Monday, October 11, 2010

Remember the Beginning

Every one goes through hard times. Maybe it is just with one relationship, or with a job, or maybe everything in life is going wrong.  Typically, I run...just look at my track record you will see that it's true.  Part of the reason I ended up in Tennessee at Bryan College is because I wanted to start over in a new place with new people.  Anyway, while I do think that God lead me to Bryan College - sometimes running isn't what God wants us to do.    It feels easier to run away and escape whatever is troubling us.  Most of the time the thing that is causing us to suffer seems so huge that we cannot see any way to possibly fix it.  I believe (and was reminded last week) that during these trails in our lives - no matter what it may be or involve - number 1 God will always be faithful and see us through, number 2 God may be calling us to stay, and number 3 remember God's promises.  Number 3 especially hit me hard last week.  A couple came to the AMG Home Office last week as missionary candidates.  The wife said that her mentor told her to write down the promises she believed God had for her. She told us that she goes back to that list of promises anytime she feels discouraged or troubled.  What an encouragement!  Even through the hard times God's promises still ring true in our lives.  Sometimes we need to remember the beginning and how God brought us to where we are now in order to see through the bad.

Romans 5:1-5
Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us. Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.
We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.  And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A Special Bond

In the July issue of the AMG News there was an article about the importance of sending letters and photos to your sponsored child.  These kids cherish each letter, birthday card, and photo their sponsor sends.  Especially a photo, they want to know what their sponsor looks like!  Knowing this, it always warms my heart when I see the letters and photos come into the home office from sponsors to their kids.  Like I have said before, to see the relationship between a sponsor and their child grow is an exciting thing.

My husband and I sponsor a girl in Uganda.  Her name is Jemima and she is 12 years old.  The last letter we received from her said that she takes special care of each photo we send her.  She even asked her mother to buy photo frames for them.  This blew me away!  Pictures that go in photo frames are usually filled with people that are important to you.  It showed me how much my husband and I mean to her as her sponsor.  And that goes for each child in any sponsorship program.  They know the name of their sponsor and if they receive photos and letters they cherish each of them.  It is such a special bond, the relationship between a sponsor and a child.  Even though Jemima and I are oceans apart and I don't know if I will ever meet her, I'm sure that I will never forget her and she will never forget me and my husband.

If you want to sponsor a child (change a child's life for the better and yours too :) learn more on the AMG Website.

Also, Aly Houser (she and her family frequently visit and serve with AMG Uganda) have put together a great website for AMG Uganda.  So, if you would like to know more about AMG's ministry in Uganda check out the site here.

Friday, September 3, 2010

28 Days of Prayer

The Child Sponsorship Team here at AMG International is starting a new initiative to grow our ministry.  We want to be able to help more children have a better life and hope for a bright future.  We want to offer the love of Christ in tangible ways to more children all over the world. 

We have put together a 28 day prayer guide. There are four weeks focusing on different needs within the ministry.  Week 1: New Sponsors, Week 2: Opening New Childcare Centers, Week 3: Childcare Center Needs, and Week 4: Strengthening Relationships. Please join us!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Back in the States

Being back in the States is weird.  I miss Lima a bit.  On Monday morning when I woke up I wished that I was going to the childcare centers.  Those kids definitely left an impression on me...even though I only spent one day with them.

I still can't get over their living conditions.  The children live in small shacks with usually only one room, no running water, electricity for only a few hours a day, and dirt floors.  We did visit a few homes and I remember one of the mothers makes these little baskets to sell for 1 Sole which comes out to about $.35.  If she works all day she can make 60 baskets.  Then she has to go and sell them on the street.  What a life huh? I also noticed that some houses had refrigerators but come to find out they find these old refrigerators and just use them as storage for clothes, books, or whatever else...not to store food. 

Outside of the Dr. Z Center in Saul Cantoral

Visiting the centers has helped me to better understand the urgency and necessity of child sponsorships.  Without help these kids will continue in the cycle of poverty...with nothing to look forward to in life.  But, with the help of a sponsor they can have the opportunity to complete their education and most importantly to know Christ who gives us all meaning in life. 

Pray with me and all of us at AMG as we work together with the National Workers in Peru and in all the countries we work in as we serve these needy children.  Pray for more sponsors.  Pray for guidance and wisdom. Pray that we would love these kids as Christ loves them. 

Here are a few more pictures.  I had the opportunity to meet the children some family and friends sponsor in Lima.  It was a huge blessing.  Each of these children were so sweet...I can't say that enough.

I can't wait to go back!

Learn more about the AMG Child Sponsorship Program here.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

First Thoughts

There is so much to say about the one day I spent at the childcare centers in Lima. So, I will just leave you with a few thoughts.

