Friday, November 8, 2013

"Christmas in the Villages" Sponsorships


Wow!  It's hard to believe that it is almost time for Christmas!  It seems that this year has flown by. 

We are, once again, going to try to provide Christmas for several families on the Tohono O'odham Reservation.  Last year was such a huge success, and we want to thank those that participated.  Out of all the things (activities, events, etc) that we have ever done since living here, this has been my favorite thing to do hands down.  It is such a joy to see a child's face light up when they see that someone cared enough about them to get them specific presents that they need!
So Sweet!

We are once again sponsoring children from 3 villages:  Chuichu, Cockleburr, and Kohatk, and we are adding some families from Sacaton!!  We are expecting to be able to provide Christmas (with your help of course) to about 150 children.  For many of these children, the presents that they get through this ministry will be the only presents that they receive. 
Isn't she just precious?


Please do not miss out on this opportunity to be involved in a child's life this Christmas!!!!!


Here's what you need to do to get involved:

1. Contact us either by email (liveloveaz@gmail.com) or on facebook or by phone to let us know how many children you would like to provide Christmas for. Please pass this along to your church, small group, youth group, etc.  We have at least 150 kids that we need to provide for.

2. After we hear from you, we will email you a list of things you should know specific to the child. We have already passed out forms for the families to fill out.  You will know specific details such as age of the child, size of clothes and shoes, specific interests or toys that the child likes, and anything they are in need of.

3. Then you may either shop and buy the presents or send us the money that you would like to put forth for the presents.  We give this option because we know that everyone is different in how they like to do things.  We know that some people love to actually pick out the presents themselves (it feels more real this way and like they are apart of your family), but we also know that some people live across the country and prefer not to spend the money on shipping the presents to us.  Although the majority of people chose to actually buy the presents and send them last year, we still had about 20 that chose to just send the money and let us do the buying.  This is completely up to you and your family/church/Sunday school class/small group.  Either way you choose will be appreciated!!!

4. We don't really give a certain amount of money that you have to spend, but we ask that you at least get the child some clothes and at least one thing that is fun or that they are interested in.  I would say the majority of people spend around $50 per child.  If you want to do more, that is fine. We just ask that you don't go overboard.  Most children will have brothers and sisters and we don't want one child to have an Xbox and the other child to get a book.  Does that make sense?

Also, it seems silly to have to say this, but please make sure the presents that you send are NEW.  Our goal in providing the children Christmas presents is not just so they have something to open up on Christmas morning.  Our goal is to share Christ with them and their families. We make contact with many families during this Christmas ministry that we otherwise would not be able to.  If we give them hand-me-downs or used presents for Christmas, the message we send is that they are not worth our best.  We want them to feel like they are apart of our family.  We want them to know that they are valued and loved.  We want them to know that God sent his best- His Son Jesus to earth in the form of a human to be born and live and ultimately die for us and them.  We want them to understand that the reason we love them and buy them presents for Christmas is because of the overflow of love we have for them because of the love God has for us.  We want them to know Jesus too!!!

5. The deadline for sending us money or presents is Friday, December 6.  This means that we need them at our house by this date. Please do not mail them on this date.   We need at least a week to sort through all the presents, purchase those that have sent the money, wrap the presents, etc. before we hand them out.   Our address is: PO Box 2237, Sacaton, AZ 85147.  If you would like to use UPS or FedEx please get in contact with us for our physical address.

6. Please fill free to send cards or letters to the child as well.  You don't have to do this, but I think the child and family would enjoy it. 

7. Several people asked last year if they could also send something that could be for the whole family to enjoy.  Of course you can!  This is not something that you have to do, but feel free if you would like.

After all the presents are in and sorted and wrapped, we will have a special service in each of the villages the week of December 16-20.  Each village will have their own night.  This year we are going to have a church service to share the true meaning of Chrismas, and then pass out the presents to each child.  I promise to take lots of pictures and try to capture what it was like to be there.
 
 
*****This year we ask that the presents be delivered to us unwrapped!!!  We are going to take care of all the wrapping, so just please label the presents with the child's name.*****

 If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to get in contact with us. 

We look forward to hearing from you and seeing God be glorified through you this Christmas!


