Saddleback Events

Stay Connected

What's Happening Rss


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:

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:

There are so many exciting ways to get connect to serving in the Orphan Care Initiative. Check out the events and teams below for ways that you can take your next daring faith step to serve orphans and vulnerable children locally or globally!

Daring Faith Expo - Serve at the Orphan Care Booth!

On the weekend of May 16/17, each Saddleback campus will have the opportunity to learn how to join the Orphan Care Initiative during the Daring Faith Expo at every service - and we need your smiling face to help people get connected! If you are interested in serving at the Orphan Care booth for just 30 minutes after any service(s), let us know and we will get you all the information you need!

Thinking About Adoption or Foster Care?

Have you considered adopting or fostering, but aren't sure how to get started? Every first Wednesday of the month from 6:30-8:30pm in MO2, families from our church who have adopted and fostered share helpful overviews and answer your questions in a no-pressure environment. If that time doesn't work for you, we'd still love to talk to you. Free to call or meet with us for more information on fostering and adopting!

Orangewood Play Group

You can brighten the day of a child living in Orangewood group home, OC's temporary shelter for children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse or neglect. The first group will be visiting the evening of May 22nd. This is a great opportunity for those looking to care for vulnerable children right here in Orange County. Email orphans@saddleback.com for more information.

Rwanda: Empty orphanages and strengthen churches on a PEACE trip

Orphan Care PEACE trips train local churches in promoting adoption, assisting newly adoptive families, and training lay social workers within churches. We'll train you in everything you need to know, and help you or your family make a difference in ways you've always dreamed! Let us know when you would like to go, and we will get you connected to a trip leader. To join an upcoming trip email orphans@saddleback.com.

Mentor a child in the foster care system

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) mentor children in the foster system and act as their voice in the legal system. With a commitment of 2 hours twice a month, you can help represent the best interests of a child and support them on their journey to a lasting family of their own. If you would like to learn more about becoming a CASA in Orange County, please visit their website http://www.casaoc.org/advocate/ to RSVP to the next info session, or email orphans@saddleback.com for more information.

Join a local or global action team!

You can serve in ways too numerous to name, but here's a sample: Serve orphans and vulnerable children in our neighborhoods, help teach local churches in orphan care, or come alongside adoptive or foster families. Serve in sponsorship, social media, website development, writing, hospitality/event hosts, or advocacy. There's a place for you!

Adoptive and Foster Family Support Group

This season's Adoptive and Foster Family Support Group meets on Tuesdays from 11am to 1pm in room 409/411 on the Lake Forest Saddleback Church campus. The support group will be studying from the DVD curriculum The Connection written by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Elizabeth Styffe. Unfortunately, no childcare is available. Please RSVP by email to orphans@saddleback.com.

Interested? Just let us know and we will find the exact spot for you, your family or your small group. We'll help get you connected and provide any necessary training.

Have questions? Need more information? Connect with us by email (orphans@saddleback.com) or phone (949-609-8555)! We can't wait to serve with you soon!

Rob and I started to seriously consider adoption in 2009, but it seemed as if doors were being closed to us in every direction.  We were told that we could not adopt from China.  Our ages disqualified us from adopting from several countries, and at the time Korea was also not an option for us.  We were very discouraged, and gave up pursuing adoption for a while. 

In 2010, we felt adoption tugging on our hearts again, and after listening to one of Pastor Rick’s “Just-Do-It” messages, we decided to step out in faith and look into different adoption programs again.  This time, we were told that we could adopt a special needs child from Korea.  I wasn’t sure if that was the right thing for our family, so I decided to visit my cousin who had recently adopted her son from China.  Her son was considered special needs due to his cleft lip and pallette. Over Labor Day weekend, I flew to Indiana to visit her. The instant I met her son, Isaac, I was in love.  He was the cutest, sweetest boy I had ever seen! He truly brought joy to his entire family. Alone in her guest room on September 6, 2010, I wept as I told God that I would do whatever He wanted. I was open to any child He would give me.

In October of 2010, Rob and I met with a social worker and we officially started the adoption process.  To our amazement, we were told that the laws in Korea had changed and they had re-opened the standard process to our agency.  That meant we would most likely be matched to a healthy baby boy!  We started the arduous process of home studies, fingerprinting, and filling out form after form after form...after form!  Seven months later we received the email we had been waiting for!  We were matched to a beautiful 8-month old baby boy! It was truly love at first sight!  We received 6 pictures and a general description of our son.  The second we saw him, we knew God picked him out just for us.  But it was even more confirmed when we saw his birthday--September 6, 2010!  It was the same day I told God I would do whatever He wanted!

Robert didn’t come home until he was 23 months old.  It was so difficult to wait for him for 14 months.  But now he is a happy, healthy, smart, beautiful 3 1/2 year old.  He is our greatest joy and our greatest gift.



Are you considering adoption but don't know how to get started? Join us the first Wednesday night of every month for Thinking About Adoption, or call us at 949-609-8555!

Categories: