Cucumbers and Hope~Kyle Murray

Today’s blog contributor is Kyle Murray. Kyle served as a ROOM Missionary in Costa Rica and Honduras with his wife, Cassie and their four children. Since returning from Honduras, Kyle has continued to serve ROOM in many capacities from maintaining records to leading mission and vision teams. Kyle is a person who is most known by his strong leadership, rooted in the way he lives. He does everything with excellence and integrity. We are so thankful for Kyle!

Recently, I have seen something growing in Honduras. It is happening right inside the walls of a little home called Crecer, located in San Pedro Sula.

Usually, in this same location, you can witness games being played, laughing, learning, and love. It isn’t the easy kind of love, though. There isn’t a simple, warm and fuzzy love like the kind you find between a child and a puppy. It is a complex, tough love that takes a lot of patience and a whole lot of faith.

But, something else is growing in that little house tucked away in San Pedro Sula, Honduras:  Cucumbers are sprouting up in tiny gardens!

I remember when seeds were planted around the house by the kids and staff. I am not sure if these kids had ever planted a seed before in their lives, but I can tell you that they were excited about the possibility of something sprouting up.

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Finley and Oliver Jack (Kyle’s children) assisted with the garden by planting grass clippings and watering it with Sprite–They need a few more gardening classes.

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After the seeds were planted, they started checking everyday to see if anything was growing.

The problem is that nothing happens quickly. It takes water, sunlight, pruning, and work. fraxer

This is why I see so much more than vegetables when I see these sprouts. It is a direct representation of the the work that is going on in Honduras–the work being done in that little house known as Crecer, tucked inside the city known as the Murder Capital of the World. It also represents the work done anywhere by people obeying God by going out and being His hands and feet.

This is what life is when you live by faith. Everything you do is planting a seed and something is going to grow. That is why it is so important to plant the right seeds and let God lead the way.

Even without Crecer, someone or something would be planted into the lives of these kids. In fact, so much of the work done there is trying to uproot the weeds sowed into their lives. These are the lies that they are worthless, unloved, unknown. The lie that men shouldn’t cry or women shouldn’t say no. Pulling out the weeds is crucial because those lies grow quickly and choke out the good seeds.

Something is going to grow. Something is going to determine what the harvest will be.

I dare to say that without Crecer it wouldn’t be love. It wouldn’t have anything to do with growth or thriving. Honduras is a tough a place. Thriving isn’t something you can easily see when you assess the landscape, and in the big picture a few veggies doesn’t really change that view.

That is why this work is so important. It is slow work with long term goals.

It is discipleship with hopes that the ones being discipled are the first of many and that they will plant seeds from the harvest of their lives into many others.

Those cucumbers remind me not to be discouraged when I can’t see what God is doing right under the surface. He is there and He is working.

There is an expression that says, “If you give a man a fish you feed him for a day, but if you teach a man to fish you feed him for a lifetime.” We grab hold of this concept at ROOM and strive to empower families and communities to thrive, but I want to go even further. I say we should teach a man to fish so that he can teach other to fish.

Love someone.

Love someone so they can feel love.

Love someone so they can feel love and so they can love someone else.

And most importantly, grow a garden. It will give the kids a fun activity and it will save a bit of money at the market. Every little bit helps.

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Fruits of the Harvest (both figurative and literal)

To learn more about how ROOM is empowering children, families and communities please visit:  http://www.makeroom.org/  To make a donation to support this work, please visit:  http://www.makeroom.org/donate.php

To learn more about Crecer and ROOM’s partnership with this phenomenal program, check out:  You are Treasured

 

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Giving Thanks~ Traci Cline

This week’s ROOM contributor is Traci Cline. Traci has served with ROOM in multiple capacites throughout our history. Currently, Traci serves a crucial role on ROOM’s board. Her personal experiences in both Honduras and India as well as her family’s intimate connection to adoption have given her wisdom and passion to help direct ROOM’s ministry from a place of leadership. Today’s blog highlights one of the personal experiences that Traci has had that keeps her in touch with the people ROOM serves. She even offers a tangible way for us all to remember that God has given us the ability to serve others.image

Its Thanksgiving week and I am thankful.

