Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My mother's blog post (http://elysasmusingsfromgraceland.blogspot.com/2011/10/pumpkin-cheesecake-and-loving-africa.html) on our fundraiser to send us to Africa next summer:


Last night, six year old Little Miss M came in while I was doing some stuff on the computer and saw a photo of Africa that I was looking at. She immediately said, "text someone and tell them that I love Africa".


The Lord knows how much this blesses my African-lovin' mama heart.

As Jim and I make plans for moving to Swaziland to love and live, one of our main prayers and desires has been that our children also feel called to live and love in Swaziland. When my kids tell me that they dreamed about Swaziland or one of them asks if they can take their blanket to the cold children there, I know that God is answering our prayer. He is turning their heart towards our calling.

Just as God wants us as His children to love and care about the things that concern Him, so I want my children to love and care about the things of God. I want them to learn from an early age that this life is best spent when it is spent for the good of others. I want them to see that it is not the stuff they can get that brings fulfillment but it is the gifts they can share with others. I want them to see that it is actually in serving others that they will find the kind of deep contentment that only God can grant.

I want my children to be totally sold out and passionately in love with Jesus. And I want that passion to pour out of their lives for the least and the lost.

I still struggle with this area. Despite what I've seen with my own eyes --- families living in mud and stick shacks, girls left parentless and unprotected from predators, small children walking alone for miles for a simple meal of corn meal mush and beans --- I still fight against being wrapped up in what I want. I still desire for more stuff than I need. I still eat more food than my body requires. I still cling to material possessions and my rights. I still fight lazyness and complacency.

The secular American Dream for parents has been for a long time that their children would be better off financially than they were. We see this played out as house and closet sizes increase, as pricy vacations that used to be seen as a luxury are now viewed as an annual need. As more and more people are opting to have less children because they want their kids to "have it all".

This totally flies in the face of the truly Biblical worldview. Yes, we are called to be wise stewards of what God gives us. We are called to care for our families and work hard for our daily bread. But we are not called to live first and foremost for the things that we want.

Christianity is, in its essence, dying to self. It is following the example of Jesus. Jesus had it all but He gave it up for us. He lived a life of sacrifice that eventually led to death on the cross.

Where in the world do we get the crazy idea that Christianity is about living our life the way we want, being "good" people, going to church, and apportioning a part of our time and resources to God's kingdom. Our whole entire lives are supposed to be lived for His glory and His kingdom. Pure religion is to visit the orphans and widows in their distress. It is not to follow a bunch of legalistic rules, show up for all the church services, and dress ourselves up in Christian-themed garb.

I firmly believe that the American Dream of financial prosperity is a seductive lie that is leading us to spiritual death, and even financial death, as a nation. Yes, God does bless and when we follow Biblical principles, we will usually do fine financially, maybe even get rich. We see that with various Biblical characters such as Abraham.

But God doesn't give to us so we can just be fat and happy, He blesses us so we can bless others.

The American church must get their eyes off of their selfish dreams and desires and get them on to what matters most to God --- setting the captives free, feeding the hungry, setting orphans in loving homes, helping the widows in their distress, visiting the sick, fighting against injustices, and loving those who think they are without worth.

The NEW American Church dream should be that our children's generation should have a better grasp on what it means to see God's "will be done on earth as it is in Heaven". We should want our children to not have more stuff than we had but more of God. We should want them to walk at a depth and intensity with the Lord that is so much more than we have. We should want to see them serving more passionately, giving more radically, living more fearlessly, serving more unselfishly, changing their world more fantastically. Ultimately, we should be more concerned about investing in their relationship with the Lord, not in a million extra-curricular activities, trendy clothes, and pricy trips.

Giving them more of God and more of God's desire to bring the world to Him should be our very first goal as a parent.

I want this for my children and as time goes by and I see the consequences of shallow Christianity, I become more and more motivated to do what I have to do to make this a reality in their lives and then in their children's lives and down through the generations. I say "no" to generational curses and "yes" to generational blessings.

And when my little girl comes to me and tells me she loves Africa, it is to my ears, God's way of telling me that He is putting in them the love He has for that continent and its precious people.

And it is all just a part of why we are taking our kids to Swaziland to serve and discover for two weeks next year and then to live in two years.


A darling, new friend of mine, Brooke Reece, is a culinary arts major at Mississippi University for Women. She loves to bake treats as sweet as she is. She is donating a lovingly made pumpkin cheesecake to help us raise the money for our Swaziland trip.

Brooke lives in Starkville while she is in school but her family lives closer to Jackson, in the Conehatta/Newton/Decatur/Meridian area. For that reason, we are opening the auction up to anyone who lives in the Starkville-Columbus area, the Jackson-metro area, and near her hometown. Once the auction is over, the winner will be contacted by Brooke to decide on when they want the cheesecake made and delivered. If the winner is not living in the Golden-Triangle area then she'll need to deliver it on a weekend.

The 8-inch pumpkin cheesecake has a graham-cracker crust and is topped with caramel and pecans. This seasonal treat would be great for a harvest tea time, fall festival offering, autumn birthday cake, or even a Thanksgiving dessert.

The bidding on this luscious baby will begin at $15. Considering how amazing it is going to taste and the fact that Brooke will deliver it makes this quite a bargain!

To bid, just leave a comment with the amount you are offering and some way for us to contact you. The auction will end this Sunday evening at 5:00.

Also, it would really help us if you were willing to tell others about this auction via facebook, twitter, or your blog. This is a way you can support our trip even if you can't make a bid.

Thanks and happy bidding!

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