Faith~ Joey Weed

To learn more about how ROOM is serving children and communities, please visit our website, http://www.makeroom.org/ 
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Wise Investments~ Kaylie Kuhn

Today’s blog comes from Kaylie Kuhn. Kaylie has a way of articulating the heart of ROOM in a way that is educational and empowering. Today’s message on making the most of long-term or short-term mission trips is an excellent tool to use when making the decision on where to go and who to serve alongside. We hope you find this helpful and informative and if you would like more informaiton about missions opportunities through ROOM please contact Cassie Murray, kyleandcassie@makeroom.org

Missions trips, vacation Bible school, international church projects: what do these things have in common? All three require immense financial and often physical investments. With a new year upon us, many new churches and generous families are looking for a way to invest their money in a productive way to advance God’s kingdom. Investing your time and money cannot and should not be taken lightly. It is a great responsibility to make sure its going towards the best option possible for the people you hope to serve,  you (or your church), and your beliefs.

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As a veteran on the mission field I have a lot of experience when it comes to nonprofit organizations and, specifically, the financials running behind different types of organizations. Giving money to the first person who inspires you can generally lead to disaster. Some organizations have pure hearts but poor financials; unaware of how to properly budget or balance checkbooks. There are also a select few that focus more on profit than on being a nonprofit. I hope to use this blog to give you (or your church), a new perspective on nonprofit financials and how to make the most wise investment possible.

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The first step when looking for a partner is to look for something that aligns with your beliefs and passions. Now, when I say this I don’t mean if you’re Baptist only work with Baptist organizations, but moreover to make sure the organization or person you decide to partner with holds themselves to the same morals as you do. If you do not agree with the way they run their organization or mission, it can become a conflict for both you and the organization later on. When I raise funds I do my best to be completely transparent with my donors, so they know exactly where their money is going and in return I don’t have pressure on myself to become someone I’m not to please my supporters.

All of us have different passions, and trust me when I say there is a place for every passion. ROOM tries our best to connect people with their passions, which is why in every missions trip we host we introduce our teams to every aspect of ROOM’s ministry: Orphanage Care, Orphan Prevention, and Family Placement Solutions. This way, teams can know specifically how they want to deepen their impact in the future of our ministry. For example, those who have a passion for education can invest in providing tools and resources for one of our partner orphanages education while those who have a passion for nutrition invest in programs providing fruit and vegetables at another orphanage.

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When considering your passion, remember the need to balance. For every glamorous investment there is a basic need. For example, while ROOM’s big projects are major investments with tangible picture-perfect outcome, we also have non-glamorous investments such as the paper and staples needed for our office so we can print out our outcomes and deliver them. Simply investing in shiny projects while forgetting the behind-the-scenes-needs just doesn’t work. Both have equal needs for investment.

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It is important to make sure, once you’ve got your passions and beliefs aligned with an organization or a person, they have a working budget in place. Big projects can be great if funded properly, but if it is a constantly increasing budget which will continuously need more and more cash investments without ever becoming self-sustaining, this project will either become extremely dependent, unstable, draining or impossible to fulfill. Every organization or person needs to make sure they balance the big dreams with a proper budget. If they have not considered these realities, it is not recommended to invest with them, no matter how inspirational the idea may be. Sustainability should always be the goal. 

Lastly, it’s important to see where the excess is going. When fundraising goals are exceeded, where does that money go? This needs to be just as properly documented and budgeted as the goal money itself, or else it can be easily misused or forgotten. Knowing these basic financials will not only help you to make a wise investment but also improve the nonprofit or person themselves and help them in the future as well.

As you go into a new season of investment remember these tips to make the wisest investment possible. 

“Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”  –Luke 16:10 (NIV)

If you have any questions about ROOM’s financials, or any other area of inquiry inspired by Kaylie’s article, please contact our Executive Director, Amanda Stafford, at Amanda.Stafford@makeroom.org or by calling 704-773-1717 (U.S.). She loves to talk about budgets, nonprofit sustainability and how to invest in children and communities!

To learn more about how ROOM empowers children and communities, please visit our website.

Altars ~Wendy Boyle

Today’s blog comes from Wendy Boyle. Wendy represents ROOM’s ongoing partnership with Abba Padre International. Over the past several years, the Boyle family has played many roles within ROOM’s ministry from foster parents, to transition home directors to administrators. We are so thankful for all that Wendy, and her entire family, does to support the children and families of Honduras. Many of us have come to lean on Wendy as a rock as she offers spiritual support and physical support simultaneously. Today’s blog illustrates how Wendy pairs the physical with the spiritual on a daily basis.

Throughout the Bible God told various people to set up altars to Him. Many times the altar  was a place of sacrifice, but it was also set up as a way to remember what the Lord had done in a certain place each time His people passed by it again.

It became an altar of reflection, remembrance, and praise.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says we’re called to “rejoice always, pray without ceasing, and to give thanks in everything.”

In 2017, we are intentionally putting this verse into practice, as well setting up “altars” along our path.

One of the “altars” we’ve set up to remind us to “rejoice, pray, and give thanks” is this building:

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Child Services Office Building, Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Above is a picture of a particular building that we pass by several times a day… it’s a picture of Honduran Child Services’ office in the capital city of Tegucigalpa.

Among other times throughout our day, as we pass by this building, we have started interceding on behalf of the children who are part of ROOM’s Scarlet Project here in Honduras. We then cry out on behalf of the families ROOM works with in the bordos, through our orphan prevention/ family preservation projects. We pray for the orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) we know and love in various children’s homes throughout Honduras, as well as the children we know via ROOM India, Nepal, and for OVC worldwide.

We rejoice that these children have a Heavenly Father who loves them, and pray they will come to a saving knowledge of Him through Jesus Christ!

We pray those who are in positions of authority to make decisions on their behalf will have the heart of the Father, and that we will accurately represent our Father to those He places around us.

We give thanks for the caregivers and people who are walking alongside these children, being their voice by advocating for them, and for being the Father’s hands, feet, heart to each of them.

There are many ways to reflect on all the Lord is doing and has done, but having a visual reminder prompt us to do so has been a huge blessing these first two months of 2017!

According to Colossians 3:15, giving thanks is the will of God. As you stop and ponder His goodness, what can you thank Him for in your life right now?!

Are there ways in which you too can set up “altars” to remind yourself of those things?

Would you also prayerfully ask the Lord to show you how to set up an “altar” to pause and pray for each of us here at ROOM, and most importantly for the children we serve, each time you pass by it?

To learn more about Todd and Wendy Boyle and how their ministry, Abba Padre International works hand-in-hand with Reach Out Orphanage Ministries, please visit: Abba Padre International’s Website .  To learn more about ROOM, please visit our website.

My Forever Valentines ~Kacey Bolin

Today’s blog post comes to us from ROOM Missionary Kacey Bolin.  The topic is her foster son, Jesús.  Two weeks ago, Jesús passed away unexpectedly from cardiac respiratory failure.  This is an awful loss.  Our warrior boy is deeply missed by the ROOM Family and many others who knew him.  We are keeping Kacey, Luis and all those who knew Jesús in our prayers and in our thoughts.  Kacey’s Valentine’s Day article is the perfect representation of how we will remember Jesús:  by his love.

A day all about love is like a day all about my Jesús.

He loved like no other.  He knew the risk of loving deeply and loved anyway.  He knew the sting of many losses but chose to love us anyway.  He chose us to be his Mom and Dad and he loved seeing our love for each other.

He loved love.

He knew love.

He believed in love.

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Our first family photo

 

My prayer for Jesús was always the same; for his life to testify to the power of God’s love.  Two weeks ago he unexpectedly left our arms.  His passing has left me crushed because of how fully we loved.  I cling to the hope that his life will testify to love.  I walk forward because of love.  Loss in love has hurt every piece of me.  But it has testified to God.  It has to testify to how glorious and wonderful my God is.

Love healed my son, love opened his heart, love even took him home.

Friends, love deeper.  Love without fear.  Love for the sake of love.

I will continue to love deeply and fearlessly.  Please join me, for Jesús; for Christ, Jesus.

Control ~Kellie Weed

Today’s blog author is Kellie Weed.  Kellie is serving as a ROOM Missionary in San Pedro Sula, Honduras alongside her husband, Joey, and their son, Connor.  Kellie shared her voice with us in Sharing CHRISTmas with Children in Honduras ~Kellie Weed and A good return for their labor~ Kellie Weed

Control: To exercise direction; to dominate; to command.

