My Amazing Sister

My baby sister got married on Saturday. At the reception, this great swing band called “The Changing Times” played. While in high school, Ellie took lessons from Al, their lead man. With a little coercion from my other sister, Ellie played with the band. This was definitely the highlight of their reception. The look on Dave’s face after she plays says it all.

Here’s a few more from the wedding…





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7 thoughts on “My Amazing Sister

  1. Sorry for the off-topic question. You had said on brant’s blog that you are involved with compassion int’l. I thought this would be a more obscure forum for a question that could be misconstrued as an attack on compassion. Do you know if the Bible classes are required for children of other faiths in the compassion program or if they are simply optional? This relates to Trey’s questions and, honestly, my own wondering about my sponsored kid.MB

  2. No worries. πŸ™‚ I’m happy to answer any questions I can about Compassion. And anything I can’t, I’ll do my best to point you in the right direction. An important thing to understand about Compassion’s ministry (and actually one of the things that makes it unique among sponsorship organizations) is that we are entirely church-based. What that means is that every single one of our projects around the world (including the one your child goes to) is connected with, and actually run by, an evangelical church in that area. We really see the local church as the tool God uses to reach these areas and what we want to do is partner with those small local churches and give them resources and training that they might not otherwise have access to. Bascially, we allow each church to do ministry their own way. That means each project around the world looks different from all the rest, depending on the specific needs of the area, the church itself, the local culture and customs, etc. We do have six critical areas of need which we make sure all church partners (projects) address, but how they do that is up to the them. Does that make sense? Regarding your question about Bible classes … as each project is run by an evangelical church, of course hearing God’s word presented will be a part of the experience included in attending the project. However, because we are working with indiginous churches (not the western church), this is always done in a culturally appropriate and sensitive way. Does this answer your question? Let me know if I’ve just caused you more confusion. πŸ™‚ Or if you have more specific questions about your sponsored child, you can call our call center at 800-336-7676.Becky

  3. Okay I was just reading over what I wrote and I’m not sure I actually addressed what you were asking. So let me try again.We are an openly evangelical organization, even in Muslim countries. Parents are made aware of that from the very beginning and know that their child will be participating in Christian activities and receive Bible-based teaching. Many choose to enroll their children in Compassion’s program despite the difference in faiths. And incredibly, we hear stories every year of children that bring their entire family to Christ!I don’t know if that helped or made it worse. But for whatever it’s worth, there ya go. πŸ™‚

  4. Thanks. I think you did answer my question. Let me know if I misunderstood.In other words, in order for desperate parents to get healthcare, food and education for their children through Compassion Int’l, it is required and not optional that they send them through religious training in a religion that may not be their own. The parents are informed of this up front and given the choice to refuse the help for their children if they are uncomfortable with the arrangement.MB

  5. From your assessment it sounds as if we are dangling food in front of starving people and telling them that they can’t have it unless they accept Christ. Here’s the deal. Even in a child continues to practice their own faith all the way through graduation and doesn’t ever agree with what they teach at the project, they are still welcome to be a part of Compassion’s program. They can still get meals, school supplies, tutoring, job training … nothing is ever going to be withheld from them because they choose not to become a Christian. But are we going to adjust our classes to fit every individual child’s religion? No. Of course not.There are several different types of poverty, including physical and spiritual poverty. Many of these kids suffer from more than one, if not all of them. For us to address the physical needs without ever giving them the opportunity to hear the truth about how deeply God loves them would be a tragic misinterpretation of God’s command to care fo the poor.Thoughts?

  6. “From your assessment it sounds as if we are dangling food in front of starving people and telling them that they can’t have it unless they accept Christ”That is decidedly not the way I put it. Religious training is not synonymous with religious conversion.Preaching the gospel is great. In fact, it’s a requirement. Often that even requires words. I even think this can be incorporated ethically with outreach to the poor. I’d be lying, though, if I didn’t say that I’m uncomfortable with the coercion being applied to the parents in this situation. Please, note that I am distinguishing parents from children.I like at it like I’m the desperately poor Christian parent whose only opportunity to properly feed, clothe and educate my child is through a Muslim group. What level of religious training would I be comfortable with my kid going through? How far would I be comfortable with them taking it. Would I be comfortable with the Muslim teachers forcing my child to memorize passages of the Koran? Would I be be comfortable with them teaching my child about Muslim beliefs and customs? In what detail and in what context? Would I try to wait until they were older and more discerning before enrolling them in such a program? Would that effect their chances of getting enrolled?To summarize, I think the golden rule also applies to evangelism methods. Do you see where I’m coming from?To be honest, I don’t know for sure that Compassion programs regularly go further than I am comfortable with in this area. I suspect it and have seen evidence of it, but I don’t know for a fact. Even if I did, I would still continue to sponsor the kid through their program. To be honest, there are other things about the program that concern me more than this particular issue.MB

  7. It’s not about coercion of either the children or the parents, it’s about love. About God’s love for children and the poor and his desire that we as Christians love them.The Bible is never going to be left out of Compassion’s program – it’s the whole reason the organization was founded and still exists today. If you’re uncomfortable with that, perhaps you should consider sponsoring with another organization where the Bible is not taught. There are plenty of those organizations, many working in the same areas where we are working.Please believe me when I tell you I would NEVER work for or support an organzation that is exploiting the poor or taking advantage of their desperation to convert them to Christianity. Like I said before, it’s all about loving them.I’d encourage you to voice your concerns (including whatever other ones you might have) to Compassion. (800-336-7676) Find out more about the specifics of the ministry. If you’re in the area, take a tour of the headquarters. Go visit your child in the field and see for yourself what his or her project looks like. If it’s anything like my experience, you won’t think of poverty in the same way ever again.

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