Tuesday, September 20, 2011

How to host an ECHO Project FUNdraiser!

Today, I'd like to share something new we are doing with The ECHO Project

All it takes is three easy steps.

1. HOST AN ECHO PARTY: Start with your small groups, collage group, or Sunday school class. If you're a youth or children's leader, plan a mission’s month for kids.

2. SHARE THE POSSIBILITIES: We've got you covered! Both our Adult Fundraising Kit and Children’s Fundraising Kit--for only a $20 donation to cover costs--includes a study guide, discussion questions, a DVD, and everything you need to highlight specific needs in Mozambique and how you can make a difference. Then you can help raise money for The ECHO Project by selling earrings and bracelets--made by a young Mozambican in our micro loan program—along with 2012 calendars, and stunning photo note cards.

3. CHANGE A LIFE: All donations from your fundraising will go directly to make a difference in the lives of people here in Africa. The ECHO Project strives to help in the areas of Education, Compassion, Health, and Opportunity.

Check out our website to find out more about what we are doing. The “Get Involved” page has more information about the Fundraising Kits. 


Monday, September 19, 2011

Spring has sprung..

One of the the things I love about spring is the stunning flowers filling up our yard. I went around yesterday and took photos of our garden which as you can see is beautiful right now. The back wall is a cascade of flowers and the house is lined with bougainvillea blooms and roses.

The only downside of spring is the reminder that summer is right around the corner as the weather starts heating up. Summer is the one season here I would really love to skip. :-) For now, though, I'm planning to enjoy spring and the beauty it brings.



Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Photo Cards & Whale watching


Thanks so much to all of you who took the time to vote for your favorite animal on my recent blog poll! In connection with The ECHO Project, we're busy putting together some FUN fundraising packets for this fall. We will be offering some stunning photo cards--along with 2012 calendars and jewelry made by one of the young men we are helping with a micro loan business--as a way to raise funds for this ministry. You can find out more about how your small group or children's class can get involved by visiting our 'Get Involved' page.

Thanks to your votes, the winning animals that will be on this year's cards are:





Lilac-breasted Roller (who actually tied for fifth with the Zebra).


While I wasn't able to spend a lot of time at the beach during the past few months because of our busy schedule, I was still able to spend a couple afternoons whale watching. Last week, we went there for our day off and I was amazed at the number of humpback whales we were able to see from where we sat along the beach. It truly was amazing!

They come every July-September, but I don't ever remember seeing as many as I did last week. This week I brought my camera. The photos aren't great, but it still give you an idea of what we saw. Unfortunately, I think there time here is almost over for now as only saw a couple yesterday.

Be blessed,


Wednesday, September 07, 2011

An ECHO Project Success Story

If you would have told me a couple years ago that I would be be involved in starting up a non-profit, I probably would have run the other way. It simply wasn't something I saw myself tackling. Funny how God has a way of taking us in directions we would never imagine going on our own.

Over the weekend, I sat watching Emily show me what her daughter Rosie had been learning, and I realized that this is why we started The ECHO Project. We want to make a difference in the lives of individuals. Rosie is one whose life has been changed through those who are helping us make a difference.

Rosie stopped talking at about 18 months. After several years of trying to get a diagnosis, we finally found out that Rosie most likely had contracted encephalitis about that same time. This left her unable to speak. Her needs were communicated through screaming or tugging on her mother.

The biggest problem was that there really aren't any resources available for situations like this where we live in Mozambique and the situation continued to become more and more frustrating. Then about two years ago, someone told me about a DVD program that teaches sign language to children and offered to buy it for Rosie. It seemed like the answer we were searching for. At first, Rosie's parents thought the idea was crazy and that it wouldn't work. You have to realize that we don't know of anyone here who speaks sign language and likely they have never heard about it.

