Saturday, September 26, 2009

Etaala International

Hello all 2 of my remaining faithful readers. I'm sorry that I fail at blogging. However, I have some exciting news to share with you both!

Ok, so I posted a while back about that camp I went to this summer with Precept Upon Precept Ministries. At this camp we studied The Sermon on the Mount in the Bible and there is a particular verse in there that really spoke to my heart over and over again as we were studying. It's Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
This is talking about the gospel and how we as Christians are to share the good news of Jesus with others and not hide the light that cast the darkness out of our hearts to ourselves. Through out the week, I just keep thinking about that verse and wondering if I was keeping the light of truth to myself. I felt God impress upon my heart that I was in fact, hiding the light of truth to myself in a way. The truth of how much He loves orphans and wants people to reach out to them and just how much the orphan crisis breaks His heart. Sure I love my siblings and take missions trips and speak on occasion but what was I doing to spread that light for others to truly see it and know how to respond to it? I kept feeling like I needed to share this with young people especially. I have a passion for other young people to act and make a difference for orphans and follow after God's heart but I wasn't really doing a whole lot to make that happen. Welllll. God has called me to start a ministry. After much prayer, I emailed 5 friends about what God was calling me to do and within an hour, I had heard back from one friend that I actually met at this camp and he told me to check out his brother's website. I did. (click here to see it and then come back and finish reading.) Very Long story shortened slightly...I prayed for a while and then emailed the said brother who's name is Matt Chambers. I emailed him about the ministry ideas and asked if Safewater Nexus would be open to having a team of people come out and serve sometime within the next 2 years or so. Just so happens, he has a trip scheduled but not a whole lot done with it yet and he offers to let me bring a team of people next May to Uganda for two weeks.
By the way. My mom is in Ethiopia through all of this so Elsa Mugyenzi (who is from Uganda) was staying with me to help me with the kids. I began to tell her all of this and she was a huge part of starting it. I felt like the ministry name should have something to do with "Light". Turns out, "Light" in Luganda is "Etaala" (Ehh-Tahl-Ah) so, "Etaala International" is underway! I'm working to get it certified as a non-profit organization and my cousin is building our website. God has been bringing people right at the time of need and He has been so faithful to open all the doors and hearts. My friend Rachel who traveled with me to China and Guatemala is my co-founder. God has been placing the same things on her heart for a while and has given her the same passion for orphan care and sharing the love of Christ with the hurting and she has been involved in this from the very beginning.
The ministry is a youth run, youth focused organization that will work to get young people involved in orphan care through seeing first hand the need, serving in those areas and giving tools necessary to bring that home. It's not about going and serving once a year, it's about living out the call to care for the orphan, the widow and those in need in our lives here at home and shining the light of Christ for the world to see. I know for me, seeing the need and having beautiful faces and names to associate with the 143 million orphans made all the difference and gave me the passion to make a difference for them with my life.
The world has such low expectations for teenagers and I believe that part of the reason God is doing all of this is to show people that He is raising up a new generation of people to follow after Him. Isaiah 1:17 does NOT say "Everyone over 18 learn to do right! Seek justice, encourage the oppressed you who have your college degree. Defend the cause of the fatherless, plead the case of the widow... but only you wealthy got-it-all-together people of course!" He calls us to defend the case of the fatherless and there are no age requirements in this command. He promises that if we are seeking Him first above all things, He will provide for our needs. I believe that He finds joy in using people who don't seem like the greatest pick to bring about His plan and show how great He is and how capable He is of doing incredible things. He used David, probably a middle schooler, to kill Goliath the giant. He used Moses, the one afraid to speak in public, to represent the Israelites and demand that the Pharaoh of Egypt, (the most powerful man in the world at the time) release them. There are countless stories of God doing miraculous things through extremely normal, sometimes even pathetic sounding people.
Today, people expect teenagers to be irresponsible, facebook-a-holics who can not be separated from their ipods and survive longer than five minutes. I believe God has designed us for so much more. He is calling us to wake up to the reality that we were not made for this. We were created to glorify Him and one way that we can do that is through showing others what His love is like through serving without expecting anything in return. We are the next generation of leaders and it is our responsibility to act and ensure that the orphans in the world today are cared for and loved. We are to make sure that we are so in tune to God's heart, that in our generation there will be no orphan crisis. That we will love so well that when we see someone in need, we take responsibility and care for them as our own. Etaala International wants to change the world for orphans through changing hearts of young people in America and enabling them to make a difference. Please add me as a friend on facebook and join the Etaala International group to read a little more about it. Also, if you are interested in joining us on the Uganda trip, email me at . I'll post the link to the website (complete with trip applications) as soon as I have it. :) (Not to sound like a grammy winner or anything but..) I have been blessed with the greatest, most supportive group of family and friends that a girl could ask for. I have wonderful godly parents that support me and encourage me to follow after God's will for my life, even when it sounds slightly crazy. It would be so easy for them to tell me that these issues are too big and be more concerned for my personal safety than to send me to Africa. or China. or Guatemala.
I believe deep down, they are terrified at times but they know God is bigger than any plan's of man. So, you...yea you. If your child has a heart for missions or orphans or serving God in a way that seems slightly crazy to the outside world, don't crush their dreams but encourage them to follow after God's heart and His will for them. They can make a difference. In the words of my friend Elsa "We have to lose our minds in order to take on God's mind." Quite frankly, most of the time when we take on God's mind and forsake our old ways of thinking, it appears we have lost our minds. And there is not another more rewarding state to be in than this.
"We are too young to realize that such things are impossible so we will do them anyway." ---William Pitt (spoken about the abolition of the slave trade in the film Amazing Grace)