Connections ~Brittany Bethel

Brittany Bethel is currently serving as the president of ROOM’s Board of Directors.  She has been a advocate, leader and Board member since 2013.  In addition to her volunteer role with our ministry, Brittany works as the Overseas Administrator for Carolina Cross Connection, one of ROOM’s partner ministries providing youth service opportunities for students in the U.S. to build relationships with children living in Honduran orphanages.  Brittany’s heart overflows with passion for personal, meaningful, relational ministry.  We are thankful for her willingness to share this passion and wisdom with us through “Connections.”

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Recently, the New York Times posted an article titled, “The Most Dangerous Place on Earth Got Safer” (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/14/opinion/sunday/how-the-most-dangerous-place-on-earth-got-a-little-bit-safer.html?_r=0). The tag line, Programs funded by the United States are helping transform Honduras. Who says American power is dead?, of course caught my attention. Being a part of two nonprofits that serve heavily in San Pedro Sula, Honduras has caused me to carry an arsenal of information to combat all of the “danger” questions as well as the “what are you actually doing?” questions.

I have had the privilege of planning many group trips to Honduras, and preparing these groups to go. Time and time again, I get asked the question, “what are we actually going to do?” This is a viable question, and one I have spent countless, sleepless nights pondering. In taking time to pour over scripture and listen to wisdom of people much smarter than me, the answer has been made clear: we are going to make connections. These are not the kind of connections that make us money or elevate our status. These are the kind of connections that remind us we are all human, broken, have something to give one another, and we are in desperate need of Jesus.

We go because we are told to go by Jesus. We go because we cannot afford to miss the connection with others, who in turn connect us to Jesus. We go because sitting down with people, listening to their stories, sharing our own, and giving what we given is a sign of loving our neighbor. And loving our neighbor puts us on the doorstep of heaven (Mark 12:29-34).

I think we can agree brokenness is everywhere. But, God is clearly on the move; using us to love our neighbor while teaching us to how reach out and touch the kingdom of heaven. The New York Times article does not mention Jesus; it does however mention relationships. What we are actually going to do is learn from one other, and take action when needed. We are going to fight for one other and carry one another’s burdens. In places like Honduras, India, and even Charlotte we are going to learn how to advocate for peace and justice in a broken world. And, most importantly, we are going to go in the name of Jesus who has the power to heal and restore all that is in shambles.

You do not have to get on a plane to find places that need Jesus’ healing. You do not need to travel to make these kind of connections. God longs for us to make them right now sitting at our desks, at the lunch table, or walking through the mall. Connections take time, a listening ear, a reconciling heart, and a generous spirit. Through the connections God has allowed us to make with ROOM we know the kingdom is not far away; in fact, you can reach out and touch it right now.

We would love for you to consider partnering with us as we celebrate 10 years of ministry. Your donations, time, and listening ear allow us the opportunity to love people well while pointing them to Jesus.

To learn more about how Reach Out Orphanage Ministries makes connections with children and communities in developing nations through abandonment prevention, orphanage care and family placement programs please visit our website.

For more information about how you can make meaningful connections through a ROOM mission trip, or other special opportunity, please email Cassie Murray at KyleAndCassie@makeroom.org.  We look forward to hearing from you!

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What If ~Cassie Murray

Today’s blog story comes from Cassie Murray.  Cassie has served ROOM as a missionary in Costa Rica and Honduras.  She currently serves as our Honduras Country Director.  Cassie and her husband, Kyle, have four biological children and are in the process of adopting their fifth.  The Murrays have served as foster parents to 10 children while serving as the directors of ROOM’s largest Transition Home in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.  Today’s blog shares what the call to orphan care feels like, from the perspective of a woman who mothers many.

 

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My children are sleeping soundly in the room with me. They are so close that I can hear the whispered sounds of their sleepy breathing. I look at their sweet faces in their cozy, matching PJs and my face turns up in an involuntary smile. I just can’t help it; I love them so much. And my mind starts racing with questions…

What if I was not their mother?
What if I couldn’t care for them?
What if I didn’t want to care for them?
What if I died?
What if I was stricken with such abject poverty that I could not provide any of their basic needs?
What if I was so deep in addiction that I could not think of anything else?

Would that change their value?

Would that lessen the sweetness of their sleepy-faced innocence?


When I think of what we are part of through Reach Out Orphanage Ministries, I think of my own children.

Some of the children served by ROOM will be adopted into the homes of their forever families.

They will be loved by their forever mamas and sleep quietly beside them while their mamas think about just how much love they have for this child. And for those mamas, I need to care for their babies while they are waiting.

Some of these children will be too young, too sick, or otherwise unable to voice their needs…and, oh, do I know what it is like to advocate for the needs of one of these special blessings.  For those children, I need to be their voice.

Some of the children served by ROOM may never be adopted.

My heart breaks to write this.

I look at my five and the thought of them not having a mother or father that calls them by name is almost too much to bear.

