The Orphan’s Table

On October 3rd, 2011, posted in: Orphans, Tami's Blog by

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Sunday November 6, 2011 is National Orphan Sunday. It is one day to come together with one voice, and with one purpose– stand for the orphaned child. Orphaned children are very special to God our Father, and there are over 60 passages that speak of his love for them. We are a people called to defend the fatherless…to care for the child that has no family…to visit orphans in their distress.

Orphan Sunday is your opportunity to rouse church, community, your small group, and friends to God’s call to care for the orphan.

Would you consider hosting an event? There are many simple things you can do. You can get ideas here; however there is something very simple you can do: share a meal eaten by orphans around the world.  Gather at The Orphan’s Table with family, small group or church for the meal, discussion and prayer.

teaching kids about orphanage life!

Your event, does not have to be on November 6th. You can choose anytime that works for you!

I was invited to share The Orphan’s Table at a local Christian School last week. I used the Red Card orphan lesson and taught about orphanage life. We then shared a meal at the Orphan Table. We ended our time in prayer for orphaned children.

It was a very powerful morning. God greatly used this time help children know more of his heart for orphans.

When you request The Orphan’s Table, we will ship you:

  • An easy-to-cook meal package—the same food provided to feed orphans worldwide.  (Prepare by boiling, instructions included.)
  • An Orphan Sunday Prayer and Discussion Guide to help you make the most of this experience.

The cost is simply a donation of any amount.  $5.00 will cover materials shipping for up to four servings. Please indicate the number of servings needed.

We do hope you will consider joining many around the globe participating in Orphan Sunday!

 

 

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Missing Out on Precious “Growing Up” Moments!

On May 6th, 2011, posted in: Orphans, Tami's Blog by

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As I reflect on the children at risk that I serve, for some, having a mother is only a dream.

Here is a true story I wrote about my little friend Max whom I met while working in the orphanage during my years in Central Asia.

Max is eight years old and has no family. All his life, he has lived in an orphanage in Central Asia. At night, Max has no one to tuck him in, give him a hug and kiss, tell him a bedtime story, or pray with him. When Max falls down, nobody runs to comfort him or make sure he is not hurt.

One summer I stayed with a local Christian family who was hosting Max for a few weeks, providing an enjoyable break from the orphanage. During my visit the family’s little girl lost two front teeth. She ran up to me, eager to show me the gap where they had been. Max gave her a perplexed look. He did not understand what all the excitement was about. When he had lost a tooth, nobody ever showed any interest.

Through this incident, God showed me that, like Max, many orphaned children miss out on the joy of celebrating milestones like taking first steps, speaking first words, or losing teeth. God never intended for children to grow up alone, but with loving parents to care for them, protect them, and participate in precious “growing up” moments.

I worked with many older children from the orphanage and their one prayer was that they would be adopted into a family, and have a mother!

Would you take time this Mother’s Day weekend, and reflect on these questions? Perhaps share them with your children, and have a time of discussion.

  1. Recall a special experience or event that you were able to share with your mother? What would it be like if you had nobody to listen and share that experience with you?

2.  Describe a time when you were hurt and your mother comforted you. Imagine that same experience without a mom to care for you. How would that make you feel?

Would you take some time now, to pray for the many children at risk who don’t have the love, protection, and nurture of a mother? Pray that children would be adopted into a family, or that a missionary or national worker would fill the role of mother at this time! Pray that children would know God in a deep way, and know His great love for them!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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April 25th is World Malaria Day!

Teaching kids we can STOP the spread of malaria by using malaria nets!April 25th, 2011 is World Malaria Day!

Although malaria is not prevalent in the United States today, malaria claims twice the number of African children as AIDS. According to the World Health Organization, one in every five childhood deaths (20 percent) is due to malaria. Sadly, a child dies every 30 seconds from malaria.

Malaria is very preventable and very inexpensive to prevent! How can we help, and importantly how can we get children involved to help their peers throughout the world?

I implemented a program for my daughter’s third grade class to raise money for malaria.  I taught a simple lesson to the kids on malaria, and how easy it is to prevent it by the use of malaria nets. I also based the lesson in scripture that Jesus would want us to help those who are sick. And by helping those who are sick, we are serving Him (Matthew 25:35-40)!

For the month of April, the third grade classes will collect coins and at the end of April we will send money to His Nets.  His Nets is a non-profit organization which purchases and distributes mosquito nets to families in Africa to protect them from malaria infected mosquitoes. Because many homes in Africa consist of one small room, an entire family can use one large net for up to four years for protection from mosquitoes at only $6.00 per net! For less than the price of a dinner or movie, one life could be saved and an entire family can sleep in peace.

There are many other great organizations that you might partner with. Check out these websites:

 

  1. Compassion International-Bite Back
  2. Sweet Sleep-Nickels for Nets
  3. Malaria No More

 

Take a stand and do something this month to fight malaria!  Let me know if you need a copy of the lesson I did–I love to share!

 

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Nothing but Nets III

On February 28th, 2011, posted in: Poverty, Tami's Blog by

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A few months ago I wrote about a young boy named Jacob, age 11.  Jacob, along with his family attended the Red Card class.  Jacob was very moved by the number of children dying every day because of hunger or a very preventable disease like malaria.  Jacob dedicated his 2010 soccer season to raise money for malaria nets, and raised over $1100.  The money raised was given to His Nets.  The Denver Post featured Jacob’s story.

The Denver Nuggets decided to continue Jacob’s Nothing but Nets project; instead of soccer nets, it was basketball nets.  On January 19, the Denver Nuggets donated $6 from each ticket sold in the upper level section of the Pepsi Center toward His Nets.  KUSA- 9News in Denver told Jacob’s story. Take a moment and watch this story.

Jacob’s mother, Sheri, said, “It doesn’t have to be big, but it can make a big difference in the lives of others.” How is God calling you to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children?

Share your ideas with us!

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The Cost of Providing for 40 Million Orphans vs. The Cost of Sin

On February 22nd, 2011, posted in: Orphans, Tami's Blog by

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I read this blog post written by my friend, Keith Moore with World Orphans.  His blog post was well worth me posting on our blog. Please share with us your thoughts!

I will admit it upfront that this might be a stretch comparison, but do you think God might see that it all fits together.

For the sake of a comparison, using $400 a year to care for an orphan works out to be about US $ 160 Billion, for the estimated 40 million double orphans in the world. While that’s a lot of money, in the world view of things it isn’t much.

“Annual Estimate of the Cost of ‘Structures of Sin’
Money Laundering . . . . U.S.$ 1.5 trillion
White Collar Crime. . . .  U.S.$ 1.5 trillion
Financial Fraud . . . . . . . U.S.$930 billion
Gambling . . . . . . . . . . . U.S.$ 815 billion
Organized Crime . . . . . . U.S.$ 750 billion
Tax Cheating . . . . . . . . . U.S.$ 250 billion
Drug Traffic. . . . . . . . . . U.S.$ 200 billion
Shoplifting. . . . . . . . . . .  U.S.$ 100 billion
Computer Crime . . . . . .  U.S.$ 51 billion
Pornography       . . . . . .  U.S.$ 25 billion
Arms Black Market . . . .  U.S.$5.8 billion
Electronic Warfare . . . . .  U.S.$5.8 billion
Credit Card Fraud . . . . . .  U.S.$1 billion”
—Bryant Myers, Exploring World Mission, 2003, pg 47.

By this comparison the annual cost of caring for 40 million orphans falls somewhere between the cost of shoplifting and drug trafficking. It’s no where close to the “white collar crimes” that are in the trillions of dollars each year. Cutting drug trafficking and shop lifting in half, would cover caring for each double orphan.

Do you think that if the church impacts the lives of those involved shoplifting and drug use, they could turn that into a way to care for others?

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Stand4Kids Sponsors Red-Hand Day Event!

On February 16th, 2011, posted in: Children of War, Tami's Blog by

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Boys are amazed at the weight of an Ak-47 that children must use.

Sarah Takes a Stand against the use of children in wars.

Last week, my teammate Karen and I, sponsored Red-Hand Day. The Red Hand Day’s symbol is a red hand which has been used all over the world by many organizations in order to say NO to child recruitment and the use of child soldiers.

We held our event in a coffee house after school.  Fifty parents and children wrote messages and added their hand prints. We displayed a military uniform and AK47 on a table close-by. What a conversation starter! As families finished, we gave them a prayer card to pray for children affected by war.

Please pray as we mail off the red hands this week to the UN Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  Also please pray for children of war. Children were created to grow and learn in a safe environment, not to fight adult battles.

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Valuable Interactive Website for those Working with Street Children

On February 3rd, 2011, posted in: Street Children, Tami's Blog by

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I attended a training course in 2006, titled “Working with Street Children”. The course was taught by Andy Sexton, who had many years experience in working with street children in Nairobi Kenya.

I just received an email from Andy announcing the launch of an exciting interactive website for anyone working with street children, or anyone who wants to become more educated on issues surrounding street children. The site is created by the 180 Degree Alliance.

Rather than being a one-way source of information, the focus of this website is about connection.

There are three main sections:

LEARN: Access the 180° ‘How To’ - one page documents written by a street children’s experts on issues such as ’Fundraising’ and ’How Not to Become Disheartened’ as well as recommended books and an expansive library of free, online/ downloadable resources.

SHARE: Here you have the opportunity to share and find out news and events, such as upcoming trainings to support you in your work.

DISCUSS: This third section is the most exciting part – here you can actually connect and interact with 180° members all over the world. So, if you’re struggling to know what to do about the kids you work with being addicted to drugs log in and find out what others are saying on the issue, if you know of something that might help, then jump in and suggest it. If you have a new problem not being discussed, start a new discussion and see what others have to say. It’s through ’discuss’ that we can really help each other with the problems you’re facing now.

So please log on and join up so that you can begin to learn, share and discuss with street children’s workers around the world.

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Nothing but Nets II

A few months ago I wrote about a young boy named Jacob, age 11.  Jacob, along with his family attended the Red Card class.  Jacob was very moved by the number of children dying every day because of hunger or a very preventable disease like malaria.  Jacob dedicated his 2010 soccer season to raise money for malaria nets, and raised over $1100.  The money raised was given to His Nets.  The Denver Post featured Jacob’s story.

The Denver Nuggets saw this story in the Denver Post, and decided to continue Jacob’s Nothing but Nets project; instead of soccer nets, it will be basketball nets.  On January 19,  the Denver Nuggets will donate $6 from each ticket toward His Nets.  If you live in the Denver area, please consider attending this game and being a part of Jacob’s project to help vulnerable children in need.

To order tickets visit

http://www.pepsicenter.com/groups/nuggets/hisnets

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The Hidden Homeless

On November 22nd, 2010, posted in: Blog, Poverty, Tami's Blog by

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In any major city throughout the United States, you will see the homeless on the streets.  But, there is another group of people who don’t have a home – and you will never see them on a street corner; they are the Hidden Homeless.

And, while they might have four walls and a roof – they don’t always have a home. They are consistently in transition, constantly living a life of survival. They live in cars. They find temporary beds in church basements or abandoned buildings. They sleep on somebody’s couch. They are seniors on fixed incomes. They are adults with full-time jobs. They are single mothers. Many are children.

I was invited by my friend Donna to attend a fundraiser called Night in a Box, Friday December 3rd.  The fundraiser is for the Hidden Homeless in Denver.  If you live in the Denver area, consider participating.  For those outside Denver, find out about the Hidden Homeless in your area—there just might be an opportunity to help in your city.

Coming together for one night and one cause...to serve the poor.

December is a cold month!  Our Take a Stand Opportunity for December is to prepare a Jesus Cares  Kit.  I would encourage you and your family to make a few bags, and have them ready for any homeless you might encounter.

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Tabi’s Journey

On November 19th, 2010, posted in: Blog, Orphans, Tami's Blog by

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November is National Adoption Month, and Saturday November 20 is National Adoption Day!

