service

Leilani’s Lemonade Stand

Leilani arriving home with her family after 600 days in the hospital!

Leilani: A sweet 10 year old girl in our church about ready to meet Jesus face to face.  She has fought the good fight and healing is coming, just not the way we hoped.  It’s heart breaking and unimaginable.  Our hearts are broken for her family.

She was born with a heart defect that required a heart transplant at a very young age.  At about 8 years old, her new heart started to give out.  She spent the next 600 days in the hospital fighting for her life.  She underwent her 2nd heart transplant in 2016.  Unfortunately the wait took a toll on her body and other internal organs.

She came home earlier this year to live her final days, was granted a Make-A-Wish trip to Florida and has continued to live out her faith and her mantra “overcomer”.   She has had a bucket list full of fun things she hoped to do in her final days.  It included gardens, dates with her family, eating her favorite meals, reading the Harry Potter books and seeing Beauty and the Beast.   Things many of us take for granted.

The list also included a lemonade stand.

She is too sick now to have a stand of her own but that doesn’t mean we can’t help make that bucket list item a reality.

On Thursday, June 1st we invite you to have “Leilani’s Lemonade Stand”  

It’s the first day of summer around here and what better way to kick it off then with the age old tradition of a lemonade stand.  All while we share the remarkable story of a sweet young girl, who loves the Lord so much, has fought so hard and always shared the hope we have in Jesus, our Savior.

So are you in?  




All you need to do is host a lemonade stand on Thursday, June 1st in your neighborhood.  Post a picture with the hashtag #Leilanislemonadestand and print the graphic if you would like to display at the stand.

How to donate your proceeds — 




Donate to Make A Wish 

Click here – select the amount you wish to donate.

Next under “options” please select “Donate in Honor or Memory”, then choose a card type of your choice and fill out the Honoree information – Leilani Lahey.  If you wish, in the from category list “Leilani’s Lemonade Stand by (blank)”.
Last make sure to click local chapter and choose “Make-A-Wish Iowa”.  Save and continue on with the next form!  
OR 

The Lahey Family Go Fund Me Account 

Please click this link here for funeral expenses and other expenses incurred during Leilani’s medical stays.

Helpful Promotional Supplies — 

Here is a Lemonade Stand tract to share the gospel with your patrons.  Simply save this photo, by right clicking.  Make sure to save it as a .jpg.  Open the file and choose print.  You can click number of copies you want to print on the print form.  I suggest print 2 or 4 copies per page.  

We hope you will join us.  If you can’t participate on that day, please help spread the word by sharing the graphic found on my Facebook page or visiting a local lemonade stand!


Leilani took the lemon life gave her and always made lemonade.  If you have any questions,  please contact Erin Port at erin.wetherbee@gmail.com!  Thank you!

5 Excuses that Stop You from Entertaining

You might be getting ready to open your door this Easter weekend and feeling overwhelmed.  Anyone?  Many cringe at the thought of hosting strangers, friends and family alike.  There are many excuses that prevent all of us from being hospitable, but there is no excuse God can’t help us overcome.  I am not an exception, I have let many excuses hold me back but I have also been blessed by others hospitality, I know what a gift it can be.  So let’s examine some excuses and see what biblical hospitality is and is not.

Excuse #1 – I Don’t Know What I Will Prepare and Wear.

Somewhere along the way we were told to be hospitable, you had to be Martha Stewart.  You needed the right dishes, the right napkins, the right food, the right attire, and it all needed to be Pinterest worthy.  The latin root word for hospitality is hospes, which relates to words like hospice, hospital, hostel and hotel.  When you think of the word hospice and hospital, does entertaining come to mind?

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Hospitality focuses on serving others needs.  
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The conclusion of Luke 10 recounts Jesus’ visit to Mary and Martha’s house.  There are some important take-aways as to what Jesus thought was most important to consider when providing hospitality.


38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary,who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one.[f] Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

Rather than do as Martha suggested, Jesus didn’t put Mary to work instead he gently rebuked Martha. He told Martha, she was distracted by all the preparations and meanwhile Jesus is in her home.  Jesus!  Mary was at His feet listening to what He said.  Mary had chosen what is better.






Excuse #2 – My House Isn’t Right.

My house is too small, my carpet is old, this project isn’t finished, my couches are out-dated.  My driveway is too short, my house is too far out, and the list goes on and on.  We have all said it.  We think we have to have the perfect home to provide hospitality.  Abraham in Leviticus 19 quickly invited foreigners into his tent.  His tent.  

When you are invited to a person’s home for a meal or a social, do you think, man I really wish they had more up to date furniture, they should really replace the carpet or buy a bigger house to accommodate us all?  I hope the answer is no.  Generally when someone invites you into their home, you are grateful.  

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Hospitality is not about having the perfect house.  It’s about inviting people into your home
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Excuse #3 – I Am Just Too Busy.

Our schedules are FULL these days from athletic activities to job demands, there is barely a moment to breathe, let alone have people over for dinner.  We all can relate.  Both Abraham and Mary & Martha most likely did not have advanced warning of their visitors’ arrival.  There were no text messages — we will be there in 3 days, just walking across the desert plains.  They stopped what they were doing and made it a priority to welcome people into their home and serve them well.

