something to say…

What do you have to say?

How do the following statements make you feel?

…it is said, that if a child goes through foster Care all their lives until they are 18, 80% of them will go to prison…

…multiplied thousands of Ethiopian children face severe disease, face underdevelopment physically and mentally, and face death from malnutrition each year…

…multiplied thousands of children around the planet are literally sold and bought in the extreme labor trade, or the Sex trade…

…The average age of a sex slave is 13 and getting younger….

…I have met girls rescued from the sex trade as young as 6 years old…

…because of the cost and corruption many families and children around the world do not receive the medical care they need, and die of sickness that in our time should not kill them…

….there are millions of children left with no parents, because of HIV/AIDS…

What do you think when you read these statements?

Royal Treatment

America’s orphans are Foster Kids. The bible says in James, that True religion is helping the widows and orphans. If we want to really be doing ministry it must include widows and orphans.

There are two reasons why a kid would be in foster care. Either they have been severely neglected or abused. Abuse could include physical, emotional, sexual, or mental. Neglect, could be not taking care of basic needs for your child or forcing the child to care for themselves and their siblings. We have seen some horrific situations. Although many times it is very necessary to remove a child from their home, but even that event is so traumatic, that many times the child thinks they have done something wrong, and thats why they are being removed.

How do we minister to these kids, who are in such desperate need of acceptance, love, and compassion. Many Foster Kids have no idea when there real birthday is. Many have clothes that have just been handed down several times. Many have lost all sense of the family construct. Many have been moved around so many times that they are behind in school. I once encountered a foster kid, who was in 10th grade and had been in 12 different school in his life time. You can imagine how this would effect him.

So how do we reach these kids, how do we connect with them. We have a big Christmas party for them and get them presents. We have the camp that is happening right now. its Royal Family Kids Camp. It is a camp that is based on Treating these kids like Royalty.

Many don’t know when their birthday is or have never had a b-day cake. So we throw them a giant birthday party, give each of them a cake and birthday presents.

many of the girls struggle with self esteem so we give them etiquette classes and put on a big Gala Dinner. Its called Princess Party. Each girl is dressed in a donated formal, they get a tiara, and they are announced as they come in the room, and they are escorted by a male counselor dressed in a suit and tie. Then they eat a really nice dinner and desert, and then they are told the story of Esther. She was a foster Kid, she was beautiful inside and out, and although she had bad circumstances God used her as a great leader just as he would like to use each of them. The point is they are very special to God and they need to know that. So the night is a beautiful night reinforcing to them how truly special they are.

We throw a big bonfire and trail story for the Boys. they love it and we end the night with smores.

The week is filled with so much fun, swimming, horse back riding, great chapel services, and so much more. Its just a way of showing them that they are loved, accepted and cared for.

Truthfully they are royalty, their Gods kids and He loves them, and with all these efforts that is what we are trying to get across to them. God loves them, and is there for them.

Its a great program, its a great opportunity, and it really does make a difference in the life of each camper.

So when you get a chance, do something nice for a foster Kid, for a foster parent, or for a dhs worker. Do something to help these kids that just need someone to look after them.

Thanks
David

Helping people…the great adventure

I love adventure.  I love trying knew things, taking a challenge, doing something thats fun or gives you a rush! I love the risk of it the commitment of it, the courage it takes to be adventerous.  If someone around me is not asking, “you’re really going to do that?”  or,  “are you sure you want to do that?”  I know I’m not really living.

I love adventure.  The greatest adventure in life is taking the challenge and the risk.  Making the commitment, and sacrifice.  Accepting and embracing inconvenience for the sake of helping others.  There is no rush, no excitement, no fun, like helping other people.  Getting involved in their lives, dealing with their issues and helping them find solutions, this is adventure.

There are so many christians in the world right now who are living this great faith adventure, and I love it!  I love it that the church is figuring out, that the answers are not in setting behind our four walls enjoying each others company, but it is in reaching out and bringing people in that is changing lives, and causes great adventure.

Christians who aren’t passionate about Jesus, are struggling being bored with their Christianity because they’ve lost the adventure that is supposed to be at the forefront of a Christians life.

One of the reasons I love our church, and many like it is because we are living the adventure, we have lots of people who have embraced this exciting life and are doing it together.  This week we will be serving women at our “Girlfriends Conference”  Women from all four of our campuses and over 50 other churches will come together and experience a highly creative, spiritually impacting, relational and fun conference.