It makes all the difference in the world to physically see, smell, hear, and touch in order to fully understand the needs of the children at these centers.  I still can't get over the amount of shacks that are piled on these mountains of sand in Saul Cantoral.  This is where these children live.  Most of them don't know any better.
This is their neighborhood.  Their homes are typically one room and if they are lucky they have a bathroom.  Most of the families consist of a mother and her children.  The father is usually not around much.  Maybe he will show up a few times a week.

The children in this neighborhood have no structure.  They are able to go where they want when they want.  Without these childcare centers the children wouldn't have anything to keep them out of trouble.
Even though these children face many dangers and obstacles in their lives they are sweet and loving.  I can't tell you how much I cherish each of their kisses.
This is Melanie.  She started following me around and eventually grabbed my hand and didn't want to let go.  Come to find out she doesn't have a sponsor. She lives close to the center with her mother.  Oh she was so sweet.  Having a sponsor means more to these children then we could even imagine.  It gives them the hope for a better life.

There is such a great work going on in Lima and in Huarez where AMG has childcare centers.  I will share more with you in the days ahead.  Please continue to pray for these sweet Peruvian children and all the workers who pour their lives into these kids and give them hope in Christ.

I'll leave you with a few more pictures.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Getting Ready

I'm leaving for Peru tomorrow!  I really can't believe that I'm actually going. I have been waiting for the opportunity to go to Peru, see the center, meet the Apons and see my family for a long time.  But, I don't know if the excitement of it all will sink in until I'm on my way to Atlanta tomorrow.

Pray for us as we travel.  This is a short trip, so I will only be at the center for one day.  Pray that I'll be able to get a good grasp on things and be able to enjoy the children.  It will almost be surreal to finally see the faces of the many children sponsored (and not sponsored) in Lima.  Everyday I read and work with these children on paper (and computer) but what an experience to finally be able to hug their necks and try to talk to them in Spanish :).  I'll also be sitting in on the AMG Peru Board Meeting.  I hope to be able to get a better handle on the entire ministry in Peru.  Also, I look forward to the fellowship with my fellow AMG workers in Peru. 

Well, I'll try to update once I arrive in Lima and after my day at the center.  Thanks for praying!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Do you have an extra $28?

Every day I encounter stories about needy children and I don't think I can completely appreciate the poverty that these kids live in.  Honestly I don't think as an American I could even begin to identify or imagine what it's like to live on $40 a month.  Yeah, $40!  I just finished looking over a bio on a sweet girl from the Philippines.  Her name is Reaza Mae (pictured on the right).  She is 11 years old and in the 1st grade (it is typical that poor children don't start school until they are older because they can't afford it).  Her father is a farmer and makes $30 a month and her mother works as a laundry women making $10 a month.  Reaza lives with her parents and four siblings in a one bedroom home with no running water or electricity.  I can't wrap my brain around that. 

Doyou have an extra $28 a month to support a child who lives on $40 a month...what most American's spend so easily without a thought.  With $28 a month AMG can provide Reaza with nutritious food, medical care, clothing, a good education and most importantly AMG will be sure that Reaza learns and knows that there is a God who loves her and wants only the best for her. Visit the AMG International website if you would like more information about the organization and the AMG Child Sponsorship Program

Friday, May 28, 2010

Barren Land

We all know the Parable of the is a refresher:
Matthew 13:1-8
Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake. A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore. He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one:

“Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds. As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them. Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow. But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they didn’t have deep roots, they died. Other seeds fell among thorns that grew up and choked out the tender plants. Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!

So, why am I talking about this parable?  On my drive home yesterday I decided to listen to Shane & Shane.  While in High School I listened to their music all the time and it had an impact on my spiritual life.  Anyway, I was listening to the song Barren Land which deals with this parable and what God can do in the hearts of men.  This song also reminds me of the time I spend in Germany on a short-term mission trip. The summer after I graduated High School I spent 10 days in Germany ministering to a Turkish community. We spent our days hanging out on one street full of Turkish businesses and at the end of this street was a park.  The first day we arrived at the park I saw drunk men laying under trees, trash, a few prostitutes walking with men, and even the grass looked was a Barren Land.  During our week here we spent time cleaning up the trash, prayer walking around the park, each day we would have a Bible Study under a tree, and we reached out to those we would meet.  The amazing thing was that by the end of our time there the grass was green, there were children playing at the park and it was actually inviting.  To me, this was God showing me what He can do with prayer and work!  Each time I hear the Shane & Shane song Barren Land I think about this Turkish community and that park.  Let me give you the lyrics so you can get a better idea of why this song was so significant to me during my time in Germany and significant to me now in the work I am doing at AMG International.

