Sunday, October 28, 2012

Children of Promise Sunday



In 2012, I joined Children of Promise www.echildrenofpromise.org on a trip to the Philippines.  These are the faces that are impacted by the ministry of CoP.  

Here is a portion my story of our trip to The Philippines...

video

Would you consider becoming a sponsor?  Just $25/mo. provides educational, medical, nutritional, and spiritual resources to the children and their families.

www.echildrenofpromise.org 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Peaks and Valleys


 When I was 15 I got a summer job working at an amusement park similar to Six Flags.  I ran the Wobble Wheel.  It was a hyped up merry-go-round that tilted on its side.  Life is sometimes like that ride.  Day after day, we do the same old thing and every once and a while our world gets tilted and we get excited, but soon enough we’re back into the regular routine.

A few times, when staffing schedules required, I got bumped to the roller coasters.  Roller coasters are much different than the Wobble Wheel.  Instead of going around and around, you have this hill that you climb and at the top it’s exhilarating, and then you drop.  Some people like the drop, others prefer the hill.  Me, I enjoy the ride; beginning to end.

See, in order to safely make it through the twists and the turns, you have to begin at the top of the hill.  Not only is life like the wobble wheel, Its a lot like a roller coaster too.

 My recent trip to The Philippines was like climbing to the top of the hill.  In a way I would love to have stayed on top of the hill.  The ministry that is taking place with Children of Promise is incredible (next week Bob and I will share some of our experiences as well as what CoP is doing around the world); but my time there was brief.


Coming home I realize that there are valleys that I must travel through as well.  I could not have imagined the events of this past week, yet in this valley I am reminded not to trust in my own strength but that of the Lord

Some have expressed to me their desire to remain on the peak, but if you never experience the valley you can’t really appreciate the peak.

For the full message shared on 10-21-12 at First Church of God, Racine, WI go to: Peaks and Valleys

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mourning the Loss of a Friend

Steve and Nancy Case
This last week a very good friend and faithful servant of God went home to be with the Lord.

Someone asked me, "How do you go ahead and do church?  You can't do it the same as you normally would."  And they are right, but frankly I didn't have an answer.

As I prayed and sought advice from seasoned pastors and friends, one theme rang true; we are to worship God in spirit and in truth.

Truth be told, I didn't feel like praising God.  I felt like mourning.  I miss my friend and so do those that worship in this congregation.  We didn't get to say goodbye, we didn't get to prepare.  That is the way it is with accidents.

I was encouraged to read the account of Lazarus in John 11.  What I read brought clarity.  Mourning over the loss of a loved one is normal.  We each mourn in our own way.  But as we mourn we must also realize that death is not the end, it is the beginning.

Steve, just like every other Christ-follower, was an alien in this world; a sojourner.  Our time on earth is but a vapor.  His life and his death is a reminder of that fact.  But just as Lazarus' death was for the glory of God, so too was Steve's.  God is glorified when His faithful followers finish the race.  I'm sure Steve heard His Savior say, "Well done.  Enter into the rest of the Lord."

For the full message shared on 10-14-12 at First Church of God, Racine, WI go to:
Mourning the Loss of a Friend

Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Collision of Worlds


A COLLISION OF WORLDS (Originally written for "On safari with Children of promise")

by Pastor Ryan Reed
First Church of God
Racine, Wisconsin

Imagine hundreds of cars converging in one area at the same time . . . that is the Philippines.

Not only does that describe the traffic, but it also describes my experience here. 


 IMPACT.


One cannot come to The Philippines and not be impacted by the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells.  Much like two cars colliding, when my life collided with those served by Children of Promise here, I was a wreck.  Words cannot explain the enormity of extreme poverty in which these families exist.


Sometimes 'Home, Sweet Home' is reduced to 'Shelter, Sweet Shelter.'


"Some are barely getting by."

It is these families that are impacted when a child is sponsored.  Children stunted by poor nutrition are provided food which improves their health.  Those needing more extensive medical attention are provided the care necessary to lead a productive life.  Children also lacking the means to attend school are given that which they need.


But, most of all, these kids are taught spiritual truths that will impact their lives more just a sponsor could do.  After accepting the invitation to accompany the COP team, I decided it would be prudent to support a child.  I was provided the name of my child in the airport while waiting for our plane to The Philippines.
Her name is Shaira (Shy-ra).  From the beginning of the trip, I was looking forward to the day I would meet her.  


As we walked into the courtyard at the Das Marinas church on Saturday, I scanned the nametags looking for her name.  Unable to find her, my heart began to race.  I followed the kids into the church.  As they sat down, we entered, and were greeted with an enthusiastic "Good morning visitors."


CRASH - BANG - SMASH.


Many emotions collided within me when I saw Shaira sitting there in front of me.  As the kids sang, I could tell she wasn't as familiar with the song as others her age.  Later, she danced with some friends, and I could see she was a little more confident.


In a collision, there is the possibility of little to no damage, or completely totaling the vehicle. I was totalled when I finally got to visit with Shaira.


She was so quiet, so . . . . well,  SHY.  Her mother joined Shaira as I had the opportunity to tell her that I was her sponsor.  There was no jumping for joy, no hugs of gratitude, no great display of affection.  She simply said directly and sincerely, "Thank you, sir."  It was I who had to thank her.  Meeting Shaira and the other Children of Promise beneficiaries has impacted my life, and I will never be the same again!


                                Meeting Shaira and her mother at the Das Marinas Church of God