Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The First Worthday

Today was the day. The day we'd been preparing for for months. The day that we've been anticipating since it was first suggested.

Today was the very first Worthday.

Our team of 30, mostly students with a few adult leaders woke before the sun in Peru this morning at 4:45.
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We arrived early at Sagrada Familia. Half of us went to prepare a breakfast for the children, and the others went to help get the babies ready.

But then something happened. Something unexpected. Our plans changed entirely. We'd had a well-thought-out, organized plan and it was thrown out the window. The orphanage wanted us to do it differently. You'd think after the last trip to Peru for Worthday, we would know to take these things in stride. We were still very stressed and confused, but we kept our composure and moved on.

The individual house parties, where we delivered the children's letters and photos of themselves, were held in two shifts. While one group was throwing individual parties, the other would be putting on an assembly for the other group of orphans.

Seeing the joy on those kids' faces when they got their letters and photos was unbelievable. The letter could be two sentences long and they treated it like it was the Declaration of Independence. They were so gracious and so appreciative. It truly was amazing.

Later that day, we put on an assembly for all 900 orphans to present to them the laptops we had gotten for the orphanage school's new computer lab. Little did we know that they had a performance for us! The orphanage's musicians got on stage and performed and before we knew it, we had a full-on dance party with 900 orphans that lasted at least an hour. Words cannot express how beautiful the smiles and laughter of those children were as we held their hands and spun them around while dancing. Their joy was so contagious! And when we brought out their cake - so big it had to be carried in on a door - the applause could be heard all the way down the mountain.

Strangely, it was also very bright and clear today in Peru, which is very unusual, especially in winter. Even the Peruvians said that they had never seen it like that in winter.It was obvious that God was smiling down on Worthday and Sagrada Familia today.

We thank him for choosing us to carry this out. In all actuality, we have done nothing. All the glory goes to God. For it is Him and Him alone who made this possible. We just decided to listen.

Please continue to pray for the orphans of Sagrada Familia and the orphanage director Miguel. While today's results were incredible, we also pray for the long-term results of a relationship with a God who thinks they're WORTH dying for.

We will share pictures as soon as we are back in the states! Thank you for joining us on this journey! Stay tuned for more Worthday info!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Transformation of a Number

A picture isn’t just worth a thousand words. It is worth a face, a story, an emotion, an abundance, a lacking, a past, a present, a future, and the transformation of a number. A picture can transform those numbers that we get so easily tangled up in. Before our trip to Peru we were told that there were about 922 children in Sagrada Familia. We became wrapped up in that number. 922 children. 922 pictures to take. 922 sponsors to find. 922 worthday parties to plan. 922 information sheets to collect. 922 children. When we got a list of the names the number became a little bit more substantial, a little bit more real. 922 orphans with names. But it wasn’t until we got home, until we printed out more than 900 pictures with 922 faces on them that the number became reality. In our hands we held the pictures of faces of 922 children that need the love of their savior. Once our team, which had grown from 10 to 30, got a hold of those pictures a new fervor arose. Our team was now even more passionate to find sponsors because we could look into the eyes of each child. Our team is now composed of students who will be going to Peru this July to throw the Worthday parties at the orphanage. Each team member is in charge of a house from the orphanage. The orphanage is divided into 15 different houses divided by age and gender. Not only are the team members finding sponsors for the children but they are also learning faces and names and praying over the children.
God’s hand has always been working and shaping this project but we felt almost overwhelmed by his blessings a couple of Wednesday’s ago. Our youth group allowed us to showcase Worthday for about 15 minutes during the service and to set up a table for each house around the room. Each table had their children’s pictures and information sheets laid out. That night we got about 22% of our sponsorships completed. In our eyes, every Worthday sponsor is now part of the Worthday team because they are helping us communicate to each child their worth in Christ Jesus. You can be a part of Worthday too. All it takes is a one-time gift of $20 and you get a picture and an information sheet of your child to keep and to pray over. You can even now go through the process online! But no matter what you decide to do, keep praying for us and for those precious children!
Online process-

Thursday, March 31, 2011

In Christ Alone

We sang the song "In Christ Alone" at youth church last night.

In Christ alone my hope is found.
He is my light, my strength my song.
This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My Comforter, my All in All.
Here in the love of Christ I stand.


In Christ alone, who took on flesh.
Fullness of God in helpless babe.
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
'Til on that cross, as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied.
For every sin on Him was laid.
Here in the death of Christ I live.


There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain.
Then bursting forth in glorious day!
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin's curse has lost its grip on me,
For I am His and He is mine - 
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.


No guilt in life, no fear in death - 
This is the power of Christ in me;
From life's first cry to final breath
Jesus commands my destiny.
No power of Hell, no scheme of man
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
'Til He returns or calls me home,
Here in the power of Christ I'll stand.


I just broke down while we were singing. All I could think was how much I wanted each of the 922 children at Sagrada Familia to find their hope in Christ. I want Him to be their light, their strength, their song, their Cornerstone, their solid Ground. I want Him to still their fears and cease their strifes. I want Him to be their Comforter, their All in All. I want them to stand in the love of Christ. I want them to live in the death of Christ. I want sin's curse to lose it's grip on them. I want them to be His, and He to be theirs. I want them to have no guilt in life and no fear in death. I want them to have the power of Christ in them. I want Jesus to command their destinies. I want them to know that no power of Hell or scheme of man can pluck them from His hand.

I want them to stand in the power of Christ. And I pray that Worthday can be the instrument that God uses to accomplish this.





Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Promo Video

Be sure to check out our Worthday promo video!


video

Saturday, March 26, 2011

One Child

We are proud to announce that we have taken photos of all the children atSagrada Familia! We finished much quicker than we had expected, and God granted us time to simply love and play with the kids! To start showing the world their worth, each of us want to introduce you to the child at Sagrada Familia who made the biggest impact on us. The question: If you could introduce one child from Sagrada Familia to the world, who would it be and why?

Carter
I would have to say Saúl. He was in a wheelchair, but he had more joy that I’ve ever seen before in my life. We have little problems that don’t even come close to comparing to his, but he has
such overflowing joy! It’s humbling to see his joy. We have so much and we’re so unhappy, while he is in a situation that most of the world would consider terrible and he has unbelievable joy. His joy rubbed off on me and on the other children at the orphanage.

Darden

Samira, definitely Samira. At first when we were hanging out, she wouldn’t smile at all. It was like she didn’t want my attention or love. She rarely smiled. I loved her, but she didn’t really love me back, at least in the way that I loved her. It reminded me of our relationship with God. The fact that we don’t always love Him doesn’t affect His love for us.

Ellen

Johana. What affected me most about her was that she just sat in her highchair without any instinct to reach toward me or desire to be held. You could tell that she felt like one in a million, like no one cared for her. After I played with her and loved her all day, she went from no smiles to only smiles! She knew that she mattered to me, and that she was my priority.

Greg

If I could introduce you to one person at Sagrada Familia, it would be Andrea. She is somewhere around eight months old and she is precious. She is very quiet and loves to be held. Her eyes are beautiful and curious at the same time. The warmth of her cheeks
and sweat in her hair would bring you joy. She can stand up but cannot walk on her own. When she sleeps in
your arms she is at peace. She never begs for attention, but when she gets it you can tell she
feels safe and loved.

Jordyn
I would have to say Fresia. She’s four years old, and I would say that she’s the epitome of Sagrada Familia. She’s happy where she is. She loves her home. All she wants is someone to love her. She needs physical and emotional attention. God loves her so much and she has no idea. I want her to know. The children of Sagrada Familia are content where they are, all they want is someone to show them they’re worth something.

