Thursday, June 27, 2013

God Given Life Direction

It isn't easy to see a parent struggle because he has an adult son (over 21 year old) living at home, who has not found a path to follow. A parent who sees a grown up child struggle with lack of direction or addiction can only advice and at some point, exhibit "tough love".

In America, children can be pampered into believing that they will always be taken care of. There is always a soft spot at home. But like the mother bird, at some point, must nudge the baby bird out of the nest, so that the bird must fly.

Each parent must evaluate the situation and say: "Am I helping or hurting this young adult by letting him stay in the nest?"

There is a Biblical principal: In order to find, we must seek. Jesus said "seek and ye shall find,". This is true in the spiritual realm and also true in the real world. How do we know what fits for us if we aren't out there trying?

Years ago, I had a food business. It wasn't easy. We made fancy sauces and I was the one who made the deliveries. The product was good but one day I entered the wrong door of a grocery store and was told. "Lady you're in the wrong place."

It took me sometime after that to figure out that the food business was just not right for a mother with three children, nor was it right for a full time working husband who had to be involved in manufacturing.

But, to get back to the reality of life with the children whose parents are barely putting food on the table, working three jobs and for the most part have little education: what kind of life experience can they share except the very limited world view they experience.

Children, as we know, are sponges: they absorb everything around them- good and bad. So at camp, when we have different speakers giving them a vision of becoming: a teacher, a nurse, or a policeman etc, this information is really new to them and they respond with eagerness.

Children can get excited about a direction and will keep studying and persevere, because they want that vision to come true with the help of encouragement and support.

That is one reason why we opened the "LEG UP Scholarship" fund so that college can help at least one person who is moving in a "God Given" life direction, against all odds.

The Starfish Story

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work.

One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, so he walked faster to catch up.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was doing was not dancing at all. The young man was reaching down to the shore, picking up small objects and throwing them into the ocean.

He came closer still and called out, "Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?"

The young man paused, looked up and replied, "Throwing starfish into the ocean."

"I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?" asked the somewhat startled wise man.

To this the young man replied, "The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don't throw them in, they'll die."

Upon hearing this, the wise man commented, "But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can't possibly make a difference!"

As if he hadn't heard, the young man bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it into the ocean. As it met the water, he turned, smiled and said, "It made a difference to that one!"

-Adapted from The Star Thrower by Loren Eiseley (1907 - 1977) 

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The Camp Came About In This Way.

More than 10 years ago I had the desire and name for the camp: Touchdown Camp. Then, I put it aside. We as a small non-profit were not in a position to fund such a camp. I had met Patty Cardona, now president of our group, and saw how she loved and served the children.

She and I had a heart to do more but our pockets weren't exactly full. And then, one day, a friend of mine, Doris Bates came to me with a question. What would you do if you had more funds?

Without even thinking I said "Open a Touchdown Camp for the children." Doris smiled and then told me she had been collecting 100's on her "adventure with God" which started out with her pastor, John Ortberg, giving out $100 in church to a number of people who wanted to invest it in missions work. Doris idea before she even left church was to ask her friends to match her money for God.

When I told Patty we started to dream and plan. I also really tried to put into camp activities that would appeal to unchurched children. We would have food. Lots of good food. We would have sports. We would have games.

My son suggested a "Stay in School" Speaker series. Each day someone came to motivate them with ideas: a nurse, a policeman, etc. Crafts turned out to be so popular that everyone did them. Patty added the dramatization of the missionary story. Camp started because God wanted to be kind to lots of children.

We are about to have camp #9 this summer in Redwood City. I don't think Patty and I every could have imagined that one thousand children would get the benefit of the camp in these years. Nor, could we see the great impact on the children who went and then a few years late became teenage "staff" to help run the camp. No, God starts small but when He blesses, HE BLESSES BIG.

This is just the start. My goal is to see 10 new camps started in the next five years. We have another camp here in San Jose. It's small but guess what? It will grow.

Don't miss the blessing of seeing God work. Come visit us. Camp is seeing God paint the face of a child with a big smile.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The World is Mine

Today, upon a bus, I saw a very beautiful woman
And wished I were as beautiful. When suddenly she rose to leave, I saw her hobble down the aisle. She had one leg and wore a crutch.
But as she passed, she passed a smile.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two legs; the world is mine.

I stopped to buy some candy. The lad who sold it had such charm. I talked with him, he seemed
so glad.
If I were late, it'd do no harm.
And as I left, he said to me, "I thank you, you've been so kind. It's nice to talk with folks like you.
You see," he said, "I'm blind."
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two eyes; the world is mine.

Later while walking down the street,
I saw a child I knew. He stood and watched the others play, but he did not know what to do.
I stopped a moment and then I said, "Why don't you join them dear?"
He looked ahead without a word. I forgot, he couldn't hear.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I have two ears; the world is mine.

With feet to take me where I'd go..
With eyes to see the sunset's glow.
With ears to hear what I'd know.
Oh, God, forgive me when I whine.
I've been blessed indeed, the world is mine.

If this poem makes you feel thankful, just forward it to your friends. After all, it's just a simple reminder that we have so much to be thankful for!

Good Posting by Chain Mail

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Father Day

It is important that we honor both our father and our mother. Tonight I want to share a small story from the long life of my dad: Sid Sutherlin. When I was in 7th grade I ran into trouble in math. Do you remember or do they even have story problems any more?

Something about a train leaving a station at such and such a time and then another one and you were supposed to build an equation and come up with a number. I couldn't. It was beyond me.

And so, after dinner, my Dad cleared a space on the dining room table and he went through each of the story problems with me. He didn't give me the answers, because he was a natural teacher, but he let me struggle till I saw the solution. It took time and patience. He was there for me and I knew he would always help me if I ever got stuck.

I want to honor the memory of a man who taught me much. Perhaps I learned the importance of having a tutor to help at that table many years ago. I was blessed.