I am thankful for family and friends, turkey and 24hr grocery stores… You know; the usual.
But I just came home from a mission trip so I must list the obligatory warm showers, air condition, deodorant, paved roads and runways.

I am Thankful I don’t have to have guard dogs bark all night or roosters crow from 4:00am on. That’s the superficial list.

On a deeper level, I am Thankful for Faviola, Becsi, Eldali, Cherwi, Chever, Edgar, Charly… just to list a few of the kids I have come to love over the past six trips to Honduras.

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I am thankful for a woman named Mama Tara who had the vision of taking in children who needed a home all those years ago.

I am thankful for Linda, who God appointed to fill the shoes of Mama Tara when she went home to be with the Lord.

I am thankful for Laura and Alex who had the vision to start a much-needed school for upper grades so that kids in Puerto Lempira can realistically dream about their future.

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On a selfish note I am thankful I get to experience all of this.

I am thankful my Sunday school class wanted to “do something” seven years ago. Our “something” at the time was sending money, $100 a month, so that some kids in a remote part of Honduras could have fruits and vegetables weekly.

I am thankful that after a while some of us got the itch to try and visit these kids and put a face to their names.

I am thankful for ROOM who helped make all of that happen.

I am thankful that our whole church has caught the vision.

Since our first trip to Puerto Lempira back in 2011 we have sent 10 teams. Those teams have done construction and repair work, they have held medical clinics for the kids and the community. We have done art projects, sang songs and gone swimming with the kids. We have laughed and cried, taken selfies and family pictures. We’ve become family with Mama Tara’s orphanage.

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So, this Thanksgiving, as you sit around the table be Thankful.

Be Thankful for loved ones and family but also be Thankful that all around the world there are children who laugh and cry just like our children.

Be thankful that our God created us all equal and loves us all immensely.

Be thankful that He can use you to make a difference.

Be thankful you don’t have to start with leading a team of 18 to an indigenous people group in a far-off land. It can start something as small as sharing a piece of fruit.

This Thanksgiving sit an apple on your table and remember you can make a difference to a child in need and that is something to truly be thankful for.

 

Through the Fire~ Joey Weed

This week’s ROOM contributor is Joey Weed. Joey serves as a ROOM Missionary alongside with his wife, Kellie and their son, Connor. Last week the Weed family celebrated one year on the mission field in Honduras. Experiences gained on the mission field can make a year feel much longer, and make veterans out of new missionaries in no time. In this week’s blog, Joey introduces us to one of ROOM’s newest partner homes, ProNiño. We are thankful for all the ways Joey has allowed the Lord to grow him over the past year and we are proud to have Joey serving on our ministry front-lines!
There are so many things that God is teaching me right now. The one that stands out the most, and the one I want to write about right now, is how He answers prayers. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt that God wasn’t responding to my prayers-whether it’s because I wasn’t listening or expecting Him to answer- or if because His response wasn’t what I had in mind.
If you follow ROOM on social media, you should be familiar with Proniño. It’s a boy’s home located in El Progresso, about an hour away from San Pedro. It’s a home that I had never visited prior to this past summer, however, others in ROOM were familiar with them through The Children’s Home Project (the covering organization for Crecer, another ROOM partner). I remember the day Cassie (ROOM Honduras Country Director) approached Kellie and I to tell us she felt the Lord leading ROOM to be more involved with this home. At the time, I was overwhelmed by the thought of adding something more to what we were already doing, but I committed to pray about it. The more I prayed and asked God to provide clarity and direction, the more I felt that my prayers were changing. While we were on our visa run in the States, my prayers went from “is this something that you’d have us do” to “Lord, I pray for your blessing on this home. These boys need you in a mighty way. I pray for workers to be sent out into the harvest.” When we came back to Honduras, two weeks later they had a devastating fire… “Why God?! Why would you allow this to happen?” This disaster, preceded by my prayers for this home, kick-started my relationship with the Pronino boys and their caretakers.
I had the chance to visit Pronino just a couple short days after the fire. It was heart-breaking to say the least. Here is a home full of young men that were in need before the fire and now they’re faced with the aftermath of losing their kitchen, classrooms, storage and even some living quarters. But as I’m walking around in the coals of what used to be a structure, I look around to see people everywhere cleaning, comforting, playing with the kids and asking what can be done. Organizations that otherwise could not invest in this home are showing up to see how they can serve. All at once it hit me. “Thank you God for answering our prayers!” It’s definitely not how I imagined or hoped for in the beginning, but everywhere I looked I saw harvesters. People came from out of nowhere to serve and invest in this home. Some buildings were lost, but every child was safe and protected. What the enemy tried to use for harm, God used for His glory.
ROOM has begun visiting with the Pronino kids regularly since the fire, and over the past few months, we’ve already seen construction taking place. New buildings are going up that are nicer and better than before. Food is being donated and new relationships are being formed. Many times we go to God with a heavy heart or desperate need expecting Him to respond in a certain way. Sometimes He does. But many times His ways of answering our prayers are far beyond our comprehension, and come in ways we wouldn’t see unless we were looking and listening for Him.

 

We are thankful and excited to share that ROOM’s Sugar Project raised $170.00 to purchase food for Pronino! If you would like to DIRECTLY impact ROOM’s partner orphanages, please consider making a donation to our orphanage care program–every donation designated for a specific program goes directly to those programs!

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This is what $170.00 worth of food looks like!
To make a donation directly to ROOM’s Orphanage Care program, visit our secure donation page.
To learn more about how Reach Our Orphanage Ministries is empowering children and communities, and for other ways to get involved, please visit our website

Walls ~ by Kaylie Kuhn

 

Today’s blog comes from Kaylie Kuhn. Kaylie serves in Honduras as one of ROOMs missionaries. She is a single foster mom to 3-year-old Lizzi. Kaylie has a gift with words and we have been so blessed by her ability to craft words together in a way that poignantly asks us to think about issues. Today, she asks us to consider what it means to live with walls…and not the type of walls that have been discussed so ferociously in this year’s election.

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One thing you can find all over Honduras are big, giant walls. You can find them around schools, homes, stores, and even public libraries. They almost always come topped off with barbed or electrical wire, or some other kind of stabbing painful device, like rusty nails pointy-side-up. You can’t really go anywhere without finding some kind of wall or fence; even in the poorest areas, where houses are made out of discarded metals and wood or sheets all patched together unevenly, you can usually find at least one small fence.

Having these walls makes complete sense. Without them, you are very likely to be robbed, raped, assaulted or even murdered. It is a necessity for these people to own their walls.

A few weeks ago, I was in Honduras and staying with my upper-middle-class friend and her family. She lives in San Pedro Sula. She, her cousin, and her older sister took me and my friend, Sarah, around San Pedro and showed us all of the giant mansions of the millionaires.

But there was a problem.
We didn’t really see the mansions.
Can you take a guess why?
That’s right. Walls.

Because these families were so wealthy and had such a huge house to protect them, they had to have even larger walls. We could, maybe, see the top of their roofs. Each wall was beautifully made: thick, with large, ostentatious doors and were all made out of expensive brick and other gorgeous materials. You could tell a person’s wealth by the extravagance of their wall.

I laughed at the irony, and joked about how in the United States we actually saw the mansions when we went mansion-searching, not just their crazy walls.

At first, they all laughed with me. And then one of them got slightly sad-looking and said to me:

“I wish Honduras was more like the United States. You guys don’t have walls. You don’t even need them.”

And she was right on one thing.
We don’t need walls.
And in a physical sense, we don’t really have them either.
But in a spiritual sense, our walls are higher and more exclusive than all of the Honduran mansions’ walls combined.

While the Hondurans put up walls to protect themselves, we put up “walls” to keep everything out. We enjoy our comfortable lives. We don’t want to change it. I find myself in this position all the time. Sometimes I second-guess going back to the States because the luxury I can find there is so nice and oh-so-addicting.