Love,
Brittany
 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

A Quick Update

Hey everyone!  I wanted to give you all a quick update on what's been going on the past couple of months.  I know we've been quiet on the blog front, and I wanted to let you know that it's not because we don't have anything going on.  It's actually the opposite!  These past couple of months we have been nonstop from the time we get up until we go to bed. 


New things that have happened or are happening:

  • Eric traveled to Congo the end of July-the beginning of August.  He worked in some orphanages and was a part of a pastor's training/conference. It was an eye-opening 2 weeks where God really spoke to him about several things. We look forward to sharing with you how God is working there and some plans that are in place for the future.



  • We were able to pass out school supplies, backpacks, and new shoes to the villages of Cockleburr and Chuichu thanks to several churches!!  We so appreciate your giving hearts!!!
 
 
  • Eric is officially the pastor of First Pima Baptist Church.  The church is growing and doing well.  Since August, 8 people have joined the church ( 4 were baptized!!).  
 
  • We have started a new ministry at First Pima on Saturday afternoons.  We have Celebration Station for kids and teenagers who are dealing with the affects of drugs, alcohol, and/or abuse.  We have an adult Bible study taking place at the same time, which is going to lead into Celebrate Recovery.  Doug is leading the adults.  Heart of Mesa Church is helping us with this ministry.

  • We are currently (this week) doing a VBS in the village of Chuichu.  It is fall break and the kids love that they have something to do this week.  We are loving the fact that they love to come to learn more about Jesus :)  Trinity Baptist Church in Casa Grande is helping us with this.

  • Our family has grown by 3 more kiddos.  If you have a hard time with math, that makes 7 kids in our house.  Now you understand why we have no extra time :)



Upcoming Events/Happenings/Things to Pray for:


  • We have a mission team from First Missionary Baptist Church in Benton, KY and Puryear Baptist Church in Puryear, TN coming on Saturday.  They will be building a ramada in Cockleburr, which will be the "church building" (although the church has nothing to do with the building).  Everyone is so pumped about this!!!  I will have to update more on Cockleburr at a later time.  Things are going so well!!!    The team will also be helping us with the Revival at First Pima next week.  Please be praying about that!

  • We are getting geared up for "Christmas in the Villages".  We will start passing out info next week.  If you are interested in sponsoring a child for Christmas, please let us know.  I will have a new blog posted tomorrow with all the details.

  • We are preparing for a Thanksgiving meal and service in the village of Chuichu.  If you would like to help with that, please let us know.

  • We also have several new things/ideas we are working on for the new year.  I will post about those at a later time.



As always, we thank you so much for your support and prayers!!!


Love,
Brittany

Monday, August 19, 2013

Thankful for God's Provision

To all our supporters,

As I sit here and ponder all that God is doing in our lives, our ministry, and beyond I am a bit overwhelmed.
 
A ministry that began just 3 years ago has grown far beyond our comprehension. We are seeing things that we could have never imagined. God has taken us places that many missionaries only dream of. God has expanded our ministry to new villages on both reservations, to the metro Phoenix area, and more recently expanded it to the Democratic Republic of Congo on the continent of Africa!  
 
We are continually humbled and thankful that we are able to serve a great God. He has done more than we could have ever asked or imagined.
 
But as I reflect on all of this, the thought hits me, "None of this would be possible without the support of you all." You have prayed for us, supported us, and given financially to the ministry that God has called us to, and for that we are forever grateful.
 
You will never know how much of an impact your faithfulness and obedience is making in the Kingdom of God.
 
With love,
 
Eric, Brittany, Ella, Brayden, Emmalyn, and Santos
 
P.S. We have so many things to tell you about what God has done and is doing.  Please check back soon so you don't miss anything :)
 

Thursday, January 31, 2013

How Can YOU "Live Love" This Year?

We "officially" became NAMB missionaries in September of 2010. At that time, we prayerfully chose our ministry name to be "Live Love Ministries." We chose that particular name because our goal/mission is to show love in the way we live our loves. Every aspect of our lives. We know that in order for people to see Jesus in us, we have to love them like Jesus would love them. This means meeting them where they are, which also means, more often that not, meeting their physical and emotional needs before we can show them how Jesus can meet their spiritual need. So, we "Live Love".

How can you "Live Love" this year?

