TD Vlog Update – TD Bringing Hope Overseas to Orphaned with Special Needs!

BMH Summer Camp update from Calvin, Daniel, Angela (and Sandra)

Hey TD!

“A Slice of Heaven” – that’s the phrase I have most often heard from those who have served at the Joni and Friends Family Retreat through the years.  These last few years, TD has experienced Family Retreat on steroids with Bring Me Hope’s Summer Camps, where we’ve not only served those with disabilities, but orphaned children with disability … and we’ve done it in the Big Country!  The description used? You guessed it … a slice of heaven.

Here’s a vlog update from Calvin, Daniel, and Angela (interviewed by Sandra), who have had a phenomenal, moving, life-impacting time.

 

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TD Fri. – Summer Kick-Off!

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Hey TD!
This summer started with quite a bit of moving and shaking, didn’t it? We’re praying that God would create that same sense of shock and wake-up call within each of us as He reveals and reminds us of who He is, and who we are called to be – movers and shakers for His Kingdom!
Join us this Friday for a great time of worship, prayer, games, art, and discussion – may our perspectives be challenged, faith grown, and souls refreshed!

Learning How to Think

Hey TD!

Now that we are fully vested into the summer, I’d love to encourage you to brush up your mental game, so to speak.  The Apostle Paul exhorts us to not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but to be TRANSFORMED … how? … by the RENEWING OF OUR MINDS (Rom. 12).  In a culture that is increasingly thinking with its feelings, Ravi Zacharias cautions us to remember that our feelings ought to be connected to thinking, and our thinking ought to be right; if we don’t think rightly, we will feel the repercussions of whatever it is that we’re thinking.  As Proverbs 23:7 comments, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”

RZIM’s  Margaret Manning perceptively and honestly challenges us to work through the origins of our own thought patterns with the following contribution to RZIM’s A Slice of Infinity.  Think about it! – Arthur

Learning How to Think

by Margaret Manning Shull

There are patterns of thought that come as natural to us as our daily routines. These patterns of thought emerge from constructs and experiences that color and shape the way in which we view the world and they can emerge in the most unexpected ways. Sometimes we simply repeat what we have heard. Mindless phrases spill out of our mouths forming the patterns of response—even when the response is incongruent with the situation. “It is what it is,” we say, when compassionate silence is called for or “Everything has a reason” when faced with inexplicable chaos.

I recognize in my own life how these patterns of thought belie my true way of viewing the world, much to my chagrin. Oftentimes, they reveal callousness to the suffering of others. I’ll tell someone, “I’ll keep you in my thoughts and prayers” as a substitute for tangible assistance. Or my desire to fit every happening into a neat, understandable package compels me to speak when I first should listen.

Alexej von Jawlensky, The Thinking Woman, oil on canvas, 1912.Regardless of the situation, it seems a sad reality that so often these patterns of thought and action revolve around placing the self at the center of everything. Many function as if the world really does revolve around the immediate and urgent demands of living one’s own life. Everything is simply an incursion into the routine of putting me, myself, and I front and center. I automatically feel offended, for example, when cut off in traffic. I instinctively feel slighted or defensive that my very presence doesn’t delight and soothe the unhappy. I groan at the inconvenience of having to wait in another line and when I finally have my turn, I take offense at the clerk who doesn’t smile at me the way in which I think I deserve.

In his lauded address to graduates of Kenyon College, the late author David Foster Wallace exposed the routines of thought and action that place the self at the center.(1) In his remarks regarding the benefits of a liberal arts education in shaping one’s ability to think, he suggests that it is the “most obvious, important realities that are the hardest to talk about.”(2) In other words, one of those obvious realities is that when left to our own devices humans think and behave in self-centered ways. But it is one of those routines of thought that mostly goes unmentioned. He continues, “The choice is really about what to think about and how we think about it…to have just a little critical awareness….Because a huge percentage of the stuff that I tend to be automatically certain of is, it turns out, totally wrong and deluded.”(3) Rarely, Foster Wallace notes, do we think about how we think because what is revealed is that we are basically selfish in action and thought 99% of the time.

But what if we really made thinking about how we think the routine? Foster Wallace conducts a thought experiment to illustrate how this can be done. What if the car that cuts me off in traffic is not about being in my way or being rude to me, but is a father trying to rush his sick son to the hospital or the doctor and I am in his way? What if the person who is critical of me or sullen towards me has only known criticism and neglect her whole life? What if the grocery bagger is not without social skills, but someone who has had little opportunity, whose parents’ have recently split up, and whose general home life is nothing but misery? How different these situations might look if I took the time to think! Indeed, what if my routine became first thinking of the other person?

