my HUGE surprise and my awesome husband.

Remember when I said I had a huge surprise to share?  Well, here he is folks!  A GIANT hoho!  But this isn't just any hoho, he has a very special mission.  This here, is a hoho for Jesus.

Ever since I started this blog, I've wanted to use it as a tool to give back, above and beyond myself.  Over the years, together{!}, we have bought nets to save people from malaria, brought water to villages and helped adoptions come together.  My heart has always been to find the best way I, and WE, could help the most people.  And this little idea was born, led, I felt, by the holy spirit.  

My goal for the new year is to make several of these giants, one at a time and raffle them off.  I want to adopt a charity for the year who will solely benefit from the raffles and sit back and watch God do something wonderful with all of portions put together.  

My first step is to find a charity.  At the moment I feel led to somewhere in Africa, with children as the focus, and I would love to hear any ideas that you may have for a good one.  I want to be able to track our progress {because how great will it be to celebrate at the end of the year?} but other than that I just want to be sure it's  a worthy, solid charity. 

If I could ask one small favor, please do not give me a lecture about how we should help "our own country's kids" before anyone else.  That hurts my heart in a special way for many reasons.  I don't feel that this is how Jesus would have us approach it because He loves them all, equally.  While there are many, many worthy causes here in the States, our government does a much better job of keeping the poor fed than most other countries {and yes, I am familiar with the government plans here in the U.S.}.

More than anything, I just want us to join together for good and make a difference in the real lives of real people.  Feel free to leave your charity ideas in the comments section.  I'll keep you posted about all of the details.    
And today happens to be the anniversary of the BEST day of my life.  I am such a blessed woman to have Doug as a husband.  He goes above and beyond to treat me wonderfully day in and day out.  I cannot imagine my life without this man...therefore I have forbid him to die before me, even by a minute. :)

I am thankful for the man that he is, for the father that he is, how hard he works, and that I never, ever have to question the stability of our marriage or the future of our relationship.

Happy Anniversary to us! :)

xo
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25 comments:

Samantha said...

This is a great idea!! I hope you will let international peeps donate too, we often get forgotten! x

Kali said...

This is AWESOME! Love it! Here's my charity suggestion-Children's Relief International. We are friends with the COO and I can attest to worthiness of the charity. Children’s Relief International is a Christian non-profit that brings aid and compassion to children in poverty around the world-food, clean water, shelter, medical aid, education and the love of Jesus Christ to the poorest of the poor.
www.childrensrelief.org

Jessica Ann said...

Might I suggest Bethesda Outreach as a ministry you could donate your earnings to? Bethesda is a ministry in South Africa that reaches out to children orphaned by AIDS. They have an unusual model - instead of running an orphanage, they run a village! Instead of being run solely by missionaries, they train South African couples who then adopt multiple orphans in addition to their own children. Each home has about eight children total, and this model allows the orphans to have a family rather than the unconnected upbringing of an orphanage. Bethesda also runs a school for the children of the village and also for children outside of the Bethesda Village. You can read more about their ministry at www.bethesdaoutreach.org, and they also have a Facebook page. Donations will allow Bethesda to expand and open more homes in the village to bring in more orphans. Part of their long-term plan is to eventually expand into Angola and open a village there.

lolly said...

This is a beautiful idea - however your comment "While there are many, many worthy causes here in the States, our government does a much better job of keeping the poor fed than most other countries {and yes, I am familiar with the government plans here in the U.S.}" shows a lot of ignorance. I don't think anyone would knock your idea, but clearly you haven't been made aware of so many that our government overlooks/turns away. Perhaps it isn't even worth the time to even mention in your blog - and fee free to delete my comment.

Stasha said...

World Vision!

Jessica said...

This is exciting! I know this charity is not located in Africa, but it's kind of close! Last summer I served in Romania and I plan to go back this summer to love on the precious kids there. I feel that Another Child Foundation is doing amazing things to help educate and provide for orphans, while working with families to help them stay families in very harsh conditions where it might seem like the only solution to extreme poverty is to put kids in to group homes. Another Child foundation is standing in the gap by offering education, warm meals, clothes, and Bible teaching. You can get more info http://anotherchild.org. They are a smaller organization that works hard to make sure that EACH dollar goes towards helping children. I am blown away by their responsibility in this area. If you would like to read about my experience there and the ways they are making a difference you can go to teachergonecrafty.blogspot.com and click the "Romania" or "Another Child Foundation" topic links. Thanks for letting me share them with you! Happy Anniversary!

