1 way to live out james 2

Kids, your posts and comments on James 2 have been blessing my booty off. Things were a little busy today (running around doing all the errands I postponed from yesterday since I had no access to our checking account) so I haven’t even read through them all yet. I will!

Several of you mentioned Ephesians 2:10–For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Brilliant, I tell you. Because it follows a couple verses that remind us that we’ve been saved through faith, not works. Yet God has works all ready for us to do. And James tells us what some of those might be–loving and helping the poor.

A couple of you have asked–how do I know how much I need to give/help? How much sacrifice are we talking here? And do I need to go looking for opportunities to do good works, or are they going to just fall in my lap?

Here’s the scoop. I don’t have any perfect answers here. So I’m just going to give 2 pieces of advice. My recommendation is that you do #1 first (but don’t drag it out because you’re scared to do #2) AND keep doing #1 the whole time you’re doing #2..

1. Pray that God will show you how he wants you to help those in need.

2. Just do something. Anything. Something is always better than nothing. Take. A. Leap.

And wouldn’t you know it? I have a really cool opportunity for you to do something RIGHT NOW. And it’s going to be fairly painless, as far as helping the poor goes. And if you’re not feeling your heart (or purse) strings tugged, then ask God to show you what else he might have in mind for you.

You might remember me and my fam walking 10 miles back in May w/Traffick Jam 2011 to stop human trafficking in Cambodia. The money that was raised around the country went to help build a Boys’ Center in Cambodia (the first of its kind).

What is a Boys’ Center and why does Cambodia need one? Well, in a nutshell, the sad truth is that precious little (and not-as-little) boys are being sold for sex night after night after night in Cambodia just like girls. And because this is so taboo in this culture (men buying boys), often-already-corrupt law officers are refusing to believe/admit it’s happening. There are many, many organizations & ministries dedicated to helping girls but not so many helping boys.

The new Boys’ Center opened last week, and God is already using it in huge ways. I could write another whole post on this, but basically, it’s a building with lots of space to play and classrooms for learning English and computer skills and Kids’ Club (where they learn about Jesus) each afternoon. And it’s SAFE. These boys can come here and be KIDS. They can drop in anytime they want and leave anytime they want. No one is going to use them or abuse them or harm them in any way.

The horrifying reality is that many of them will be sold at night and then spend the next day at the Boys’ Center. Over and over again. But learning English and life skills and hearing about Jesus (perhaps for the first time) is huge (HUGE) when it comes to breaking this cycle of poverty/trafficking/shame in their little lives. The staff is developing relationships with the boys’ families and trusting God to bring freedom.

The Boys’ Center needs YOUR help. And, friends, I’m so giddy about this I could bust.

I chatted with my friend Yvonne on Facebook this morning (she’s in Cambodia and works with the Boys’ Center) and asked her to please tell me what they need for these boys. “It’s very difficult to find quality toys that foster boys’ imaginations here,” she told me. So this is what they’d like:

Tinker Toys
Lincoln Logs
Play tool sets
Doctor kits
Dress-up clothes (for boys)
Pipe cleaners
Construction paper (nowhere to be found in Cambodia)
Watercolor Paint

The toys can be used and don’t have to be in their original containers (we will most likely put Legos, etc, in baggies when we pack our suitcases). Ava and I just found a canister of Lincoln Logs in perfect condition at the thrift store today for $1.50! (But I vote for all new crayons/markers/paper/paint.) I love, love, love the fact that we can give such a personal gift (and clear out some clutter at the same time) and know that it’s going to bless these darling boys in a huge way.

If you have any of these things and would like to donate them, e-mail me, and we’ll figure out a plan! This is a really, really cool chance to get your kiddos involved in loving the poor! (EDIT: I fixed the e-mail link. Sorry if tried before and it didn’t work!)

“The boys are so eager to learn,”Yvonne told me. “They show up at 8:00 with their notebooks and pens and classes don’t begin until 8:45. The first day each boy got a notebook and when they transitioned from English class to computer or playroom they would not put their notebooks down.”

“Every boy has wild dreams,” she said, “and we want to help the ones in Phnom Penh realize their dreams and recognize that they can actually achieve them.”

God, will you guide us as we seek to bless these little boys who have been broken and abused? Help them realize their true identity as sons of the living God and co-heirs with Christ. May they dream your huge dreams for their lives and go on to do amazing work for your kingdom!

27 thoughts on “1 way to live out james 2

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  7. ellen

    check into paying to ship extra baggage also – when we went to haiti we had duffle bags (like army style) you and gabe could handle them the girls maybe not — but you could put lots of stuff in them and they were easy to spot I’ll tell you more if you r interested.

      1. ellen

        the duffles would be in place of a suitcase – they can be pulled and are durrable just a thought – we hauled all kinds of stuff to haiti – easy to pack in. do you have suitcases or do you need them?

          1. Lori

            I have a practically new GINORMOUS suitcase (with wheels) that you can borrow. I typically only use it for very long trips and we won’t need it then. I have taken it for a 2 weeker in EU packed to the gills and overweight but they let me through due to my frequent flyer status. But if you pack it with lighter stuff you’ll be fine.
            We may need to make a deal about bringing it back full of some more awesome Cambodia goods I can resell here in the US for some other missions activity 🙂

    1. Marla Taviano

      It’s pretty much impossible to send anything. It would never get there (too much corruption). We can each take 2 suitcases, and we’re planning on taking as little of our own stuff as possible. How our five-year-old will manage 2 suitcases and a carry-on in the airport is a bridge we’ll cross when we get to it. 🙂

  8. Brooke

    not sure how i’d work it out…emailed Jay to see if he’s up for tweaking the budget this month. if we were closer i’d make my sister raid the Little Man’s toys!

  9. Melissa

    Can’t wait to talk with my kids about helping! We’ve been talking about how there are people that do not have as much as we do. Thanks for this opportunity to help others!! The story of what the boys go through brings tears to my eyes and I had no idea that it was happening to young boys. You hear so much about human trafficking against girls but not about this. Thanks Marla! I’ll share this on my page too. 🙂

  10. Bethany Peters

    What is a paint tray? Like something to put paint IN, or like watercolor paints that are in that tray-like case?

    I love having a specific list! Thanks for giving us a tangible way to be the hands of Christ!

    And I love your answer to the question, “How much should I do/give?” “Pray and do one thing and keep praying.” God will guide us the rest of the way, we just need to start putting action to our faith. I have a feeling it will snowball and not stop at just one thing either. The more I pray for opportunities, the more I see them everywhere I look! It’s so exciting when I’m actually seeking and paying attention to the opportunities that God has been giving me all along I was just too distracted and self-absorbed to notice them!

  11. Ruth Chowdhury

    We are doing this! My 5 yr old son has been praying almost every night about people “who have nothing” that “they will get something.” Then he asks me if they have specific things. Last night he asked if they had sidewalks. It’s hard for anyone to grasp this horror but especially for a 5 yr old boy who has known hardly any (if at all?) sorrow. Anyways. All this to say, he’ll love shopping for these things. Or maybe he’ll want to give up his Lincoln Logs, Legos, or Tinker Toys. He has all 3 of those. I’ll ask him tomorrow. Thanks!

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