Barren Land by Shane Bernard
"barren land can overflow with
life and fruit and fields that grow
in the barren land with labor and toil
planting seed and tilling soil
will stay the same, stay the same

but if for rain! but if for rain!
but if for rain to fall, irresistibly call
rain to cover me
but if for rain to heal, uncontrollably fill
the soil of eternity

and barren land will overflow with
life and fruit and fields that grow

Holy Spirit spur me to till
a once barren land so thirsty still
for living water, O God, sustains
so life and fruit and fields remain
lest they stay the same, stay the same"

But if for rain! We planted seeds in Germany among the Turks living there and I pray that God would continue to grow those seeds, that they did not fall on rocky or shallow soil.  I have the same prayer for the thousands of children in the AMG Child Sponsorship Program.  Daily we are planting the seed of Christ in their lives and in their family member's lives. 

Matthew 9:35-38
Jesus traveled through all the towns and villages of that area, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them because they were confused and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Living for Eternity

My husband and I started attending a new church called The Mission in Dayton, Tennessee.  Right now it is small and I love it.  I feel connected and the Bible study is solid and always challenging.  We are doing a short study on Ecclesiastes.  I have always loved this book.  Makes me feel like I'm alone in thinking that life is hard and not easy to figure out.  On Sunday we looked at chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes.  "For everything there is a season, as time for every activity under heaven."  All of us have high points in life and low points in life.  Right now Ryan and I are happy and making it day by day...its not really a high point or a low just life.  There are days when I think my life is falling apart because I get an unexpected bill or something (I'm a bit dramatic) but when you look at life as living daily for Christ...building His Kingdom...for eternity that bill doesn't seem to weigh so heavy.  Also, wanting more space or a relaxing vacation or more stuff doesn't even compare to the fact that there are millions of people on this Earth who don't know Christ.  

Even though I work at a mission organization where our goal is to give everyone on this Earth at least one chance to hear the Gospel message I still get caught up in what the world deems important (being power and riches).  On Sunday night God really slapped me in the face...I sort of live for eternity but I also sort of live for stuff that is meaningless.  I know God has been trying to get this through my head and heart for months now.  I pray that I won't so easily forget that this world is temporary and we are here to love and serve God.  When I was in high school my favorite verse was Philippines 1:21, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain."  I was reminded of this verse Sunday night...I want my attitude to be like Paul's. 

Thursday, April 15, 2010

There is always a need

Sometimes it is hard to hear all the needs in this world because I don't have the recourses to meet them. It is so hard to meet one need but not the thousands of others. There are countless children who need sponsors (some who have never had a sponsor while others lose their sponsors and need a new one), medical needs, promising students who need money so they can further their education at a university, children orphaned because of AIDS who have no one to feed and care for them, and the list goes on. Depressing huh...
Today I am feeling a bit hopeless because I know we can't help everyone. There are countless aid organizations (Christian and not) who are helping the less fortunate yet there are still so many people living below the poverty line. I don't think it is fair...and it is hard for me to get my head around it.

Although, I am thankful that I can put my trust in the Lord and rest in the fact that He is in control. God loves this world and has a plan to save it...I just need to be willing to be used by God no matter what that means. For example, I desperately want to GO to Lima and play with the precious kids at the childcare center or GO to Uganda and meet the girl I sponsor and encourage her and her mom (who is raising three children on her own). But, God has me stateside; sitting at my desk, typing away at my computer supporting the work AMG is doing all over the world. It's not glamorous and sometimes it is even a bit boring, but it is necessary.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

VBS in Lima, Peru

Each year in February the childcare centers in Lima hold a Vacation Bible School for one week.  The children learn Bible stories and memorize a verse each day.  They play games, sing songs and do crafts...similar to VBS in America just with a little less production :).  At the end of the week there is an award ceremony where the children who learned all the verses, those who arrived to VBS on time each day, and the teams who won the games receive prizes.  This year the prizes were beanie babies, necklaces, and bags of candy.  Enjoy the pictures!

Ages 3 to 6 coloring a picture to go along with the Bible story they learned

Playing Volleyball and Soccer

Singing Songs

 Happy with their Prizes!

I think the children had a fun week :)

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Reality Check

Currently my husband and I live in a one bedroom apartment.  We have lived there almost two years now and recently I have been feeling like we've outgrown the space.  I so desperately wanted to move to a two bedroom townhome or apartment.  Well, we decided that it wasn't necessary at this time to move to a larger space so I have started to redecorate and reorganize in order to make our 800 square feet one bedroom apartment a bit more homey.  This past weekend I bought new curtains and such to freshin' things up.  Although I started to get discouraged because I can't afford to buy much, only a little at a time.  THEN...

