Friday, August 31, 2012

Latest Article: Teens Who Volunteer

I had a great assignment for August: spotlight four local teens who volunteer.
 I loved the creativity of these kids putting their talents to use in ways that truly bless others.  
And the idea of volunteering more (outside of just our church) has been nagging at me lately.

Over the summer, I sat with the McKenna family at dinner and listened to them tell exciting tales of volunteering in orphanages in Haiti, a place that has stolen their heart.

Our friends, the Heinauers, have loved bringing their kids along for the past year to volunteer at the Hope Center, and they also took a couple's vacation to volunteer at Castaway summer camp.

This week, as I was on FaceTime with my dear friend, Ian, in England, I got so excited listening to work he's beginning for African orphanages, watching his face light up at the idea of helping kids who had nothing.  He's donating the proceeds of the Brighton Book Festival, which he runs, to this cause.

Yesterday, at Gryffy's preschool, I was talking to a dad & Westside Church pastor, John Huber, who just got back from Haiti and is soon on his way to Thailand and India on missions.  I can't wait to pick their brains about this over dinner next month!

And last night, I came across a picture of a boy I've met who was left, half dead, as a baby on the doorstep of an orphanage in Africa (the orphanage--Energy of Hope--was run by a girl in her twenties--amazing story!)... he now lives with her in the states, where he's thriving.  He (Elton) and his friend, Lucia, are making tie-dye shirts to give to people who donate money for food.  $35 = 80 meals.

And while we can only support causes like this from afar for now (given the age of our kids--someday I'd love to take them on a missions trip), there are some things we can do to engage in our own community.

 For awhile now, Lorelei and I have been talking about an idea we've had for some time: having violin concerts at a nursing home. She puts all this effort into practicing everyday, and has been playing now for two and half years (enough to build up some confidence and know she's pretty darn good).  So today, I called Rose Estates, and we're putting some dates on the calendar.  Maybe Mark will tickle some ivories while we're there, too.  And Gryffy, well, he's the master of hugs.  I'm glad we've cleared some space on our calendar this year, and now have the chance to fill it up with efforts that take us beyond ourselves.  Our faith teaches us to care for orphans and widows and to visit the lonely, so we're going to put it into practice.

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