Archive for the ‘Missions’ Category

A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about my five favorite national or international missions or charity groups. I promised to follow up with local charities, but life happened…

However, I remembered this week, so here, in somewhat alphabetical order, are my #FiveForFriday favorite local missions or charities in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, area. I’ve linked each one to their website so you can learn more.


Any charity or missions organizations I support with resources of any kind would have to pass the pro-life test – a deal breaker issue for me. Bridgehaven (formerly known as Aid to Women) was one of the first pro-life ministries I supported when we moved to Cedar Rapids. I knew many of the directors and volunteers – women (and men) who spend hours of personal time so young women are offered an opportunity to give life to their babies. The ministry has grown exponentially in the last few years, but as always, they offer free pregnancy testing and now, confirmation ultrasounds even for women who have taken a home pregnancy test. Bridgehaven has services that support young families, not just single women, including classes on life skills, family, relationships and spirituality…even post-abortion recovery and support.

They always have volunteer opportunities available, from cashiering at their second-hand shop (Treasures Quality Resale Shoppe) to client advocates and children’s ministry.

His Hands Free Clinic

Cedar Rapids is blessed to have many sources of free medical care but my favorite is His Hands Free Clinic. Started in 1992 (by my general practitioner Dr. James Bell), this particular clinic seeks “to honor God by helping the uninsured and underinsured in our community.” Check out their website to read their Statement of Faith. Volunteer opportunities include areas for medical professionals such as nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurses. They offer dental services so dentists, dental hygienists and assistants are needed as well. If you have no medical background, but still desire to help, His Hands uses volunteers as administrative assistants and prayer support.

House of Hope

Encourage. Equip. Empower. The mantra of House of Hope is near and dear to my heart. A number of years ago, when House of Hope was first getting started, I was privileged to serve on the board of directors. The founder was a close friend whose vision for a home for women who struggled with life issues quickly caught on with many people in the community. Though those first years were very lean (financially), we saw miracle after miracle as the House on 2nd Ave SE was transformed into a home. Now House of Hope offers life-changing and affirming classes, retreats, professional counseling, and even guest stays in their beautiful Victorian home. As always, volunteers are needed and appreciated in several areas including house management, hospitality and class facilitators.

Wind and Fire Ministries

Another ministry very close to my heart, Wind and Fire (or WFM) was birthed in the hearts of Ric and Christy Lumbard (who just happen to be the parents of my beautiful daughter-in-law) and is located on the WFM Missions Base on County Home Road in Robins, Iowa. WFM operates under three mandates: night and day prayer and worship; equipping forerunners and a place of refuge and restoration. WFM is also a leader in human trafficking restoration internationally. You can experience and participate in powerful prayer and worship at the main Saturday evening event called Encountering God Services (EGS).

Local church

Lastly, but probably most importantly, I love and support my local church. I won’t tell you about mine (though it is fantastic)…but urge you to volunteer your time and financial resources first in the church that feeds you God’s Word.

We should ALL volunteer outside of our regular work. Volunteering can give you confidence and help you learn new skills. If you struggle with self-esteem, volunteering for an organization makes you part of a larger community and helps you meet new people (all kinds of new people).

And of course, volunteering at an organization that supports the convictions of your heart will help you make a difference…which is what all of us want, right?

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My favorite five missions or charitable organizations (in no particular order)…

Great_CommissionI can’t narrow it down to five total so I picked five which operate nationally or internationally (which I’ll blog about today) and five which are more local in nature (next Friday). Each is unique in who they help – from women and children in Uganda, to women and children in Cedar Rapids, Iowa…I love missions, spreading the love of Jesus and helping those in need.

#1 – Amazima Ministries

One of my favorite books is “Kisses from Katie,” the story of an 18-year-old girl who gives up her comfortable life in the United States to become the adoptive mother to thirteen girls in Uganda. katies-story-buttonIt was a life-altering book for me and I’ve been challenged while following Katie Davis’s story of radical love. Katie started Amazima (“truth” in native Luganda language) Ministries, with a mission to help educate and empower the people of Uganda with God’s love. They operate The Amazima School, a scholarship program, the Masese Women’s Beading Circle, medical care outreach and a farming outreach. One year for Christmas I gave some special friends earrings formed from beads made in the women’s beading circle. They were beautiful and I loved knowing I was helping, in a small way, to give these women a purpose and an income.

#2 – Youth With A Mission

In a nutshell, Youth With a Mission (or YWAM) is a global movement of Christians who have dedicated themselves to serving Jesus, no matter where He calls them to go. Originally intended just to get young people involved in missions, YWAM now involves people of all ages, in more than 1,100 locations in over 180 countries, with a staff of over 18,000.  I did my own two-week YWAM intensive when I was 15 years old. It was terrifying to think about spending two weeks with total strangers going door-to-door telling people about Jesus. By the end of that time, I was bolding stopping people on the street and inviting hitchhikers to receive Jesus as their Savior. If you are looking to invest in missions around the world, YWAM has done it well for over 50 years.

#3 – JDRF

I’m sure I don’t need to say much about juvenile diabetes. We all have friends and family who suffer from this life-threatening autoimmune disease. The JDRF organization, through volunteers who either have the disease or parent children who suffer with it, works tirelessly through various events to raise money for research to find a cure. My best friend in college recently passed away from the effects of a life-long battle with type 1 diabetes. Improvements in treatment have been made since her diagnosis back in the early 70s, but so much more needs to be done. I love walking with my friend Sandi and her daughter Celia as we inundate the NewBo area of Cedar Rapids for the One Walk event each May. It is inspiring to be even a small part of this movement to find a cure.

#4 – Samaritan’s Purse

“Let my heart be broken with the things that break the heart of God,” famous words from founder Bob Pierce. Samaritan’s Purse’s mission is to follow Christ’s example by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel. They do this in so many different ways: medical missions, feeding programs, clean water & hygiene education, construction projects, human trafficking prevention and discipleship training. Sam_PurseThey are on the front lines of any disaster relief efforts both in the U.S. and internationally, especially in the current refugee crisis, earthquake and flood recovery and in war torn regions of Iraq. As a family, we first started working with Samaritan’s Purse through their Operation Christmas Child program, where we bought small age-appropriate gifts, packed them in shoeboxes and sent them off to the Samaritan’s Purse center in Minneapolis. From there, hundreds and thousands of shoeboxes are sent each year to children all over the world.

#5  – Child Hope

We have sponsored a number of little girls through Latin American Child Care, or as it is now known, Child Hope. We started way back when our youngest son started asking for a baby sister. Not happening. But he seems satisfied with the little girl we “adopted” through LACC. For $36 a month, Child Hope provides a safe environment where a child receives a Christian education alochild hopeng with preventative medical and dental information. More times than not, that monthly stipend provides a school uniform, hot meals and needed medical attention. At
Christmas and birthday time, we send a little extra so our little girl receives a special present just from us. We have welcomed each picture and personal letter throughout the years. We are on our third child since they grow up and move out of the program eventually, but each one is special and we are blessed to be able to assist a small child hear and learn about the love of Jesus.

Jesus said that we were to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Though we can’t all go away from home, we can pray and use our resources to see the good news of Jesus spread all over the globe. I hope you have a favorite charity or missions organization you give to regularly. It is one our greatest joys to give so others can hear and know about Jesus.

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