What’s In the Mail: Edith

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Letter’s in the Mail! I recently received a letter from my mom’s Compassion International sponsored child, Edith, from Ecuador. She is in 10th grade (age 16), and she hopes to be a veterinarian one day. She writes that she would like to go to a university in Guayaquil, which has a specialty in veterinary science.

Edith, Ecuador, Compassion International

Edith

Her prayer request is that her family would be able to stay together in the Lord’s way. I am not sure exactly what she means by this, whether her parents are having issues in their marriage or that she is concerned that her siblings are growing up and they will not be able to stay close. It may even mean that she is concerned that not all of her family members are saved and in a relationship with Christ. In any case, I will be praying for her and her family. Please pray with me for her family that they all come to know Christ as Lord and Savior and that they would be able to still be close to one another.

Compassion International, child sponsorship. letter, child, kid

She also wrote about her pets and animals that she likes. She likes animals, which adds to her willingness to learn veterinary science. She had previously written about a donkey, but now it is either dead or has been given away to a family member. However, she has other pets.

She wrote on two pages of paper this time, and the translators only translated the first page. Thankfully, I have Google Translate to help out. She also writes that her favorite Bible verse is Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Comment Below

What fears did you have when you were in high school? What helped you overcome those fears? Did anyone give you encouragement that was helpful in overcoming those fears?

Sponsor a Child

Please consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International. By sponsoring a child through Compassion International, you can help a child receive education, food, clothing, medical care, and an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not only does Compassion International sponsorship help the child, it helps the whole family! Parents and guardians of the children get basic training to begin businesses. Sponsorship helps the family and the community become independent, and all of this works through the local church. Child sponsorship through Compassion International is $38 per month for one child; there is only one sponsor per child. You can help leave a legacy of Christ’s love in the lives of people around the world all through child sponsorship.

signature: love, sarah

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Book Review: Outgrowing the Ingrown Church

book review, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church, evangelism, outreach, Gospel, Great Commission, Jesus Christ, Bible, C. John Miller

This is an older published book, but it was recommended on the Revitalize and Replant podcast with Thom Rainer. Because I am interested in ways to help grow our church, I decided to take a look at Outgrowing the Ingrown Church by C. John Miller (published in 1986). This book is older than I am, but its truths are valuable and timeless for the church.

book review, Outgrowing the Ingrown Church, evangelism, outreach, Gospel, Great Commission, Jesus Christ, Bible, C. John Miller

Miller wrote this book after going through a disappointing period in his ministry; he took time away to study God’s Word. What he found is what he shares in this book. He had found that the church he ministered at was ingrown, also known as introverted. They had focused on themselves rather than reaching out to the community and sharing the Gospel with those whom they knew.

Miller decided that the problem started with him, the pastor; however, the problem did not end with him. The whole congregation needed to become a part of the mission of seeking the lost for Christ. Miller calls the leaders of the church that are to be involved in the process of “outgrowing the ingrown church” a “pacesetter,” which means that they are the ones who set the tone of the church congregation and spur them on to love and good deeds (pg. 15).

What is the one thing that Miller recommends that will change the way your church does outreach and evangelism? Faith in the Gospel! He writes:

So let me call you and your congregation, not simply to survival for another week, but to radical commitment: to believe Christ’s promises and to do His will at all costs. That will is revealed in His command to the church to go with the gospel to the nations and make disciples of them. Our task, then, is a missionary task. (pg. 25)

Miller reasons that a lack of evangelism and seeking the lost is basically a lack of faith in God’s promises. Yikes! Therefore, we are to believe and hold onto God’s promises, and in doing so, it will sanctify us through the Holy Spirit, enabling us to do what God commands and wills.

Miller describes the ingrown church as having tunnel vision, a shared sense of group superiority, extreme sensitivity to negative human opinion, niceness in tone, a Christian soap opera in style, confused leadership roles, and a misdirected purpose (see Chapter 2). In essence, the church has mission drift and a preference for worldly acceptance. What is needed is the Gospel truth poured out into the lives of the church members so that they can understand their identity and purpose in Christ.

