One Million Arrows Christian Parenting Blog
- Reviving Excellence in the Arts
- My Experience in Africa
Guest Author: Christine Dunagan
- Birthing A Dream For Africa
Guest Author: Gabbi Dickinson
- Ivan van Vuuren
- A Modern Day Bible Smuggler
- Steps for Life
Guest Author: Alyssa Liljequist
- Paula from Texas
- Jumpin' for Joy with Lexi
Guest Author: Lexi McCreary
- Hidden Beauty
Guest Author: Leslie Reavely
- Courage Is About Taking the First Step
Guest Author: Katie Davis-20-year old missionary to Uganda
- Bearing Young Fruit
- A Modern Day Princess Story
Guest Author: Stephanie Banda
- I Have A Reason To Praise Our Mighty God
Guest Author: Isaac Waidha-Uganda
- Bringing Authentic Hope Through Music
Guest Author: Matt Brouwer
- Continuing A Cycle of Love
- A Vision for Africa
By Julie Ferwerda
- Survivor from Civil War Brings New Hope to Uganda
Guest Author: Keith A. McFarland - New Hope Uganda
- From Cardboard Box to Missionary
Guest Author: Casey Scheberl - VisionTrust International
- Changed Lives in Nairobi
Guest Author: Alan Hunt, World Orphans
- Sarita from India
Guest Author: Hopegivers Internatonal
- Meet Napoleon from India
Guest Author: Hopegivers International
Entries for: Arrow Stories
When her big sister needed an original soundtrack for a culture impacting film she had written called Sisterhood, sixteen-year-old musically inclined Petra decided to step up to the adult-sized task of composing and recording all the tracks for the entire film.
"It was a lot of fun, but it was a lot of hard work, too," says Petra. "It was a really rewarding task, bringing the movie to life through music, because it was the first time I really got to use my art-form and my passion for music to touch other people's lives."
Eight-year-old Jennifer huddled in the dark corner of her grandmother's hut. Once again, she was locked in this repulsive room with no food, and no hope. Sometimes she was left alone for days while her grandmother wasted what little money they had. Most likely, the old woman would return home-drunk-and beat the girl until she could barely stand.
Jennifer knew nothing of happiness. When she was very young, her parents were victims of Uganda's number one killer: AIDS; and now, she was yet another victim: of poverty, hunger, and abuse.
"Anyone can be a missionary," I used to hear people say. "The place that He has set you in is your mission field." Yet the last job in the world that I wanted was that of a missionary. Since the age of two, my training was in classical ballet and my gifting was in languages. My dream was to study dance to become either a dance teacher, or a dance therapist. The other career path I might have chosen was working as a translator. Either path would have offered me good sums of money and would have used my talents and passions.
Though I had a deep, committed love for Jesus, I did not long for Africa, and I didn't weep over any nation. My eyes had not been opened to the nation I was carrying within me. I had not yet yielded to the point of our dreams becoming entangled. As far I was aware, my life would be painted in fairly well known, familiar shades upon His great canvas.
One of the most important days of our kids' lives is the day when they realize why they were born.
For Ivan van Vuuren, that moment came when he was barely old enough to carry his own surf board. Now, every day when he throws his feet over the side of the bed to go hit the waves, Ivan knows exactly why he was born. Ivan is one of the world's most recognized all-around extreme sports athletes and has won awards in surfing, windsurfing, and motocross racing. Born in South Africa to missionaries, Ivan surrendered his life to Jesus as an "arrow" at the age of five, and he has used his love of extreme sports ever since then to tell others about Jesus. Now he's the International Director of Xtreme Life International, and president of Premier Productions, one of the world's leading extreme sports production companies. His ministry produces extreme sports evangelistic movies, and also produces and hosts the weekly TV show, "Xtreme Life TV."
I first met Justin when he was working at a Christian summer youth camp in northern Wyoming. Anyone who chooses to take care of manic, mischievous kids 24/7 for an entire summer has to either be in the witness protection program, or quite possibly have a total heart for kid ministry. But rumor has it that the perks are more than worth it-"refreshing" early morning showers, completely restful sleep between three and six a.m., and just enough summer earnings to cover your travel expenses back to college. For me, it sounds about as much fun as the dental school root canal volunteer program, or maybe a third world boot camp in Phoenix in July. But for Justin, and many of the other awesome counselors who come back year after year to serve and mentor kids, it is being an arrow.
After two years as a camp counselor, Justin decided to do something a little less dangerous (and more relaxing) than entertaining today's youth. He decided to become a Bible smuggler. At age twenty-one he went to work for Vision Beyond Borders, an organization that specializes in taking translated Bibles and evangelistic tools into the underground church in China and other parts of Asia, as well as Cuba, Turkey, Morocco, and Romania, with the purpose of equipping the local people for the mission. Currently this organization has hand-delivered over 600,000 contraband Bibles worldwide.
