Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Goal #65 Complete: Birthday Giving

More progress on my Project 101 in 1001 list. Read about my journey here.    

Goal #65: For my birthday one year, ask for cash and donate it to House of James Orphanage - COMPLETE 

Generally speaking, I enjoy gifts (especially when they are made or thought-out with me in mind by a perceptive giver). But I say "generally" because even though I like getting gifts, I often have a hard time accepting them without regret when I look at my own vast abundance in comparison the deep needs of the world around me. It seems so frivolous in light of the suffering of so many. At the same time, I have to understand that people enjoy giving gifts and sometimes that is even their love language (my husband for example), so to demand that they stop can be hurtful to a well-meaning, loving gifter.

More recently, especially since last Christmas, the gifts that bring the most joy to my heart are those which also bless someone in need. So for my birthday this year, I asked for something that I felt would bring the most thrill to my heart - donations on my behalf to House of James (an orphanage in the Ukraine that many of my friends and family in Tucson are involved with).

House of James (HOJ) was founded by a young man named Sean who had been content to spend his life getting rich, partying and "living the dream". He was young, good-looking and what the world would call successful. Somehow, his dad convinced Sean take a mission trip with him and visit some orphanages in the Ukraine. Sean was absolutely broken and transformed by what he saw. Not only did he give his life to Christ during that trip, he became overwhelmed with a desire to do something to help the vast population of Ukrainian children with no one to care for them. When Sean returned to America, he sold everything he owned, paid off all of his debts and moved to the Ukraine to open a home for orphans.

House of James now runs two, soon-to-be-three, homes for orphaned and abandoned children in the Ukraine. Each "family home" has a set of foster parents and HOJ strives to create a warm, loving, home-like environment for the forgotten children in their care. 

From the HOJ website: "Our vision, as we grow, is to open up various family homes located throughout Ukraine and even the world. It is a vital part of our ministry to show orphans and the forgotten children the same love and compassion that Christ gives." Learn more about HOJ here.

(Sean, pictured center, with some of the HOJ kids)

I received a very kind, personal thank you message from Sean letting me know that my birthday donations would be going towards the registration costs for the new HOJ van. A van that will not only ease the transportation burdens of the foster parents, but also be available to transport the children to a hospital in case of an emergency.

Happy birthday to me - my heart is very blessed. :-) 

Verse on the HOJ website: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, “Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” - James 2:14-17 

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