Monday, January 28, 2008

In common bond united...

For those who may not be aware of the horror that is sweeping the nation of Kenya right now, I wanted to post a couple of the more recent articles I've found.

Right after a botched election almost a month ago, hundreds of people were killed as anger and political unrest divided the country along tribal lines. The violence in Kenya is continuing, and appears to be increasing after a few weeks of smaller scale protests and attempts at peaceful demonstrations. The elected government and the opposition, who claim to have won the election, still refuse to work together to put this behind them and move forward.

Please continue to pray for Kenya. The first article paints a picture without much hope, but read on to the last sentence. There is always hope to be found. We just have to remember where to look for it. The second article provides an even more up to date look at what the violence is doing to this beautiful nation.

Ethnic Violence in Rift Valley is Tearing Kenya Apart

19 Burned to Death in Violence in Kenya

These are some of the lyrics to the Kenyan national anthem, and a fitting prayer in this time of struggle.

Oh God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders
...Let all with one accord
In common bond united
Build this our nation together

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Super Bowl Contest Essay.

So, Lindsay sent me a link to enter a contest to win a trip to the Super Bowl if you can make a case that you are the Giants' biggest fan. I entered even though I didn't feel quite worthy, having never even seen the Meadowlands. This is the essay I included with my submission. I thought I should at least get a blog out of it, since it will likely not make it past round one of a contest with people who paint their bodies ane wear next to no clothing in freezing weather. Oh well. Go Giants!!!! Here's the essay.

I love football, and I was very impressed by Gibril Wilson when he played at Tennessee (where I went to college). When he got drafted to the Giants in 2004, I started watching them. I loved Eli Manning, too, and they went to the team at the same time. Thus began the passion. The more I watched, the more I loved this team. They went through adversity and countless challenges, but still managed to work hard enough to keep their heads above water. Eli Manning has more pressure on him than probably any other player in the league. Not only does he have all the pressure of a quarterback, but he has the world's biggest shadow to live in. Make that two shadows. He has borne the burden with class and dignity, never taking a cheap shot when it presented itself, always choosing to keep his mouth shut and let his character speak through his actions. He has a strong, quiet leadership and a tremendous work ethic, and we are seeing that pay off. The Giants may not have the talent that the Patriots have (although that point could be argued), but they have the hearts of champions. This season is the stuff of legend. No one thought they could do it. But regardless of the prospects of the team in any given year, if you're a true fan, you stick with them. And now here we are. At the Super Bowl. Playing the yet unbeaten Patriots. Win or lose, I am proud of this team and the amazing journey they've begun together.

I can tell you all about how I'm the only person I know who's a Giants fan, how I stopped a complete stranger in a store because he was wearing a Giants sweatshirt, how I huddle around my computer watching live scoring updates on Sundays when no one in Tennessee will broadcast a Giants game, how my dog has a Giants jersey that he wears religiously in the playoffs, how I skipped out on a baby shower to watch the Giants play Dallas, or how I refuse to invite people over to my house to watch the games because not only are they not cheering for the Giants, but I'm afraid they'll talk through the game and make me miss an important play. But the fact of the matter is that I love the Giants because of the great men that make up this team - men that are worthy of the stardom that they have earned play by play. And that's why I am the Giants' biggest fan.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy MLK Day.

There is something very sad to me about Martin Luther King Day. It's not simply the fact that this day forces me to remember that my heritage lies in a faulted people who have endlessly abused their power and forced many beautiful, unique, people made in the image of a God that should unite us to endure hatred stemming from our self-righteous ethnocentrism and ignorance. I cannot help my heritage, however much it grieves me. I can only strive to fight ignorance and injustice in myself and those around me, working forward toward the heritage that I wish to leave and not living helplessly in the one from which I came. So ultimately, that is not what saddens me on this day. It's the fact that now, in a time when our culture is supposedly "enlightened" and "unified," we do not celebrate this day the way that we should.

This day should be a day to rival all holidays. This is the day to honor a man who went on to change the world. This is a day to remember what he stood for, and what happened because of him. This day proves that each of us, when we follow the path God has ordained for our lives, can make a difference. A difference that matters. A difference that can reach the corners of the earth in its impact. Yet many do not celebrate. Some justify their abstention saying that this man was flawed, and he was. All of us are. "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." When all of us are imperfect, is imperfection any reason not to celebrate the good that can come from this world of bad?