Hi, my name is Alyssa Liljequist. I'm a 16-year-old Christian homeschooler. I'm very shy by nature and it has taken my getting involved in the causes I'm passionate about to get to me to speak out. One of the causes that I care deeply about is the plight of protecting unborn babies from abortion. God has graciously given me opportunities to make a difference for the pro-life cause.
One of these is my annual involvement in Steps for Life (a two-mile walkathon) which is a fund-raising event for the Pregnancy Resource Centers of Greater Portland (PRC). PRC (a non-profit Christian organization) helps 8,000 women and pre-born babies annually through 5 Centers, providing free pregnancy tests, comprehensive peer counseling, free ultrasounds (given by RNs), practical help, referrals and real hope (the Gospel message) to those facing unplanned pregnancies.
Meet Paula, an arrow from Texas. When she was fifteen, she went on a two-week mission trip to the Philippines—by herself—to join up with an established U.S. missionary doing work there. Then, as soon as she arrived, she discovered that she was scheduled to be the main speaker at a three-day youth revival. "I had never preached before in my life, and I was so scared! But God gave me the words to speak. By the last night we had 125 kids in attendance."
On this trip, God impressed upon Paula that He wanted her to move to the Philippines—right now—to start a youth ministry in Angeles City. Paula knew from past conversations that her parents would be totally against it, partly because she hadn't even graduated yet. But she prayed about it, and when she got home, God had miraculously prepared her parents to say yes...as soon as she finished her G.E.D.!
"I'm just a teen. There's nothing I can do to make a difference—I'm too young to change the world."
My name is Lexi McCreary. I'm a 15-year-old Jesus freak who felt the call of God to make a difference after learning how many children die and are orphaned every day. I imagined myself in their shoes and even the thoughts were impossible to comprehend. But what could I do? I'm just a kid, right? Or was it time to take a stand?
I couldn't ignore the facts anymore. I had to do something.
After an eye-opening week at World Venture's kids' missions camp, hosted at Camp Jonah, teenage sisters, Leslie and Lauren Reavely, co-founded the ministry Hope 2 Others (H20), a practical help ministry to homeless and panhandlers. Here is one of Leslie's inspiring blog entries!
I couldn't help but take it in...a baby sat in her stroller wailing while her mom dug through a pile of blankets and clothes. Barbecue smoke billowed from behind several rows of hanging jackets. Hundreds of people pushed and shoved to get first pick at the hats and scarves. As they swarmed past and bumped into me, my nose resisted wrinkling under the odor that emanated from their stained, tattered coats.
Katie Davis had it all going for her and decided to leave the American Dream behind to follow God's amazing, crazy plan for her life in Uganda—a plan, that to this date, has entailed her becoming a single mom of 14 children at the age of 21. Here's Katie's story in her own words...
It is my 16th Birthday and I am eating sushi at my favorite restaurant with my parents when I tell them that I would like to explore the possibility of taking a year in between high school and college to do mission work. This is unheard of in my family and they say they are not sure and will think about it. I am nervous, but somehow I know it is right. He changes their hearts.
Who says younger children can't be out changing the world now? Nine year old, Lauren McCarthy, of The Woodlands, Texas, proves its possible! Raised as an arrow, her spiritual training is already paying off through her love of serving and teaching other children!
Lauren first began visiting the mission field in Guatemala at the age of five, when her parents, Brian and Margarita, took her to celebrate the graduation of their sponsored child at Casa Aleluya, an orphanage for abused or abandoned children. During their trips, they would also minister to the children at the home. This past year, Lauren got to go with a ministry team of women from her church. Margarita says, "I was worried about how the women would respond, but they loved having her along and it was fun to watch her interact with them."
Daughters of The King is a rite of passage mentoring program for teen girls started by Doreen Hanna of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The program concludes with a special ceremony where each girl is blessed and welcomed into adulthood by a significant man in her life, be it her father or another male authority figure.
Stephanie Banda is a 24-year-old Daughter of the King (DOK) Alumni from Torrance, CA. She was 17 years old when she participated in the program and was blessed by her Pastor, Don Shoji. At the age of 19, she became a middle school youth leader and led her first group of young ladies through a DOK class. Since then, she has facilitated numerous DOK classes in the South Bay of Los Angeles for other groups and churches. Stephanie shares her story:
My life has not been easy because of the hardships I have passed through together with my little sister (Peninah), and brother (Lionel), from losing our biological parents when we were still young. I felt so useless being left with the responsibility of taking care of my siblings when I couldn't even afford to feed them. Our relatives rejected us, probably because they saw us as burden with all our needs and problems.
My sister and I tried all we could do to earn a living but things kept getting worse. We went to bed hungry, stayed in very bad places, and wore poor clothing. What hurt me most was not seeing my sister and brother in school. I feared that my sister would end up in prostitution, and I also worried that my brother might join bad groups and get into drugs-a trend which is so common amongst young boys here who do not go to school.
