For the past two summers, students and adults from in and around Lexington and Central Kentucky have answered God’s call and traveled thousands of miles to Uganda for work with orphans. And our lives have never been the same. God is calling us back for a third year, and we need your help. Please read the following and begin to dream of what God can do through you this summer. Brenda and John Sawyer
During the last two weeks of June 2013 (final dates are still to be decided) we have an opportunity for a mission trip to the New Beginnings Village in Uganda. We need between 8 to12 people at least college age or any age north of that—Brenda and I still think we are college age—to join us for an amazing “only God” experience. There will be an application and interview process, and details of next steps will be forthcoming. This post is a “God appointment” intended to give you just a brief overview of the trip, plant a seed, put you in God-mode and provide you with a link to the Village we will be working in in Uganda.
Uganda has a population of approximately 30,000,000 people and there are an estimated 2,300,000 orphans below the age of seventeen. Sadly, there is at best limited government help for these orphans, and only pockets of help provided by NGOs and church-sponsored groups.
New Beginnings Village was founded five years ago in a rural district three hours north of Kampala. The founder, Roger Annett from Kilkeel, County Down, Northern Ireland, felt God’s call on his life after many visits to Uganda on building teams. Roger was touched by the children he met and with God’s help, he made a life-changing decision to buy land, build a village and begin to care for what is now nearly 90 orphans and underprivileged children
Roger now lives and works on site overseeing all aspects of the work there, providing a full caring service devoted to children. Ugandan men and women selected by Roger serve as house parents and act as a mother/father figure to approximately eight children accommodated in a traditional African style village. The development consists of guest homes, cooking areas, toilet facilities and a number of smaller traditional homes.
Children ages three to 16 are encouraged in academic, vocational and basic life skills, with the goal of the Village to enable them to become productive and self sustainable members of the community.
All of the children and house parents are involved in Bible training and shown the love of Jesus. Teams provide that needed connection between child and parent—you offer hands, love, laughter and affirmation to so many children who have never know the embrace or encouragement of a parent figure. All to show these amazing children that there is a Heavenly father who loves them and that there is a hope for their life in Jesus.
The trip will last two weeks and with travel will take 17 days. The cost is estimated to be between $2,500 and $2,750 per person although final figures will be driven by air fares. The cost will cover all expenses other than incidentals. We will as a team help all of you with fund raising. Travel will be from Lexington to Amsterdam, and then from Amsterdam to Entebbe.
You will need a set of shots for tropical diseases that need to be completed well before we travel, and those will be an added expense. In addition, you’ll need a passport. A Ugandan visa can be obtained on arrival in the country.
Our work in the village will be focused mostly on activities and teaching for the children. Fun days, crafts„ Bible lessons, singing, games and crafts will be the primary focus. Our goal is to help the children have a special “summer vacation” including days out from the Village where they are affirmed and made to be special. We’ll also do cooking, help with sports, work on the Village farm and simply love on the children and staff. We’ll be a sweet offering of encouragement and affection from our Heavenly Father.
Watch this space, Twitter and Facebook for an announcement concerning the time, date and location of an informational meeting where you can pick up a trip packet and have questions answered. Information is also available at Tuesday Night Dinner. Start praying, start talking and start dreaming about where God can use you. He will confirm whether you are headed to Africa to show the love of Jesus to some amazing children. You will be blessed beyond belief by joining this team.
Feel free to contact Brenda Sawyer if you have any questions or simply want to hear more before the upcoming trip meeting.
“And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.” Isaiah 6:8
A concept promulgated by the right — the notion of the hidden prosperity of the poor — underpins the conservative take on the ongoing debate over rising inequality.
The political right uses this concept to undermine the argument made by liberals that the increasingly unequal distribution of income poses a danger to the social fabric as well as to the American economy.
President Obama forcefully articulated the case from the left in an address on Dec. 6, 2011 at Osawatomie High School in Kansas:
This kind of gaping inequality gives lie to the promise that’s at the very heart of America: that this is a place where you can make it if you try. We tell people — we tell our kids — that in this country, even if you’re born with nothing, work hard and you can get into the middle class. We tell them that your children will have a chance to do even better than you do. That’s why immigrants from around the world historically have flocked to our shores.
The conservative counterargument – that life for the poor and the middle class is better than it seems – goes like this: Even with stagnant or modestly growing incomes, the poor and middle class benefit from the fact that a stable or declining share of income is now required for basic necessities, leaving more money for discretionary spending. According to this theory, consumption inequality – the disparity between the amount of money spent on goods and services by the rich, the middle class and the poor — remains relatively unchanged, even while income inequality worsens.
In its definition of consumption, the Bureau of Labor Statistics includes “expenditures for food, housing, transportation, apparel, medical care, entertainment, and miscellaneous items.” In an e-mail to The Times, Mark Perry, an economist at the University of Michigan-Flint, goes further to make the conservative case:
For the consumer products, goods, and services primarily produced/provided by the private sector in competitive markets: air travel, foreign travel, food and beverages, restaurant meals, housing, clothing, footwear, household appliances and utensils, furniture, electronics (TVs, iPods, DVDs, BlueRay, Tivo, home theater systems), cameras, GPS, computers, cars and trucks, recreational vehicles, motorcycles, sporting goods, household tools and equipment, cell phones and cell phone service, LASIK surgery, cosmetic surgery, musical instruments, jewelry and watches, luggage, toys, books, information (Wikipedia, Internet, etc.), Cable TV, Internet service, car wash, oil changes, etc. those products and services keep getting cheaper and cheaper, and better and better, and with greater variety, relative to: a) the general price level, and b) average income, and in other words, keep getting more and more affordable over time to the average person. And the average consumer benefits the most, and is most satisfied, with those products/services provided by the market.
Perry and Donald Boudreaux, an economist at George Mason University, elaborated on this theme in a Jan. 23 op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “The Myth of a Stagnant Middle Class.” The two economists contend that the “favorite progressive trope” of middle and lower class stagnation “is spectacularly wrong” – that American families today have substantially more discretionary income than ever before because the cost of basic necessities has been steadily falling as a proportion of income:
According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, spending by households on many of modern life’s “basics” — food at home, automobiles, clothing and footwear, household furnishings and equipment, and housing and utilities — fell from 53% of disposable income in 1950 to 44% in 1970 to 32% today.
The polarized conflict over the measurement of inequality goes to the heart of a much larger debate in terms of public policy – a debate that has raged for almost a century. Boudreaux puts the conservative case with verve:
Even if we were to grant that both income and consumption inequality has risen over the past few decades, that fact alone says nothing about the absolute economic well-being of middle-income and poor Americans. While we believe that consumption inequality has in fact declined, our larger, more central, and most important point is that middle-class Americans are today far better off economically than they were 30 or 40 years ago, regardless of how their well-being today compares to that of rich Americans.
In contrast, David Autor, an economist at M.I.T., wrote in an e-mail to The Times:
My concern is not about inequality at a point in time per se but about the effect of rising inequality on disequalizing the life chances of kids born into affluent versus non-affluent households. There’s a real danger that the U.S. — which is not an economically mobile society by western standards — is going to become more dynastic. Already the gradient between household income and college attendance has steepened substantially between cohorts born in the early 1960s and those born in the early 1980s. Since educational attainment is the key predictor of lifetime earnings, this suggests that the link between circumstances at birth and lifetime incomes will be magnified in the current generation relative to the earlier one.
Autor goes on to concede the positive incentives that inequality can generate, but stresses that, in excess, inequality becomes dangerously destructive:
If the U.S. has a civic religion, it is our belief that society should be meritocratic — everyone should have a fair chance at success based on their smarts and their hard work. As the inequality of household resources becomes more skewed, the likelihood that kids starting at the bottom get a decent shot at the top gets more remote. Of course, there are and will be exceptionally successful people from every possible background. But if you walk the campuses of most top colleges in the U.S., you will discover that the vast majority are from upper income households. You don’t have to take a moral stance on inequality per se to be deeply worried that this may ultimately inhibit the American ideals that bind us together. Inequality within reason is a good thing; it creates incentives so that people work hard to reap rewards. But if more inequality today reduces the equality of opportunity for the next generation by skewing the playing field and disequalizing opportunities faced by kids from low v. high income households, that’s a tradeoff that many people would not want to make.
(Source: The New York Times)
Janis Joplin would have been 70 years-old on January 19, 2013. Enjoy the entire piece from NPR HERE on one of the amazing women of rock and roll.
Joplin struggled with growing up in Texas. She didn’t conform to the mold of the typical young woman of the 1950s. She was a painter, she was chubby, she had bad skin, and she wasn’t conventionally beautiful. In an appearance in 1970 on The Dick Cavett Show, she spoke bitterly about her adolescence — of her classmates who laughed her out of class, and ultimately, out of the state. Not surprisingly, Joplin found her outlet in the blues — especially in artists like Bessie Smith, Lead Belly and Big Mama Thornton. As she told Cavett, singing was the only way she could express how she felt.
“Playing is just about feeling,” Joplin said. “It isn’t necessarily about misery, it isn’t about happiness. It’s just about letting yourself feel all those things you already have inside of you but are trying to push aside because they don’t make for polite conversation or something. But if you just get up there — that’s the only reason I can sing. Because I get up there and just let all those things come out.”
Janis singing Take Another Piece of My Heart—Enjoy.
(We are) being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness. Romans 3:24-26.
There is no such thing as cheap grace. The gospel is not simply an announcement of pardon. In justification God does not
merely decide unilaterally to forgive us our sins. That is the prevailing idea, that what happens in the gospel is that God freely forgives us of sin because he is such a loving, dear, wonderful God, and it does not disturb him that we violate everything that is holy.
God never negotiates his righteousness. God will never lay aside his holiness to save us. God demands and requires that sin be punished. That is why the cross is the universal symbol of Christianity. Christ had to die because, according to God, the propitiation had to be made; sin had to be punished. Our sin has to be punished.
In the drama of justification, God remains just. He does not set aside his justice. He does not waive his righteousness; he insists upon it. We cannot be justified without righteousness, but the glory of his grace is that his justice is served vicariously by a substitute that he appointed. God’s mercy is shown in that what saves us is not our righteousness. It is someone else’s. We get in on someone else’s coattails—that is grace. —
Romans: St. Andrews Expositional Commentary, R.C. Sproul
Although the deal approved by the Senate early Tuesday would prevent income tax rates from increasing for all but the wealthiest Americans, most households would see a higher tax bill in 2013 because of the expiration of the payroll tax holiday. See related article.
It might make the astronaut wearing it look like a real-life Buzz Lightyear, but a new prototype spacesuit that NASA just finished testing represents the first major overhaul in spacesuit technology since 1998.
(via New NASA Spacesuit Looks like Buzz Lightyear’s | Z-1 Prototype Photos)