One of the beautiful aspects of the Christian story is that we really don’t have to live for ourselves in order to find the good life. In fact, the opposite is true: those who seek to save their lives will lose them. Jesus offered an alternative vision as the one who came to serve. As the apostle Paul encouraged the Philippian Christians to not merely look out for their own interests, but also to have the interests of others in mind, he looked to the life of Jesus. “Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who although he existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself taking the form of a servant and made in the likeness of human beings.”(4) How different the world might look if each day we took time to think about the needs of someone else—even just once per day? In so doing, how might that change the very patterns of thought that conspire to keep us living at the center of our own universe, embittered by all the ways we’ve been slighted?

Foster Wallace concludes his address by telling the Kenyon graduates:

“Our own present culture has harnessed these forces in ways that have yielded extraordinary wealth and comfort and personal freedom. The freedom all to be lords of our tiny skull-sized kingdoms, alone at the center of all creation…. But of course there are all different kinds of freedom, and the kind that is most precious you will not hear much talk about in the great outside world of wanting and achieving. The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able to truly care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad of petty and unsexy ways every day.”(3)

In a world that isn’t always sure what it thinks about Christianity, Jesus stands inviting us to encounter a very different kind of kingdom at the center of all creation, a kingdom in which he, the suffering servant, is Lord. In this kingdom marked by his living example of sacrifice and care, it is most freeing to discover you are far from alone.

Margaret Manning Shull is a member of the speaking and writing team at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Bellingham, Washington.

(1) David Foster Wallace, “This is Water,” Commencement Address, Kenyon College Graduation, Kenyon, Ohio, 2005.
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.

 

No TD Fri. – Happy 4th of July Weekend!

Hey TD!

In honor of 4th of July weekend, we will not have TD on Friday.  We will have our first TD meeting of the summer on July 12.

In the meanwhile, please be in prayer and in support for the following missions trips:

– Frances should be returning any day now from Romania.
– Calvin left last week and Sandra, Daniel, and Angela left for China yesterday and have arrived safely.  They will start camp on Monday. Megan and Anabell will be leaving in a couple of weeks.
– Robert and the YSMP team will be leaving tomorrow morning for Arizona
Looking forward to hearing from all of them upon their return!
Happy 4th of July!

TD Sat. – SOS Saturday!

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Hey TD!

All year, we’ve been offering opportunities for you to love God by loving your neighbors, especially those close to God’s heart – the orphans and widows.  Not many of you have made the effort to take advantage of the opportunity to bless God’s heart in this way, but you can this Saturday by befriending and hanging out with some wonderful elderly friends.  It’ll be a feel-good time of encouragement, doing what’s right, perspective, and fun.  The residents at the Care Center are so special and rich in heart, you’re sure to be blessed.

We’ll also be visiting our friends at the orphanage and will be playing games and making crafts with them.  God’s heart is especially for the widowed and the fatherless; we have a chance to visit both this Saturday!

For the Care Center, meet at the Hsiehs’ at 9:30 a.m.

For the orphanage, meet at the Hsiehs’ at 12:30 p.m.

Let your small group leader know if you can make it!

Happy 1st Anniversary, Stella!

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The first day we met Stella in China

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Celebrating 1 year together!

Hey TD!

One year ago today, we officially adopted Stella as our daughter.  So today, we celebrated Stella’s adoption day with her favorite food: hot pot! I guess you can get the girl out of China, but you can’t get China out of the girl! 🙂

It’s hard to imagine that it’s already been a full year since we adopted Stella.  It’s been quite an incredible journey of life and love together, and you all at TD have been such an important part of helping her adjust to life in America.  Thank you!

We love having Stella as a full-fledged member of our family; each one of us loves and admires her quite a bit and can’t imagine life without her.  We look forward to what God has in store for us and for her, and we know that you all will have an important role to play in her life as well.

Here’s to new beginnings, God’s grace, and the love of family!

– Arthur

 

TD Fri. – TD Town Hall – send in your Q’s!

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Hey TD!

This Friday is our final Friday meeting of the 2018 – 2019 year!  As is customary, we will finish the year with a town hall Q & A discussion.  Each year, we do it a little differently and this year is no different.  This year, we’d like you to submit questions and topics you’d like for us to discuss.  We will still have an open Q&A time, but questions submitted prior to Friday will get first priority.

You can ask any question or submit any topic for discussion that you’d like.  Our hope is that in doing it this way, there will be a nice balance between answers given on the spot and answers that have been given a bit more thought.  Both are useful.  If you have a particular counselor or intern that you’d like to address your topic or question, just say so.

Submit your questions and topics HERE

See you Friday!