We have volunteers that will take their time and serve these ladies so they can have this life changing experience.  We also run youth camps all summer long, june through august at our OKC facility.  Rental camps and Our National youth ministry, Youth America. Next Monday we will be taking a team to Africa, where we are leading a pastors and leadership conference as well as a medical clinic for two weeks.  At the end of  July we will be taking another team to Camobdia, To work with Orphans and impoverished children, helping them  not be victimized by human trafficking.  We have a Kids camp as well as a Royal family Kids Camp which is our ministry to Foster Kids.  A free camp for 85 foster kids ages 7-11.

That may sound like a lot, and is why we call summers at harvest one big adventure!  We are committed to Change the world through the adventure of helping others.  All the teens, all the kids, all the adults, locally, regionally, nationally and globally we will help this summer, are all part of this great adventure called Christianity.  Its about taking the chance to love people, to extend grace to them, and to live life full tilt for the greatest adventurer of all time.  Jesus!

So jump off the bench, get off the sidelines, get in the game and enjoy the adventure and who knows, you might open up a life of adventure for someone else.

David

Global Reach for Justice…2009

Justice, what is it? Justice simply put is righting wrongs. We all have issues we think are wrong and need to be righted, and many of them we would not all agree on, but I think we can agree on some. Its not right when you see kids who live in such abject poverty they don’t have shoes. Going shoeless is very bad for their health, cuts on the feet, bacteria in the water, worms, are all things that cause disease in children as a result of no footwear.

I think we can all agree that the bloated bellies and skeletal bodies of families and especially children who experience malnutrition is not right. Its not enough just to have something to eat what you eat must have nutritional value or it fills your belly, but starves your body.

I think we can all agree that the buying and selling of human beings is wrong, and needs to be made right. We have a bigger issue of human trafficking today around the world, greater than ever in history. Humans, especially children bought and sold for inhumane work, and worst of all prostitution, sex trafficking.

I think we can agree that genocide is wrong, and yes it is still happening in places around the world, and nations are still recovering from it.

We can agree that lack of health care in third world nations, the lack of community development, and education, causing hopelessness and despair as well as death, from sicknesses that are easily cured if the medicine is available, is not right.

Its not right, that the very water that should be giving life to a community is what is killing it. Its not right that orphaned children are roaming streets with an almost certain future of destruction and death. Children caring for children or themselves, just to survive.

We could all make political statements at this point. Like well if they hadn’t done this, or if they would stop that. We use the word “they” to keep “them” distant from “Us” so we don’t feel responsible.

Its Not right, Its not Right……ITS NOT RIGHT!

I have a personal feeling of responsibility for people in these situations because I’m a Christian, and I know God loves everyone, and He wants everyone to experience His love. If we took time to really look at the life of Jesus we would see how practical and compassionate He truly is. We should be a reflection of that.

Proverbs 31:8-9 (MSG)
8-9 “Speak up for the people who have no voice,
for the rights of all the down-and-outers.
Speak out for justice!
Stand up for the poor and destitute!”

Matthew 25:34-40 (MSG)
34-36″Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’

37-40″Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

The Bible Clearly spells out for us our mission on this earth. To share the Love of Jesus, The Love of God, in practical ways, with those who so desperately need His message and His action. To long we have spoken and not acted.

This year we are bringing Justice in the ways we are able in the following places. Rwanda, Uganda, Ethiopia, and Cambodia. Doing leadership conferences, and Medical Clinics, building an educational facility, and distributing Bibles, feeding the hungry, and helping rescue girls out of forced prostitution. We are doing evangelistic concerts sharing hope, love, and Joy through Jesus, and resourcing Hope centers for orphans we’ve already built, as well as working with an after care program for girls who have been rescued from the Sex Trade.

We are committed to righting wrongs, to loving people, to bringing change to the world. We can’t do everything, but we can do something, and what we will never do, is nothing.

Our partners are…
http://www.crisisaid.org
http://www.hagarproject.org/
http://www.watoto.com/
http://www.cambodiaoutreach.org

If you would like to be a part of helping right wrongs, by being a part of this Global reach for Justice, Please contact me @ david.gadberry@harvestokc.com, or call 405 478 7373

Partner with us in this global reach for Justice.

please visit my Face book page and look under my videos, will give you a greater understanding.  You can also find the video on my myspace page, and at http://www.harvestokc.com under global reach.

thanks
David

What it looks like to help someone….