For those children, I pray that they will see a glimpse of their true Forever Daddy in the love that I give.

“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

The faces of the orphans reflect the faces of my own children…and not only can I not ignore them, but I can not get them out of my mind…

It is not my job to find every orphan a home…but it is my job to care for those who come to me.  I smile at the blessing and responsibility it is.

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To learn more about how ROOM cares for children who have been abandoned, or who are at risk for abandonment, please visit ROOM’s website.  To learn more about how the Murray family is empowering children in the States to help children in Honduras, check out: The Sugar Project  

 

The Moment After The Fall ~Kacey Bolin

Today’s blog is written by Kacey Bolin, ROOM Missionary serving in San Pedro Sula, Honduras. Kacey’s responsibilities with ROOM are numerous. She is a dependable team-player who always strives to help the people around her meet their fullest potential. She most embodies this through her role as a Foster Mother to Jesús, one of the many children served through ROOM’s Scarlet Project. In today’s blog, Kacey speaks candidly about how helping someone reach their potential also means creating a safe place where they can fall.   

Recently Jesús has been busy. He has places to go and, with his walker, he is getting there. He has one phrase that he says without ceasing, “I want to go walking.” He means it. He knows what he is talking about and he doesn’t just mean walking in the house. He wants to go outside; he wants to walk down the road. He wants to feel the scorching sun on his shoulders and the sweat stream down his cheeks. He wants to wear holes through his new shoes and to feel the breeze as we turn the corner near the park. He wants to move. He wants to put one foot in front of the other and listen to those wheels roll. He wants to walk and he has been busy doing just that.

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The other day Jesús learned a valuable lesson about walking. I am still thinking about it today and would like to share it to encourage you as you walk through this day, this season, and this journey of life.

It was a bright and sunny morning. Jesús and I were taking our second walk of the day. Jesús was walking with tremendous enthusiasm. I smiled as I listened to the rolling of his walker’s wheels. Walking with Jesús brings me so much joy because every step is an answered prayer. I have been praying for him to be motivated to move, to seek independence, and embrace his potential.

When he walks, he is doing just that.

Unfortunately, our morning walk took an unexpected turn when the front wheels of Jesús’ walker dropped into a little rut. Before I could stretch out my hand to lift the wheels out, Jesús confidently pushed forward, leaving me to watch him fall face-first toward the road beneath him.

He fell.

Thankfully, the way he fell left him without a scratch. His head didn’t even hit the ground and he showed off his awesome reflexes when he stretched out his arms to brace his fall. Before he knew what had happened I pulled the walker upright and there he was standing up again, wiping the dirt off his hands.

I could see the shock, the fear, and the frustration in his eyes. Tears welled up as his senses of safety and security shattered before him. He fell and he was mad. As he looked at me I could see his thoughts. He wanted out. He was done. No more walking. He wanted me to carry him home and he wanted to throw that walker in the trash. He said it himself, “no more, no more.”

I, in all my love for him, did the unthinkable (in his mind, and maybe yours too) I stood there with him, hugged him, explained to him what happened and said, “you’re up, you’re standing again, now you need to keep going. Walk forward.”  With every step he hesitated. He could just barely put one foot in front of the other. He insecurely continued down the road until we reached our home. It wasn’t until that moment when I picked him up that he cried. He cried, and cried.

Jesús was faced with the reality that walking brings the risk of falling.

That fall left him feeling vulnerable, unsafe, insecure, out of control, dependent, needy, and afraid.  As he was seeking to understand all this, I told him to get up and go forward.

I was prepared to sort through these emotions with Jesús; but, before any of that, I knew I needed to get him back on his feet and keep moving.

We could have stopped right there in the middle of the street, sat down, and sorted through it all. We could have weighed the risk, evaluated what happened, sat there upset and cried, we could have talked about the importance of getting up and walking again. I could have carried him home. I could have taught him that when you fall you stay down but there was a much more important lesson to be learned.

Jesús needed to learn when you fall you get back up. You keep walking. You go forward, one foot in front of the other. I had to tell him, “sure, you fell, get up and walk forward anyway.”

You get up and think about the rest later.  You don’t stay down. You take action.

Life knocks us all down sometimes. Scripture contains many references to falling. Sometimes we get knocked down spiritually, sometimes we take an emotional tumble, sometimes we have a physical fall off our bikes or a horse, and sometimes we wall face forward in a walker. We all fall.

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Psalm 145:14 says, “The Lord helps all who fall” and Proverbs 24:16 says, “Though a righteous man falls 7 times, he will get up.”

Jesús only fell once, and he didn’t want to get up. But he had to learn to get up. He had to learn that it’s the Lord that helps us get up, whether we fall once, twice or seven times. We get up.

The mission field has a knack for knocking people down. I often feel like I spend more time getting up after being knocked down than anything else. But there is something to be said about standing up and walking forward. It is here we experience the help of the Lord and his righteousness that covers us.

