Nov 14 2013
And, Sometimes, Things Work Out Beautifully (A Short Story in Pictures)

In other words, Angeliz, a forgotten little sparrow, high up in a dark nest in a sprawling hillside... is exactly the kind of girl God has His eye on.

Angeliz is almost four years old, and she doesn't know anything about radio contests, certainly not "pledge drives", and probably doesn't think much about miracles.

And yet...

Victoria and Isaiah won a contest. They couldn't believe it - literally. They thought it was a time-share deal, or something, when someone from Air1 called to tell them they'd won a trip with Compassion International. They didn't really know what Compassion was. They'd just given during an Air1 pledge drive, and didn't know about the random drawing.

After getting answers to a few questions, like, say, "Where are we going?", they found babysitting for their two little girls, and headed off to Peru with us.

They learned that Compassion develops children, spiritually, emotionally, physically, and intellectually, and they do it in the name of Christ. They love children, through local churches, and meet their needs through child sponsorship. 

They heard children talk about their sponsors, and how having a sponsor changes everything. They heard a grown woman, now graduating college, talk about poverty, and hopelessness... and how God used her Compassion sponsor to save her life.

And so they went through a list of names, and picked a child. They chose a little girl, the age of their own oldest, and - you guessed it - that girl was named Angeliz.

Angeliz, as you'll remember, is a little girl who probably doesn't think much about miracles.

But she is one.

And the Air1 listeners, Victoria and Isaiah, who happened to win a trip to Peru, her country, and happened to visit her project, a project with 230 children... picked her.

They picked Angeliz.

 

They met her, and hugged her, and she kissed them, and walked with them. But the hills are steep, and the walk is long from the project to her home, especially for tiny legs. Isaiah, though, is strong. Strong enough to care not only for his family, his little girls, but for at least one more.

 

Angeliz lives in a tiny, dark structure on the side of a steep hill, with her great-grandmother. She does not live with her daddy, because he left her and her mommy. And she does not live with her mommy, because her mommy soon left her, too. 

In other words, Angeliz, a forgotten little sparrow, high up in a dark nest in a sprawling hillside... is exactly the kind of girl God has His eye on.

 

Victoria and Isaiah know this God, and they now have their eyes on her, too. 

 

Feb 27 2012
Dear Nazar

I'm in Afghanistan, at CURE hospital, where Nazar just had her surgery to repair who cleft lip and palate.  She'll need a couple more, including a rhinoplaasty. Air1 listeners paid for her treatement. Nazar is 15. When I walked in a waiting room this morning, two hours before her procedure, she sat alone.

Like any dad - any feeling human, really - I wanted to sit next to her and put my arms around her.  I was struck by how small she was, and looking down at her feet, I thought of sitting next to my own daughter, and how much I loved her.  

I saw her again when they wheeled her into the operating room, and I saw her eyes flutter as they put her under, and the doctor began his life-changing work. 

Below is a letter I wrote before her surgery, for translation by hospital staff, to Nazar. Because she is in Afghanistan, she knows only Islam. And for that reason, she likely has never heard, before, of a God 

who LOVES her. Thanks to the people who listen to Air1, she now knows.

-----

 

Dear Nazar,

My name is Mr. Brant Hansen.  

I am from America, and have come to Afghanistan to tell you how important you are to many people.

The hospital told me about your story, and I have shared it with many friends, who have helped pay for your surgery.  These friends did this because they love God, and they know how much God loves you.  

And because you are precious to Him, you are precious to us, as well.

I am a father, who has a girl just your age!  When I go home to her, I will tell her about the wonderful girl I got to meet so far away.  I pray that God watches over her, and blesses her the rest of her life.  And Nazar, I pray the same for you.

Please always know that you are very loved, even from far away.

When I return, I will tell them about your surgery, and about you.  I will tell them that you are changed, and you are healthier! And I will tell them, Nazar, that you are now beautiful.  

