Category Archives: Seed of Hope

Poverty, VeggieTales and James

There are things that bother me.

Giving a premium to someone in order to get them to sponsor a child living in poverty is one of them. “Sponsor a child and receive larryCutwo FREE VeggieTales DVD’s.” Come on! Have we so debased ourselves that this is what has to be done in order to fulfill James‘ admonishment?

I’m not opposed to fundraisers to garner the resources necessary to carry out your program (unless you are a church), especially one that takes care of the downtrodden in third-world countries who would literally die without us showing the love and mercy of Jesus. Shucks, Seed of Hope is trying to put together a Christmas campaign to raffle off jewelry worth thousands (donated, not purchased!) to raise $10,000 towards building a structure that will enable us to better care for children living in extreme poverty.

Capital needs, physical structures and logistical resources are the bread and butter of such an operation. But they’re not “sexy;” no one wants to contribute to that. The poor child tugs at your heart strings and opens your wallet; that is as it should be. That at least falls into the realm of what James was alluding to.

I know times are tough and dollars are scarce, but is the body of Jesus so crass and hardhearted that free DVD’s have to be used as an enticement to get followers of Jesus to do what they are naturally called to do?

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The Sanctuary

Savannah01We’re beginning to get pretty uptown in our presentations about the work in Brazil!

This past weekend we were in Savannah at The Sanctuary, sharing about the work in northeastern Brazil and telling the story of the children in the Seed of Hope program. We were received very warmly and were blessed by the church with a very nice offering. Additionally, twelve more of our children were sponsored — that means that they’ll be eating every day thanks to the generosity of the folks at The Sanctuary.Savannah02

Nothing makes me happier!

Want a presentation at your church? Respond to me here and I will be in touch with you.

I’m thankful

This is tough to write…

I told you about John Paul and Rose yesterday. Now I want to share with you a reality that I have to live with.Seed-of-Hope

We have 115 children currently sponsored through Seed of Hope. We have an additional 500 children who need sponsorship. These are children who are living in homes where the average income is less that $100 a month and there are at least 6 people in the home. Many of these children live in homes where there are 10+ people in the homes.

We have lost 17% of the initial sponsors of these children. Twenty folks have had to stop their sponsorship; for the majority it has been due to conditions beyond their control. For some, they said they couldn’t see the value of it; others were more honest and simply said they didn’t want to be bothered by it any more. Worse, some just stopped sending checks and gave no explanation.

I have no problem with someone wanting out of their commitment, regardless of the reason. I do have a problem telling a child that he can’t eat any more.

So, I don’t.

We are $600 short every month in feeding the kids. We have been blessed in being able to make this up in one way or the other for the last three months. It has been an interesting exercise in creativity; from a personal perspective, it has been a fascinating faith builder for me.

I’m not asking for funds; I’m wanting to thank those who are being faithful from the bottom of my heart. When I have those moments when I absolutely do not think I can continue, when the beast seems to be far too big, when I am sensing despair, I think of you and the Spirit revives me.

Please accept my humble gratitude for all you do for these kids in the name of Jesus.

Joe’s kids

We have many people who are sponsoring children through Gospel for Brazil’s Seed of Hope program. I wish there was some way that I could adequately express my thanks to each and every one of you. I wish you could physically see the difference that you are making daily in the lives of these forgotten folks. You are literally saving their lives — this isn’t hype, it is reality.

Let me give you just one example.John-Paul

John Paul and his wife Rose have 4 children. They actually have 13, but 3 died and they were forced to give away 6. “Forced” because if they had kept them they would have died. Both John Paul and Rose have active HIV. While sufficiently bad in itself, that is actually the least of their problems.

John Paul has white lung disease, the same thing as black lung disease except that it comes from lime dust instead of coal dust. He additionally has a bone disease that is causing his bones to dissolve and creates intense inflammation and infection. It is active in his ankles, making it practically impossible for him to walk; they are swollen and pus filled, not a pretty sight. And, just to keep things interesting, he has worms, gastritis and ulcerative colitis.

Rose has a severely deformed spine, and advanced osteoporosis. The medication she takes for HIV is so intense that she literally loses her mind every time she takes it. It is supposed to be taken with milk to alleviate that particular symptom, but she can’t afford milk. She goes insane for 48-60 hours every time she takes the meds. That makes it a bit difficult to take the meds regularly. She can walk only with extreme difficulty and pain. She can’t sleep lying down; in fact, she has severe insomnia due to the pain.

Due to politics, they have been denied disability, even though they qualify for it. Neither can work. They receive $60 a month from the federal government for their children; $60 total, not per child.

Oh, and the mud shack they live in, well, it was washed away in a flash flood and everything they had, which we would have considered trash, was swept away.

And that is it.

They can’t buy food, medication, clothing… nothing.

After the flooding, Rose told me, she knew that her children wouldn’t not last too long. There was nothing to eat. She fully expected her, her husband and the four youngest children to die within a month.

But something happened. You stepped in.

Three of the four children were sponsored via Seed of Hope. They received clothes, some furniture, cooking utensils and we have a lawyer working on their disability case.

As I stood there with Rose and John Paul, Rose looked at me, eyes full of tears, and asked me “Why?” Why would people she’s never met do this for her. And I had a great answer: “Jesus.”

Rose and John Paul both accepted him on the spot.

Ubaúna Warm Fuzzies

Passing along some more photo-love from Ubaúna, Brazil.

Of course, you must click here to get the warm fuzzies.

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My man Wesley, or what do you do in Ubaúna?

I continuously get the question asked of me, “What do you do when you are in Ubauna?”

There are so many things I could say, so many imagines I could describe.  But I think the best way to answer that question is to introduce you to Wesley.

My-Man-WesleyWesley is what happens in Ubaúna. Wesley is a 10-year old who is as smart as a whip. Shy and timid, he tends to pull back in a crowd and is very self conscious when he is single out. His answers are typically short and often a simple “yes” or “no.” His eyes speak volumes. He comes alive in Bible classes.

His father is involved in Macumba, the black magic voodoo-like religion that actively calls spirits and demons to incorporate the participant’s body. Wesley was traumatized when his father was possessed and literally ate a live chicken, feathers, bones, blood and all.

He became even more withdrawn after that.

Wesley is the reason I go to Ubaúna.

I could say that bringing the Light into an area of darkness is what I do; I could say that watching Wesley begin to fill out his skinny little body because he now has food on a regular basis is what I do; I could say that seeing him smile because he has what he calls his “nice” clothes that were donated by folks in the U.S. and doesn’t feel so self-conscious when he goes to school is what I do.

The truth is, what I do in Ubaúna is become Jesus to people who don’t know him. I see the Wesley’s as he sees them, I become his hands and feet and hug them like he does. I instill the impossible into the Wesley’s, helping them to be transformed by the Power that raised Jesus from the dead.

Wesley, and hundreds thousands just like him, is what I do in Ubaúna.

Amazing what a little paint does

Pictures tell you a whole lot!

This is the new Seed of Hope activity center. It’s all spruced up and ready to inaugurated in less than two weeks.

This is going to be fun!

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Can’t you just imagine scores of wild, screaming, happy and not hungry, kids romping through this space?

I can!