Monday morning Pete (one of our Mission Adventures team leaders) shared about his recent trip to Uganda.  As I watched his power point with pictures of children wearing rags, sitting in the dirt and malnourished I felt awful for wanting more than I already have.  I know it is a broken record to say "there are starving children in Africa." BUT there ARE starving children in Africa.  Now, this doesn't mean we can't have nice things and enjoy what God has given us but I MUST keep things in perspective.  Why do I need more when many live in a hut with a dirt floor and barely eat once a day.  I really didn't need more space and I don't need to worry about not having enough money to redecorate.  God has blessed me and my husband with more than enough and we are blessed to be able to share what God has given us with those less fortunate.  These precious children are so beautiful in God's site and I pray that through AMG International or any other relief organization their needs would be met physically and spiritually, to the Glory of God. 

Are you interesting in sponsoring a child in Uganda or in another country? CLICK HERE. Sponsoring a child through AMG International provides them with nutritious meals, clothing, education, medical care, love and encouragement from the loving Christian childcare staff and most importantly he or she will learn about the saving grace found only in Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 7:19-21
Don't store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal.  Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal.  Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dr. Spiros Zodhiates Childcare Center in Lima, Peru

After the passing of our dear Dr. Zodhiates the Apon family (the Peruivan family serving AMG Peru) decided to name one of the childcare centers in Lima after him to honor his dedication to serving the Lord and those in need.  I just received about 25 new children who are desperately in need of sponsors.  Each of them have such joy in their smiles even though most of them are so poor they don't have electricity or running water in their homes.  Here is a photo of where most of these children live...their homes are made from scraps of metal, cardboard, bamboo...really anything they can find. 

Here are four precious Peruvian children whose smiles and faces will capture your hearts.  They are in need of sponsors so please pray about sponsoring one of these children yourself or that soon we would find sponsors for these four and the many others living in Lima who need someone to give them hope for a bright future in our Lord Jesus.  

This is Greicy Mesia Acosta (SP: 1044902) and she is three years old.  Her father makes $50 a month working as a mason while her mother stays home and cares for the children. Greicy has one older sister and they live with their parents in a small home with only one room and no running water or electricity.

This happy girl is Gaderin Olortegui Panduro (SP:1044886).  She is six years old and in 1st grade.  Her father makes $69 a month as a vendor while her mother stays home and cares for her children.  Gaderin has one older brother and they live with their parents in a small home made from cardboard and bamboo...just like the houses you see in the picture above. 

Luis Fernando Villegas Mejia (SP: 1044851) is four years old.  Both his father and mother work on public transportation selling candy and other goods.  Their combined income is $160 and with that they try and provide for their four children although it is difficult to pay for school supplies and medical care. 

This cutie is Jose Anderson Lopez Vargas (SP: 1044844).  He is seven years old and attends 1st grade.  His father works odds jobs and makes about $50 a month while his mother stays home to care for Jose and his older sister Maria.  Together they share one room in a small shack made from cardboard and bamboo. 

I count it a joy and a priveldge to be serving with the AMG International Child Sponsorship Ministry.  I am blessed to see needy children's lives transformed into Christ's likeness and receiving lifes necessities because of a sponsor praying and supporting their child.  If you are interested in sponsoring any of these children click here or to learn more about  AMG Child Sponsorships click here

Thursday, January 14, 2010


The earthquake in Haiti is devastating. My boss used this phrase, "Unprecedented Disaster." Why is it unprecedented...because there is no water, no food, no shelter, no medical equipment, and no transportation to get around the city. When rescue workers come in they have to bring all of these recourses for themselves and for the Haitians.   How do you even start to begin rescue and then rebuilding?  I don't think there is anyway we could imagine what it is like in Port-au-Prince right now...there is no comparision.

AMG has projects "to the north" of Port-au-Prince in Grand Bassin, Camp Coq and LaFossette and none of them have been directly affected by the earthquake. However, many people living “in the north” had family members living and working in Port-au-Prince. These people are now homeless and jobless, and will be returning to their families “in the north”. Some have also been injured or killed. Those who return “to the north” may require medical care, and there will be additional children, and people in need. Pastor Rodne (AMG director in Haiti) anticipates a significant number of people arriving “in the north” from Port-au-Prince will need aid. Many of the AMG sponsored children “in the north” had one or more parents living/working in Port-au-Prince, so some of these children may now be orphans.

• that as many lives as possible would be saved
• that all would see God's hand at work in the mists of this disaster
• that many would come to know and understand the forgiveness, love and refuge we have in Christ
• that the millions of dollars being donated all over the world would be used in the best possible way
• for everyone involved in relief efforts
• for Pastor Rodne and those working alongside him in Haiti as they anticipate those traveling from Port-au-Prince for relief