I thought it would be great to share with you a video about the journey of my adoption of Tabi.  I never get tired of telling her story because it is a testimony of God’s incredible love for orphaned children.

Psalm 68:5 says, “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families.”  I love this verse because it describes who God is.  He is Love, He is Holy, and He is a father to the Fatherless.

I give praise to Him for his relentless love of orphaned children and that he will move mountains for the love of one child.

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Huff and Puff before you Stuff

I received an email from my friend Matt this morning. I was so touched by his email that I want to share it in hopes that it might inspire you to plan a small gathering on Thanksgiving morning.  I spoke at his church last week, on National Orphan Sunday, about orphans.
Matt writes,

Courtney and I decided this week to put on an event, Thanksgiving Day, to benefit orphans.  Let me explain.  At our church, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, we had a speaker who is an orphan advocate (and a friend of our family) give a short presentation on November 7.  November 7 was Orphan Sunday across the world.  Later that evening at our 2nd service, we focused specifically on the plight of orphans around the world.  So, we decided to do something about the “orphan problem” that the church is called to be a big part of.

Here’s the deal….

What?: Run or walk 1 mile with your family and then stick around for some games for the kids.

Where?: South Hills Park in Lebanon.  We are starting near the playground.

When?: 9am on Thursday, November 25th.  We will be done by 10am.

How does this help orphans?:  We are asking each family (that could be a family of 1 or a family of 10) to come with $10 cash or a $10 check made out to “Sweet Sleep.”  Sweet Sleep is an organization that provides adequate beds and bedding for orphans (most of the time their beds are highly inadequate, 1 inch mattresses, etc.) and mosquito netting to prevent malaria bites while sleeping.  Check out their website.

Why? It’s Thanksgiving.  We have a lot to be thankful for.  Plus we are going to gorge ourselves later in the day and then complain about how much we ate.  Let’s get the day started right by answering God’s call to orphans, getting some exercise, and hanging with our family and “extended” family!!!!

Build a Bed provides Beds for Orphans

May this event being planned give you encouragement to plan your own Huff and Puff before you Stuff Event on Thanksgiving Day!  Let us know what you have planned!
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Nothing But Nets

The last session of the 8-week Red Card class that I taught was set aside for kids and their families to share how the class had impacted them. It was a time to share what God showed them and how He was leading them to make the difference in the lives of children at risk throughout the world.

Jacob, who is 11, shared a statistic that made him really sad: 30,000 children die every day because of hunger or a preventable disease.  When he learned that malaria was killing more children than AIDS, he wanted to do something about it.  A soccer player, Jacob decided to dedicate his fall soccer season to raising money for mosquito nets.

A few weeks later, I received a letter from Jacob inviting me to donate money for every goal his team made for the entire season.  The money raised would be used to purchase mosquito nets.

I was so moved by Jacob’s letter.  This is the end goal we envisioned when we wrote Red Card.  Children are active participants in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and children can make a difference!

Here’s a link to an article that appeared in today’s Denver Post  highlighting Jacob’s story.

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Orphan Sunday – November 7, 2010

On July 19th, 2010, posted in: Blog, Orphans, Tami's Blog by

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Mark your calendars for Sunday, November 7, 2010 – National Orphan Sunday.

National Orphan Sunday is a time set aside to acknowledge and honor the 145 million orphaned children throughout the world. God is not silent about orphans. His care, compassion, and protection for them is seen throughout Scripture. More than 30 Old Testament passages attest to God as “defender of the fatherless.”