And you know what, Nazar?  In God’s eyes, and in ours, you were beautiful before your surgery, too.

Love,

Mr. Brant (and Carolyn) Hansen

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Sep 25 2011
Here's Some Stuff You Can Do Before Going to Hell

If you're looking for some religious stuff to do, while still being totally lost, here's a little starter list with some neat ideas.

And yes, don't worry:  If you're determined to avoid God, and don't want to give Him what He's after, you can still do all this stuff.  In fact, doing this stuff has been known to HELP some to avoid the dread and risk and messiness of really knowing God. You can do it all without giving Him your heart.

None of these things will save you.  Plus, they'll keep you busy!  (By the way, FunFact: I totally did the accompanying graphic by myself.  I avoid possible copyright issues in this manner. Thanks!)

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Be a scripture memorizer

Go to church camp

Teach Sunday School

Tithe

Be a brilliant theologian

Lead the Cookies-for-Newcomers Ministry

Think you're one of the Elect

Listen to Christian radio

Work in Christian radio

Lead "powerful worship"

Preach the Word for an hour-and-a-half every Sunday

Be a missionary in Africa

Host a small group from your church

Stand for Justice and Peace

Vote pro-life

Go to seminary

Feel guilty every day

Pray for the President

Have a brilliant, theologically astute understanding of Grace

Talk to people about Christ

Say the "sinner's prayer" 

Speak in tongues

Wear a WWJD? bracelet

Start an award-winning ministry to people with AIDS

Be an elder in your church

Argue with your teacher about evolution

Lead family devotions

Keep trying not to sin

Argue theology on your blog

Argue theology on this blog

"Take a stand" for prayer in school

Start a hip, organic church

Use Christian-y cusswords, instead of the real darn thing

"Take" or "receive" communion every week, month, quarter, or year, without fail

Come forward at church camp

"Take a stand" for Truth and combat the lies of Rob Bell

Place a sticker of a fish, preferably eating a Darwin fish, on your car

Pray two hours a day

Confidently trace your church's lineage back to Peter

Confidently trace your church's lineage back to Calvin

Read Max Lucado

Actually want to read Max Lucado

Read the Bible every day

Argue that drinking alcohol would ruin your "witness"

Say "under God" really loud while you pledge your allegiance to a flag

Rue those new choruses that lack deep theology

Be transparent about your shortcomings on your own radio show and your blog

Personally baptize people

Personally lead people in singing Chris Tomlin songs

Personally baptize Chris Tomlin

Sponsor a child through Compassion International 

Steer clear of R-rated movies

Homeschool your children

Mail only REAL Christmas cards, ones with pictures of Jesus and scripture

Be a member of the Tea Party

Be amember of Sojourners and consider yourself enlightened beyond the Tea Party

Be a "prophetic voice"

Be a counselor at a Graham crusade

MAKE YOUR OWN AWESOME GRAPHICS FOR YOUR BLOG!!!!

Wear a Christian shirt that looks kinda like a known-product T-shirt, but says a Christian-y thing on it

Organize VBS

Wear Tebow jersey to Raiders game

Weep openly at small group

Work at Focus on the Family

Tsk tsk Harry Potter

Have a model marriage

Know who Priscilla and Aquilla are

Know who DeGarmo and Key are

Watch, repeatedly, "Fireproof"

Force your kids to watch, repeatedly, "Fireproof"

Go to confession

Eschew the banalities of commercial Christian culture and listen to Sufjan Stevens

Be a key member of a church that offers solid, Biblical teaching -- none of that namby-pamby stuff

Be a pastor who offers solid, Biblical teaching -- none of that namby-pamby stuff

Listen to Rush Limbaugh

Believe people who listen to Rush Limbaugh lack your insight

Give the neighborhood kids "Cross-Pops" (TM) candy for Halloween, plus a tract

Lead your neighbors to Christ

Be correct about every. single. thing.

"Know", theologically, that this post is correct, but live as if it isn't