C3 Missions NewsletterRich Stigall
Each month we desire to pass along the DNA of C3, the “stuff” that binds us and the children we serve. This month’s photo-of-the-month honorees – Bob and Janie Hodgdon, and Isabelle Redford – tell the story.
Thurman Mitchell Passions Awards – C3’s the Top Honoree!
Each year, right here in Kansas City, the Servant Christian Community Foundation (www.servantchristian.com) hosts the Thurman Mitchell Passion Awards. The event honors Thurman Mitchell, a Kansas City television news reporter who became a Kingdom leader until his death in 2001. The “Passion Awards” has become the nation’s largest ministry awards event.
Ministries apply for Passion Award recognition, and undergo a rigorous examination process. As a result of this process, 22 ministries received Passion Awards this year, with 1 of those ministries being selected as the feature ministry and receiving a $25,000 grant. With well over 1,000 people in attendance, SCCF selected C3 to receive that top award on Monday, November 5. What an honor! We are going to pass 100% of that honor to its rightful place by building the Thurman Mitchell House of Hope for 50 orphans.
The most humbling part of the evening wasn’t C3’s selection as the top honoree. It was looking around the room to see so many of you there, cheering and encouraging because you have made this your ministry. Thank you.
November 17 – Wall Street Journal Article and WSJ.com Podcast
Heads up! On November 17, the Wall Street Journal is publishing an article about Mike, Beth and C3. This adventure started with WSJ’s poking around for a Retirement feature. They want to see what “successful” people are doing in retirement. You know, the usual. Extravagant vacations. Playing golf. Getting pedicures. Building orphan homes. Anyway, with leading from Debbie Hagen (thanks Debbie), WSJ decided to write a brief article about Mike, Beth and C3 – it certainly seemed interesting. As the staff got into it, they wanted to know more. So, WSJ did a 20 minute interview with Mike and Beth, which will be a podcast on WSJ.com. C3 and the Wall Street Journal. What a great fit.
Please check out the article and podcast. Pray that others seeking a life of joy and significance will see the material, and will make the decision to “plug in” to C3. If an article like this meets the right eyes and sinks into the right hearts, many thousands of orphans could benefit.
Now, let’s get down to business.
What’s Up With the Smiles?
Meet Bob and Janie Hodgdon (photo on the left). Mention orphans to them, and then try to wipe the smile off of their faces. Yes, you read the last sentence right. Mention orphans – they beam. Make sense?
What? What kind of twisted souls light up at the horrific plight of orphans? Hang on. They don’t beam because of the plight of orphans; they beam because of the joy of DOING something about it, and the unbelievable fruit our small efforts bear with His backing.
The smiles on their faces show what James 1:19-27 FEELS like.
Know that we’re not highlighting the Hodgdons to glorify them. The glory for their service does not belong to them, and they don’t want it. We’re highlighting them as examples of how and why so many of us have made C3 our own personal ministry, and how so many more can. What’s that look like? Why does it matter? Here’s the story…
The Hodgdons face the same daily pressures as all of us. Family pressures. Work pressures. Church pressures. Schedule pressures. Medical pressures. Etc… These extreme pressures warp our thinking, our margin, and our perspectives. Each time there’s a joy breakthrough, it’s fleeting and the pressures smother us anew – instantly. Sound familiar?
In January 2007, Bob and Janie pulled away from the pressures for 4 days. They went with us to Haiti, which serves as an example of what’s happening with orphans in the 3rd world, and what can be done. Initially, they saw the extreme need and abandoned children scurrying about the streets and landscape, living like squirrels live in our back yards. We remember that trip. We remember that the overwhelming sights caused our team to academically “go to 30,000 feet” to problem solve and escape reality. That’s typical. That process ends up in an interesting place, though: we end up adding another overwhelming pressure to our lives.
It doesn’t occur to us that God doesn’t want us stuck, academically brainstorming at 30,000 feet, with paralysis by analysis. He wants us on the ground, doing what we can for Him, and surrendering the results to Him. He gets the results. We get to share in the joy.
We remember our team was at 30,000 feet when we visited Casa Major, a village in southern Haiti. We went there on “business” – to check out a potential C3 cluster. We had the rock solid local church partner; the school; the micro-business. The cluster merely lacked the core C3 ingredient – family homes for orphans.
Want to know how we went from 30,000 feet to ground level in a split second? Children saw us and they came. They came from backwoods areas. They came from the mountains (we could see them making their way down). They came from squatter huts on the river bank. They just came and came. A few old timers living in the area came to keep an eye out and tell about the kids. Most of the children were obviously malnourished. And most, we learned, were orphans who shift from place to place, hut to hut, to survive. It’s hard to go back up to 30,000 feet when you’re standing amidst semi-naked orphans staring at you and tugging at your hands. You don’t want to go to 30,000 feet. You want to crawl under a rock.
So, what now?
