World Help and Leading and Loving It

On the Ground with Leading and Loving It

“As a church we are good at teaching people how to get to heaven, but we are failing at teaching them how to live on earth.” — Carlos Vargas

I’m here in Guatemala with a group of 30 women from Leading and Loving It—pastors’ wives and women in ministry. Our focus this week has been on our Rescue Program and meeting Leading and Loving It’s goal of rescuing 200 babies. We’ve loved on babies in the hospital, visited the special needs home, and heard a number of rescue stories from Hope of Life’s founder Carlos Vargas.

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Yesterday the entire group of ladies had the opportunity to visit a trash dump community here in Guatemala where lunch is served three days a week. I loved watching our group serve “the least of these” so selflessly. It was a reminder of the extreme poverty so many of these people are living in and why this rescue program is so important. Please take a moment to watch this short video and consider joining the rescue at www.lali.worldhelp.net.

Watch Guatemala | #LALIRescue15 from World Help on Vimeo.

Rwanda Star School World Help

Finding Beauty . . . The Second Time Around

I am still troubled by the photos of the children who were murdered. The thought of it simply makes me sick to my stomach. At times, I don’t understand the world we live in. I thought I had seen enough evil in my days to simply make me numb. But unfortunately, I had not . . .

Continue reading my firsthand account of Rwanda’s transformation over the years at worldhelp.net/blog >>

World Help has been working in Rwanda for years—rebuilding lives, forging unity, and rekindling hope in a country wrecked by civil war and genocide. Visit worldhelp.net/Rwanda to learn more.

Noel Yeatts - Africa

Don’t Miss “The End” . . .

I came to Africa with a group of storytellers . . . and I saw Africa through their eyes.

The power of a story is undeniable.

They give meaning to the forgotten. They shed light on what no one has seen. They breathe life into people that have been silenced by injustice and oppression.

Keep reading on the World Help blog . . .

 

Noel Yeatts Africa Blogging Trip - Copy

Baseballs and the Language of Hope …

I tried hard to explain what was going on … who these boys were in the picture and why they had sent these balls all the way to Africa. That my son was in the middle and that his friends had chosen to send these baseballs, basketballs and soccer balls instead of birthday gifts.

But, no explaining was necessary. They were boys and this was the universal language of sports that needed no interpreting or translating. They just needed room to play.

Child sponsorship in Rwanda

I wondered if I would find other ideas that transcend cultures, countries and language barriers. Other universal languages that need no explanation.

But, Africa has taught me that there is a language that I don’t speak. It is not universal, because I don’t understand it.  I need an interpreter to explain the hurt. To translate the stories of abandonment and fear. It is a language of resilience, determination and courage … of forgiveness that is foreign to me.

It is the language of hope.

I’ve learned that this language of hope is found in something much bigger. In a God that is good all the time … even when your parents abandon you. Even when your husband dies and leaves you … even when your family is killed right in front of your eyes.

I’m not sure my hope is that big – but I want it to be. I want to speak the language of hope in a way that needs no interpreting, no translating, no explaining … just room to grow.

World Help Gifts of Hope

Thank you for helping us finish Phase 1 of the rescue home project! We couldn’t be more excited!!! But we still need your help to finish Phase 2. It’s not too late to get invovlved … join the rescue today!

World Help Rescue Homes Donate

Noel Yeatts Uganda_

The Water is Waiting

The water makes its way up the dusty hill. Under the dry Ugandan soil – under the deep, thick African brush until it reaches a tank at the top overlooking the valley below.

The tank can store enough water to help meet the needs of all the children on campus … and the needs of the children who have yet to come.

Today was a special day … one I have waited for. A day that represents birthdays, Christmases and special occasions where water was chosen instead of gifts. Where life was chosen instead of instant gratification.

Of all the places in the world where my family’s well could have been placed, I could not think of a better location than this – just steps away from the three new rescue homes we are hoping to provide. These three homes will care for 40 more children – children who are abandoned, malnourished and in desperate need. The center is at capacity now and without these new homes, children will have to be turned away.

World Help Africa

The need for clean water is great in Africa and around the world. It is a perfect starting point when trying to address the overwhelming needs of extreme poverty. It changes all aspects of life – education, economy and health.

Usually, people around the world are waiting for the life-changing effects of clean water.

But in this case … the water is waiting.

Waiting for more babies – waiting to bathe them, clean them, feed them, refresh them … restore them.

The water is waiting.

World Help Rescue Homes

We are over halfway toward meeting our first goal to provide a new rescue home that will take care of 10 more children. Help us reach our goal today. Click below to learn more and to join the rescue.

World Help Rescue Homes Donate

Extraordinary Africa | Join the Journey

After months of dreaming and planning, it’s finally here . . . our blogging journey through Africa is about to begin!

Please take a moment to view this personal video invitation from the field to see how you can follow our journey.

Watch Blogging in Africa | Join the Story from World Help on Vimeo.

World Help Bloggers Africa

African Boys

Lean In

One of my favorite magazines is no longer in publication. It was called Need, and it focused on humanitarian efforts around the world.  The images on its pages were breathtaking and the stories compelling. But, the motto of the magazine was what I loved: “We are not out to save the world, but to tell the stories of those who are.”

This resonated with me as I wrote my book Awake. I knew that my story was nothing more than the story of those who have touched my life, broken my heart, and restored my hope in humanity, justice and God’s love.  I guess you could say that my story was not about me at all. It was about a search for life in the midst of a broken and desperate world.

A few weeks ago, as we celebrated the season of advent, my pastor spoke about hope …  the coming and anticipation of hope. I love his definition: Hope is a conviction of what has happened in the past and the promise of what waits for us in the future … and it changes how we live in the present. It changes today.

Our world is so full of brokenness … and I will be sure to see plenty firsthand on this journey. However, sometimes we see what we are looking for.  What if instead of looking for problems, conflict, brokenness, disease and hunger  … what if we opened our eyes and looked for signs of life?

What if we changed the conversation from what we can’t do … to what we can? From those we can’t help … to those we can help save.

What if we leaned in to hope?

In a matter of days, I will be on the ground in Africa with a group of friends and storytellers … some of the best storytellers. I’m starting to feel like we are old friends. But the truth is, most I have never even met. Yet, we have been brought together by a common bond and purpose.

Here is just a taste of what they are writing and a few of the reasons I am so glad we are going on this journey together:

(Emily Wierenga) I’ll be flying to Africa as a storyteller, and as a mother. As a woman who’s known both miscarriage and birth. And I’ll be meeting with other women who know suffering to a degree I can’t imagine. Forced to watch their children die in front of them because they have no food or clean water and we’re to be ambassadors for them. To fight for them, to be a voice for them.  To birth hope for them […]

(Matt Appling) I’m not going to save the world. Nothing that I accomplish in those few days will save the world.  I will not come back to America and brag to you all about what a huge impact I had. No, the few days I spend in Africa are not about me, not about my efforts, not about my story. I am going to Africa to witness God’s story unfolding.  I am going to see how God is saving the world […]

(Michele-Lyn Ault)When it’s time for the next giant leap of faith, I’m staring squarely in the face of my incapability and powerlessness, again. Sometimes, it’s only then I realize how far my heart has strayed from sole dependence on God, His grace, and His favor in my life. God whispered in my ear, “I brought you this far, what makes you think you’ve got to go the distance on your own? You trust, and watch what I would do. You do your part, the possible, and I’ll do mine, the impossible.” […]

(Dan King) And honestly, when I pack my bags and go on mission trips like the one I am about to leave on, its not the doom-and-gloom that fires me up and keeps me going back for more. You’d consider me a glutton for punishment if I were to merely immerse myself in the tragedy of extreme poverty for a week or two at a time. I don’t like to be sad. What keeps me coming back are the stories of hope. Because that’s the Gospel in action […]

Powerful, stirring words that remind me again why I am going.

I’m telling the stories … I am searching for signs of life …I’m leaning in to hope.

World

Teacup Dreams

It’s a new year … a new day … a second chance to get this thing called life right … a do over … a mulligan … a clean slate.

There is something refreshing about starting over. There is something redemptive about forgetting past mistakes and letting go. The opportunity to try again is appealing and hard to resist.

So, as I start this year over, I want to make a change. There is something that I want to do differently. Something I would like to get right … or at least try.

I want to start dreaming big – really big. For some reason, my dreams have become so small. They are easy to control and manage. There is no risk involved because then I might get hurt, embarrassed or God forbid I might … fail.

And so I live my life safe. I dream expected dreams. Ones that most often do not require a big God.

About a year and a half ago, I received a special Mother’s Day gift.  Well, actually it was a gift I gave to myself. I had been dreaming for some time about a dog. But not just any dog. You see my kids already had two dogs and I didn’t need another dog. I don’t really even consider myself a dog person. What I wanted was a small dog … a lapdog … a teacup. You know, Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde … that kind of dog.

