An Inside Story from a Georgia Detention Center

An Inside Story from a Georgia Detention Center

My husband and I visited Stewart Detention Center through El Refugio a few months ago in southwest Georgia. While there, we had the opportunity to talk with immigrants detained by ICE for a whole hour, one-on-one. It was one of the most powerful experiences of my life (right up there with getting married and visiting our friends in Haiti!). It opened my eyes to new perspectives on this very difficult and relevant topic in our country today, and thus in true Lovelight stories style, I want to share what I’ve been learning with you!

First and foremost, I realize this topic is controversial and I’m not here to pick a side, but I do hope to present what I’ve learned and experienced through my personal encounter at Stewart Detention Center. Read on! You’re not going to want to miss this one.

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Medicine for the World

Medicine for the World

September - It’s that time of year again, a month full of celebrations! Well, at least over here at Lovelight stories. 

The last two years, together, we’ve supported Charity: water - in 2017 as part of my birthday campaign (Yes! September is my birthday month!) and in 2018 as part of Charity: water’s own birthday campaign with the launch of Scott Harrison’s book, Thirst. If you’ve read last year’s story about Charity: water and Thirst, you know funds from the birthday campaign were put towards delivering water in Mozambique. Indeed they were! We just received reports of TWO water projects our campaign helped to support! Click here to see hot-off-the-press reports from Charity: water of both projects in Napera and Triangulo - detailing GPS coordinates, photos, number of people served, and more!

And as if that’s not enough to celebrate, this month, we’re celebrating two more birthday’s! Lovelight stories is officially 1 and MAP International is celebrating 65 years of bringing life-saving medicines to the world! In fact, MAP is the focus of this month’s story and is very much deserving so.

MAP International is a Christian organization providing life-changing medicines and health supplies to people in need around the world. While they’re Christian based, they serve all people, regardless of religion, gender, race, nationality, or ethnic background.

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What it's like to actually meet your sponsored child in person

What it's like to actually meet your sponsored child in person

One of the top 5 most memorable experiences I’ve had in my life was meeting our sponsored child in person. I mean, look at him! Isn’t he cute?

His name is Dawensley and he’s 11 years old. He lives in Figuier, Haiti. His favorite color is red. He lives with his grandmother, while his parents are working in Port-au-Prince. He has 7 siblings. In his spare time he likes to play soccer and help his grandmother with dishes (yep, that’s what he told me! Chores are part of what he enjoys doing in his free time.) He’s in the second grade and he wants to be a doctor.

Perhaps these are all things I could have learned through The 410 Bridge or by writing letters back and forth, but I actually got to ask him questions in person! I got to see his reactions, mannerisms, and facial expressions. I got to hear his soft voice.

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La Beyi Community Update

La Beyi Community Update

Last June, we visited La Beyi, Haiti for the first time! There’s so much engrained in my mind about the experience, and their final parting words still haven’t left me: “Tell your family we love them. Don’t forget we can’t stop thinking about you in this community. We won’t forget you and we will miss you. You are in our hearts. We won’t forget you. I ask you that you won’t forget us. This community needs lots of prayers.” In the same way, I remember the immense respect and belief I had in their ability to lead their community’s own defined development initiatives. Because of this belief, I remember deciding I’d like to walk this journey alongside them, and my final parting words were, “I’ll be back to see you”.

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How could a simulation help me feel poverty?

How could a simulation help me feel poverty?

As many know, I’m co-leading a mission trip back to Haiti this June (Yay!). As part of our leader training we had the opportunity to experience a poverty simulation lead by HOPE International. I was eager to partake in the experience for the first time, not knowing at all what it would entail. I was pleasantly surprised (and surprise is the name of the game)! We were taken through an immersive experience forcing us to make decisions and actively partake in roles to stay alive. It really hit home for me. After all, imagining what it would feel like to live in extreme poverty while carrying the immense heartbreak and burden it brings, is what ultimately drove me to walking with people living in poverty in the first place. I’ve often thought, “I don’t know what I would do if I were forced to survive on the streets”. This simulation helped uncover some of that in a deeper way - so much so, that I eagerly want to share it with you! 

In speaking with Ashley Dickens, the HOPE experience facilitator afterwards, I learned she’s already written a story about the experience and I decided there’s no better words than hers to share it with you!

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Fashion & Compassion

Fashion & Compassion

My anthem for 2018 was “Courage”. Courage to step out and do what’s been on my heart, push myself in new ways, and be who God created me to be. I’ve decided to carry over that same focus into 2019, because I’m so inspired by others who live with courage each and every day - often because they have to. 

The artisan women at Fashion & Compassion are some of the very women I find so inspiring. They’re women healing from addiction, incarceration, generational poverty, human trafficking, and more. These women share different experiences and tremendous hurt, but through their work with Fashion & Compassion, they come to build trust and fellowship with each other by making jewelry.

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Urban Recipe - Food & Thanksgiving

Urban Recipe - Food & Thanksgiving

Food. It has long been a source of gathering and community, a silent facilitator of relationships and celebration. In fact, we as a nation, just celebrated one of our most beautiful reflections of these very things, Thanksgiving! Aside from all that yummy Turkey, the tradition is an expression of gratitude and a time to gather in unity. It offers us a moment to prepare our hearts in “giving-thanks” for all we have, while extending our gifts to those less fortunate too. In reminiscing on the holiday, I’m reminded of an organization whose mission fits so well with the idea of Thanksgiving. Urban Recipe is a natural extension of what we’ve been learning - how to “help without hurting”.

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Empowering Nations with The 410 Bridge

Empowering Nations with The 410 Bridge

Ever wonder how exactly your donation is being used when you give to a cause that stirs your heart? Curious to know whether the approach you’re supporting truly makes a long-term, sustainable impact? Me too. I often struggle with the complexity of how to give in a healthy way, while truly knowing my support is doing the good I hope for. It’s this ever-present question that has led me to dig deeper with the intention of trying to understand how to truly help the poor. You see, by learning about different approaches of poverty alleviation, we can begin to build conclusions about our own personal giving strategies. Read on, as I share how an organization is giving in a healthy way and ways we can get involved in driving large impact!

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Why I’m so excited for Charity: water founder, Scott Harrison’s, new book, Thirst!

Why I’m so excited for Charity: water founder, Scott Harrison’s, new book, Thirst!

Today’s story focuses on Charity: water! One of my greatest passions is poverty alleviation through access to clean water and thus, I’ve followed Charity: water for some time. Some of you may remember my birthday campaign for clean water last September. Some of you even donated to that campaign! Thank you - more to come on the status of our project in a moment.

Speaking of birthdays, it’s Charity: water’s 12th birthday today!

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Elite Women of Excellence

Elite Women of Excellence

Elite Women of Excellence exists to provide programming for girls from all socio-economic backgrounds with life-changing perspectives and practices to build confidence, wisdom and courage.

The key piece I find most interesting is life-changing perspectives for those from all socio-economic backgrounds. I was all ears when she started sharing how her programs are integrating girls from inner-city Atlanta with girls from all communities throughout metro Atlanta.

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“Putting Love into Action”

“Putting Love into Action”

Poverty is an opportunity to uncover great beauty in other people. 

For years it's been this beauty and opportunity that has drawn me to be an advocate for the poor! While that desire has been tugging at my heart for a long time, I wasn't always quite sure the best way to help, where to begin, or worse, aware that things I do can potentially hurt the poor in the process of trying to help. In my last story, I recounted one of my most shameful efforts that did indeed, actually hurt the poor. Today, I want to share with you one of my recent experiences that I believe lends itself more to helping!

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