ohio?” ‘Would you consider going to Kyrgyzstan for six months and just showing up?” We said yes to all these questions. I first thought of them as changing the direction of our lives.  I think a better way to put it is that as we said “yes” to each of these, we were directed to stay on the path God intends for us.

About seven years ago our journey into the international world of hurting, wounded and suffering children and adults began. It was a world we had never seen, but from our first steps into Kyrgyzstan ruined us. As Kay Warren says, we have been divinely ruined.  Being divinely ruined means that we no longer see life as we had before. The things that were important, no longer are.  The thing that truly matters is the God directed privilege we have speaking into the lives of people and see them heal and grow. Being divinely ruined is a permanent condition David told me a while back. Once one is ruined, he is ruined!

We have been involved in both US and international work in child welfare for a while now.  We see so much need and so little time to get it all done. AND, we know we cannot do it ourselves.  In spring, I wrote a prayer in my journal that had been on my heart.  It had three parts:  Lord, simplify our focus, expand the message you have given us by allowing us to train others and finally, provide resources to meet the needs to do the work..

Shortly after that prayer, we were asked another question.  “Would you consider coming on full-time with Back2Back. (www.back2back.org is an incredible ministry group working in Mexico, Haiti, India and Nigeria.) We said an enthusiastic "YES!" This isn’t a change of direction. We believe God continues to direct us on the life path He intended for us.  Our partnership with LAMb International will continue and hopefully be enriching for all of us.

Many things will change.  We will be stepping away from training work in Ohio that I have been a part of for over 20 years.  We will be gone much more than before.  We will be challenged to grow in ways we don’t even know about.  The journey continues and we are so excited to begin our work in January with these incredible men and women of Back2Back walking on the path God intends for them.

Photo: "Before you can CORRECT a child you have to CONNECT with that child." Dr. David Schooler
David is sharing during our first trip with Back2Back in January.  We are looking forward to working more closely with Gabriel and his staff in Matzatlan.



Johanna (Lamb co-founder) and I share with the young people preparing to become trainers in Mexico.

Questions are powerful.  They potentially open doors to new things God has for us. It all depends on how we answer them.


Friday, April 18, 2014

Help Desperately Needed

Dear friends of ours were devastated by a fire in their home last night.  It destroyed everything. Dabu and Tanya are ministry partners with us and we have known them from our first days in KG in 2008.  They have been saving for many, many months to have enough funds to attend their daughter's wedding in America next month. Their entire household, clothing, furniture, wedding gifts, etc are gone. They have no place to go.   Please visit the LAMb blog to see all the details. If you can help us restore hope to this family, it would be greatly appreciated.

THE LAMB BLOG ADDRESS
www.lambinternational.blogspot.com  

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

LIFE SKILLS TRAINING REGISTRATION NOW OPEN - Help Pass the Word

Children graduating from orphanages around the world, leave with no life skills, no understanding of how to manage the basics of life.  As a result, LAMb in partnership with CBN Ukraine has written a nine module program for orphanage caregivers or anyone working with teens aging out of care.

We are excited to announce that registration for the June session training of Life Skills is now open. Please help us pass the word.  Here is the link for registration:

Life Skills Training

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

David's Time with Pastors


Following David's week long seminar on pastoral counseling, we visited the sponsoring church. We were very surprised to see a video capture of some of the week's teaching events. We weren't expecting it so when it came up on the screen it was a great surprise.  We wanted to share it with you.

Many of these pastors are graduates of Teen Challenge.  They have experienced devastation and the amazing restoration found in Christ.  What testimonies we have heard!


video



Our Time With Adoptive Families

We find the hearts of adoptive families in Russia, just like other adoptive parents where we have been. They love their children and desperately want to know how to help them heal.  We hope our brief time with them on Friday and Saturday helped in some small way.  We also met with a number of them yesterday and today (Tuesday) to go more in-depth.


Here is a short video of the families we met...

video



Thursday morning very early, David and I leave to join Lynn and Ruby Johnston (LAMb) at the Orphan's Promise Adoption Conference in Ukraine......the journey continues.