Are you willing to give it all for Christ? Count the cost! It is worth it to the end. Hold onto Christ’s promises, and share the Gospel with others even if it is difficult.

Miller’s Outgrowing the Ingrown Church is a great resource for looking at what exactly it takes to wake up the church to the Great Commission. I highly recommend this book, and I give it five out of five stars. And a big thank you to the Grace Schools Library for allowing me to borrow this book through Interlibrary loan!

signature: love, sarah

Clifty Falls State Park

Clifty Falls State Park, Indiana, State Park, Madison, birthday party, hike, camp, inn, restaurant, tent, picnic, waterfall, Big Clifty Falls

You do not have to travel all the way to Tennessee just to hike to a waterfall! Indiana has a few waterfalls too, and they are best visited when it has just rained recently. My family and I visited Clifty Falls State Park a couple of weeks ago, and it was a beautiful park. Clifty Falls State Park is in Madison, Indiana, and it has two entrances. We entered through the South Gate, and the entrance fee was $7.

We drove through the park, and the views were beautiful! The park features great picnic areas, a couple of playgrounds, camping areas, an inn and restaurant, and four waterfalls. There are also many hiking trails ranging from Easy to Very Rugged. We decided to stop at the Poplar Grove shelter for a rest. Then, Mom and I played on the swings for a minute. Haha! The park is well kept.

Clifty Falls State Park, Indiana, State Park, Madison, birthday party, hike, camp, inn, restaurant, tent, picnic, waterfall, Big Clifty Falls

Big Clifty Falls

Then, we drove to the Big Clifty Falls area. The path to the overlook at Big Clifty Falls is ADA accessible, so all of your family can enjoy the waterfall. When we went, it was dry, so the waterfall was mostly a trickle. Therefore, I recommend going right after a big rain to experience the full waterfall.

Clifty Falls State Park, Indiana, State Park, Madison, birthday party, hike, camp, inn, restaurant, tent, picnic, waterfall, Big Clifty Falls Clifty Falls State Park, Indiana, State Park, Madison, birthday party, hike, camp, inn, restaurant, tent, picnic, waterfall, Big Clifty Falls

While we were there, we saw a family of raccoons. It was odd to see them out since they are mostly nocturnal, but a surprise nonetheless.

Clifty Falls State Park is a beautiful park, and I would even suggest it as a place for a wedding venue. There are many shelter houses throughout the park, and the park would also make a great place for picnics and birthday parties. I definitely recommend this park for a family outing; we would definitely go here again.

Comment Below

Have you ever visited Clifty Falls State Park? How does it compare to other parks with waterfalls? What is your favorite park to visit?

signature: love, sarah

Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area

Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area, Indiana, Hoosier National Forest, forest, lake

I recently went to Tipsaw Park with my family because we want to get out and walk more, and recreational parks sound like a great place to go for that. Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area is part of the Hoosier National Forest. It is across the highway from Branchville Correctional Facility, but the actual recreation grounds are back a long road, so you do not have to worry about your family’s safety.

Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area, Hoosier National Forest, Indiana, lake, park, forest

Tipsaw Lake has swimming and boating areas, and there are also some hiking trails nearby. They also offer camping. The area is beautiful, and the camp and lake areas feature nice amenities. Mom and I walked around part of the lake area, and there were many picnic spots available. There were restrooms as well as lots of changing rooms available.

Tipsaw Lake, Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area, Hoosier National Forest, park, forest, lake, camp

Tipsaw Lake is smaller than Patoka Lake, but it is still a nice lake to visit. There was some algae covering parts of the lake, which is something to watch out for since there have been many getting sick from swimming in some of the lakes around Indiana lately. However, the beach area was not covered in algae. It cost us $5 for a day pass to the park, which is not bad for a day’s swim or hike. It looked like Tipsaw Lake backs up to a dam, which was neat to see. While there is boating and fishing allowed in the lake, there were not any out that day. They also had a playground for children to play.