In partnership with Christian Alliance for Orphans, Stand4Kids encourages you to join with individuals and groups across America and beyond, to plan your own local Orphan Sunday activity. This is your opportunity to raise awareness for the needs of the orphan to your church, Bible study, home group, Christian school, and community:

At the Orphan Sunday website you will find everything you need to:

* Encourage your pastor to preach on a biblical theme related to orphans
* Plan a prayer time during your Sunday service
* Teach a Sunday school class on God’s heart for orphans
* Hold a concert or prayer event
* Help your small group study what the Bible says about orphans
* Read a book about orphans with your book club

Let us know if we can help!
Tami Snowden
Advocate for Children at Risk

“We have all been adopted into Christ’s royal family. Just as we cannot imagine the gospel without salvation, we cannot tolerate a Christianity that does not welcome the orphan into the family of Christ. On Orphan Sunday, join us to demonstrate the validity of the gospel through our love for the widow, the poor, and the orphan.” – Keith Swartley, Team Leader, Pioneers.

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Simulate the Lives of Street Children

Monday July 19, 2010

Each week we receive wonderful feedback from people putting the Red Card Curriculum to use across the country. One Sunday school teacher just taught lesson 4, the one about street kids, and added a few things to enhance the learning of the children – equipping them to make a difference for children at risk throughout the world.

Lauri writes:

“Our lesson started off with the kids walking into our room which looked like a trash dump. Cardboard boxes, plastic bags, and crumpled paper were everywhere! They could barely find a place to sit. We talked about how uncomfortable we felt in this situation, but that this is how street kids live.

“I recommend buying ‘Dynamic Thunderstorm’ by Nature Sounds as background ‘music.’ It was awesome!!! And just 99 cents from iTunes.

“I recommend a spray bottle for water simulating rain.

“When the storm ended, they had to stay there, and we flicked the lights on and asked who would be comfortable sleeping like that all night. How would they feel if there was a storm and they had no home to go to, no family to care about them?

“We asked them, now…what would you want God to do for these street kids? What does God want you to do for these kids?”

Thanks, Lauri, for your feedback and additional tips for making this lesson more interactive.

If you have feedback or additional tips for Red Card lessons, contact us.

Tami Snowden
Advocate for Children at Risk

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Children at the Heart of 21st Century Mission Strategy

On October 10th, 2009, posted in: 4/14 Window, Blog, Tami's Blog by

4/14 Window

In September I was excited to join more than 300 international Christian leaders at the 4/14 Window Global Summit in New York. The gathering was called by AD2000 and Beyond Movement founder Luis Bush, a renowned missiologist. In the 1990s he was a champion of ministry to the 10/40 Window, the part of the world that’s least-reached geographically. Today he and other leaders are calling for a new missional focus on children, especially those between the key ages of 4 and 14: The 4/14 Window.

The 4/14 Window refers to the world of children between the ages of 4 and 14. The term was introduced in a 1996 publication by Dan Brewster, then program director for Compassion International. Brewster’s article was based on research by Bryant Myers, who showed that “85% of those who become Christians do so between the ages of 4 and 14 years old.” (“The State of the World’s Children: A Cultural Challenge to the Christian Mission in the 1990s” presentation delivered at an Evangelical Foreign Mission Association executive retreat.) The sad thing is that although children and teenagers make up half of the world’s population, as little as 10% of mission efforts are currently directed toward them.

As an advocate for children at risk, not only am I familiar with the 4/14 Window, I am passionate about it: I know that children are worthy of ministry because they are close to the heart of Jesus. Mark 10:14 says, “Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.”

Children are the most receptive to the gospel, and positioned to be a mighty force to bring others to faith in Christ. Children have their whole lives ahead of them to live out and share their faith, and they also have time to be long-term agents of change. It is vital to reach children while they are young and equip them to make an impact throughout their lives.

Not only are children important recipients of the gospel, children have a tremendous capacity to minister to others. Last year in my daughter’s first grade class, there was a mission project surrounding the needs of orphaned children. There was a class lesson on orphan life, and a challenge to send shoes and begin praying for their peer group throughout the world. 91 pairs of shoes were sent overseas, and children prayed fervently for the children without families.
Questions to Consider:

1. Do you and your family, church, or ministry place a high value on children and see them as worthy of ministry?
2. What steps might you take to ensure that children between the ages of 4 and 14 hear the gospel of Christ and are equipped to be Christ’s ambassadors?
3. What other ways might you respond to this urgent appeal for a new mission focus on the 4/14 Window?

Tami Snowden

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