I grew up in an eastern Canadian town called Truro, in Nova Scotia. I'm the sixth of seven kids. My Mom taught music and my Dad ran a dairy farm. When I was three years old, my father was killed in a car accident, leaving my Mom with 2 kids, 5 step-children and a farm to run. Growing up, I had quite a tumultuous relationship with God. But in spite of the anger and doubt I experienced, I believed He was real. He is the only Father I've ever known, and I've felt his presence in my life since I was really young.
Jennie knows nothing about her south India parents except that, as a newborn, they threw her away and left her for dead in a city dumpster. Some college boys happened by and heard her crying, so they picked her up out of the garbage and took her to a nearby orphanage.
Jennie was so bright that she graduated from Bible college at sixteen. Her instructors noticed how mature and responsible she was at such a young age and how she had a heart for helping children, so they sent her to help out at an orphanage for younger children for one year of on-the-job training. When the main caregiver at that orphanage was called to another location to help out during a time of need, seventeen-year-old Jennie took over. For two years, she took care of an entire orphanage of eight younger children with the help of an assistant, sixteen-year-old Mary, also a previous orphan.
As parents, it is sometimes easy to minimize or even dismiss what God is speaking into or doing in the lives of our young children. We think they're too young or too untrained to hear from God on important matters of life, such as matters of their destiny.
This is what happened to Dillon Stull. When he was in 5th grade, God gave him a vision (in the form of the continent of Africa filled with a stethoscope) that he would someday go to Africa as a medical missionary. He didn't immediately share this vision with his parents, but he did write about it in a paper for school. When his parents came across his paper, they thought, like most parents would, that their son was just enjoying the adventurous imagination typical of a young boy. They figured it was probably a passing phase.
Paul Kusuubira lost his parents as a result of Uganda's civil war in the 1980's, a war that shook the country shortly after Idi Amin's regime collapsed. The bloody war centered 35 miles north of the capital city Kampala in an area that became known as the "Luweero killing fields."
Paul's family fled from their home and spent three years hiding in "the bush." They were constantly running from the warring soldiers, barely able to survive. The family ate whatever food they could gather from the "bush"—mostly wild yams and papaya. They drank any color of water they could find. They slept on leaves under the stars. During the rainy season they huddled together under trees. On occasions when they heard bullets coming from one direction they walked all day in the opposite direction only to be met by more gunfire. Exhausted and too tired to walk any further, the family would simply lay down on the ground to sleep, prepared to die.
Ada and her mother made their home in a cardboard box in Lima, Peru, a city of nearly 8 million people. As young as age five, men who found Ada in the streets sexually abused her. When she was eight, one man tricked her into going to his home in Ayacucho, almost 60 miles away.
This same man sexually abused Ada regularly, and his sister who lived with him physically abused her. She hit Ada in the head with a hammer and burned Ada's arms with cigarettes and electrical cords. One day the police found Ada in the market, bloody from her most recent beating. They took her to a government orphanage where Ada's trauma began to express itself through violence when she began physically abusing the other children and the teachers. One time she bit one of the teacher's arms and did not let go until she tore the flesh. They took her to a Judge and told him "We cannot do anything for this child and we never want to see her again!"
We squatted together in the shade on a sunny afternoon next to the soccer field at Fountain of Life Church/Home in Nairobi, Kenya. Martin is one of 48 former street boys cared for at Fountain of Life (FOL). I asked him about school and his favorite subject. Without hesitation he said math, and that he wanted to be an engineer and build airplanes. I taught him the word "aeronautical" so he could tell others of his aspiration.
I don't know Martin's whole story, but I do know his life has been changed. As an orphan he lived without hope or a future. Today he has both as he grows in mind, body, and spirit, cared for in a loving church family home believing in Christ, the life changer.
Since I can remember, my mother was sick and my father a drunkard. He used to beat up my mother and throw us out of the house, forcing us to spend the nights outside.
Every day, our family worshiped our own deity. We were told that whatever we needed, she would fulfill our desires and make our dreams come true. During this time, I got possessed by an evil spirit, and I did very strange things including vomiting up hair and flowers, as well as addressing my parents as "son" and "daughter." My parents took me to witch doctors and sorcerers, but it didn't help.
One of my favorite pictures of the complete redemption potential for orphans is sort of a modern-day Joseph story, nineteen-year-old Napoleon.
Napoleon lived a comfortable lifestyle with his family of five in a large South India city. But one day, when he was six years old, the police came and arrested his entire family, falsely accusing them of being Naxalites, or anti-government terrorists. Even though the charges were soon cleared for lack of proof and they were released, the social pressures and superstitions present in India made them a threat to their friends and family. Overnight, they lost everything and everyone that mattered.
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