So I did my research (or so I thought) and found a breeder nearby who had “teacup Chihuahuas” for sale. I should have known when I met her in a grocery store parking lot … I should have seen red flags. But, my excitement for a new puppy clouded my judgment. I didn’t ask the right questions, I just looked into that puppy’s eyes and knew I had to have him.

I dreamed of dressing him up in cute clothes and carrying him everywhere with me in cute little bags. After all, the breeder told me he was only going to weigh about 4 pounds.

My naïve dream lasted all of a week until our first visit to the vet where I was informed that my “teacup” would eventually weigh at least 9 pounds. I about fell out of my chair. I had been scammed and in a big way.

I was immediately filled with humiliation for even writing the word “teacup” on the vet forms. I am sure the doctor and staff got a kick out of me that day.

For the next few days I contemplated giving the puppy back, but we had already bonded. It was too late. And my boys would have never forgiven me. So, he stayed.

And each week he grew and grew. To date he is at least 10 pounds … probably more, but I stopped counting. The cute outfits don’t’ fit and I look ridiculous trying to carry him in any kind of bag.

One day my husband said to me, “You thought you got a teacup Chihuahua, but I think you got a Big Gulp!”

And there it was … my teacup dream had turned into a Big Gulp. I had dreamed a small dream, but had been given a big one.

So, this not so little dog has become a permanent fixture in our family. In a weird way it has brought us closer. We are all unified in our love for him. In fact, I am surprised every day at how much I love that dog. But, if I had known I was signing up for 10 pounds, I would have passed. In fact, I would have ran.

Now, I know we are just talking about a dog … but isn’t that what we should really want out of life? For God to take our little dreams and make them better? To help us dream bigger dreams for our lives, for our families, for our communities and for the world? To still be surprised by God’s overwhelming love for us?

In just days I am leaving for Africa. I am headed there with a few friends who will help us tell the story of rescue and hope in Uganda.  I have a dream for this trip … I want to help rescue abandoned children. I want to help build rescue homes to give them a safe place to live. I want to give them hope.

But perhaps my dream is too small. Perhaps I need to dream bigger. Maybe my dream is just a teacup … and it needs to be a Big Gulp!

My prayer for this journey to Africa and for the entire New Year is this:

“God, take my dreams and make them yours. Take my small dreams, and make them big. Use my dreams to bring help and hope to a hurting world. And, surprise me everyday with your power and love. Amen”

AppleMark

Second Chances

We will never know what she was thinking the day she walked to the river with all her boys in tow. Perhaps she was suffering from depression or was mentally unstable. Maybe a life of extreme poverty had proven too much to bear. Whatever the reason, there was no excuse or explanation for what happened next.

One by one, she began to drown her children in the river.

I cannot imagine the screams, the kicking, the water splashing. Just picturing this scene in my head makes me sick to my stomach.

A neighbor saw what the mother was doing and ran to help but was only able to save one child . . . one-year-old Jimmy. She brought him to Danita’s Children where he has found a new life. He is now a healthy, happy little boy with so much life ahead of him.

This is just one of the many stories of rescue I could share with you. To be honest, I am simply overwhelmed with rescue stories. Each one more tragic than the last—but each one a complete transformation. And each one—represents a second chance.

Read more about my time in Haiti and watch
stories of lives being changed on World Help’s blog >

 

A safe place

Watch Dieunie-Love’s Story – Haiti Spring ’13 on Vimeo

Beautiful 4-year-old Dieunie-Love (pronounced “Jenny-Love”) greeted me with a shy smile as she leaned up against her makeshift home in the crowded, dusty village of Oanaminthe, Haiti. We stepped into the first of only two small dark rooms where there were just a few pieces of furniture and some electrical cords hanging from the ceiling. A dirty concrete floor was also home to a few chickens and an emaciated dog. The front door offered no security and appeared ready to fall off at any moment.

A child’s teacup set, intended as a gift to be played with, was still in its box and hung on the wall as if it was a priceless work of art. Gifts are rare in a place like this.

There is no playground in the yard of this house. Instead, it is filled with smoldering trash and stray animals.

It’s hard to really call this place a “home”—but what does home really mean? Some would call a home a residence or a birthplace. But my favorite definition is this—  “safe place.” Isn’t that really what we all want in a home . . . a safe place?

I would be hard pressed to call Jenny’s home a “safe place.” Because of her living conditions and extreme poverty, she was severely malnourished by the age of two. In addition, because she had no access to childhood vaccines, she was also suffering from diphtheria—her condition was desperate. With no access to medical care and simply no resources, her family had given up.

Read more about Jenny’s story and the new medical
clinic we dedicated on World Help’s blog >