Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Malaria Bites! Bite Back!

Yesterday I brought my youngest daughter to the doctor... again. This time to be tested for Malaria. She has had a fever for 7 of the past 9 days, and her symptoms look more like malaria than a cold or flu virus. When I told the nurse I wanted a malaria test, she absolutely freaked out. She stepped back, covered her mouth and asked if our daughter needed to be quarantined. Fortunately the doctor came into the room, and calmed her.

That nurse's reaction was indicative of the lack of awareness many people have about people living in developing countries. Malaria is transmitted by the bite of certain types of female mosquitoes that carry a parasite which causes the disease. The fact is, over 1 million people die every year from malaria, 90% of those deaths are children in Africa.

That is why Compassion International has developed the "Bite Back" program. This program provides bed nets that are treated with insecticides. This very effective program reduces the transmission of malaria by 90%. You can help support this program by visiting the link above, or by sponsoring a child in a developing country by clicking on this link: Compassion International

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Question of Social Justice

Lately I've noticed what, to me is a disturbing trend. Every time I read an article on-line about someone doing good things, the article is followed by comments from naysayers who are critical of those who try to make the world a better place. Maybe it's nothing new, but is becoming more obvious because of our interactive world.

The most recent example is the story of Tara Livesay. She is part of an amazing family living in Port au Prince, Haiti. The Livesays are a family filled with compassion (a feeling of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering). Tara Livesay set out to raise $5,200 to help severely malnourished children in Haiti. When she was done, she had raised over $63,000 (that number is still on the rise since this article was written). Read about her here.

The comments following these types of stories seem to have a common theme; others are not as important as us. Read the comments following the article about Tara, and you will see remarks like, "Why not help the children in the US? Why are we always so willing to help other countries but yet we forget that we have families here that struggle?" Or this gem, "Haitians won their independence some 205 years ago, not that long after we won our independence. If they can't get their act together in that time I suggest it is unlikely that they ever will on their own."

In a separate article about Compassion International's president, Wess Stafford recently, rather than appreciate what he's doing to help children living in poverty, some wrote comments like, "How many poverty stricken children in the USA does this ministry help?" "More promotional evangelicalism hidden as a new report." "I could point out a number of areas in the US where children are going hungry but that wouldn't matter 'cause they're Americans."

Here is my response:

• Different people find different causes to be important to them. If we all supported the same cause there would be far less balance and justice in this world.

• Just because people like Tara and Wess are helping those who are suffering abroad, that does not stop you from helping those who need help where you are.

• I think we should support those who get off the couch, and do something good, rather than criticize them from the comfort of our living room.

Here's what I want to know from you.
• Do you really think that poverty in the U.S. is as bad as it is in Haiti or other impoverished countries?

• Do you believe that we should only take care of people in our own country, and let people abroad fend for themselves?

• What cause do you believe in?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Daniela's Story

This is a video made of photos taken over a 2-1/2 year period - the time it took to get Daniela home. The song, "Amos Story" was written by Aaron Ivey. He and his wife Jamie are adopting two children from Haiti. This song is about their fight to bring their children home. Thanks Aaron for allowing me to use it. We pray your children are in your arms again very soon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Home at Last

If you've been checking in here, you know that our daughter was coming home at last. We arrived in Seattle on September 13. I intend to do a more comprehensive update soon, but for now this is all I have time for. There is much to do to get her on our medical insurance, and other immediate needs. The video was taken during her fist few minutes exploring her new bedroom. She is doing great. Eating well, playing hard, and sleeping 11 hours a night.

Most of all she has filled our home with joy. People have commended my wife and I for what we are doing. The truth is, we are selfish... we have been blessed by her beyond measure. We are so grateful that God has brought her into our lives.

I'll try to post more about our trip to Haiti soon.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Daniela's Homecoming

We've had lots of questions about when Daniela is going to be home. The Adoption Timeline on this page has been updated with our travel dates. We will try to send regular updates to Facebook or you can follow us on Twitter @mjp2.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Coming Home

It's hard to believe this day has finally come. We have been working for nearly 2-1/2 years to get our daughter home from Haiti. This morning Daniela got up early. She was all smiles because she got dressed in nice clothes (she's all girl). She got on a plane in Cap Haitien, and flew to Port-au-Prince. She went to the American Embassy, and sat before the Consulate... again. Then she was issued a Visa.

That means she's coming home! The date is not certain, but Daniela should be home by Sept. 12, 2009.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Story of Faith and Compassion

Last week I had the honor to spend some time with one of Compassion International's Leadership Development Students. Faith grew up in the slums of Nairobi, Kenya. It was a difficult life in a dangerous place. She grew up in a home without plumbing. Cooking was done over a fire, and eating 3 meals a day was merely a fantasy. Fortunately, Faith had someone in Central Wisconsin that cared about her. They sponsored through Compassion's Child Sponsorship program. That simple act gave her hope. Hope for an education. Hope for a better life.

Today, Faith has a bachelor's degree in economics, from the best university in Kenya. She will never be impoverished again.

This is what I love about Compassion International. They don't throw money at a community with the hope that the improved environment will improve the lives of individuals. Instead, Compassion teaches children of their value, and potential. These children who are filled with hope always improve their community.

The linked video is of Faith telling her story at Creation West to a crowd of 20,000. At the end, Faith is stunned to learn she was standing beside her childhood sponsors. It is a wonderful surprise.

If you are interested in helping a student earn a college degree go to www.compassion.com/ldp