A friend sent me this link to a blog that John Piper wrote about MLK Day. You can view it here. Also, you might want to take about 20 minutes and watch the entire "I Have a Dream" speech. Many of us have probably never seen the whole thing. You can watch that here.

Take a few minutes today and think about what you stand for. If you don't know what you stand for, think about the fact that the ability to not know what you stand for is a luxury in and of itself, when so many of the people in our broken world are born into a position where they grow up having to stand for something or else being stood upon. People say that ignorance is bliss. That may be true. But at what price does our bliss come? Who pays the price while we ignore the injustice in the world?

Ask God what your purpose is. Ask him to help you to fulfill that purpose. Know what you believe. Act on it. "Be the change you wish to see in the world."

Happy Martin Luther King Day.

Friday, January 11, 2008

GoodSearch and GoodShop - Help Raise Money for One Vision International!

Many of you have probably heard of GoodSearch, but I wanted to tell you about it just in case you haven't. It's a great way to help raise money for your favorite charity, and it doesn't cost you a cent! Everytime you need to search for something online, go to instead of or or whatever search engine you currently use. Then, they donate one penny to your organization for every search you do!

One Vision International has just signed up for this program, so if you are not already using this to support another charity, please consider selecting One Vision as your favorite charity. (Simply visit and enter "One Vision" in the lower search bar underneath the box that says, "Who do you GoodSearch for?") If all One Vision's supporters use this only one time per day, we could raise over $1,000 this year! It may not seem like a lot, but a penny here and a penny there adds up very quickly.

It's really easy. You can even add it to your toolbar so that you don't have to go to the website everytime to do your search. Instructions for that download are here: It's a trusted organization that has been successfully helping charities raise thousands of dollars since its beginning. You can read tons of reviews on their website to learn more about their credibility.

Also, they have just added a new feature called GoodShop. You can access it from the same page, Just click on the shopping tab, then click on the link of your favorite store. They currently are partnered with people like Gap, Target, ebay,,, Barnes and Noble, PetSmart, Delta, Hotwire, Macy's, and more! When you access those stores sites through the GoodSearch page, the stores donate up to 37% of the purchase to your charity! It really is an amazing concept, and a really easy way to help increase funding for young organizations like One Vision International.

Please consider helping us out this way. It doesn't take any more effort than the search you're currently using, but it means so much more. Don't hesitate to ask me if you have any questions! Also, please feel free to copy this letter onto your own blog, post a bulletin, or send an e-mail to your friends and family asking them to support One Vision as well. The more people who use it, the bigger impact we have! Thanks everyone.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Reflections and Resolutions.

I've been trying for weeks now to remember what my New Year's resolution was for 2007. Tonight, as I was lying in bed trying to convince my brain to power down for the evening (a process that is taking longer and longer the older I get), it came to me in a whirl. I actually wrote a blog about it last year around this time.

Last year, because I was determined to escape the seductive grasp of comfort that seems to be constantly wooing all Americans, I said this:

"I have found myself getting comfortable in my life and my routine. I never want to be comfortable for the sake of comfort. I don't want to wake up one morning and realize that I have been making decisions by not making them, allowing life just to happen to me. I want to be proactive in seeking and following God's will for my life. I want every day to be lived on purpose, choosing to actively be a part of God's bigger picture, whether I understand it or not. Therefore, my resolution and prayer for 2007 is that God will show me some big decisions this year - ones that will impact the rest of my life and keep me on the path he has for me."

As the memory of this prayer flooded over me tonight, I found myself amazed at how God prepared my heart so that I would be ready for what he had already planned to show me this year. One of my favorite verses has long been, "Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4). Oh, how true this is. As I look forward to 2008, I am incredulous at the opportunity that God has laid before me as an answer to my prayer of 2007. On March 1st, 2007, barely three months after praying this prayer, I found what very well could be the door to the rest of my life.

It unfolded in ways I can only appreciate by looking back. Next week, for those who may not know, I begin a six month internship as a research assistant with ProVision Foundation. I will be researching orphanages and other non-profits overseas, studying success and failure in the field in which I have long felt called to work. Then in July, I will begin implementing what I have learned, working full time for One Vision International.

I am still working out a resolution for this year (although the alarm clock thing I mentioned last year is a sensational idea - I think I might try that again). But for now, my prayer is simply that God will prepare me for the path he has laid before me. I feel so blessed and amazed to see that my dreams came true so quickly after I asked for them. God truly has granted the desires of my heart. I pray that he will increase my delight in him, and allow me to follow wherever he leads.

May my dreams and desires be reflections of Your plans for me.