Saddleback Events

Stay Connected

What's Happening Rss


When Amerita learned from her local church that there were children in her community who needed loving families, she took a step of faith and made the courageous decision to adopt 13-year-old Felix from the orphanage. One year later, Felix now enjoys life as a much-loved son and spends his days playing with his three siblings - Claude (also age 13), Diane (10), and Fifi (8).

Amerita is excited to share via video all she has been able to do to care for her growing family through the generosity of her local church and Orphan Care Sponsorship.


 Description: Macintosh
HD:Users:aeure:Desktop:IMG_7891.JPG

WATCH THIS VIDEO to hear how sponsorship has impacted her family and her ability to care for her new son.

“GETTING TO ZERO” UPDATES

  • Orphan Care PEACE Teams have been helping raise up adoptive families and train lay social workers in Rwanda all summer! You and your family can go to Rwanda to be apart of the amazing transformation God is doing – email orphans@saddleback.comfor more information.
  • Two new churches in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, have taken an important first step in receiving training on God’s Heart for the Orphan and starting Orphan Care ministries.

To begin sponsoring a family like Amerita's, visit Saddleback.com/Sponsorship.

Categories:

Adapted from a blog that originally appeared on www.EmpoweredtoConnect.org

There are no perfect parents, only growing parents. When parents make mistakes it can actually be healthy for both them and their children, so long as parents are quick to repair the ruptured connection. This is certainly good news, given that all parents are prone to their fair share of mistakes.

So here’s a challenge for all parents — let’s practice making mistakes with our children (not intentionally, of course) and repairing them so that we and our children can grow and learn, and our connection can be strengthened. Here’s how it works:

Choose a two to three day period when you will be with your child for most, if not all, of the waking hours in the day. Over the course of these days, be mindful to repair each and every mistake you make when interacting with your child. Whether you lose your temper, raise your voice, speak sarcastically, become frustrated, cut them off, fail to give them voice, ignore them, hurt their feelings…the list could go on. Regardless of whether the mistake is big or small, intentional or unintentional, be sure to quickly, humbly, and sincerely repair each and every mistake you make.

As you do this, make a mental note of (or actually write down) any observations that stand out, particularly in terms of your own feelings and your child’s response (to both your mistake and your repair). Also make a note of any changes in your relationship with your child that you witness throughout the course of this time. We have a hunch that by practicing making mistakes and repairing them, your relationship with your child will grow.

For more on the importance of parents repairing their mistakes, watch this video featuring Dr. Karyn Purvis.

Categories:

More than 1 billion children—half of all the children in the world—are victims of violence every year, according to data just released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Division of Violence Prevention.  That amounts to 2 of every 3 girls and 3 of every 4 boys globally who experience violence in childhood.

 

To understand the nature of this violence, the CDC’s Violence against Children Surveys (VACS) works to measure physical, emotional, and sexual violence against girls and boys through surveys that have been completed in five countries, and are underway in nine more. The surveys have highlighted the tragic correlation between exposure to childhood sexual violence and the increase in negative health conditions, including HIV and AIDS.


In each of the five countries studied – Haiti, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Tanzania, and Swaziland – more than 1 in 4 girls experienced sexual violence. In one country surveyed, those that experienced sexual violence were 3.7 times more likely to be infected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. 

In addition to these negative outcomes, children who experience violence are at greater risk for destructive yet preventable consequences, including chronic diseases, crime and drug abuse, as well as serious mental health problems.

 

The CDC has composed a group of complementary strategies they believe are critical components for preventing violence against children. These strategies – termed THRIVES - highlight the need for mobilizing multiple sectors of the community. The THRIVES strategy includes: Training in parenting, Household and economic strengthening, Reduced violence through protective policies, Improved services, Values and norms that protect children, Education and life skills, and Surveillance and evaluation. These focus areas illustrate that churches have a key role to play in this important issue given that in many communities they are the voice of influence in areas such as values toward children, parenting, and finances.

 

To learn how you can participate in an Orphan Care PEACE trip to Rwanda and help train local churches in parenting and getting children out of orphanages and into the care of families, email orphans@saddleback.com or call the Orphan Care Initiative at 949-609-8555.

As the distribution center for hope in the community, the local church is uniquely positioned to intervene on behalf of the orphan. In Saddleback’s Rwanda Orphan Sponsorship program, the local church in Rwanda determines which families will receive sponsorship and is responsible for providing families with volunteer social worker support. The partnership between Saddleback Sponsors and the local church is changing lives-getting children out of orphanages and into lifelong families! This month, check out a sponsorship update filmed by local Rwandan church volunteers highlighting the difference the program is making.

(The children) were very young when they first came, and they were 4 and 6 years old. They were very happy. They called me their mom and they were very comfortable. I made sure they went to school. One is in primary 5 and the other one in primary 6.


The Church and the Pastor started to come to visit the children. I didn’t even know the pastor, but I believe that it’s God who sent him to us. We were blessed by what God was doing through the support from the church.


When the support came from the church, I bought a cow so that it could help the children and built two more rooms in my home. I tell the children to always praise God and thank him because he’s the one who did this for us.


We thank God for the support and very grateful for the church. We thank God for the church, they visit us very often. And we always go to church to praise and thank God.


We no longer live a lonely life; we live a peaceful and happy life.


To learn more or become a Sponsor, visit www.saddleback.com/sponsorship

Categories:

This excerpt from The Mother & Child Project originally appeared here.

When I watch mourners in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, and many other countries walk down the road behind the wooden casket of a mother and child held high on the shoulders of men in the village, I am reminded again, This is not a cause. This is an emergency. 

Pregnant women all over the developing world ask two tragic questions: “Am I going to die?” and “Who will take care of my children?”

