Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stephanie and Stephen

I am so blessed to do what I do... I truly love my life! I love being around people who are passionate for orphans and sacrifice their time, energy, talents and resources to travel and serve the least of these. Stephen and Stephanie are my kind of heroes. Last summer they traveled with our team to El Salvador. They made some significant sacrifices in raising support and using personal funds to help pay for gifts for the orphans. They both had life changing trips and are returning again this summer to see the children that captured their hearts so deeply.

Since our trip, Stephanie and I have tried to meet every two weeks to encourage one another. We are reading through David Platt's book, "Radical" and sharing our growing passion and burden for orphans. Today we had lunch together and Stephanie handed me her support letter to review for the July trip. I nearly wept as I read the words on the page. I am blown away by how God is working in Stephanie and Stephens' lives. And I love that I get to be a part of it! They are both so passionate about El Salvador and passionate about serving God's people there. I was so impacted by their letter that I chose to post it here. I hope it encourages you as it did me.

I was also touched by the fact that Stephen chose to spend his sixteenth birthday at our team meeting last Sunday night. His mom took him to a special dinner and they were planning to see a movie after dinner. That afternoon Stephen told Stephanie that he would rather spend his birthday with our team than seeing a movie. We threw together a last minute surprise celebration to bless and honor Stephen. He is such a mature and godly young man, and I can't wait to see God's plans for his life unfold...

(Double click the image to make it larger)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Shoes for Orphans

El Salvador team member Carin Wasson recently organized a shoe drive at her school. The shoes will be taken with our team of 16 to El Salvador this July. Carin was amazed at the tremendous response of her school community and received over 300 pairs of shoes! Thank you to the families of Foothill Ranch Elementary School! And thanks to Stephanie Keenan for housing all of the shoes in her storage unit!

TEAM NEED: We are in need of duffel bags to deliver the shoes to El Salvador. Please let us know if you have any bags or suitcases that you would like to donate. We hope to leave most of the bags in El Salvador.

I LOVE our team and can't wait to see all that God does as we serve Him in El Salvador this summer!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Who was St. Patrick?

Our son, Jordan Patrick, was born on March 17th. He was named him after St. Patrick, one of the greatest missionaries in all of history. Sadly, most people do not know the true story of St. Patrick. I have posted an article below written by our close friend, Dave Hess. May we all be challenged by St. Patrick's profound legacy.

Written by Dave Hess

Most people are unaware of the incredible life and legacy of Saint Patrick. The following summary is taken from two books about Patrick’s life and ministry – one is a biography entitled “Let Me Die in Ireland”, by David Bercot (Scroll Publishing) and the other, “The Celtic Way of Evangelism – How Christianity Can Reach the West Again” (George G. Hunter III, Abingdon Press, 2000). Many Christians today “claim” Patrick as their own – most are surprised that he doesn’t really fit any modern labels that we might try to put on him or the movement he birthed.

Patrick was NOT a Roman Catholic, but rather a British Roman citizen born in the late 4th century (AD386) on the West Coast of Britain. He was a part of the independent British or Celtic Church which did not come under Roman control until the 6-8th centuries. His father was an ordained Deacon and his grandfather had been an ordained Presbyter, but Patrick as a young man didn’t show a tremendous amount of interest in the things of the Lord.

God had a radical way of getting this boy’s attention. As a 16 year old, he was captured by Irish raiders who took him back to Ireland where he was a slave for six years. It was during this “captivity” that Patrick really came into a relationship with the Lord. His role was to shepherd flocks and he became a man of prayer. In his own words,

“After I had arrived in Ireland, I found myself pasturing flocks daily, and I prayed a number of times each day. More and more the love and fear of God came to me, and faith grew and my spirit was exercised, until I was praying up to a hundred times every day and in the night nearly as often”.

He learned the Gaelic language (the language of the Irish people) fluently and developed a heart for the very people that enslaved him. After 6 years, God miraculously enabled him to escape.

The Lord spoke to him in a dream - “You are going home. Look! Your ship is ready”. The following morning the Lord led him to the coast where he found a ship and sailed away from Ireland. Upon being reunited with his family in Britain, he never intended to set foot in Ireland again.

God spoke to Patrick in a dream to return to Ireland to bring the Pagan Irish the Gospel. In the dream an Angel gave him letters from his former captors asking him to return and he then heard the Irish calling out to him, “Please, holy servant boy, come and walk among us again”. It was God who called Patrick to take the Gospel to the Irish, not the Pope of Rome as some have mistakenly taught. He was ultimately sent out by the independent British/Celtic Church as a pioneer missionary to the Ireland. Interestingly, the Bishop of Rome had sent a missionary to Ireland about the same time, who lasted about one year before returning.

At the time Patrick was sent to Ireland, in 432AD, he was a Bishop of over 40 years of age. He took with him several younger ordained presbyters, who he had taught Gaelic in Britain. In the face of great danger, and unbelievable hardship, this band of missionaries began to bring the Gospel to the pagan Druid Irish and God powerfully blessed their work. In 28 years of ministry which history records was full of Biblical signs and wonders, 30 to 40 of Ireland’s 150 tribes were Christian, between 200 to 700 churches had been planted and over 1000 local Irish leaders had been ordained. Truly their ministry was both the WORD (preaching) & the SPIRIT (signs, wonders and miracles).

The Irish Church became a major missionary Church (arguably the greatest in Church History) in the following few centuries, taking the Gospel to other pagan peoples in Scotland and even Northern Europe.

Patrick was a man of prayer and fasting. He was a man who lived like Christ – he never married, he forfeit his worldly inheritance (he was from a wealthy British family) and suffered great hardship for the sake of the Gospel.

Patrick’s vision to reach the Pagan Irish was resisted by his own British Church – it was considered too dangerous, an impossible task and it would be an understatement to say that the “civilized” (Romanized) British Christians weren’t racist towards the “barbaric” Pagan Irish. When the Church today considers the task of evangelizing the Muslim World or other places full of hostility and conflict, let us remember the fearless commitment of these 5th century Apostolic teams who literally won an entire nation who the Church in their day didn’t love and considered unreachable.

On a day when people are caught up in all sorts of twisted St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, may we be reminded of the real man behind the ‘myth’. May it open doors with others who most likely don’t know anything beyond leprechauns, 4-leafed clovers and pinching people who aren’t wearing green.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Village Church of Irvine Adoption Service

On Sunday, February 20, 2011, The Village Church of Irvine hosted a service on "God's Heart For Adoption." It was an unforgettable morning with an adoption fair, children's adoption story and blood drive (which raised over $1,000 for the new church adoption scholarship fund). As a result of the service, a number of families in the church are now considering adoption, foster care or respite care!

To read more and see photos, go to the Ramsey family adoption blog at:

God is Already Moving...

Jenni and Carin

God is already moving on our El Salvador team, and our journey has just begun! We are taking the largest All Blessings outreach team overseas to date, and I am so excited about the incredible people that God has placed on our team!

One of my close friends, Carin Wasson, is part of our team and she recently experienced God's provision for her fundraising. I have known Carin for over 15 years. We served together on staff at Mariners Church many years ago and are now both part of The Village Church of Irvine. Carin's husband has been unemployed for two years, and by faith, Carin and their two daughters have followed God's call to serve the children in El Salvador this summer. Here is part of her story....

"God has been providing for us on this trip since we sent our first email asking for support!

We needed $300 to hold our flights and had two weeks to raise the funds. I put together a fundraising letter, prayed over it, had it approved and pressed 'send' on my email button! After just a few days of sending the email, we received our first donation of $200. A few days later, a friend handed me a check for $50.

Jenni told us that we only had a few days left to pay the balance for our flights, and we prayed for God's provision again. Because of our tight budget, I had chosen not to mail support letters (and emailed letters instead). As you know, stamps and copies are expensive! However, Jenni encouraged us to mail the letters and trust God for the stamps and necessary funds. In faith, we made the copies and started to separate the envelopes into groups of people.

At my CBS leaders meeting, I asked permission to hand the letters out to the leaders, my group and other friends in the class. I was frustrated because stamps are so expensive (did I mention my husband has been out of full time work for
almost 2 years?) and it was less expensive to hand them out. They told me that I could not hand out letters (because of a CBS policy). But a friend heard me ask about it and responded, "Do you need stamps? How many?" I laughed and said, "140!" She replied, "I will get them for you! While I was ordering stamps online, I accidentally hit the wrong button and ended up with 400, so I have some to spare. Please let me donate them to you for your trip!" I was overjoyed and thankful at God's provision!!!

The next day I had lunch with a dear friend. I began to pull out her envelope
with our support letter and she said, "I already donated! Your check is in the mail!" WOW! That was Friday, the deadline for our money to hold the flights! I got a text later that day from Jenni that said, "You received a check today and have even more than you need for the airline deposit!" As I was finishing lunch, the friend from CBS stopped by and gave me the stamps! So after lunch I drove to the post office, put all 140 stamps on the envelopes and sent the rest in the mail! God is GOOD! I am so thankful!" - Carin Wasson