I recommend Tipsaw Lake as a fun place to visit, especially for a summer birthday party or a swimming party. While there are water fountains, I would recommend bringing your own bottled water and snacks. Also keep an eye on your party if swimming, there are no lifeguards.

One day, we would like to visit Celina Recreation Area, which is just up the road from Tipsaw Lake.

Comment Below

Have you ever been to Tipsaw Lake Recreation Area? How does it compare to other parks in the area? What are your favorite parks in Indiana to visit? What are your favorite things to do while visiting parks?

signature: love, sarah

What’s in the Mail: Letters from Blessed and Bryan

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Letter’s in the mail! My mom and I sponsor Blessed and Bryan through Eden Ministries in Zimbabwe, and we received some letters and updated pictures from them this week.

Blessed, Eden Ministries, Zimbabwe, sponsored child

In my letter from Blessed (aged 15) she writes that she enjoys riding her bicycle and playing ball games. She is in seventh grade now, and her favorite subjects are Math, English, and Science. She and a bunch of other children from Eden Ministries are going to Lasting Impressions Camp this month during their school holiday, and Blessed writes that they are “learning about how we can forgive each other.” I looked up information about the camp, and it looks like it will be a fun adventure for them. I pray she makes lots of new friends, has fun, and grows closer to Christ while she is there. She says that her favorite songs are “Lord I Lift Your Name on Heart [High?]” and “Thank You Lord for Salvation.”

She also writes that they are in winter in Zimbabwe, which is surprising when it is 93 degrees today in Indiana. However, Zimbabwe is a little south of the equator, and according to SafariBookings.com,

June, July & August – Be sure to pack warm winter clothes because morning game drives in open vehicles will be cold. The average morning temperature is 6°C/43°F. Afternoons will be more pleasant with temperatures around 25°C/77°F. Parks at lower altitude will be warmer.

Brian, Zimbabwe, Eden Ministries, child sponsorship

Brian is 2 years and 7 months old, and therefore, his mother wrote the letter. She writes that Brian is “clever” and likes to play with others and with toy cars. She also describes Brian as being “tall and light in complexion” as well as “very handsome.” I agree with her! He is adorable! The most funny thing in her letter is that she wrote, “He likes rolling in mud.” She must have a lot of laundry to do for him and feels that he will not stay clean during the day. Little boys are wonderful and fun!

Comment Below

What is the funniest thing you have read in a letter from your sponsored child or their family?

Sponsor a Child

Please sponsor a child through Eden Ministries. By sponsoring a child through Eden Ministries, you can help a child learn about God’s love for them as well as support their education, housing, food, clothing, and their future. Eden Ministries helps many orphans as well as children who need extra support. Some of the children have been abandoned by their parents, and others have been orphaned through illness and death. In any case, these children need our help, and as Christians, we are called to aid the orphan and the widow. Eden Ministries is a great non-profit to join in sharing the Gospel and helping those most vulnerable in Zimbabwe.

signature: love, sarah

What’s In the Mail: Report Cards for Berekyah and Lourddjany

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Letter’s in the mail! I received report cards from Haiti Outreach Ministries about Berekyah and Lourddjany. It is very intriguing to read their report cards because it can give insight to their God-given gifts and talents as well as a look into whether they are having any issues in their lives.

sponsored child, Berekyah, Haiti

Berekyah (age 5) was in grade K2. On his report card, his teacher described him as “laborious” which makes me proud. He has been working hard in school, and now, he is being promoted to first grade. While he struggles in some areas, Berekyah is above expectations on Bible. For that, I praise God that Berekyah is learning more about Christ. Oh that Berekyah may grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ! He also received six “above expectations” in other areas of his education. Go Berekyah!

sponsored child, Haiti, Lourddjany

Lourddjany (age 6) was in first grade. On her report card, her teacher describes her as having “satisfactory work” which makes me proud of her. She works hard in school, and from what I have learned about Lourddjany, I believe she enjoys and wants to excel in school. She earned 10 out of 10 in Bible, which is wonderful. May she too grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ! She received scores of 10/10 in 7 other areas of her education as well. At the end of her report card, it shows that she is 7th in her class of 23 students. Wow!

