BY JENNI KELLER
I’m passionate about being a mom. I believe it’s the most rewarding, hardest and ugliest work I’ll ever do. I can cry tears of joy and tears of desperation all in the same day. I love my kids. And I love being their mom for so many reasons. God has used it to draw me to Him more than anything I’ve ever experienced.
A few weeks ago, I returned home from a short-term missions trip to South Africa. While I was there, God revealed His passionate heart to me in a way I’d never seen it.
In South Africa, I saw a sea of children with no moms or dads. We ministered within a five-mile radius and were told that it was home to 7,000 orphans that will never know the passionate love of a parent.
I looked at these kids and thought of my own. I spend all my days caring for their needs, kissing their boo-boos and encouraging their little hearts. Everything I do is devoted to them.
These kids have no one. Many are taken in by other family members, but don’t have the resources or ability to care for them as they truly need and raise them in love.
I’ve heard the scriptures about ministering to the orphan and the widow. They are throughout the Bible, but I had never really thought about why they exist. Why does God always talk about the fatherless?
God is a father. The same passionate heart He put in me for my children is in Him, for His children. We are all His children.
His heart is broken for these kids. And He calls us to do something about it.
I’ll be totally honest. The word orphan didn’t move me before. I didn’t get it. But, now I’ve seen these precious children. I’ve squeezed their little necks and held them on my lap. I’ve sensed their desperate need for loving touch and affirmation. I’ve listened to them share about their longing for hope. I’ve witnessed their desire to believe that God has a plan for them and that He can make a way for them to achieve their dreams.
I’ve also seen one simple way I can answer God’s call to help.
Sponsorship provides not only a child’s logistical needs – basic resources like food and school uniforms – but becomes their pathway to hope. Many orphans wonder if there is anyone in this world who cares for them. And when someone signs up to be their sponsor, they realize that someone does.
I know that my journey is a personal one. Not everyone will resonate or be moved by my words. But this is where I am. I want to tell everyone what I experienced and how I’m changed. I’ll let the Holy Spirit do the rest.
I love being a mom. God made me that way because He is that way. We are His image-bearers on earth. I’m learning that the way I respond in love and compassion for my own children is the same way God wants me to respond to the fatherless (and motherless) throughout the world.
Sponsoring kids is easy. There are many Christian organizations that offer this opportunity. Northview Church’s Carmel Campus partners with Horizon International, and it’s through their ministry that I saw with my own eyes the difference your support can make. Visit horizoninternationalinc.com to learn more.
The Tuesday Spiritual Column is entirely the opinion of this week’s writer and does not necessarily reflect the view of Northview Church as a whole.
BY ASHLEY RHUDE
Once parents leave the hospital with their brand-new bundle of joy, there are many decisions to be made on how they will provide for and raise their child. One opportunity that Northview Church’s Carmel campus offers is Baby dedication.
Why dedicate a baby?
“Dedicating a child acknowledges God’s sovereignty not only over the child, but also over the parents,” said Joe McAlpine, Northview children’s pastor. “Parents present their child before God asking for His grace and wisdom in carrying out their parental responsibilities and praying that their child might one day fall in love with Christ and live for God.”
Baby dedication is a symbol of a parent’s commitment to lead their child spiritually as they grow. McAlpine stated that Northview encourages all parents to dedicate their child and make a commitment to lead their child spiritually to the best of their abilities.
Parents can dedicate their child anytime from birth to 36 months. Northview has a short prerequisite class that parents participate in to learn more about the significance of dedication. After that class, there is a weekend service that recognizes parents and their child who is being dedicated.
Northview encourages dedication as there is scripture behind the stance of the church.
“The tradition of parent/child dedication has ancient origins in the Bible,” Joe said. “The Israelites, on the 8th day of a child’s life, brought their children to the priest for a blessing.”
Luke 2:22-23 reads, “When the time of their purification, according to the Law of Moses, had been completed, Joseph and Mary took Him (Jesus) to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”).
The next opportunity for baby dedications at Northview will be held during each service the weekend of May 12-13. The deadline to register was April 6. For registration instructions and future dates of dedications, visit http://www.northviewchurch.us/baby.
BY GLENN TOREN
Not that long ago, Ryon Kaopuiki, an attendee of Northview Church’s Carmel campus, decided to say “yes.” If you ask, he can’t point to an exact time or place. The experience may have been at a Discipleship Walk that he describes as a “mountain top” or after a “go big or stay home” Bible study challenge in his Life Group; the opportunity also may have been during a conversation at Starbucks with his friend Bill. Yet at some point the links in the decision were joined and Ryon decided to say “yes” to the tug of the Holy Spirit. “Yes” to a mission trip to Ghana. “Yes” to leading a worship service with two hours notice. “Yes” to joining God where he was working. “Yes” to making sure this trip and other future mission trips were more about running what the Apostle Paul called a “good race” rather than a temporary spiritual high.
The key for Ryon is to stay obedient, keeping his focus on how God wants to use him during his daily walk of faith. For Ryon, that meant keeping a blog not only before and during his mission trip but during his “normal” life in central Indiana. What began as “ramblings about my daily attempt to move forward” has changed over the past few months to a full-throated call to live out the words of the Great Commission.
“The words ‘go and make disciples of all nations’ isn’t a suggestion, it’s a commandment,” Ryon said. “We all have the responsibility to be obedient and go, whether it is at their kid’s school, or work, or across the world.”
The blog, http://hawaiianhoosier.blogspot.com, has become Ryon’s testimony to the amazing grace freely given to each of us. Starting the year with the “Countdown to Ghana” blog, to a recent blog titled “Serving on a Saturday,” the focus has been on how to take the next step of obedience in faith. For Ryon, that includes a renewed effort to build relationships at work, with the students of Harrison College, and at home, especially with his children – one of whom has now committed to going on a mission trip of his own this summer.
Ryon had his share of excuses about why he should not be the one to step outside of the central Indiana “bubble” but the pull to get involved became too clear, too insistent.
“If God can use me, he can use anybody,” he said.
The blog has become a great tool for friends, family, acquaintances, and even strangers to follow Ryon’s walk of faith and how a mission trip has turned into so much more.
All you really have to do is say “yes.”
For more information on future available mission trips through Northview Church, please visit http://www.nvcl.org/goodneighbor.
BY JENNIFER CAVALCANTI
If the sound of power tools makes you want to run out and build something, we have the perfect service opportunity for you. Even if the sound of power tools makes you want to hide in the nearest closet, believe it or not, this same project is the perfect opportunity for you, too!
Northview Church’s Carmel campus committed to building a house with Habitat for Humanity of Hamilton County (HFHHC) for the mission portion of the re.IMAGINE campaign.
Northview Church is joining forces with a group of Hamilton County United Methodist churches for the first-ever duplex to be built by Habitat for Humanity in Indiana. No skills or building experience is needed to volunteer on the build site. Many jobs are not difficult, yet they do take numerous sets of hands.
If you are willing to be hands-on for a day and follow instructions, then you are qualified. If you like to swing a hammer and work power tools, you are definitely qualified. If you like to get outside and enjoy fellowship with others while serving the community and getting a little sun, then you guessed it: you are qualified. The time is now. Ground is broken. The opportunity for you to step out to help the community is now.
Every Friday and Saturday from now through July 28, Northview Church will help build on East 104th Street in HomePlace. There is space for 20 people to work each morning shift from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 20 people to work each afternoon shift from noon to 4 p.m. Volunteers can sign up for one or both shifts. During the overlap of shifts at noon, all people on-site will share lunch. To volunteer for the build, go to http://www.nvcl.org/goodneighbor.
Let’s serve the builders!
Volunteers must be 16 or older to participate on the work site, yet Northview has a special opportunity for families, young children and those not able to do physical labor to get involved. Each Saturday, two groups can sign up to provide lunch for those helping on the construction site. This is perfect for families who would like to serve together, as even small children can decorate lunch bags with stickers or draw pictures. Older children can make sandwiches and other lunch foods, put food in bags, and write encouraging notes for the workers…the sky is the limit! Also, children can help deliver the lunches; they are just not able to do actual work on the site. To volunteer for lunches simply go to http://www.nvcl.org/goodneighbor and pick a date to sign up. Note: if the register button does not appear, that date is already taken.
Let’s make it happen!
Monica Polkow, local outreach coordinator at Northview’s Carmel campus, and Gretta Troyer, family services & volunteer coordinator for HFHHC, are working hard to coordinate this effort, and they are looking for many volunteers each weekend.
“We are excited to see re.IMAGINE in action and can’t wait to see how the Lord works in people’s hearts through this project,” Polkow said. “We are thrilled to be able to partner with Habitat for Humanity in helping create a place someone can call home. This is a great way to serve as an individual, family or life group and experience what it is to be a Good Neighbor.”
Please help us be a catalyst for change in the life of a local family. Help a family gain a stable environment to raise their children. What are you waiting for? Check your calendar. Sign up. Make a difference. You will be glad you did!
For more information and to get involved feel free to contact Monica Polkow, local outreach coordinator at Northview Church at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 317.846.2884. You may also contact Gretta Troyer, family services & volunteer coordinator, HFHHC at email@example.com or call 317.896.9423 ext. 5.
BY ANNE-MARIE WILLIAMS
Kelli Butler’s Life Group knows what it means to “live life together.” The Butler family, attendees of Northview Church and their Life Group have been doing just that for almost four years now. So when the group found out Kelli was going to be part of Northview’s recent GO Team to Ghana, South Africa they were eager to be part of the experience.
Service is a large tenant of Kelli’s Life Group. As part of their commitment of service to others, each of the six families takes turn planning and organizing a monthly service project.
Two other members of the GO Team, Jody Dill and Traci Vermilion, had already begun making rag dolls to take with them on the trip. The team would be visiting medical clinics while in Ghana and they wanted something they could easily pack to hand out to the many children they would meet. After attending a doll-making open house, Kelli passed the idea on to her Life Group and pretty soon the ladies had met to assemble the dolls.
The dolls were very simple to make; just fold and re-fold fabric over itself until a doll shape is formed, add a colorful piece of fabric as an apron and they are done. No sewing required! Between the participating Life Group, the GO Team, and their friends and family, almost 200 dolls were packed along with medical supplies and any other small treats the team members could fit in their extra suitcase to take to the people of South Africa.
A child from Ghana holds a rag doll.
“It was such an amazing, awesome experience,” Kelli said of her mission trip. “It changed my life dramatically. I would recommend it to anyone. You go into it thinking you’re going to be such a blessing to them, but they end up blessing you.”
Kelli recalled a visit with one particular woman in the hospital named Cecelia. A few women on the team visited with her for over two hours. Cecelia was curious and had many questions about the Americans’ day-to-day lives. After the women explained their typical daily schedules, Cecelia questioned them, asking: “But when do you enjoy your family? Where is the time to simply be with them and take it all in?”
Kelli went on to explain that to the people in South Africa, family is everything.
“They have nothing by our standards. They were thrilled to receive even the smallest thing. But they know what is most important,” she said.
Kelli compared that attitude to the very materialistic mindset most of us adhere to in the United States. She said that is just one example of all she learned from the people she came to serve.
Before leaving for Ghana, Kelli’s Life Group had one more service idea up their sleeves. She received an e-mail with a prayer calendar. Every day she was gone, a different member of the group would be lifting her and the entire GO Team up in prayer. Kelli was moved to tears reading the e-mail and said she could feel the support of her Life Group while in South Africa.
“They were there with me,” she said.
For more information on future mission trips through Northview, please visit: http://www.nvcl.org/goodneighbor.