Why would they do that? Why should we do that?

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Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13
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Jesus laid His life down for us.  Although we may never lay our physical life down for our friends, we can lay down our to do list, our agendas and our concerns to serve others.  Jesus is our example.




Excuse #4 – I Am Not Good At It.

When I started running, I stunk.  I mean I sucked a lot of wind without a lot of momentum.  Every time I went out and practiced, I got better.  It still was hard, uncomfortable and sometimes painful but I kept trying, I kept going.  Especially, if you grew up in a home where hospitality wasn’t modeled, you might find it especially difficult to know where to begin and how to do it.  

It doesn’t have to be perfect out of the gate, that’s not the purpose, as we have already established.  It could be as simple as inviting a friend over for a glass of ice water served straight from your faucet.  

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When it comes to anything — practice makes progress, progress leads to proficiency, not perfection.
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Watch others and rather than compare, observe for inspiration.  Allow them to model for you and then take that learning and apply it.  Hospitality is not so much about what it looks like but the act of obedience.  



Excuse #5 – I Have Kids.

Hospitality is harder with kids but not unattainable.  Hospitality is a gift we can give our kids in allowing them to serve alongside us.  Hospitality is a perfect avenue to model for kids how to serve others.  It gives them opportunity to take coats, open doors, wash dishes, refill glasses of water, and entertain the smaller guests.  

Letting your kids know that you are inviting people into your home to love them well as Jesus calls us to do is a purposeful application of living out the gospel.

As an aside, It’s always good to be in agreement with your spouse before making plans.  I have made that mistake of extending an invitation without consulting your spouse.  It’s their home too and you want to be on the same page.  A simple ask goes along way! 

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Hospitality can and should be a family venture. 
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Hospitality is sacrificial and not always convenient. Someone might need a meal, a visit or a hug when you have a long to do list, remember Jesus told us to love one another as He loved us.  He was often inconvenienced but never turned a person away.
Hospitality is about relationships, service and providing for strangers and friends alike.  Hospitality is a tangible way to show the gospel.  He is our example.  He showed hospitality in the midst of crowds, along the water’s edge, while he was alone, and when He walked along the road.  He fed 5000 with just a few fish and loaves of bread.  He is our example and He served well, He loved well and He asked us to do that too.

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A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. John 13:34
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Hospitality is about loving well so open the door with a big smile and a warm heart, pray for God to meet you there and He will.  Focusing on others will never be a mistake. 



Blessing Bags

I am always looking for opportunities to show our kids tangibly how we can be the hands and feet of Christ.  It seems every time we head to swimming lessons, there is nearly always a homeless person begging at a busy highway off-ramp.  I would drive right past and felt a tug in my heart but one day my kids even noticed which prompted me to serve.  Kids have a way of nudging me!

Save

I had heard about blessing bags from someone else and thought it was a great idea to stow in our car and have at ready for when we encountered someone in need.  It’s also a great activity and simple gesture for kids of all ages to get involved in.

We try to include a note and pray over the bag.  At the end of the day, we want them to know its not about us but about Jesus which compels us to share.

You can be as creative as you want with what you place in the bags.  I will share some ideas of what we have included.

You will need ziploc bags and then fill with items like these:

  • Protein bars
  • Personal size trail mix
  • granola bars
  • beef jerky sticks
  • nut mixes
  • Cracker packs (PB crackers, Cheese crackers)
  • Single serving packs of goldfish, cheese its
  • fruit leathers
  • chocolate bar (if its winter)
  • small bag of pretzels
  • bottle of water
  • tissues
  • mints
  • Bible
  • A gospel tract 
  • Feminine pads
  • travel size toothpaste and toothbrush
  • Print out of Romans road
  • Personal note (we do not sign our name)

Tract Ideas…
This is just a list of what we have included, the sky is the limit.  I have shopped at Aldi and Dollar Tree for the bulk of the items.  Dollar Tree offers $1 bibles in their book section.  When we included the bible, we marked the Romans road and John 3:16 and wrote the personal note in the bible.

We have assembled bags twice now.  We made them as part of our annual community group Christmas party with the kids and I also invited my ladies bible study over for a girls night and assembled them.

I have to admit, I had the first 2 bags in our car for over 8 months before actually working through my fear to hand it through the window.  I was careful and was slowly driving when I handed it to the person but I started to weep after, it was such a simple gesture and it took me so long to obey.  The crazy part of the story is that it took 8 months to offer the first bag and there was another homeless woman on the way home so we distributed the 2nd bag much faster.

Remember to be safe and pray for God to give you an opportunity.  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a homeless person but maybe a young mom looking weary in a parking lot.  God will prompt you, but we have to be prepared so we can act.

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace 
{1 Peter 4:10 ESV}


How do you serve with your children? 

I am always looking for ideas so please share in the comments!

Operation Christmas Child

The premise is simple.  A child (or adult 😉 fills a box with necessities and fun wrapped up with a sweet note and shipped around the world or down the street to provide a little hope for another child this Christmas.  
It’s one of our favorite traditions to do with our kids.  At a time of year where we are writing our own wish lists and thinking of all the items we want, it’s good to focus on someone who may be looked over, to remember that the gift of Jesus is most important and showing others His love is what we are called to do.
We set aside time to go shopping as a family.  Each of our older kiddos “adopts” a child their age so we had a girl (ages 5-9) box and a boy (ages 5-9) box.  You can choose boy or girl ages 2-4, 5-9 or 10-14.  It seems to resonate for our kids to pick the age and gender they are and think of gifts they may like if this box were for them.
We talk about how these children may or may not have families, homes or even a special toy to call their own but that no matter what Jesus loves them and this little gift will bring them joy for now and Jesus will bring them joy forever.  It’s so cool to think, God knows who the box is going to already.
We spent time picking out hygiene items (flip flops, socks, soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, brushes, etc.), school supplies (crayons, bible coloring book, sharpened pencils, pads of paper) and goodies (stuffed animals, doll, play doh, mini wind up train, ball, mini tea set, plastic jewelry, princess wand, flashlight with extra batteries, gum and starburst).  If you aren’t sure what to include the website has a long list of ideas.
We came home and Vera laid it all out.  We took some of the toys out of the wrapping and placed in plastic baggies to take up less room.  Then started placing items like a puzzle into the boxes so we could squeeze everything in :).

The kids then took some sharpie markers and drew all over the box.  I added some verses and Jesus Loves you and so do we notes as well.  They worked so hard with messages of I (Heart) you.

Boxes filled with treasures and love!

We then went online and paid $7 and printed off our box label so we can track our box.  We love this new feature.  We will get an email letting us know where our boxes go and then we can look up the location on the map with our kids!  

Before we took them to the local collection site (you can find yours here), we prayed over the boxes for the Lord to show Himself to the child that receives this box, that they know we are praying for them and that they have hope this Christmas.

What a wonderful way to kick off the Christmas season and remind us that above all else we have hope because a beautiful baby came from Heaven, was born into the world to grow up and go to the cross for us.

You still have time to get involved, it’s collection week.  Check out the website for all the details.  You can do one as a family or 100 but each child the receives it will have a smile on their face for sure!

Have you packed a shoe box?  What did you include in yours?  Where did your box go?  

Ours went to Zambia last year :).

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5 Ways to Love Strangers Today

Sometimes lately I watch the news and see the hate plastered across the screen and my heart is grieved.  
Hurt.
Pain.
Fear.
Misunderstood.
I feel misunderstood by strangers.  I misunderstand strangers.  We live in a fallen world.
So defeat sets in.  There is so much wrong, why even try?
Because — Jesus.
Jesus hung out with everyone and Jesus went everywhere doing good (Acts 10:38).  He also called me into union with Him, and not only that, I am to bring others with me.  So how can we do that in simple gestures in our daily interactions.  Here are 5 ways you can love your neighbor, a stranger, your spouse, your enemy well today.   
Smile.
It sounds so simple but look people in the eye and smile.  Our culture is so rushed.  We rush in, out, here and there.  Take a moment, slow down, and take in your surroundings and smile.  I always try to remember people are walking around with all sorts of “Stuff” and you just never know how a simple a smile might brighten their day.
A happy heart makes the face cheerful  
{Proverbs 15:13a}


Call people by name.
When we call someone by name they cease being a tool serving us to a person with a heart that beats just like ours.   Acknowledge that each person was designed in God’s image and His handy work.  He knows their pain, struggles, and joys.  He knows the number of hairs on their head.  When you start to see people as a soul rather than a commodity, a smile seems like the least you can give. If someone isn’t wearing a name tag, ask their name.  
Offer an Encouraging Word.
Make a connection, ask “How are you?”, offer a compliment.  That weary drive thru worker might need to know you are thankful for them today, that mom with tantruming child might need to know you have been there.  Let them know you care, listen and then offer an encouraging word.
Gracious words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
{Proverbs 16:24}


Listen first.
Before you quickly offer your critique, come-back, judgement, or political view think about who you are addressing.  Will my comment uplift and encourage?  Our words can be sweet but they can also be a knife to the soul.  I myself have fallen into the trap of reacting and responding.  Later I regretted my words said in haste.  If you aren’t sure if your words are helpful or hurtful, seek counsel from your spouse or friend. Words cannot be unheard.  


Action.
How can you serve someone today?  Open the door.  Assist someone fumbling with packages.  Offer to put a cart away in the parking lot.  Let someone go ahead of you in line.  Start a pay-it-forward at a local restaurant.  Send an encouraging text, praise the mom next to you, take a meal, offer to watch someone’s kids.  Even the smallest of gestures done in the confines of routine mean something.  Share the gospel.  Offer to pray for them later or on the spot.
If we each take little steps toward seeing the stranger as Christ does, we CAN be the change we wish to see in our world.  
Relationships can be restored.  
Hate can be healed. 
Fear can be turned to good faith.

Kindness always wins.


What other ways do you show kindness in the day to day?  Please share, I would love more ideas!
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