Comment Below

With the children that you sponsor, have you received report cards about their studies? How do you like to encourage children in their education and inspire them to reach for their dreams?

Sponsor a Child

Haiti Outreach Ministries logo

Please sponsor a child through Haiti Outreach Ministries. By sponsoring a child through Haiti Outreach Ministries, you can help a child receive an education, meals, and even Christmas gifts. You are allowed to write the children letters, and you will receive a picture, a gift every once in awhile, report cards, and updates on your child. Most importantly, you can help a child and their family have an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. What a legacy you could leave by sponsoring a child through Haiti Outreach Ministries!

signature: love, sarah

My Experience with Machine Embroidery

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I have previously shared links to find free embroidery files, but now I want to show you what I have been working on lately.

embroidery, machine, Brother SE 625

I have embroidered on a sun hat, baseball caps, and a quilt piece before. Some things were successful, and some of the baseball caps were not successful. I have broken needles, had to restart projects over and over again due to the thread knotting, and all sorts of setbacks. However, you do not stop driving a car just because a few bugs hit the windshield; therefore, you get up and try again at whatever you are working on, even in embroidery.

Daddy's Little Angel, burp cloth, embroidery, baby Sweet as an angel, Tough as a Wildcat, UK, BBN, Kentucky Wildcats, embroidery, burp cloth, baby

This past week or so, I have embroidered some items for my newest second cousin, a baby girl. First I made a couple of burp cloths out of Dollar Tree “bar rags.” These gave me a few fits; I tried embroidering them without the backing. Next time, I might try them with my tearaway stabilizer backing.

The files I used were from Etsy. The two designs were “Daddy’s Little Angel” and “Sweet as an Angel and Tough as a Wildcat.” They turned out pretty well.

The next projects I worked on were onesies. Onesies need the stabilizer. I learned the hard way. In previous projects, I found the stabilizer was harder to use while trying to hoop the items. However, sometimes, you really just need to use the stabilizer; onesies are that time to use it.

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For the onesie for my cousin, I used a flower design (unsure of where I got the design) and then used an A from the Brother SE625 machine. For the burp cloths, I used fonts from my Brother SE625 machine.

embroidery, baby, boy, sun, initials, monogram, burp cloths, onesie

Then, I embroidered some gifts for a new baby in our church. After struggling with a couple of designs on the onesie, I finally realized I needed the stabilizer to make it work. So I placed the baby’s initials on the onesie, using a font from my Brother SE625 machine, and then I decided to add a sun to the design as well since the baby’s name “Lucian” means “light.” The sunshine I used is on AnntheGran.com.

I then used the fonts from my Brother SE625 machine to monogram the burp cloths I had bought. I decided that after using those fonts that I needed bigger and bolder fonts for future projects, so I bought a 30 font pack from Etsy. I will use those fonts in future projects when I get a chance.

Comment Below

What has been your experiences with embroidery? Do you like hand embroidery or machine embroidery? Where do you get your designs for embroidery? What types of projects do you like to do while embroidering?

signature: love, sarah

Paint A Picture: Secret Garden

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I previously wrote about My Experience with Acrylic Painting, so I wanted to share the process that I go through when painting. I will use the Secret Garden painting as the example.

First, I found a picture online that was similar to what I was looking for to paint. There were a lot of pictures, but nothing caught my eye except for the looking at the garden through the keyhole picture.

Secondly, I drew it out on paper to get an idea of proportions and what I was thinking about. I had planned on multiple types of flowers, but when I actually got to the painting process, the flowers were easier to paint more uniform.

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The colors I used in this painting were yellow, black, brown, sky blue, white, green, and red. I did mix some colors to get a lighter green. I used a wide sponge brush as well as smaller brushes. The canvas was one I had bought from Hobby Lobby.

art, painting, acrylic paint, garden, keyhole

Then, I painted the keyhole in blue. Now that I have gone through the process, I realize I probably should have painted it in brown. Then, I painted the background brown. I also painted in the blue sky, and then I painted the ground.

I then started painting in the details, such as a white picket fence, flowers, a brown path, a tree. After that I added details to the garden door, such as the golden studs, and the flower and vines.

Secret Garden, looking through a keyhole, paint, painting, acrylic painting, flowers

I had my ceiling fan on, which helped the painting dry more quickly. Overall, I was pleased with my painting. It will not win any awards, but I was able to get the Secret Garden idea across. Looking back at the painting, I notice that I did not get both of my gold studs on the door equal, and the flowers look a little haphazard. If I tried painting this scene again, I might do a different tree, or I might make it more of an autumn scene. I like to say that painting is an experiment; I have heard others say that painting is an expression – of thought and emotion. In any case, it is a fun hobby.

Comment Below

Have you tried painting pictures before? Have you tried a painting class before? What tools and processes do you go through as you paint? Where do you find your inspiration for painting? Where do you shop for painting supplies?

signature: love, sarah

School Days: A Look Back and a Push Forward

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With school back in session for lots of children around the world, I have been remembering my school days and my childhood. I attended public school throughout my education, mainly because there were no other options for our community at that time. Today, there are more options for students, such as online education and home-school. There is also a private Christian school about an hour away called Christian Academy of Indiana; my second cousin and a few others from our community are now able to attend there, which is a blessing. I pray that more from our community will be able to attend their school, so that they might learn more about Christ.

For those children entering Kindergarten, I pray that God will help them stay safe while also showing them His glory. While I enjoy learning and have enjoyed learning throughout my childhood, there were some parts of my school days that I did not enjoy. Therefore, I would like to share some things I learned during my school days – outside of a book.

Dear newly-minted Kindergartners,
Hi, I know you must be nervous and excited about the upcoming school year. I have been where you have, and I know you can make it through your education. I have learned a lot about what it takes to move through childhood years in such a way that glorifies God. I know that I have messed up in my childhood, and you will most likely mess up too. However, we can learn from our mistakes and try again. Here are a few pieces of advice:

  • My Nana always said, “Do not let one person ruin your whole day.” Whether it is someone else or something that you have done, do not let whatever it is ruin your whole day. Get up and try again. There is enough grace for you to start over.
  • Do not give up, even if you do not make it to be Valedictorian or Saluditorian. Your path may look different from others, and it is okay.
  • If someone is bullying you, please go tell a teacher, a parent or guardian, or another trusted adult. Do not let the issue continue until your emotions get the best of you.

Jesus says in Matthew 5:43-48, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

Therefore, pray for those who make your life difficult because they need to know the love of Jesus.

  • Look for someone to be a friend. Are they sitting alone? They need a friend. Are others poking fun at them? They need a friend. You can be that friend.
  • The other students will most likely come from a different background than you, whether it’s economic, belief system, or they just look differently than you. They need a friend, and you both can learn from each other. 
  • One or more subjects in school may be more difficult for you. While you do not have to be great at everything, you should still do your best at all things because that is what God expects of us.
  • Your friends may end up leaving you, but you are not fully alone. You still have God on your side, and therefore, you have everything.
  • Rely on God through the whole thing. You will not get through it with peace without God’s help. He is the One you need most.
  • In addition: While this is probably a parent’s decision and not everyone’s situation is the same, I would suggest that if there is an option to do so, try going to a rigorous Christian school (such as Christian Academy of Indiana). By doing so, you can learn more about God in a safe environment while also getting an education that is most likely a bit better than a public school can offer. This takes serious commitment and a lot of work, but it can be done. However, if you graduate with a well-rounded education, a fuller knowledge of God and His Word, and a stronger faith in Christ, it will be worth it.

While there are many more things I could share, I believe these are probably the most important things that are needed for today’s education.

Love, Sarah

Back to school can bring a lot of emotions, but I pray that the students know that Jesus loves them and that they can rely on Him both for help in school and for salvation.

Comment Below

What advice would you have for students these days? Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? What do you think about Christian schools versus public schools? Did you go to a public school or a Christian school?

Sponsor a Child

Many children around the world do not have the basic necessities for  going back to school. They may not have enough money for  school, no food, lack of clothing, or little support from parents and guardians for excelling in their education. You can change this by sponsoring a child through Compassion International. By sponsoring a child through Compassion International today, you can help a child get ready for school. You can help them have access to food, clothing, a home, education, clean water, and an opportunity to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Please sponsor a child today through Compassion International; you can change the world for a child, their family, their friends, their church, their school, and their community.

signature: love, sarah

My Experience with Acrylic Painting

My Experience with Acrylic Painting, acrylic, paint, painting, art, artist

I am a beginner at acrylic painting, but I have painted roughly 12 paintings. I still have a lot to learn, but this is my experience with acrylic painting.

Acrylic painting, paint, acrylic, art class, painting class, pumpkins, forest, fall, autumn, leaves

I started painting when the local library hosted a painting class. Our first painting was pumpkins in the forest. I found out that I am not very good at painting trees; however, I decided that I did not want to let that stop me. A little later, I bought an acrylic paint set from Hobby Lobby for my birthday, and I have been painting off and on ever since.

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After that, I tried painting flowers and a mountain and rainbow scene from a picture that I took. I have painted a group of pictures of cities and sites, such as the Eiffel Tower, London, and the Tower of Pisa. The Eiffel Tower turned out looking a little like a Brachiosaurus. However, you cannot grow as an artist or a person if you are not willing to try something new. Therefore, I try even though it ends up not looking quite what I want it to be.

tulips, flowers, painting, paint, acrylic painting

At the next painting class the library hosted, we painted tulips. In my opinion, my painting turned out okay, but there is one tulip that is disproportionate to the others.

Secret Garden, looking through a keyhole, paint, painting, acrylic painting, flowers lily, flower, paint, painting, acrylic painting rose, flower, painting, paint,acrylic painting Morning glories, flowers, paint, painting, acrylic painting red roses, flowers, paint, painting, acrylic painting

I have recently painted a Secret Garden scene and a bunch of flowers. I plan to use these small paintings  to decorate my “trunk” during Trunk N Treat at church.

Things I have learned so far about acrylic painting:

  • Paint the background first.
  • Try not to overload your brush with too much paint.
  • Dipping your paintbrush in the water helps thin the paint out, making the paint lighter on the canvas.
  • It is easier to paint your initials as your signature rather than your whole name, or at least in my experience, it is.
  • Look for canvas packs to save money on canvas. Another place to look for small canvas is the Dollar Tree!
  • Want a cheap palette for your paint and mixing? Try using a paper plate! It works for me. However, if your paint is really thin and runny, you may want to double up on the paper plates so that it doesn’t run through.
  • Check out your local library for painting classes. Most likely they will be inexpensive. Due to funding from the Friends of the Library, our library offers classes for $5.
  • Check out Board and Brush in your area for painting signs. I have yet to try them out, but I like the work that they post on their social media.

In a couple of Saturdays, the library is hosting a painting class again, and I will be painting again. This time it looks like a painting of flowers and a wagon wheel. I am nervous about getting the wheel lines and circle right; however, with the teacher’s guidance, I am sure it will look okay.

Painting is fun and therapeutic. At the end you also get a picture worth a thousand words. I keep them in a special place right now; maybe someday I will get to hang them up on a wall.

Comment Below

Have you ever tried acrylic painting? Have you ever taken a painting class? What are your favorite things to paint? What are your favorite types of art? What tools do you use when you paint? Who are your favorite artists? Where do you look for inspiration? Have you given away any of your paintings?

signature: love, sarah