I havent written in so long…I’ve been very busy in a good way.  I love what I do.  The fact that i get the opportunity to work for God and His church every day is incredible to me.  I am still in awe of it.  I love the feeling that I am right where I am supposed to be.  My wife Janae told me the other day how she loved walking into the classroom every day of the school year, and even when its tough she loves it, because its what God created her for.

There is no feeling in the world like knowing your doing what you were created to do.  Wow!  God is so good.

I was thinking the other day, if  you want to know what it looks like to help someone you should have been at our Royal Family Kids Camp.  Every year, for the last three anyway, we have had the priviledge of inviting several foster kids to enjoy a great camp absolutely free.  We had right at 80 campers this year.  This is no ordinary camp, thats for sure.  This camp is made specifically to cause the campers to feel like they are royalty.

All the campers here, are from foster care, so they have either been abused or neglected, so they come with all kinds of needs and issues.  We love them.  We love everything about them.  They are wonderful kids, with positive futures.  We registered them at one of our campuses and then put them on limo buses and took them on a 30 minute ride over to another campus, where all the counselors and volunteers were waiting with signs with their name on it welcoming them to camp.  As they come off the bus, still reeling from the fact that they were riding in a limo, their faces light up, as they see the smiling faces of people who are meeting them for the first time and accepting them, and treating them as if they are princes and princesses.

At the camp, we have two sets of volunteers we call grandma and grandpa, and aunts and uncles, these people love the kids and connect with them by writing encouraging notes to them all through the camp.  (this helps these kids embrace the family construct which they have learned not to trust).

We took them on a trip to the zoo, and the zoological society scholarshipped everyone for the day.  It was a great time and a great blessing.  We had swim times in our Jr.  Olympic size swimming pool, and a full on Carnival in our Gym.

They rode horses, went to chapel services, and had an all around blast.  There is one thing we love to do….we throw them a birthday party, I mean the best one you have ever seen, heard of, or even thought about.  Each camper received a  cake and presents for their b-day. (i don’t have time to explain all the reasons this is so important, but you can imagine).  We had a whole host of Disney type charecters who performed and interacted with the campers, it was incredible!

Then we had a special day for the girls and for the boys.  It culminated in a gala for the girls, where they dressed up in formals, and had a fine dining experience.  They were escorted in on the red carpet in fashion show style, all given a tierra and a friendship bracelet.  They enjoyed this so much, because they had etiquette classes earlier in the day, and were getting to practice what they had learned.  It was truly beautiful, and they brimmed with confidence and joy.

The boys, had what we called, “knights of the king”  bonfire.  It was a great boyhood memory.  They were gathered around the bonfire with painted faces grunting and yelling, and getting excited about being a knight for the king.  “A knight is loyal.”  They would say.  “I knight rights wrongs!”  they would yell.  It ended with the leader standing in front of the bonfire and asking them to accept the challenge to be a knight for the king.  He said, “who will accept this challenge.”  A wonderful thing happened, the boys spontaneously errupted in unified chorus, “I’ll be a knight for the King!”  It was a great moment.

The last thing we did and do every year, is what we call the “tree ceremony.”  We have two healthy trees that are growing now and we just added our third.  These trees are representative of hope.  We have the counselors set down with their campers.  Our ratio is one counselor to two campers, this is what makes the camp effective.  They talk about past bad memories, and they tell them to put them on a piece of paper just between them and God, and we all gather around the hole thats been dug for the planting of the new tree.  We say this week you have had the chance to make some new positive memories, and this an opportunity for you to say I am burying these past negative memories and they will not hold me back.  Then we allow them all to bring their notes and throw them in the hole.  Then we plant the tree atop the old memories, and we send them home with a picture book, of all the fun memories they had at camp.  It may not sound like a big deal to you, but it is to them.  We had one little girl who came to camp for the second time.  Her counselor noticed she did not have a note.  She asked her where her note was, and the little girl responded, I don’t need to do it this year, I buried my negative past last year, I don’t need to do it again.  Thats called forgiveness, thats powerful.

So if you want to see what it looks like to help someone, look at this.  80 campers and over 150 volunteers, and our church and many individuals and busniesses caring enough to treat some unfortunate kids like they’re worthy to be treated.

Its a beautiful thing, you gotta love it.  Foster care is a real issue in our nation, abuse and neglect are serious problems.  I wonder if there is any practical, non political, straightforward strategy to help the dhs, foster parents, group homes, and proactive parenting skills training or anything like that, in either Obama’s or McCains plans for the nation.  I’m going to research it, or you could tell me if you know, something needs to be done.

David