But I convinced them to give it a try--and the results have been amazing. Not only can Rosie now communicate with her parents via simple sign language, but she wants to learn more. This year, realizing how well her mother Emily was doing teaching her and how much she was learning, I told her that The ECHO Project would sponsor Rosie (now seven) to help her with her schooling. Again, I've been blown away with how well both Emily and Rosie have done.
We bought simple workbooks, primarily pre-school and Kindergarten. Emily combines the sign language with the workbooks, so Rosie can sign the words that she is learning. She is now writing words, spelling, learning math, and can even speak some words. It's an exciting story that's only just begun for this sweet young girl.

HOUSING FOR THE HOMELESS UPDATE: We are so excited to share that as of today, all the houses have been sponsored. Thank you!!!

Be a blessing today!


Tuesday, September 06, 2011

UPDATE: Homes for the Homeless

The response to the need to build houses for four elderly individuals who are homeless (See my recent post) has been overwhelming and exciting! Praise God! Within a couple days, we already have the four committed sponsors we needed along with several more groups and individuals wanting to get involved.

Thank you!

We will keep you updated with the building of these houses in the next few weeks through The ECHO Project blog, website, and our Face Book page. For those of you still wanting to give, we have a number of other projects including the January distribution of school supply packets for those in need, seed money for our microloan program, and the ongoing distribution of vitamins and basic health medications in the villages we work with. All donations go directly to help those we work with.



Monday, September 05, 2011

I need your opinion!!

As a part of our fall fundraising for The ECHO Project, we are going to be offering ten stunning animal photo cards for a fifteen dollar donation. You can find out more about this on The ECHO Project website , but for now I need your opinion.

So what exactly do I need from you?

I need your help in deciding which five animals should grace the front of the photo cards. All you have do to is cast your vote on the right sidebar of my blog. I will then take the top five animals and use them in for the cards. I'll keep the voting up through the weekend.



Sunday, September 04, 2011

Opportunity to make a difference!

There is a great need, a couple hours north of us, where half a dozen elderly people are living under trees because they don't have homes. Mel and Mandy, two single women from England who are considering working with us, are currently helping to provide simple structures for these individuals who truly are the poorest of the poor.

Scott would like to take several of our disciples later this month to help build four of these homes. To find out how you can get involved to make a donation toward or to sponsor one of the houses please visit The ECHO Project website.



Friday, September 02, 2011

Confessions of a Boarding-school mom

I've been thinking a lot lately about the word control. I don't know about you, but I like to be in control. But while I like to think that I am in complete control of my life and what goes on around me, the truth is, there's really very little that I'm in complete control of.

Yes, we can exercise to stay healthy, eat right, send our kids to the best schools, and never miss a day of work, but does that guarantee that we'll never get sick, our kids will never get into trouble, and will never lose our job?

Sending my eldest off to boarding school has been a reminder of the fact that I 'm not in control of everything. The first day of school he sent me a message telling me school was awesome. I was relieved. The second day the message had changed to "today was hard."


As a mother I had a million questions, but I'm fifteen hundred or so miles away. So even if he told me everything that was wrong, I couldn't help him with his homework paper, fix any squabbles with friends, or remind the coach to go easy on him--all the things my motherly instincts wanted to do.

The truth is, I'm really not in control. And I never was. Our children grow up to become their own person. From a young age, they start making choices. Yes, we guide and teach them but we can't be in control of all of their decisions or even control some of the things that happen to them. Neither can we second guess everything we've already done in the past. (Yes, there's another tough one). We all know that life can be hard. I have friends with children facing chronic illnesses, job loss, marriage issues, but where does that leave you and I?

We each have today, this moment to be the best friend, mother, spouse, we can be. To learn from our mistakes, to deal with the situations we face, to change what we can, accept what we can't change, and realize that we have a Heavenly whose bigger than all of our issues and problems and who knows exactly what we are going through.

Jesus had some amazing advice in Matthew 6, because he knew life wouldn't always go as we planned.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?"

I'll leave you with some photos from Scott and Gabe's trip to boarding school. And by the way, Gabe's last message to me this morning was that he got and A+ on his first English paper. Now there's something to make an out-of-control mom smile.

Be blessed!