Bethany Hammar said...

Impact Africa is based in south Africa, it was started about 8 years ago by Rich and Michelle Franzen. They work sharing the gospel in the squatter camps and slums of south Africa. In the last few years God has provided funds and a way to build two preschools in two different camps. They have started a baby drop at the schools for moms to drop off their unwanted babies rather then putting them in dumpsters, trash piles, diseases and bacteria ridden "rivers", or community toilets. Impact Africa a small team of full-time staff, a growing year-long intern program, and groups that come from all over the world; all year long.
I was there this past summer and I was amazed, the Franzen and their growing team have big dreams and visions, and God is blessing this ministry for their obedience and faith. I was so inspired by what I saw, they have a few focuses but execute then well. In addition to the schools and baby drop; they also go into the squatter camps to share the gospel with the people who love there. the translators that worm with Impact Africa are mostly men, all who have been saved as a result of going into the squatter camps. These men (& few women) have a passion for the word of God, it is clear they have really studied it, they also have a strong desire to see those in their community know Christ and be released from the captivity that keeps them shackled.
Along with witch doctors, drugs, prostitution, rape, gambling there are cult churches that bring a very dark and evil cloud over these squatter camps. Sharimg the gospel there can be very difficult because those who have been caught by the cult churches live in fear of being beat or killed if they don't follow the church rules, they are told that they have to pray through the pastor. So when sharing the gospel they are surprised to hear God is a God of love and they have direct access to him.
while I was only there for two weeks, I saw many people come to know God as king of their life, people be healed in an instant, witch doctors who have come to know Christ. God is doing big things in south Africa through the influence of Impact Africa, the thing that most impressed me is the follow up, they host discipleship Bible studies every week. These are led by the interns and translators, sometimes you have to walk a mile or more to get to the shack where your group will be held.
These two weeks in Africa changed my life, I don't even know the extent of it.
I'm not sure if this was the type of thing you were looking for but I thought I would share. The website for impact is: www.impactafrica.org

Bethany Hammar said...

Impact Africa is based in south Africa, it was started about 8 years ago by Rich and Michelle Franzen. They work sharing the gospel in the squatter camps and slums of south Africa. In the last few years God has provided funds and a way to build two preschools in two different camps. They have started a baby drop at the schools for moms to drop off their unwanted babies rather then putting them in dumpsters, trash piles, diseases and bacteria ridden "rivers", or community toilets. Impact Africa a small team of full-time staff, a growing year-long intern program, and groups that come from all over the world; all year long.
I was there this past summer and I was amazed, the Franzen and their growing team have big dreams and visions, and God is blessing this ministry for their obedience and faith. I was so inspired by what I saw, they have a few focuses but execute then well. In addition to the schools and baby drop; they also go into the squatter camps to share the gospel with the people who love there. the translators that worm with Impact Africa are mostly men, all who have been saved as a result of going into the squatter camps. These men (& few women) have a passion for the word of God, it is clear they have really studied it, they also have a strong desire to see those in their community know Christ and be released from the captivity that keeps them shackled.
Along with witch doctors, drugs, prostitution, rape, gambling there are cult churches that bring a very dark and evil cloud over these squatter camps. Sharimg the gospel there can be very difficult because those who have been caught by the cult churches live in fear of being beat or killed if they don't follow the church rules, they are told that they have to pray through the pastor. So when sharing the gospel they are surprised to hear God is a God of love and they have direct access to him.
while I was only there for two weeks, I saw many people come to know God as king of their life, people be healed in an instant, witch doctors who have come to know Christ. God is doing big things in south Africa through the influence of Impact Africa, the thing that most impressed me is the follow up, they host discipleship Bible studies every week. These are led by the interns and translators, sometimes you have to walk a mile or more to get to the shack where your group will be held.
These two weeks in Africa changed my life, I don't even know the extent of it.
I'm not sure if this was the type of thing you were looking for but I thought I would share. The website for impact is: www.impactafrica.org

beth said...

Hi!
I just got linked to your blog from some other "off the beaten track" surfing this morning.
I would throw out Mercy House Kenya as an idea for your charity. Kristen Welch has a heart for Jesus that challenges me.

BJ is Quilting! said...

Hi! I just have to tell you about Katie Davis. I just read her book called "Kisses From Katie". It is her true story. She is a young lady who left home right out of high school to go help orphans in Africa. By now she has been there for probably 4 or 5 years. Her goal has been to help children afford to go to school, help them with food, clothes, etc. and to show the love of Jesus. And she has ended up adopting orphans and helping whole communities! You would love her story and it would be a wonderful cause to support. Her faith in God is amazing and inspiring!

BJ is Quilting! said...

Hi! I just have to tell you about Katie Davis. I just read her book called "Kisses From Katie". It is her true story. She is a young lady who left home right out of high school to go help orphans in Africa. By now she has been there for probably 4 or 5 years. Her goal has been to help children afford to go to school, help them with food, clothes, etc. and to show the love of Jesus. And she has ended up adopting orphans and helping whole communities! You would love her story and it would be a wonderful cause to support. Her faith in God is amazing and inspiring!

Krulls in Haiti said...

I know you are thinking of Africa, but I live in Haiti as a missionary, working with an orphanage. Although I love our children dearly, my ministry suggestion is Heartline Ministries in Haiti. They are currently raising funds to build a new maternity center to give healthcare to pregnant mamas (so women won't die in childbirth, thus leaving orphans behind), parenting classes, discipleship training and mentoring for moms and dads.

Stel said...

What a beautiful idea! From South Africa I would recommend - get a charity where your money will go as directly to your target as possible, and if possible, find a locally managed NGO. Too much funds are diluted by air tickets, admin fees etc. What I can recommend here is http://www.echoyouth.co.za/, a project aimed at those teens who fall through the cracks of the welfare systems, that can't be accommodated formally. They have three or four houses in our neighbourhood, provide a safe family environment, get the kids back to school and on their feet after matriculating. It is really hands-on and Rev Jaco Strydom is the absolute example of "What Jesus Woud Do".
There are many others, people who fund feeding scheme with their own pensions, run day care centres for toddlers in the townships and rural areas. Schools where pupils sit under trees , write on walls or in the sand. In our own school there are many that are fed by the school, and get their school uniform there second-hand. We decided that our donation this month will go towards the registration fees of one or two kids at the school, that would otherwise have been left unpaid.
All the best with your project!

Megan said...

My cousin David started an organization called When the Saints. I could tell you all about it... but I will let the intor. video speak for itself. http://www.whenthesaints.com/

They have almost met their goal of raising enough money to build their first Safe House for girls!

Megan said...

My cousin David started a nonprfoit called "When the Saints". The goal is to sex trafficking... and it's amazing what this will do for young girls in Africa. THey have almost raised enough for their first Safe House. Watch his intro. video here: http://www.whenthesaints.com/

Please, consider When the Saints!

Holly said...

I think this is a great idea!!

I am going to go in a totally different direction than you all and say I would love the funds to go to JDRF. A foundation very near and dear to my heart. My now 7 year old was diagnosed with Juvenille diabetes at age 4. Of course a cure in his lifetime is my constant prayer. I would love for that foundation to benefit from someone so crafty as yourself Crystal!!

Have a nice day

Brenda said...

Check out Invisible Children, an organization benefiting the children in Africa. God bless you and your work to benefit his most vulnerable children.

Brenda said...

Check out Invisible Children it benefits children in Africa. God bless you and your work to care for His most vulnerable children.

Susannah said...

Happy Anniversary!!! And this giant hoho raffle idea is such a good one! I'm sure God's going to use it in amazing ways!

Jana Crawford said...

Here's one you might want to take a look at:
http://shimuganda.com

Shepherd's Heart International Ministry in Uganda
I went to church with Karina Smith when I was growing up!

I also really appreciate Mercy House which was mentioned before.

Taylor Wise said...

I'd love to suggest Love Grows. My good friend and her husband started it and I know them and their hearts. It's a wonderful organization and mostly focuses on Africa.
http://lovegrows.org/

hannah singer said...

i love!!
and happy anni!

xo

Bethany said...

Good for you!

A group close to my heart is Hope of the Nations in Kigoma, Tanzania. It was formed by my youth minister and his wife. It includes a Pre-school, Bible school, and vocational courses (such as welding, a much needed profession in Tanzania). They feed the children while they are at the school.

I hope you consider this wonderful charity!

AnnA said...

This is a fabulous idea... here's my suggestion- www.h2hint.org H2H International- a Christian non-profit that works with orphaned children (infants to young adults) in Romania. The website has lots of details but they do everything from providing food and hygiene supplies to teaching Bible lessons, assisting teens in transitioning into society, and even offering music and art classes. They also work with many special needs orphans.

nic said...

happy (belated) anniversary. i just LOVE your heart for Christ and people.

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