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Exodus

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As I write this, it is almost-to-the-minute exactly one year since the we first met with the vice-governor of the state of Espirito Santo. On April 15, 2011, he not only promised support for our Hope Mountain program, but also asked us to engage with his staff in developing a new paradigm for caring for the children in the juvenile justice system. In other words, to help them “find a solution for the children’s prisons.” The answer. Case closed. Our struggles to keep Hope Mountain open resolved. But it hasn’t worked out that way. I remember turning to the story …

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Who is really blessed by mission?

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In my years of involvement with international orphan work, one of the facts that has become most evident to me is that those who come to bless end up being the ones most blessed. The last week, members of Princeton Alliance Church traveled to our campus in Vitoria to minister to our kids there, and perhaps complete a work project or two.   The real questions for me are “Who ministered?” and “Who was blessed?” Hear from a couple of the PAC members and judge for yourself: They Don’t Call it Hope Mountain for Nothing Yesterday we arrived in Vitoria to …

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Wading in the political pool

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I have watched with considerable interest the “Occupy” movement these last few weeks, just as I did the Tea Party last year. Anyone watching, whatever their political persuasion, has to be impressed with the passion and the intensity of both groups—which sometimes erupt even to the point of crossing the bounds of civil engagement.   But, if you will allow me to offer an observation . . . Even though these two manifestations are generally from the opposite sides of the political spectrum, both are essentially self-focused and self-promoting in nature. Perhaps over-simplified, one group wants the government to leave …

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Into the Affairs of Men

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I begin this week’s post with a disclaimer, or perhaps, a confession. Although I have long had a passion for mission work and have participated in or led many mission trips in my life, as far back as I can remember, my least favorite Sunday of the year was the day the church hosted a visiting missionary. I’ve always found their presentations to be self-serving, and quite frankly, the stories they tell are usually a bit “over the top” and hard to believe. I’ve been that guy — sitting at the back of the church trying not to roll my …

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Seeing the one

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The stock market is down 10%. S & P downgrades our credit rating. In 24 months, the US-Brazil exchange rate drops from 2.35 to 1.55, eroding our purchase power there by almost 40%. Nobody will give in this climate.   And then this morning, I saw the really frightening figure: it is estimated that the global economic collapse has pushed orphan numbers to 163,000,000.   163 million children without homes or family.   Time to throw in the towel? Time to surrender these children to a destiny of despair and death? Can’t we admit when we have lost?   No. …

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It’s up to you

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Sarah is in the back of the car sobbing. “Just give me a minute, and then I can talk.” This was her first face-to-face encounter with child poverty. A few minutes before, she had been sitting on a ragged bed as a little girl and a little boy climbed over her. The little girl was beautiful by any standards, even in her filth, but the three-year-old little boy, naked except for a tattered tee shirt, already had the vacant stare so common in the favela. We had walked from the girl’s sagging scrap-sheet metal home to the boy’s shack a …

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