There are many ways that you can, but we would like to present you with an opportunity to help and support the work that we do here on the reservations.

When we first became NAMB missionaries and moved to AZ, we made a 2 year commitment. Because we are MSC missionaries, we had/have to raise our own support. This means that NAMB is behind us and supports the work that we do, however, they do not pay us. We are responsible for finding churches, Sunday School classes, and individuals who will support us and the work that we do.

We had many people give us one time donations. We had several individuals and a couple of churches that made the commitment to give to our ministry monthly. We are so thankful for those of you who have given to us and/or our ministry! There are no words to really show how much we appreciate it! Your selfless giving is making an eternal difference in the lives of many Native Americans!

Obviously, our 2 year commitment has passed, and we have decided to continue our ministry here. We have no idea how long we will be here. We will stay until God tells us to go somewhere different.

Many of our monthly supporters have told us that they would like to continue their support. (We thank you so much!) However, we have had a couple that have had to stop for various reasons (became unemployed, decided to support other missionaries just starting out, etc.)

Also, our ministry has expanded to more villages and more districts than we originally had 2 years ago. And it is expanding even more this year! (Look for a separate blog post about that in the next couple of weeks.)

To put our need bluntly, we need about $1,000 more of monthly support to effectively minister the way that we need to.

The monthly support that we receive not only supports our family, but also our ministry. This means that we pay for everything that we do. At this point, we are responsible for the youth and children's ministry at First Pima and any work in Sacaton, the work in the villages of Cockleburr, Chuichu, and Kohatk, and the work in District 2 on the Gila River. Occasionally, we do some work in a couple of other villages too.

In these five areas of ministry, we provide transportation for the people to attend the events. We provide food, crafts and activites for the children, and any ministry material needed (ranging from curriculum/lessons/Bible studies to use all the way to contruction materials needed for a project).

We also meet whatever needs arise. We are constantly getting asked for help in paying electric bills or water bills (for those that have actually them) and for groceries (especially towards the end of the month).

We were able to do all these things effectively at the beginning of our ministry because of those that gave one time donations or those "random" checks that we would receive in the mail many times with a note attached saying "Use this where needed the most."

At this point, the one time donations that we had saved are completely gone. We are trying to do everything with the monthly support that we receive, and there is just not enough to do everything and meet the needs that arise. This past month, we have had to tell a couple of people that we just do not have the resources to help them at this time. It hurts us so much to do this because we know that we have built trust with these individuals, and they do not go to anyone else for help. Eric is considered their pastor, and the services or Bible studies that we have is their church. So, they are going to their church for help.

You may be thinking, "$1,000 is a lot of money. There is no way that I can help with that."

It does seem like a lot of money. Believe me I know.

But I also know the God that provides it, and I know that He chooses to use His people to provide it many times. Maybe God wants to use YOU to meet needs on the reservations.

We have came up with an easy way for you to "Live Love" this year.

We are asking 200 of our friends, family, or people we don't even know to make a commitment to a monthly support of $5. That's only $60 for the whole year. Pretty easy, right? Just think of the things that you spend $5 on- a Starbucks coffee, a fast food meal, a ticket to a movie, etc. Sometimes you can find that much in change in your couch.

We would like to have our goal met by February 14th. Yes, that's Valentine's Day, and what a way to truly show love by giving to those that need it! You will be loving "the least of these"!

We want you to know that it is a really humbling experience to tell others our needs. However, we have people ask us all the time how they can help us on the reservation. Providing $5 of monthly support is a real and tangible way to help us meet needs of others and to help us with our ministry.

Is God leading you to partner with us?

If so, you can go to this link: https://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1023666&supId=356649513

It should take you to our page on the NAMB website. You can click on the "Give Now" button. You may put in a $5 donation. Then it will ask you for your information and if you want to make it a recurring donation or a one time donation. We are asking that you please make a commitment of 12 months, which would be $5 a month for a total of $60 for the year. (If you are able and want to give more, you are able to put whatever amount you want when clicking on this link.)

If you are at a point where you aren't able to give, then we would appreciate your prayers for us and our ministry. We know this is most important anyway, and we thank you in advance for your prayers!

Please feel free to share this with others. We would really like for you to! February 14th is just 2 weeks away, but we know that God is able!

