Archive for ‘The Cause’

July 31, 2013

Calling all coffee-lovers!

Hi friends!  As many of you know, Adam & I are leading a team of 10 from our church, Movement NYC, to Ethiopia this October.  In an effort to supplement our fundraising efforts, we’ve set up an online store from with Just Love Coffee Roasters.  They offer several varieties and blends of coffee, as well as samplers, t-shirts and travel mugs.  A portion of all purchases made from our storefront will go towards offsetting our trip costs!

If you love coffee as much as I do (or even half, or a quarter, as much as I do… because my love for coffee is borderline idolatrous…), please consider making a purchase from our online store!

Movement NYC – Ethiopia 2013 – Just Love Coffee Roasters

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June 14, 2013

I can’t make you care.

I’m coming to terms with that reality recently.  The idea that my words, my passions, my heartbreak will not make you care about the things that I care about.  And to think that it will only leads to frustration and anger and bitterness.

I’m overwhelmed with the thought that there has to be more than Sunday mornings.  There has to be more than hanging out and enjoying the company of my brothers and sisters in Christ.  There has to be more than worship sets and sermons.  Certainly He has given us this community, but there must be more.  He builds our community, our family, that we might grow, that we might encourage and strengthen one another… and then?  Then He sends us out.

But will we go?  Will we risk our comforts, reprioritize our lives, put Him first, and in doing so, put others first?  Will we give of our time, our money and our very lives because the Gospel is true and because others need to hear it and see it?  Will I go?  And will I go regardless of who goes with me?

All I can do is go.  All I can do is pray that my words, my passions and my heartbreak put the Gospel on display.  Pray that in my weakness, His strength is made perfect.

After all, my words, my passions and my heartbreak are not mine.  They’re God’s.  They are the things He has planted in my heart and soul.  They’re a fire sparked in me by the love of my Savior.  The compassion I feel is a gift given to me by God.  All I can do is share that gift, and pray that He will bestow it upon others.

There is pain in that gift, there are moments of overwhelming grief and sorrow over the broken, lost people across the whole world.  The magnitude paralyzes me.  I cannot help them all.  I cannot save them all.  In fact, I cannot save any.  It is the work of the Holy Spirit.  As we preach the Gospel, He pierces hearts with words entrusted to us by God.  The Gospel is His, the words are His, the heart is His, the glory is HIS.

There are moments I’d rather run from it.  Moments that I want to slip back into the comforts of life in America.  A life of luxuries and self-centeredness.  There are moments I do, and then God, in His grace, calls me out of my comforts again.  Reminds me that He is the ultimate Comforter, and that the comforts of this world cannot compare with the joy found in serving Him with the entirety of my heart.

Jesus beckons us to lose our life that we may find it.  He calls us to abandon the things esteemed by our culture.  He calls us to live a life committed to His cause.  He calls us to preach the Gospel to a world that does not know Him.  He calls us.

By His grace, He will open our ears, our eyes, and our hearts.  He will both call us to action and give us the strength to act.

I cannot make you care.  I cannot make myself care.  But He can.

“Sell your possessions and give to charity; make yourselves money belts which do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near nor moth destroys.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Luke 12:33-34)

“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.  Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

March 15, 2012

Kony, Invisible Children, and growing weary.

Honestly, I am so weary of the Kony 2012 debate.  I am borderline discouraged.  I am thankful for the awareness created but so over the backlash.

I feel like my reaction to the backlash was way over the top.  At the risk of embarrassing myself, I’ll tell you that I was in tears as I talked to my husband about it (yeah, he’s a trooper).

So, why on earth was that my reaction?

It’s not that I disagree with using a lot of wisdom in discernment in choosing what causes and organizations to support.  I absolutely believe that we need to hold these organizations accountable for the work that they do and the way they utilize resources.  But there’s a difference between being just plain mean and using wisdom.  And I honestly feel like Invisible Children got raked over the coals by a lot of people.  You may not agree with their methods, but let’s not question the authenticity of their desire to do something to help.  I know, I know– just doing something isn’t always better than doing nothing if that something proves to be harmful.  I guess I just don’t believe that these guys are as careless as the media and several people have made them out to be.

All of that in mind, I still don’t think that’s why my reaction was what it was.

I felt for Invisible Children.  I know the frustration of feeling so passionately about something and wanting others to care, or at least understand.  On the stats page for this blog, I can see when people click on links.  I’ve written posts asking people to get involved with certain organizations and causes only to see that no one bothers to even click the links that I post, even if a hundred people read the blog that day.  I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that I can’t force people to care about things, and I also can’t grow bitter about the fact that they don’t.  I know that there are causes othersare passionate about, that I’m simply not.

But when Invisible Children found a way to make more people than I thought possible finally care about something… that was huge to me.  I wanted to celebrate that fact.  So when others couldn’t even acknowledge their success in that, I was frustrated and upset.  It honestly felt like there were naysayers who were only there to be naysayers.  I saw so many posts and blogs pointing out all the flaws of Invisible Children and the Kony campaign, and I was disheartened.  What about collaboration and encouragement and acknowledging the fact that these guys really do care?

I don’t really know how to wrap this post up because I’m still not really sure what to think or feel about this whole thing.  So here’s my two-cents:

Be thankful that Invisible Children stirred millions of people to care about suffering and injustice.  Pray for Invisible Children, and all organizations seeking to serve the suffering and the marginalized and bring awareness to those of us who can’t even really imagine what all of that means.  Find something you’re passionate about and seek ways to serve.  Think critically and look at all of the angles and don’t demonize the people you disagree with.  Be humble, both in your own serving and in your viewpoints on others who do.

That’s all I have for now.  Feel free to join me in this conversation, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

I’ll leave you with this verse that has constantly come to mind amidst all of the noise:

Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.

Galatians 6:9

March 12, 2012

Guest Blogging

I have a weird history of making friends on Twitter.  I know, don’t judge me.

Well, anyway, I have a new friend named Nicole.  She’s awesome and we get each other.  What makes her even more awesome is that she asked me to be a guest blogger on her website, and my post is up today!  My post is inspired by Jen Hatmaker’s book, 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess.

Head on over to Nicole’s website to check it out, leave a comment, browse her awesome posts, and come May, maybe you should buy her new book.

January 10, 2012

Sponsorship is more than just money.

The first time I sponsored a child, it was through World Vision.  Her name is Ruvimbo and she lives in Zimbabwe.  If I’m being entirely honest, my initial motivation was guilt.  I had been asked to sponsor a child and I felt bad saying no.  I have not always been the best sponsor to this young lady.  I have not written regulary, I have not prayed for her regularly, and there have been times I’ve forgotten to send in the activities World Vision sends me to forward to her.  I am far from being a perfect sponsor.

Last January, when I returned from Ethiopia for the second time, I decided to sponsor another child, this time through Compassion.  My motives were different this time.  I had met my friend Howie, and suddenly realized that sponsorship involved a real child.  I resolved to be a better sponsor (I’m still far from perfect), and knowing I’d return to Ethiopia again, I decided to sponsor a little girl in Ethiopia.  I chose Tigist for a few reasons: 1. She was 3 and I love the idea of being with her as a sponsor from such a young age through the time she graduates; and 2. she lives in the capital city of Addis Ababa, and I knew that would make it an even greater possibility for me to visit someday.

I knew the basics of sponsorship.  I sent pictures and letters.  I received the same in return.  My monthly contributions were automatically withdrawn from my bank account.  It was wonderful to sponsor two girls in Africa and I loved receiving letters from both of them.

Then, last week, I met Tigist and the reality of sponsorship deepened even more than when I’d gotten to know my friend Howie.  Standing in front of me was a sweet little 4-year-old girl who knew exactly who I was.  When we got to her house, my picture was hanging on the mud wall above her bed.  Her mom told us she hadn’t slept the night before, she was so excited.  She had gone around to her neighbors with my photo the day before, declaring that Brittany was coming to visit.

At first, this made me feel like kind of a rockstar.  But now, I’m humbled by the responsibility of sponsorship.  The responsibility I have to love and support and encourage this child that God has entrusted to me through sponsorship.  A responsibility to pray for her and her family, and to point her to Christ in the words that I write.

Can I encourage each of you to consider sponsorship?  There are kids all over the world living in poverty and you can be a part of changing their lives.  But before I romanticize it too much, let me also ask that you consider the weight of sponsorship.  As I told you, I didn’t in the beginning.  I entered in for the wrong reasons and I did not support Ruvimbo as I should have.  Sponsorship is much, much more than the money coming out of your bank account.  The child you sponsor is real, and you are so very real to them.  Sponsorship is a commitment– of your finances, your time, and your prayers.

Sponsorship is weighty, but it’s beautiful.  And it once again reminds me that it is truly better to give than receive.  Except I have to say, I often feel like I get so much more than I give.

I’ve learned that I’m not some distant figure through whom money is channeled.  I am real in Tigist’s life.  And she, more than ever, is real in mine.  Once again, I’m compelled to be a better sponsor.  To love, encourage, and pray for Tigist and Ruvimbo and share with them the love that God has lavished on me in Christ.  They are listening.

“Whoever receives one child like this in My name receives Me; and whoever receives Me does not receive Me, but Him who sent Me.”

Mark 9:37

Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

January 9, 2012

Answered Prayer.

Up until my trip to Ethiopia last year, I had resigned myself to the fact that the man I married may be supportive of my love for Ethiopia, but that he probably would not share the same passion for it.  It’s silly, now that I look back.  Thank God, He did not let me settle for that.  As I dated Adam, I saw God begin to put a love for Ethiopia in his heart.  It started out as a small seed, and I am overjoyed and so thankful because I have seen that love sprout into something beautiful.  This is an example of what answered prayer looks like:

 

Adam told me that he knew on our first day in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that he wanted to visit again.  The love and compassion that God has placed in his heart through his faith in Jesus is awesome.  During our two weeks in Ethiopia, I watched my husband grieve over brokenness, rejoice in redemption, laugh and play with orphans, kick a soccer ball around with boys who used to live on the street.  I watched God continue to conform him to the image of Christ.  Adam encouraged me, prayed with me, and reminded me of the faithfulness of God.  Often I have heard people said (and said myself) that the goal of marriage is to be more effective for God’s Kingdom together than you would be on your own.  I can confidently say that God has united Adam and I for His purposes and His glory.  I can hardly imagine what He might have for us next!