When we get up, we are taking action. We are declaring with our actions and not our thoughts. Getting up is where the overcoming takes place. When we stand after we fall we are better equipped to be an outstretched hand to a brother or sister that needs to get up. When we stand we can walk forward more determined than before.

 

Falling is going to happen, but the important thing is the moment after the fall. The moment you stand and walk forward any way.

As Jesús’ foster mom I have to help him see the importance of getting up. Now that he has fallen and gotten up, I get to help him see how he can be the hand someone needs out-stretched to them. We all have to know what it is to fall, so that we can stand and be there to help lift someone else up.

I hesitated to share this story today because I am still beating myself up a bit for not catching him. I felt like the worst caretaker ever because I didn’t keep him from falling. However, as the days pass and now that he is back into his routine of asking to go walking every five seconds, I see the value of this experience. The idea of falling is not a new concept to any of us, but I want to encourage you today to evaluate where you are. If you are down, get up, walk forward. If you are up, look around, it is very likely there is someone near you that could use a hand. We all fall, I pray we all also, get up and help those around us when they need hand.

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ROOM is passionate about taking care of one child at a time. We are a ministry for the one. We recognize the tremendous worth of every child and we seek to become part of their story. If you are interested in Becoming Part of the Story in the lives of children served by Reach Out Orphanage Ministries please visit https://www.razoo.com/us/story/Reach-Out-Orphanage-Ministries to learn more.  Or, check out our website.

What is Your Legacy ~By Harper Murray

Today’s blog article is written by eleven-year-old Harper Murray.  Harper serves is an important member of the Murray Missionary Family.  Kyle and Cassie Murray, along with their four children Harper, Calvary, Jack and Finley,  have worked as ROOM Missionaries in Costa Rica and Honduras. Cassie Murray is our ROOM Honduras Country Director.  Harper strongly believes kids have the power to make a big difference in their world; and lives her life as an example of this.  The call to action Harper shares with us today is strong and bold, just like her.

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August Pullman, the main character in the novel Wonder by R.J. Palacio, is entering the 5th grade. In August’s class, his teacher, Mr. Browne, gives a precept, or a rule to live by every month for the students to consider. One month his precept is, “What is beautiful is good, who is good will soon be beautiful.” Reading this book made me stop and think about what this expression could mean in my own life.
To me, this precept means people who show kindness through hard times will be recognized by the beauty of their hearts throughout their lives. Kindness is a simple gesture, like a smile. It is so appreciated by the receiver. To be kind to an extreme level is amazing! People who witness these acts of kindness will be amazed at the courage and strength of the person acting kind. That courage and strength then build beauty.
The way I can live this precept out in my life is by making sure new kids feel welcomed and liked. After moving around quite a bit, I know how hard it can be to be the new kid. I can take the extra step beyond normal to share kindness. Kindness is like a seed planted where it is left. I believe this precept helps a person stop and think about being kind. It reminds me of a verse in the Bible that says, “A new commandment I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so also you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35).

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Everywhere I look I see people looking for ways to be beautiful. But those ways only deal with the surface. I think the truest challenge is to stop looking in the mirror to make me beautiful and instead look at the goodness I can bring to others around me. At the end of the day your legacy is all you leave behind . When I die, I hope my legacy is a good one for people to remember me. Kindness brings true beauty, not makeup or clothes. We all have the power to choose our legacy.
The Sugar Project is my way to bring goodness, or the love of God, to the world around me. There are so many ways that kids can change the world. In fact, a children’s home I love and visited this summer in Honduras, ProNino, caught on fire this week. I want to challenge kids who are connected with ROOM to help this home get back on its feet after a fire. After their kitchen burned down, this home literally needs sugar, as well as every other grocery item necessary to feed lots of kids. What better way for the Sugar Project to work then to actually bring food to people in need!

Here’s how you can help ProNino:
1. Get an empty Tupperware or food storage container.
~this container will help to remind you and the people you reach out to that the money given will help meet urgent critical needs for children living in orphanages.

2. Ask your friends, neighbors, classmates, teammates, etc. for their spare change.
~ we often have far more than we need and giving our spare change reminds us that we always have more than we need.

3. Email my mom, Cassie Murray, and she can pick up the containers (if you live near the Charlotte, NC area) or she can help you figure out the easiest way to get the change counted and the funds sent to ROOM.
~kyleandcassie@makeroom.org

4. Mail a check to Reach Out Orphanage Ministries with Sugar Project in the memo line or donate online

You have until the end of September to get your donations in! Remember, all the money goes to help the kids of Pronino recover from the losses of the fire.

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For more information about ROOM’s Sugar Project, or to make an online donation, visit: ROOM’s Sugar Project Razoo Page  Or watch ROOM’s Sugar Project on YouTube

For more information on how Reach Out Orphanage Ministries empowers children and communities by sharing the love of Christ through abandonment prevention, orphanage support and family placement solutions, please visit ROOM’s Website