Before I went to Honduras, I was very much a “wall” person. I knew about poverty and the need for missions in developing countries, but in my head and my heart I’d block it out. I blocked this out so much, that the only way I ended up going on a mission trip in the first place was after an immense amount of peer-pressure. We want to believe that someone else will take care of these needs. That it isn’t a big deal. That staying inside our walls won’t affect anyone.
But there aren’t enough people to “take care of it”.
It is the biggest deal.
And staying inside will not only affect the outside negatively, but also the people on the inside.

Our walls, even though we believe they keep us from the dangers of the outside like:
– Giving up some kind of luxury to donate
– Being uncomfortable in a place of poverty for a week or more
– Being hurt, raped, or killed by a dangerous person
– Feeling out of place in another culture

But, these walls are actually endangering us by staying inside. By not going outside, we miss out on:
– Learning about a new culture
– Receiving unending love by insanely gracious people and special children
– Finding a passion we didn’t know existed
– Adventuring through a beautiful, new land
– Changing our views on life based on a new experience

Staying inside our walls not only harms others who need our help, but harms ourselves as well.

As much as we think they need us, the truth is we need them.

I can personally say that going outside my walls has changed my life completely. We’re talking a total 180-degrees. I am so much happier now then I ever was before. And the best part is, I’ve become 10x as rich in spiritual-luxury than I ever was in my physical-luxury. But that’s a story for a another day.

Today I ask you to challenge yourself:
Go Outside Your Walls.
Even if it’s just to a poorer area of town that you feel uncomfortable in.
Just go somewhere.
Slowly, but surely, break down those walls.
Go all Joshua on it.
Even if you never truly break it, at least lessen its size.

Ask any wall-breaker. Life is better without barriers.

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For more information about Kaylie Kuhn, and to support her mission work with ROOM, please visit Fist Bumps From Kaylie

For more information about Reach Out Orphanage Ministries and how you can get involved, please visit our website.  

 

The Leftovers Project

Today, instead of a personal blog post, the ROOM family is excited to share a special opportunity to support the children we love:  The Leftovers Project.  By collecting spare change with your family, friends, Sunday school class, Bible Study group or individually, you have the power to transform the coins that are jingling around in your pockets and cluttering up your nightstand into life-saving support for children struggling with abandonment in developing nations.  Your change will add up quickly; and, when combined with others’ leftover coins, this has the power to CHANGE lives.

In Deuteronomy 24:19 we learn, “When you are harvesting your crops and forget to bring a bundle of grain from your field, don’t go back and get it.  Leave it for the foreigners, the orphans and the widows.  Then the LORD your God will bless you in all you do.”

For many of us, God blesses us so tremendously that our “harvests” provide all our needs for today, allow us to save for tomorrow and even purchase some “wants.”  After all this, we often have plenty left over.

Reach Out Orphanage Ministries is asking you to give these “leftovers” to children living in orphanages in developing nations whose basic needs are unmet.  To participate, please find a tupperware container, canning jar or water bottle and fill it with your leftover change and small bills.  Using a food or water container will remind you that your leftovers will be used to provide urgent, critical needs like healthy food and safe drinking water.

When your container is filled, please count up your change and mail a check for that amount to: Reach Out Orphanage Ministries, PO Box 5882, Concord, NC 28027.  If you would like to drop off your change, please swing by our office at Epworth United Methodist Church in Concord, NC.  ROOM has plenty of Leftover Project stickers and flyers and we’d be happy to mail them to you or email you the templates.  Please give us a call at 704-77-1717, or email Amanda.Stafford@makeroom.org to let us know you’re stopping by, or to request stickers and flyers.

ROOM empowers children and communities.  We do this by meeting the basic needs of children living in orphanages.  We do this by serving families at-risk for abandoning their children.  We do this by advocating for best practices in foster care and adoption in developing nations.

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For more information about ROOM, or to get more involved with ROOM’s ministry, please visit our website:  www.makeroom.org.  

If you have any questions please contact our chief coin-counter (and Executive Director), Amanda at Amanda.Stafford@makeroom.org.  We look forward to hearing from you!

#ROOMLeftoversProject #CHANGElives #ChangeForAChange