I can’t wait to share more with you about what God is doing in Ethiopia, and I pray that the things I share would touch your heart and that God would call you to action.  We live in abundance and God’s word says that to whom much is given, much will be required.  Let’s seek Him together and live out the gospel in word and deed.

August 4, 2011

Hope for Addis

Head on over to the Mocha Club blog for a post I wrote upon returning from Ethiopia in January:

http://blog.themochaclub.org/articles/2011/08/04/ethiopia-2011-trip-blogger-brittany/

Women At Risk is bringing the hope of Jesus to women in Ethiopia.  Addis is a living, breathing testimony of grace, redemption, hope and healing.

 

July 12, 2011

Genet’s Gift

This morning I’m thinking about my friend Genet.  Truth be told, I don’t know much about her.  I don’t know how old she is, though my guess is she’s a few years younger than me.  I don’t know her story, though I know it led her to Women At Risk, and I know the pain and tears I saw in her eyes as I heard other women tell heartbreaking stories of abuse and violence and abandonment.  I don’t know where she is today, though I know the God who is pursuing her, the Savior that died and rose again to give her new life.

On our last day at Women At Risk in Nazret, Genet pulled me inside, sat me down, took my hand, and put on my wrist a small silver bracelet.  Then she looked at me, and in her broken English, said, “I love you.”

Genet’s gift to me was not extravagant, but it was heartfelt.  She can’t afford much, and yet she gave me that gift.  That is humbling to me.  Incredibly humbling.

It reminds me of the widow who gave next to nothing in the offering, but Jesus commended her above the rich men who gave an abundance.  Why?  Because it cost her everything.  The rich man’s offering didn’t require much sacrifice; he still left with wealth.  But the widow gave everything she had as an act of love and devotion. (Luke 21:1-4)

Genet’s gift is a beautiful reminder that the best things we receive are not those that are the most extravagant or that required the most money, but those which came at greatest cost to the giver.

And then I think about Jesus.  I think about salvation.  And I’m reminded that it came at an unspeakable cost to the ultimate Giver.  The Father gave His only Son.  Jesus gave up everything, including His life.

Will the love of Christ compel us to give until it hurts?  It is not something we must force, but rather something that flows from our understanding of how much Jesus sacrificed to give us life.  As we look to Him, as we get to know Him deeply and intimately, we are transformed.

I am thankful this morning for Genet’s gift because it points me to Jesus.  I am thankful for Genet because she is a living example of the power of Jesus to transform lives.

Will you join me in praying for Genet this morning?  Pray that as Jesus continues to transform her life, that she would continue to point others toward Him.  Pray that He would sustain her and provide for her.  Pray that she would know Him more deeply with each passing day and that her eyes would remain fixed upon Him.

I’m praying for you this morning, whoever may be reading this.  I’m praying that you would know Jesus and receive the gift He places before you– Himself.    All we could ever need is wrapped up in the person of Jesus Christ.  He is the Giver and the Gift.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

2 Corinthians 9:15

April 20, 2011

Water Changes Everything.

A new three minute video from charity: water on the importance of clean water in the developing world:

April 14, 2011

Something’s not right.

Murder.  Hunger.  Cancer.  Hatred.  Addiction.  Heartbreak.  Disease.  Abandonment.  Abuse.

Something’s not right.  Something’s not right when little children battle cancer.  Something’s not right when women are forced to sell their own bodies in the hopes that their family might have something to eat.  Something’s not right when children are left to die by the parents that were supposed to love them.  Something’s not right when we use others and step on them in order to make it to the top.  Something’s not right when a child lives in fear of the next beating.  Something’s not right when people are dying in poverty and disease while Americans battle obesity and spend frivolously.

Something’s not right, and it makes me angry.  It makes me angry at myself, and at the world.  And while most of the world wants to blame God, or use these things to defend their view that He does not exist… I cannot blame God.  I will not blame God.  Why?  Because I know that He’s angry, too.  I know that He’s heartbroken.  I know that He laments over the fallen state of our world.

He created us to live in Eden.  He created us to live in His presence.  He created us to live peacefully and joyfully in communion with Him.  That is the place we long for.  That is where He longs for us to be.  So when we feel as though something’s not quite right… it isn’t.

I don’t have all of the answers, but here’s what I know: this world is broken, and that matters to God.  Please believe that.  And there is coming a day when He will wipe every tear from our eyes, and there will be no death, no crying, no pain.  Not only will we bid farewell to the ills of this world, but we’ll live without memory of them.  This is the world and the life God so desires for us.  And it is only found in Jesus.

He gives us hope for the future through His promises.  But He also gives us hope, joy, and life now.  It’s not always neat and tidy, but it is a gift.  He is a gift.

Hear Him when He says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).  Come to Him.  Cling to Him.  Rest in Him.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”  And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new ” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Revelation 21:3-5