Love,
Eric and Brittany

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

First World vs. Third World

I want to address an issue that has been on my heart for quite awhile.  It's almost like it has built up over time, and if I don't address it I'm going to explode. 

We moved to live on the reservation a little over 2 years ago.  It's a totally different world compared to KY.  It's a totally different world compared to most places in the United States.  Although it's not a different country, it has many third world characteristics- extreme poverty, poor living conditions ( many being without electricity and water), lack of work or job opportunities, little Gospel presence, etc.

While I live here, I can drive 15-20 minutes in either direction and be in a typical city in the United States.  Even more, I can drive 30 minutes and be in one of the largest cities in the United States.  These cities have everything you could ever need (food, water, shelter) and everything you could ever want (big shopping centers, car lots, huge housing developments, fancy church buildings, tons of entertainment, and the list could go on and on). This is the first world. 

I feel like I live in 2 totally different worlds.  Some days I don't notice as much as others, but many days it drives me crazy.  I'm having one of those "drives me crazy" weeks.

 I believe God has put it on my heart to share my experience with you.

Since Monday was a holiday, it was extremely nice outside, and Ella was out of school, we took the kids to a local park.  While we were there watching the kids play, a couple of ladies were having a conversation.  They were not sitting beside us or really even that close, but their conversation was easy to hear because one of the ladies was extremely loud.  At first, they were talking about their children and extended family.  Then the conversation turned to church related things.  I decided to pay a little bit more attention to the conversation because I am always interested in what people have to say about church.  Maybe I was eavesdropping on their conversation, but I think if you talk loud enough for the whole park to hear, then you're inviting them to hear what you have to say. :)

The lady that was loud took over most of the conversation.   She first talked about going to church that Sunday and about how she liked her pastor.  Then, all the problems started coming out.  She shared about how she didn't like her previous church because the pastor didn't do such and such right.  So when her family decided to switch churches, she interviewed the pastor at their current church before going there to see where he was on the issue.  Obviously, she liked him and decided to stay there.  Then she talked about how the church had a worship leader that just didn't work out and they had to fire him.  She said, "That was just an awful situation."  Then it shifted to the new youth pastor who she thought seemed to be working out fine, but wasn't sure because she didn't have any youth.  Then to the topic of how the church has 2 services now.  The biggest problem for their family was deciding on which service to go to.  It was such a hard decision to make.  Then, she talked about how the previous Sunday she helped with the sound and when she looked up, she saw two of her children sitting in 2 different places with friends instead of sitting beside each other.  That was the newest and biggest problem.  She just didn't know what she was going to do about that.  The conversation went on and on. The more I listened, the more I wanted to throw up.

I looked at Eric and said, "Man, the problems of a first world Christian."

I guess it hit me a little different than normal on this day because we had 2 of the sweetest girls stay with us this weekend.  They were on that same playground, and I was praying that they didn't hear the conversation that was taking place. 

You see, they are from the Tohono O'odham reservation.  When Eric went to visit their family on Friday, their mother asked if it would be possible for us to take care of them this weekend.  They were having all sorts of problems.  They had no electricity.  They have literally 20 people living in one home.  They didn't know if they had enough food for everyone for the weekend.  They didn't have any clean clothes.  They have one car that is so unreliable they can't really even go anywhere.  Most importantly, they have no church to go to.  The only way they have church is if we go to have church in their village. 

Those are the problems of a third world Christian. 

Do you see the difference?  Do you see why I want to go crazy?

The first world lady from the park is all upset because she can't decide which church service to go to. The third world lady is upset because she doesn't have a church to go to. 

The first world lady feeds her kids 3 meals a day (maybe more).  The third world lady had to make a decision for her children to go somewhere else for the weekend so they could be fed.  Have you ever had to make a decision like that?  I haven't, and it's still hard for me to fathom even though I see it so often.

Friends, we need to take a good look at our lives.  If the biggest problems we have are choosing which church service to go to or which restaurant to eat at or which vacation to go on, then we need to make someone else's problems are own. 

It's time the first world Christians start helping the third world Christians. 

Y'all, these two women live maybe 20 minutes from each other.  Either the first world knows nothing about the third world or the first world knows but is doing nothing about it.  Both are unacceptable. 