When I think of a follower of Jesus, these are some of the last things that come to mind. A follower can be defined as “someone that moves or travels behind something or someone.” I consider myself a follower of Jesus; however, too often I find myself trying to take the lead. This is where the desire to be in control becomes a potential danger in my life.
It’s easy to sit back and reflect on verses that talk about God’s will for our lives and trusting in Him (Proverbs 3:5-6, Jeremiah 29:11 just to name a couple familiar ones). Unfortunately, though, it’s not always as easy to put them into practice. It’s refreshing and peaceful knowing that He cares for us and that He has a plan for us. But sometimes when things seem tough, unknown, or even scary, the temptation to take control and act like I know what’s best comes at me in full force.
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I wish I could say that every time this happens, I turn to God’s word and prayer. I really do wish that were true. To be honest, it’s not always that simple. To be even more honest, I’m thankful for the lessons I learned the hard way. Serving in Honduras on the mission field, learning a new language, living in a new culture and facing new challenges has allowed me to experience a season of life that is been jam-packed with moments where I’ve been forced to make a decision. A decision to trust in the Lord that He has a perfect plan, or to take matters into my own hands and take the lead.
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In a relationship with Jesus, there are many moments that require surrender. There’s the initial surrender when you realize you need Him and that you owe Him your life and surrender it all to Him. But then there are also all of those moments throughout your walk. The moments like Noah had when he followed the Lord’s voice and built the ark while everyone around him ridiculed and laughed at him. The moments like Daniel had when he decided to continuously praise God while being thrown into a lion’s den. The moments like Joseph had remaining faithful when he was falsely accused and thrown into prison.
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Yet even in the moments where I fail and I make the decision to try to take the lead, God graciously holds me tight with His loving arms. He uses these moments to bring His Word to life in ways that are indescribable.
To learn more about how ROOM empowers children and communities, please visit our website.

The Blessing of Giving~Johana Doblado

This week’s ROOM contributor is Johana Doblado.  Johana works as our Scarlet Project Director in Honduras. As the climate of the country has changed, she has had to show her ability to ebb and flow with the needs made evident. The only characteristic that can make that type of flexibility possible is the one she describes in today’s post. We are so thankful for you, Jo!

 

There is a verse that has been etched into my heart and mind ever since I was a little girl. Growing up in a Christian home and also going to a Christian school, I saw this verse practically everywhere. It is a simple for a child to learn, but carries such a powerful message that I am reminded of every day, and more so today than ever. The verse is Acts 20:35b, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

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As I sit here and reflect on the end of 2016 and the start of 2017 the logical question hits me: What will 2017 bring or, moreover, what will it bring me? This is how we usually start our reflection of a new year–a year of much needed fresh starts, wiping the slate clean and starting again, of new goals and dreams, new structures and routines. It is also a time of looking back at 2016 and seeing the good we want to carry with us and the bad we will learn from and the mistakes we will avoid making again.

 

However, with this verse fresh in my mind, it forces me to refocus that question as I gear up to do my own reflection of the year that I’m leaving behind and the year that is looming ahead of me, and as I refocus I rephrase the question to What can I give in 2017? What more can I do? And by this I don’t necessarily mean money; I mean time, effort and love. I aim give things that actually matter, things that don’t have a price tag but that have so much more value in the life of the people.

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“My mother was constantly giving of what the Lord had placed in her hands”

I realize that I am surrounded by all kinds of amazing people who have one thing in common: a desire to give through time-investment and love. I grew up watching someone like this: my mother. She was always giving; she gave what she had to give and sometimes even what she shouldn’t have given. She was constantly giving of what the Lord had placed in her hands. She always wanted to be a blessing to others, and because of this, I truly believe that is why she was always blessed. Another person who showed me this while growing up was a missionary I know, Pam. She moved to Honduras when she was in her early twenties, not knowing the language but knowing one thing: she knew she had to give, and boy did she!

I had a lifetime of watching these women give and be a blessing to others.

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This weekend as we rang in the new year with a celebration with ROOM Foster Families. I was once again awestruck at the myriad of role models I have today. At the age of 33, I am still learning this very simple and short verse, “it is more blessed to give than to receive.” As I looked around at the various families we have the privilege of walking alongside, I see more than ever what a blessing it is to give. I see each family making the choice of giving every single day. None of our families are rich in money and wealth, but they are rich where it counts the most… in love, a love that is rooted in the Father above. A love that gives and will keep on giving in the lives of every child that is growing up in the center of one of our families. It is amazing to realize that now more than ever I have many, many role models to look up to.

 

So if you are able,  join me in refocusing our look into 2017, and asking ourselves: How can we become the blessing that others receive in 2017?

For more information about ROOM foster families in Honduras, or to learn how you can “give more” as Johanna describes, please visit www.makeroom.org.