Sam
When we were at the orphanage, I met this one boy. He was a lot quieter and shier than other boys. I sort of connected with that since I’m pretty quiet and shy. I began playi
ng with this boy and attempting to talk to him. I was even able to get him to l
augh and smile. This young boy’s name is Angel. I want the world to know about Angel because I was able to connect with him only a couple of hours.

Sandy
Daniella attached to me the minute we got to her house. She held on to m eand played with my hair, water, and bracelet the whole time we were taking pictures of all the girls in the house. After we finished, I showed her the testimony that I had made (each of us had our own that
shared a part of our story) and asked her if she could read it. She read the whole thing out lou
d, drawing a small group of girls to us, and then said, “Is this true?” I said yes and she gave me a hug. Then all the little girls sitting with us wanted to read it! One by one they took turns, proudly showing me how well they could read and loving the attention. Oh, Father God, let those words become truth in their lives!

Sarah
If I could introduce the world to one child from Sagrada Familia, I would hand you a precious 7-year-old who thrives on my hugs and kisses. This precious girl hung onto my legs the first night at the orphanage as I tried to walk away. I treasured the moment, expecting to never see
her again. She is 1 in 922. But God blessed me. The next day as I walked up a sidewalk in the orphanage she ran to my arms. I spent the rest of the day holding her, tickling her, loving her. She didn’t cling to me because she wanted a picture; she made me put my camera away. For those two days I gave her love, but she gave me so much more. She opened my eyes to the children who stand with their arms wide open, looking for love.

Sydney

Alvaro. Alvaro was only fifteen days old. He was so young and weak and sick. He deserved so much better care. He needed to be in a hospital or at least seeing a doctor. Orphan care is not something that can wait. Alvaro can’t wait for the treatment he needs.

Tori
Last year, I met and fell in love with a little girl named Carmensita. She is five years old, and she had a disability that is very similar to cerebral palsy and something wrong with her eyes. All year long, I yearned to see her again. I prayed for her every day. I sent money to have her eyes examined. Words cannot express my joy at seeing her again. Tears streamed freely. She remembered me. I made her laugh. I held her. I loved her. No matter how far away we are, or how little I get to see her can ever change how much I love her. Seeing her is what I look forward to every day of the year.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

First Day in Peru

After an excruciatingly long flight (for people who are really excited, anyway), we finally arrived in Peru at 11:00 on Tuesday night. Our first morning was spent meeting with the Chief of Police of Comas to establish a connection to be used for a different ministry. We also visited our partner church, and planned the first run of Worthday photography.
About an hour before we left for the orphanage, we had a major change in the organization of the children´s information. We were all stressed and overwhelmed, but we still felt like we had everything somewhat under control.
Any illusion of control that we had completely shattered when we reached the orphanage. The situation was chaotic at best. No one had much of any idea what we were doing. Any organization that we might have had was gone. It was what we had dreaded the most, and yet it was exactly what we needed.
Somehow it all worked out. Somehow we got about 600 of the pictures taken. Somehow in the midst of all that chaos and confusion, we realized that this initiative was not ours, it was God´s.
Even though Sagrada Familia is not a Christian orphanage, God´s presence is already so apparent there. The children have a joy and a hope that is mind-blowing. They are hungry for something, but they don´t know what. They are yearning to know that they are loved, that they are known. We had hundreds of children introduce themselves to us today, and we so wish that we could know each and every one of those 922 orphans by name.
But, as painful as it is to know that we won´t be able to know every one of them, it gives us such excitement and anticipation for Worthday.
Sponsors like you will know them by name. You will have the chance to convey to an orphan that they are known, that they are loved, that they are worth dying for.
God went before us on our first day in the orphanage. He planned our every step. He knew that it would be chaotic, that it would be disorganized, and that it would be the best possible thing for our team and this initiative. We are anxiously waiting to see how God will change our plans today.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Next Stop...Peru!

Here is the team at the Nashville Airport, ready to leave for Peru...