When Jesus left this world, he left us (meaning Christians) with a task.  He said for us to be "His witnesses" (Acts 1:8).  Who are you witnessing to?  What kind of witness are you being?

It's time many Christians stop going to church to "soak it up and sit" but to go to be trained so that you are ready and prepared to enter the mission field the rest of the week. 

You may be thinking, "I know I should be doing something, but I don't know where to start."  That's understandable, but many people use that excuse so much that they convince themselves not to do anything because they don't know what to do. 

An easy place to start is to ask a pastor or missionary if they know of some ways for you to serve.  Many times all you have to do is get out of your comfort zone and you will see the places or people that you need to be serving.  It means talking to people that you many times wouldn't or going to places that you don't normally go to.

Think about the places that Jesus went and the people he ministered to.  He loved the sick, the lepers, the outcast, the prostitute, the orphan, the widow.  Do you love them too?  How are your actions saying that you do?

Jesus went to the people and didn't expect them to come to him.  Are you waiting for someone to step foot in your church before serving them?  Where are some places in your community that you could go to serve others? 

I say these things not in a judgemental way, but truly out of love. 

Many times God has used someone to teach me a truth that I needed to know, even if it wasn't easy or I felt like they stepped on my toes a little bit.  I pray that God may use me in the same way so that He may receive the glory and honor!


Love,
Brittany




Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Christmas in the Villages 2012

Christmas this year was AMAZING!  Thank you so much to those of you that "adopted a child for Christmas"! Because of your love, many children were able to open presents on Christmas morning that they otherwise would have not gotten to do.

Everytime that I start to describe what the three different services were like, I can't adequately put it into words.  I just keep coming back to AMAZING or AWESOME :) 

This year, we added a village (Kohatk) onto the previous two (Chuichu and Cockleburr) so we were able to provide Christmas for around 150 kids!!  You should have seen the youth facility where we stored the presents.  It was maxed out!  I kept telling everyone that came to help us wrap the presents that it was actually organized chaos :)



Part of the wrapping presents crew


More of the crew
 
 
 
Some of the presents.  See what I mean about organized chaos?  We really did have a system to it!

It always amazes me how God orchestrates the whole process.  We always get emails and money from people we have never met.  Some just "happened" to stumble across our blog, some are friends of friends, and we had one this year that used to come on mission trips to the T.O. reservation years and years ago and somehow figured out what we were doing and wanted to be apart of it.  Of course, we always have wonderful, supportive churches and Sunday School classes that take on a huge part.  Not one time, has a child ever not been "adopted for Christmas". 

Thankfully, this year, we had some help for wrapping and for the services.  We had Ken and Thurleen Bain (fellow missionaries), Tami Gibbs (Eric's mom), Kaitlin Penn and Aiden (Eric's sister and nephew), Doug Jones (he came for a 3 week visit), and Renae Hester (she flew all the way from GA to come help us!) helping us with the services.  It turns out that things went a lot smoother this year with some help :) 

In each village, we held a Christmas service.  We told the Christmas story through a book called "What God Wants For Christmas".  The book comes with 7 different presents that can be opened.  In each box or present is a specific person or people that play an important part of the Christmas story.  The last box represents what God wants for Christmas.  Inside is a mirror, so when you open it you should see that God wants you for Christmas more than anything else.  The kids really liked it and it is a neat way to tell the Christmas story.  After that, we had a snack of hot chocolate and cookies.  Then, the presents came last.

This year we also brought a Christmas tree to each village for the presents to go under.  The majority of the kids did not have a Christmas tree so we thought it would be something to make the service a little more special.  When the service was over, we left the tree at the home of the ones that let us have the service at their house. 

The first village we went to was Cockleburr.  Below are some of the pics from the service there:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Here are some pics from the service at Kohatk:
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Last, here are some of the pics from Chuichu:
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
I have had a terrible time trying to upload the pictures on the blog today for some reason.  I am going to post all the pictures that I have onto facebook to our Live Love Ministries page. If you have facebook, go to our page and "like" us and you can view all the pictures in the Christmas album. 
 
Thanks once again for loving the precious kids here on the reservations and for making this Christmas one to remember! 
 
 
Love,
Brittany