Bob and Janie’s “what now” was simple: they would pay for a home right there in Casa Major. No excuses. No hedge. That’s it. That’s what they told us they wanted to do. They wanted to make those children their personal ministry. And that’s exactly what they did.
Fast forward to October 2007. That home for 60 children (divided into family units) is built and full. Bob and Janie went back to visit; to meet the children. They did not see empty eyes and naked children wandering about. They felt energy. They heard laughter. They saw abundant life. The cluster, fueled by the church caring for orphans, was the action hub of the community. The Hodgdons breathed pure air – the kind that vanquishes the suffocating feeling we experience all too often in our day-to-day lives.
The kids at the home don’t know that Bob and Janie “fund” them. They know that their care comes through the church body. And that makes Bob and Janie’s hearts swell all the more.
When Bob and Janie visited, some of the children – led by one little girl – tugged at them to get to ground level and the children smiled and giggled. Bob and Janie bent down. Not good enough. The children wanted the Hodgdons on their knees, an uncomfortable proposition with the rocks and all. The children smiled and giggled. The Hodgdons wondered what they were up to. When the Hodgdons hit their knees, the children changed their countenance and earnestly laid hands on the Hodgdons to pray. What a moment! We don’t know what they said in Creole, but you should have seen their faces. When they finished with “Amen,” they helped-up the Hodgdons. They rubbed the dirt off of Bob and Janie’s knees and smoothed out the creases on their skin from kneeling on the rocks. And, in a flash, the children peeled out to go play some more, leaving the Hodgdons stunned in wonderment.
So, what now? The Hodgdons want increase. They want more. They’re hooked. They’re building another home. And as the local church and businesses in the clusters develop and move the clusters towards self-sustainment, C3 will keep doing more and more with people just like the Hodgdons. That’s the way this works. Bob and Janie Hodgdon and a growing army of you are making these children your personal ministry.
We took the photo above shortly after the Hodgdons stood from their knees. Now it makes sense, doesn’t it?
It’s James 1:27 lived out.
It’s So Easy a 6 Year Old Can Do It
Do you have to travel to distant lands to make this your personal ministry? Do you have to have thousands of dollars to spend on a home or to support a home? Absolutely not. Truly, anyone can plug in.
Consider Isabelle Redford. That’s Isabelle on the right of the Hodgdon photo. She’s 6. Her mom read her the C3 newsletter about the twins last month (it’s posted at c3missions.org if you haven’t read it). Isabelle wept. She asked the penetrating questions that children ask. She wanted to know what she could do to help. Could she build a home? Why not? She felt stirred to action.
Isabelle’s parents didn’t curb her enthusiasm. They stoked it. They encouraged it. Why can’t Isabelle help support a home for the C3 children? Why couldn’t this be her ministry, too? Well, it can and it is.
On Tuesday, we forwarded you Isabelle’s IPO to build an orphan home.
Isabelle has been making cards and cookies to sell. She’s making bookmarks. With the help of mom and dad, she started a blog (artsfororphans.blogspot.com). She’s getting the word out. She’s telling the story of children just like her, and why she wants to help them. She’s telling her family, friends, and classmates. She’s asking other adults to make these children a part of their lives. And how do you turn her down? She’s having more meaningful conversation than most of us have.
We will tell you this with certainty: Isabelle is showing what God can do. She’s going to build at least one home, and she’s changing lives and encouraging so many others along the way. She’s 6, folks.
You don’t have to be “rich” to make these children your ministry. You don’t have to travel the world. You just have to be willing.
We’re ECFA Approved
One final housekeeping matter: we’ve been approved and are now a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (“ECFA”) (www.ecfa.org). Please check out the ECFA site to see the incredibly high financial accountability standards it takes to be an ECFA member. Let us tell you, they dig and scrub to make sure that a ministry seeking ECFA approval meets stringent, self-imposed accountability standards.
Stewardship, accountability, and our pledge that 100% of your giving dollar goes to the field are critical components of C3. We are pleased and honored to be a member of ECFA.
Conclusion and Request
Orphans lay hands on and pray for the Hodgdons. A 6 year old is funding orphan homes. The largest ministry awards event in the country recognizes your efforts as the ministry of the year. And the Wall Street Journal’s writing an article about the Foxes creating a vehicle to support orphans for good ole retirement fun. Just another gee-whiz month for what the Lord’s doing here.
Join us in this effort. Make this your personal ministry. Your family’s ministry. Your small group’s ministry. Your company’s ministry. Your church’s ministry. Unapologetically, we’re asking you to join us and give.
As we approach year end, we’re looking for partners willing to help support C3. ALL of your donation will go to these children. 100%. God is at work here, and it’s not about any of us at C3. It’s far bigger than us. As each of you makes this your ministry, and engages your circle, this ministry will become a viral Movement. 1000 children will become 10,000, and 10,000 will become 100,000. Fun stuff.
Your C3 Partners