Purnaa: Recovery Clothing for Nepal Kids

Nepal has a special place in Michael and I’s heart, and while we’ve been horrified to see pictures of the earthquake-caused destruction in that nation, we are relieved to know our friends in Nepal are safe. Some of our friends there are involved with a social enterprise called Purnaa, which we’ve posted about before. Purnaa employs Nepalis at risk of being trafficked, teaching them sewing skills, reducing poverty, and providing a caring work environment. In response to the recent disasters, Purnaa is in the process of making and distributing over 1,100 boys t-shirts and girls dresses. The clothes will be distributed in a village about four hours north of Kathmandu, where every home collapsed. Most residents there are unable to recover their belongings, as the risk of landslides is too high. Many of the villagers have been wearing the same clothes since the earthquake over a month ago.

Manufacturing these t-shirts and dresses is a “win-win” for Purnaa: it provides work for their employees, and it is a practical way to serve their neighbors. Purnaa is hoping to raise $9000 for this project, and if more is raised, they can begin sewing and donating waterproof shelter covers and mosquito nets, especially important as monsoon season approaches.

To find out more about how Purnaa is responding to the earthquakes in Nepal, watch the video below. To support Purnaa in their campaign to raise funds for meeting the needs of their neighbors, go to http://www.gofundme.com/NepalPurnaa.



Cast Down Your Scarecrows

Their idols are like scarecrows in a cucumber field,
    and they cannot speak;
they have to be carried,
    for they cannot walk.
Do not be afraid of them,
    for they cannot do evil,
    neither is it in them to do good (Jeremiah 10:5).

When I (Helen) teach a book, I like to come up with a title for the book, expressing what I believe to be the heart of the author’s intention in writing. Actually, this is a step our students do in their Inductive Bible Study work on SBS, and it’s something I’ve carried over from when I was a student. For Jeremiah, which I taught a few weeks ago, I titled the book “Jeremiah: A Broken-Hearted Prophet For a Broken-Hearted God.” Jeremiah is filled with examples of God’s broken-heartedness over the state of His people. They had been rejecting His covenant for centuries, their kings had been leading the people in rebellion, and possibly most heart-breaking of all, they turned to false gods and idols, looking for prosperity and protection. The One True God, Yahweh, was the Fountain of Living Waters they longed for and needed, but the people of Judah looked to broken cisterns – idols – for sustenance and satisfaction (Jeremiah 2:13).

Jeremiah includes some beautiful word-pictures, contrasting the Lord with idols His people worshiped. In Jeremiah 10:5, above, the Lord highlights the futility of worshiping a “god” that one has fashioned one’s self: that cannot move, speak, or do anything for good or for evil. Worshiping an idol is akin to worshiping a scarecrow in a cucumber field. “But the Lord is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King” (Jeremiah 10:10). “It is he who made the earth by his power, who established the world by his wisdom, and by his understanding stretched out the heavens” (10:12). While “images are false, and there is no breath in them” (10:14), “not like these is he who is the portion of Jacob, for he is the one who formed all things” (10:16).

It’s easy for us to scoff at the people of Judah, worshiping idols instead of the Living God. But are there “scarecrows in cucumber fields” in our own lives? What do we place our trust in? Who or what do we turn to in difficulty? Do we run to broken cisterns, when we could run to the Fountain of Living Waters? Do we turn to lifeless scarecrows when we could turn to the One who made the earth by His power, established the world by His wisdom, and stretched out the heavens by His understanding?

I know I am all too comfortable running to scarecrows in cucumber fields when I am anxious, tired, upset, or even bored. But the endless “entertainment” of the internet, for example, cannot provide the life I need, any more than a physical idol could protect and provide for the people of Judah. Perhaps your scarecrow is food, or drink, or work, or money. Maybe it’s a desire to accumulate more, or to accomplish more. Whatever it may be, you’ll find that like a literal scarecrow, your idol has no thought for you or any power to breathe life into your being.

Let us cast down our scarecrows, and turn to the One who breathes life into the universe and into each one of us.

There’s Still Time! Apply for the Mountain Venture DTS!

If you’re between 18 and 30 years old, have graduated high school, and haven’t done a DTS, what in the world are you waiting for?! Watch this video and apply for YWAM Turner Valley’s Mountain Venture DTS right now! It all starts July 13th…

Recipe of the Something: Lentil Quesadillas

I can’t really call this the “Recipe-of-the-Week” because I have been fantastically unfaithful to that notion, so let’s say these lentil quesadillas from A Pinch of Yum are the Recipe-of-the-Something. The fortnight? The month? The season? I guess it depends on when I post the next recipe.

We have a lot of guests this week, as we host meetings for the Western Canadian Leadership Team. I made these lentil quesadillas on Tuesday, and one of our guests specifically told me he has a grudge against lentils, but he really enjoyed these quesadillas! It’s amazing what cheese and guacamole can do for the humble lentil. Or just about anything you think you don’t like.

I followed A Pinch of Yum’s recipe almost exactly, but instead of cooking the lentil and rice mixture in the slow cooker, I cooked it on the stove-top for approximately 45 minutes. This gives you precisely enough time to putter around making a salad and set the table for 30 people.

If you’re gluten-free and/or dairy-free, the lentil and rice mixture tastes fabulous in a bowl with some guacamole and salsa, and I understand it freezes well. Bonus! Try it out, and tell me what you think!


Join the YWAM TV Fam – Facilities!

Over the next little while, we’re seeing many of our staff move on into various new seasons – overseas ministry and leading programs right here at YWAM TV, for example. Though we’re super excited for our staff to be moving into what God has for them next, it does leave some vacancies at YWAM Turner Valley. The following video showcases the role of the Facilities Manager, a role recently vacated, which Michael has stepped into in the interim. Because we are looking ahead to planting Titus here at YWAM TV, Michael’s time in this role is limited, and we’re looking for someone(s!) to step into Facilities full-time! Have you completed a Discipleship Training School, have a love of learning and a knowledge of automobile or general maintenance, and feel called to serve the Lord in missions? Consider applying for a role in our Facilities department: http://ywamturnervalley.org/applications/online-staff-application/!

In God We Trust?

Where would your head and heart be at if a never seen before military force appeared on your doorstep tomorrow? Considering that scenario, how would you respond if a man or woman of God were to say, “Trust in God for your salvation,” in response to that event? Or imagine that Mexico and the USA were to turn against us in Canada because we wouldn’t stand with them in a military matter, and as they were about to come against us, that man or woman of God said something like, “Just rest. God is going to deal with the two of them for you.” Would you find yourself at rest? What might your reaction to the word of the Lord be? Where might you really put your trust in for salvation? Even if you said God was your salvation, would your actions betray your words? This, I believe, is a small glimpse of what was happening to the people of Judah at the time Isaiah was speaking and writing his prophecies.

As I read through Isaiah, over and over again salvation stood out as one of the big themes of the text. Trusting in God for that salvation is a major repeated idea throughout the book. In the case of Isaiah’s audience, that need for salvation and the challenge of putting their trust in God for salvation, was very tangibly real. I write this post not facing any imminent threats to my health or well-being (except those caused by self-inflicted dietary choices!), so to speak of needing salvation in the terms the original audience faced, I am disconnected from their experience. The northern nation of Syria and the northern Hebrew kingdom of Israel where in alliance against Judah, and even when that threat dissolved, the greater threat of the empire of Assyria, a military power like no one had ever seen, showed up on their doorstep. This context certainly is not the only aspect of salvation offered in Isaiah, but I feel that facing such a sense of trust in one’s physical circumstances is different from the emotional and mental salvation and trust I have experienced in my life. Throughout Isaiah, God speaks of how salvation is in Him alone and that takes on a different meaning when the biggest army ever seen is camped outside your city. How tempting and excusable it would be to say in that moment you trust in the Lord for salvation, while making your walls thicker and taller. While stockpiling a little extra of the essentials. While sitting down to talk with someone who carries a bigger stick than your enemy. God, however, leaves no room for anything but complete trust in Him alone for salvation. When Hezekiah exhibits this trust in the Lord alone, the reader sees God save him (Isaiah 36-37); when Hezekiah fails to trust God, the Lord guarantees exile will come (Isaiah 39).

After studying to teach Isaiah I am left with the question: Do I trust Jesus for salvation in every area of my life? Honestly, some areas are easier than others. I am saved from past sin and the effects of sin in my life: no problem – I pretty clearly can’t be my own savior there. I am saved from the just wrath of God that will come on humanity for our rebellion: yep, I am sure only Jesus can save me from that. But what about the areas of external discipline I need to move away from the struggles I face daily? Do I trust that the direction of the Holy Spirit is the best for me?  What about salvation in the broken emotional places in my own life and in my relationships with others? Do I trust in Jesus to save those close to me who live in rebellion to Him? Do my actions betray my stated trust in Jesus to save those I care about that have not turned to Him for their salvation? Or what about the oppressed, downtrodden, and marginalized people in the world; who will be the their savior? Do I trust Jesus to save them, or do I trust in humanitarian efforts that may or may not be motivated by the love of Christ and the truth of the Gospel? Certainly, we can be agents used by God to deliver people, whether through proclaiming the Gospel or doing that which brings about social transformation, but the challenge is in discovering where the roots of our hope for salvation are planted. I am striving to enter into a rest in knowing it is Jesus who is the Savior, and not the institution of the church, or YWAM, or my government, and especially not me. Jesus longs for us to find freedom and rest in that realization: salvation comes through Him and Him alone.

Pink and Blue (Feat. Shauna Niequist)

Whether today (Mother’s Day) is a day of celebration, sorrow, or a mixture of the two for you, may the following piece by Shauna Niequist, from The Liturgists‘ “God Our Mother” bless you, meeting you where you’re at.