Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Every little bit helps!

We are so excited to have you all meet Jen.

She has been an amazing blessing to Awake and Alive. She has been encouraging to us since the beginning and now she is helping to raise funds to get the school started in Kechene! Click here ---> Check out what Jen is doing and how you can chip in!

Thanks Jen!
Love you, love your heart!
Jolene and Danielle

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

We want you!

This is some exciting stuff. Many of you may know Awake and Alive is a baby of an organization. We are nurturing and growing Awake and Alive so that it can influence the lives of many, but as they say...It takes a village! With the start of an organization EVERY PENNY is noticed, appreciated, and a blessing! So...

We want Awake and Alive to be yours too! This is your chance to truly make an impact.
Here is what we are proposing.

1.)Do some fundraising for Awake and Alive. Get creative.
2.)E-mail us how you raised that money, along with pictures of your event or fundraiser, {}
3.)And we will do a write up on you and how you raised that money!
{In hopes that it inspires others to do that same}

Here are just a few ideas that might get your creative juices pumping:

Create your own Campaign

It is so easy to get people involved in this one and it produces HUGE profits!! Set a goal of how much you want to raise! Tell people why you support starting a school in Ethiopia!Share it with your friends and let the website do the rest and then watch the money come in!!

You can take pictures from our FB page to add to your campaign. You can also add this video. VIDEO
There is a section at the bottom of the page that says "More ways you can help." That is your spot to get involved, click "fundraise" get creative!
(It will say that you are setting up a fundraiser for Epic Church and in the project name put AWAKE AND ALIVE)
Click here to get started, ----

Sponsorship on blog
You can monetize your blog for a month and have other bloggers sponsor "ad space" on your blog for that month. You can ask between $5-$25 per month per ad. You can have as many sponsors as will fit on your blog. It can add up quick!

Book Sales

Ask your church to be a part of our fundraiser! More then likely your church spends $1,000 of dollars each year on Christian literature. All your church or book club has to do when ordering books or programs is:

1. Go to the site above

2. Place items in their cart

3. At check out put “Awake&Alive” in the promo code

Awake and Alive will receive a kick back on every dollar made!

PS is one of the cheapest sites out there to purchase literature!

Coffee time

Set up a coffee time with some friends. {If you would go to a coffee shop you would easily spend $5 on a specialty coffee.} Ask for a donations from your girl friends that are coming, letting them know all money raised is going to start a school in Ethiopia and enjoy a few hours with your friends over coffee and supporting Awake and Alive.

Gift wrapping:

The Holidays are busy and people are willing to pay for certain services to save time. One of the most popular Holiday services is gift wrapping. Let people know you are open to this service. You can make flyers and hang them at your church. You can also send the flyers to friends and family explaining a bit about Awake and Alive and how you are helping send kids to school in Ethiopia.

Walk or Run

This one is great! You can have people sponsor you while you do a walk or run for Awake and Alive. Sign up for a Marathon, Mini Marathon, or 5k and tell people you are doing it to send kiddos to school in Africa! They can sponsor you by the mile or a flat rate just for completion! You can do this individually or as a big group and get your friends to get sponsors too!

At Home Party

We get invited to these things all the time! It could be a make up party, purse party, jewelry party, the list could go on and on, and they are fun!! Wouldn’t it be great to have one before Christmas so your friends and family can do some shopping with a purpose with all proceeds going to Awake and Alive?!?!

I could keep going but I am going to stop there so that you all can get creative, excited and pumped about the way that YOU can raise funds! You can make a difference! You can be the change for the hopeless in Kechene! You can be the peace of mind for the mother who has to leave her kiddos on the streets so that she can make money to provide food for her babies! You can give children a childhood! You can provide safety! You can change lives!

Monday, October 17, 2011

What might you "Encounter"?

We are lucky to have our buddy Keith bloggin' tonight! I think you will really enjoy what he has to say!!

“Encounter” was the name of the young person’s ministry group we had joined at our church. The Executive Pastor suggested that if you were over thirty-five years old, you shouldn’t even bother attending this ministry, “you just won’t get it.” This warning confirmed that I would attend. At Encounter we met lifelong friends like Danielle Black and Jolene Schrock.

The group was an eclectic, organic mix; recent high school graduates, college students, young married couples and curious individuals. Encounter was described as a group of young people who were raised in active youth groups and who didn’t understand adult church. I confess most of the time I don’t understand adult church.
The group was active in service to others. I loved this piece of our journey together at Encounter. Being involved with Encounter has helped cement my family’s commitment to servant leadership today. We continue to stay involved at the street level in our current church, Immerge. Additionally in July of 2009 we planned a mission trip to Haiti.
A team of nine was put together to build a house in Haiti. Eric Demeter was the team leader and he took this position seriously. His mission work, prior to Haiti, helped children get needed cleft pallet surgeries. Eric loved spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ through service and thrived on sharing it in far off places. Eric recruited the nine people to go to Haiti and my wife and I were invited.
My first thoughts of the area surrounding the village of Ballala were this must be what Africa is like. I have never been to Africa, but this must be like it, dry, hot, sand, scrub-brush, a few palm trees and huts. Perhaps it was the primitive huts that reminded me most of pictures I had seen of Africa. It is no coincidence that Haiti was settled by slaves from Africa; voodoo’s roots trace back to Africa. And interestingly the United States owes part of our independence to Haiti but, that is a story for another blog.

All our days in Ballala were difficult. Our first day may have been the hardest for me. As soon as we got there we set up camp. Camp consisted of a ten foot by ten foot canopy and some plastic chairs. It provided some shade and a place to hang our backpacks off the dirt. Then our interpreter set up lunch; fresh pineapple, peanut butter or bologna sandwiches and cookies. Bear in mind, we have not done any work, just arrived in the village, and our first duty is to eat. This may not sound bad, but when you have thirty children smiling and staring at you, it stinks. I could not stomach it.

The children by all outward appearances were perfectly happy, naked and dirty, but happy none-the-less. The children rarely begged. This was something we found out the YWAM staff was trying to instill in their community, no begging. I marveled at their curiosity, handsome features, and happiness. I set up a makeshift fort out of old boards and boxes that they played in for days. A stick or a tailless lizard provided imaginative play for them.
On our third day in Ballala, my wife was honored by the offer to hold a six-month old baby. This may not sound like much; however, Haitian women are extremely protective of their babies. The life expectancy of infants under two years is very low in Haiti. The mothers routinely don’t name the children until after their second birthday. This gesture was an enormous show of respect and trust toward my wife. Sharon treated the occasion with the dignity and compassion it deserved. I could not have been more proud of her, that day, and throughout our journey.

As I write this blog for Awake & Alive to post it occurs to me, I am not sure the direction of the commentary. Is this a blog about the Christian commitment to service, about social responsibility and mission? Or is the article a critical look at established, traditional, irrelevant church liturgy? Taking a second look at the writing my conclusion is all the above and it depends.

Here in Haiti I had found contented, well-mannered, beautiful people. People who when provided with an opportunity wanted to work. Haiti is a country similar to the United States yet different in so many ways. They are different from the United States in their attitude toward each other. Children who engage you right where you are, in that moment and are eager to learn. They loved creating new things and showing us their ways. In large part, everyone was reasonably happy and content. How could this be? Why didn’t we share the same attitude in America? In the US we are taught the “poor” are sad and depressed. We think that if only poor people would pull themselves up they would be all right. They must want to be in that situation or worse- somehow they deserve to be in their situation.

As I sat there in the heat, amongst the bushes wondering about this place, a lovely butterfly landed on my knee. Upon close inspection, he revealed bright yellow wings with intricate black spider web designs. Looking closer still, I discovered the tip of his right wing had been horribly mangled, probably by another insect or a nasty cat. My first thought was this is Haiti, beautifully broken.

From Port-au-Prince to the village of Ballala and all points in between, there exists a beautifully broken atmosphere about Haiti. The country struggles to establish its independence once again, and escape its desperate situation. However, Haiti’s problems are multi-systemic; finding a sufficient leader is just the beginning. A devastating earthquake destroyed what was left of their infrastructure. Financial aid struggles to get to the hands of people who can use it. In addition, a cholera outbreak has claimed more than 700 lives and threatens thousands more. Unfortunately, “In Haiti the insults never end,” as quoted in a Byron Pitts interview on “60 Minutes”. I believe Haiti can rebound and become the beautiful Caribbean nation it deserves to be.

Coming back to the United States was surreal, a cultural readjustment. During the debriefing session, the base leader suggested that, “Not everyone will care to hear about our mission.” Tony said, “Don’t be surprised if people have a lack of interest.” I found this to be awfully true; we are calloused to the plight of the poor among us. We have separated ourselves from each other. The rich, poor, white, black, North, South, Republican, Democrat, Catholic, Baptist and Buddhist and now Tea Party-er and Occupy-ers have all closed in. Unfortunately, we are in a time when we need to be turning outward. People say “Thank God that is not me” or “There but for the grace of God go I.” Why not share God’s grace and mercy? Until we realize that we are them, and they are us, we are not going very far. Until we stop viewing those in need as separate from us, as stray dogs or bad vegetables, we are not going very far. More people should stop believing everything they see on Fox News, turn the TV off and stop writing checks to ease their moral conscience (unless you are thinking about writing one to Awake and Alive). We should get off the couch and meet our neighbors, and pick up a shovel beside those in need. Only then would real, long lasting change take place.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Proclamation and Demonstration

Hey there all our dear and fantastic Awake and Alive readers,

We have some GOOD stuff for ya today!

I want ya'll the meet Yemi, or {Yemmers as I like to call him.}

This awesome guy is on the board for Awake and Alive!

He just ran a marathon!!

And apparently he has picked up a modeling career!! JK ;)

Pretty cool guy huh?!?!

We are so thrilled to finally get Yemi on here blogging because this guy has some great stuff to say! So here he is to take the floor! {Or post, or page...or whatever you want to call it.}

In a recent missional conference (SENTralized) that I attended in Kansas City, I was encouraged to hear one of my heroes, teacher, writer, and missiologist, Michael Frost, speak on the kingdom reign of God. Using Isaiah 61:1 (read it, it is powerful) as a platform, Frosty argued that the purpose of the church is to alert the world of the reign of God through announcement and demonstration. This statement strikes multiple chords within me as I have been wrestling over the last three years with these same truths.

Consider the writings by Saint Luke in Luke 4:18-19 where Jesus begins his ministry in the synagogue in Nazareth by reading the words prophet Isaiah prophesied about him: "the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."

Kudos to Saint Luke

for capturing this powerful moment

in the life of the ministry of Jesus

as Jesus reminds everyone (as the prophet Isaiah stated)

the beautiful reality of the reign of God that was about to take place.

"Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing" (v. 21).

I'd like to point out three major kingdom implications to you and I, from Luke 4:18-19.

(I) Anointing: "The Spirit of the Lord is on me because he has anointed me." Similar to Jesus, we have been anointed, given power and the authority to alert the world to the reign of God. Just like Jesus was anointed, we have been anointed in a similar fashion. Consider the following statements from our Lord and teacher: "I have given you authority" (Luke 10:19), "all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore go make disciples" (Matthew 28:18-19), "as the father has sent me, so I am sending you" (John 20:21), "the kingdom of God is within you" (Luke 17:21), "I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one one on me. And from our role model Apostle Paul, "Christ in you" (Colossians 1:27), "Christ lives in me" (Galatians 2:20), "we have the mind of Christ" (1 Corinthians 2:16), "the spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you" (Romans 8:11). And from Saint Peter "you are... a royal priesthood" (1 Peter 2:9). This is the beautiful reality, that you and I have God-given authority and power to alert the world of the reign of God through announcement and demonstration.

(II) Proclamation: we alert the world to the reign of God through proclamation. Frosty calls this announcement but I prefer the word proclamation. Proclamation is the starting point of the biblical idea of the good news. That is, to speak hope and encouragement to the broken and marginalized broken. As well as speak on behalf of the exploited and speak against injustice. Isaiah 52:7 states, "how beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, "your God reigns!" Yes! Woohoo! How awesome is that! Going back to the original text, Luke 4 Jesus stated, His mission is to:

· preach good news to the poor = hope and encouragement

· Proclaim freedom for the prisoners = speak on behalf of the exploited and speak against injustice.

· Proclaim the year of the Lord's favor = let's party!

(III) Demonstration: demonstration and proclamation go hand-in-hand and both are essential to alert the world to the reign of God. No one exemplifies this practice better than the King himself in flesh. People need to hear the good news as well as experience the good news. This is the gospel. Some believe salvation comes through hearing alone (preach the gospel and make converts) without demonstration and that is all they are responsible for. If this is you, I would love to reveal more to you my rabbi Yeshua and I encourage you to study the life of Christ more deeply. In fact you don’t have to go to far from where Jesus originally declared his intentions in the synagogue (Luke 4:18-19), to find an example of his first demonstration in Luke 4:31. Saint James in James 1:27 supports the mission work and life of Christ, stating that “religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress.” Compare this truth with God commanded to his people through the prophet Isaiah, “is not this kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?” Going back to the original text, Luke 4 Jesus stated, His mission is:

· recovery of sight for blind = healing

· to release the oppressed = setting free

I will end with John 10:1-21 where Jesus was proclaim the good news of the kingdom using shepherding metaphors to convey the message. Many of the Jews challenged his word accusing him of being demon-possessed. But it verse 21 that is so perfect when others sated: "These are not the sayings of a man possessed by demon. Can a demon ope the eyes of a blind?" Jesus constant demonstration of the kingdom confirmed his proclamation so much so that the people couldn't accuse him.

The church has taught for the last 200 years for us to focus on proclamation.

Maybe it's time that we concentrate on demonstration

and lets our "good works" match our "good words".

Talk the talk and not just walk the walk as some will.

Gospels depict our Lord, beautifully modeling both. When we preach and proclaim we bring hope and encouragement in as much as when we recover sight and release the oppressed, we bring healing. Proclamation and demonstration must go hand in hand. For too long we have been speaking. Maybe it's time we demonstrate God's presence in the lives of our fellow imago Dei. To loose the chains of injustice etc. Awake and Alive is committed to demonstrate the good news of the Kingdom in the lives of African's locally and globally.

"In the same way let your light shine before people in such a way they see your good works and glorify your father in heaven" - Matthew 5:16

That's some good stuff!! Thank you so much Yemi for taking time to be part of Awake and Alive! If you like what you read from Yemi click the link to follow Yemi's Journey.

Blessings and enjoy your beautiful weekend!

Danielle and Jolene