How can women be asking these questions when they are young and full of life?

There is a compassionate mandate for mothers to live and for children to survive—and thrive—in the arms of their mother. One can judge the morality of a country by the way it cares for its women and children. If there ever was something worth fighting for, keeping mothers and babies alive and together tops them all. But—

The statistics of maternal and infant death are gut-wrenching, vivid, and real. One in thirty-nine women in sub-Saharan Africa are dying during pregnancy or childbirth. There is a moral mandate to provide accurate information and the resources necessary for life while honoring a woman and family’s cultural and faith values. Through no fault of their own, 222 million women have limited ability to influence the timing or spacing of their pregnancies, leaving these women and their children vulnerable.

When a woman’s cries and wailings are heard, the numbers stop being just statistics and become the stories of real people. Numbers are numbing. As one Rwandan woman told me, “Numbers are statistics. Numbers are statistics with the tears wiped off.”

But there is hope, and the answer is to keep mothers alive by equipping them to have pregnancies timed and spaced in ways that promote health, including prenatal care, a skilled attendant at birth, and a host of other supportive interventions, so that the mothers and fathers can care for their children. Because every child deserves a family.

But how?

The keys to information and transformation lie in a frequently overlooked source. For families to receive what they need, they can go to the church, which becomes an outpost not just for spiritual health, but for physical health as well.

Recently, I was working in Rwanda alongside Juliette, a health volunteer who trains church members to, in turn, become trainers volunteering in their communities. Although from different parts of the globe, Juliette and I both are part of the PEACE Plan movement, an initiative of Saddleback Church of Lake Forest, California, where Pastor Rick Warren has launched 20,000 ordinary members of the church to travel globally. To do this, he has empowered and linked churches in 197 countries. Using a train-the-trainer approach, the PEACE Plan has equipped more than 500,000 ordinary people in church pews—or wooden benches—at the most grassroots levels to identify, prioritize, and act on problems in their own communities through the local churches.

Juliette, along with another trainer, simply walks to seven homes—some of them up to an hour away—to talk to women about pregnancy, about the value of timing and spacing pregnancy, directing them to tools that are in keeping with their Christian faith.

When Juliette ducks through the piece of fabric that hangs at the front door of each home she visits, she is comfortable and credible. Armed with a teaching plan and genuine compassion for her neighbors, she listens and teaches basic hygiene principles, HIV prevention, and healthy pregnancy.

Volunteering four hours a week, Juliette has reduced the maternal mortality rate in her neighborhood. She is an expert, even though her formal education ended before the fifth grade. Early on, Juliette taught me about dying mothers, dying babies, and the indescribable pain of both. I always listen when she speaks. She proves that when the church is involved, information is accessible to the local community. The church is indispensable in terms of access to health care training and in terms of reliability and accuracy of message.

Juliette had my attention when she said, “Maybe one of the reasons we don’t name our babies for one month after birth is that we’re not sure they will survive.” Juliette spoke stoically, as if her storehouse of tears had been emptied at the graves of too many. I swallowed hard. She continued to teach from a well-crafted lesson plan that was both accurate and personal.

“Our bodies are tired and weak. Today we will be talking about pregnancy and how to get healthy before getting pregnant and how to make sure our bodies are ready so that our babies can survive.” The lesson plan was clear, and fifty trainers—both women and their husbands—had come to hear it.

“There are medicines and methods to help you. We must be more intentional in preparing our bodies for our babies, for their sake and for ours. I am a Christian, and I use pills to help me. There is nothing wrong with using techniques or tools. I’m not interfering with God’s will if I take medicine. When there is information and resources for timing and spacing of pregnancies and I withhold it because I am afraid of offending others, I am telling people they can die.”

Then Juliette taught the class a biblical principle that is empowering and life-changing. She spoke about stewardship. “Every gift we have comes from God. God also gave me ways to be pregnant. He gave me eggs, and I’m responsible for them.”

The idea of stewardship—of being accountable to God for the gifts he has given me and seeing scientific knowledge as a gift he has given to influence my life practices—is not new. All truth is God’s truth.

This is the type of training that equips lay people to deliver the message in churches all over the world. At least two things stand in the way of helping women and children survive and thrive through healthy timing and spacing of children, yet there is a solution that is underused and fully available everywhere. Every woman and family needs this: Accurate knowledge and resources that honor a woman and family’s cultural and biblical values, and a distribution channel that is accessible and trusted to deliver the information and resources.

One of the reasons women do not have what they need is that they can’t access it. I have seen villages where there is no post office, school, or hospital, but there is a church. And this is the hope. Churches can provide accurate information closest to the people who need it.

Alongside the suffering, there are churches filled with people who are willing and able to make a difference. There is a group of people in the faith community who can tackle any problem at a grassroots level. Mobilizing ordinary members in churches everywhere to train others brings information, tools, and hope. Referrals are made to tertiary settings when the challenges are complex. For timing and spacing of pregnancies, church-based grassroots education and interventions launch an idea to scale-up possibilities. Life and mind-set change rarely happens in a government office, but it can happen in a church.

The church is the greatest untapped source of information and hope in the twenty-first century. And today 4,800 Rwandan trainers teaching church-based classes and making home visits in Rwanda provide proof that the church is the distribution giant ready to serve.

Churches are located in communities where women and children are needlessly dying. Churches are a trusted source of information. Churches are accessible, available, and influential in communities. It’s time to look to the church for help in solving the problems of maternal and child health.

 

Elizabeth Styffe, RN, MN, PHN, is the Director for HIV&AIDS and Orphan Care Initiatives at Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, California. She and her husband have seven children, including three adopted from Rwanda.

For more information on how you can get involved, email orphans@saddleback.com or call 949-609-8555.

Categories: