Unite Productions Blog

looking forward to SPRING!

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SPRING is just around the corner, and I'm excited!  I'm anticipating some pretty amazing moments.  The quality of people that are going to lead us in worship this spring gives me reason to expect some very unique times in God's presence.  We can't underestimate the power of being together lifting up Jesus.  It is sweet to his ears...

Here are some links to check out for yourself to give you a bit of taste of what's to come.

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Adoption Month

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It's the middle of National Adoption month, but adoption is part of our lives everyday. We love to tell the story of our family to encourage others and hope someone will be inspired to let God put a lonely little one in their family through adoption.

A couple of resources that we hope you find encouraging and compelling:

Myadoptingstory is a newly launched website dedicated to resourcing adoptive families and encouraging those wishing to begin the adoption journey themselves. They make available the resources to raise funds for the costs of adopting, hoping financial obligations will never be the reason anyone cannot adopt. The mini-version of our story, along with other families are found on the site. Still few in number, pass this resource along so we can build our adopting story community.

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response to the devastation in Haiti

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It is difficult to avoid the heartache of the tragedy in Haiti. The news is all around us, and the need for us to act imperative. To help me get a better glimpse inside the country beyond what I read in the newspaper, I have sought and found several blogs written by people actually living there; or closely related to others in Haiti. I am following several of these blogs, and in doing so, I feel more compelled than ever to respond in prayer and action.

  1. The Livesay family, living in Haiti: http://livesayhaiti.blogspot.com/
  2. Aaron Ivey, a musician in the process of adopting a little boy from Haiti: http://aaronivey.com/
  3. Compassion International's blog, regularly speaking with their teams in Haiti: http://blog.compassion.com/
  4. the "Real Hope for Haiti Rescue Center" that houses 60 children: http://haitirescuecenter.wordpress.com/
  5. Vaden and Cristal Earle's ministry, and The Absolute Leadership Development Blog: http://52.absolute.org/
Continue to pray and ask God what you can do to touch the beautiful Haitian people.
 

'tis the giving season

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It's a beautiful, special time of year.  A time to celebrate, give, enjoy friends and family and remember the wonder of why we even have this magical time of year: Jesus is Christmas.

We may choose to celebrate in dozens of different ways; stockings, singing, sleigh-rides, significant parties, or even just simply relaxing.  Through it all, if you're like most people I know, you want to remember to think outside of yourself - - even outside of your regular circle of loved ones.  We all want to be givers at Christmas.

So, I looked through the web at a small number of the worthwhile  organizations that are familiar to me.  I found ways that we can reach a bit deeper at this time of year and give to make some lasting difference to children and families that know absolutely nothing of the Christmases you and I are privileged to know.

Compassion Children's gift fund, enabling every sponsored child to receive a gift this Christmas.

Food for the Hungry gift catalogue: for someone with everything and someone with nothing.

Invisible Children: watch this great video and learn that shopping is a cinch!

Blood:Water Mission makes it possible to give a family a safe-water filter this Christmas.

Children's Hope Chest can help you support orphans while giving fair-trade coffee for Christmas.

World Vision brings meaningful gifts to children and their families.  Check out their great gift catalogue.

 

I invite you to take a few moments, and see where you can give - - whether it's now, specifically in December at Christmas or any other time of year.  Giving should be a part of our lives year-round - - it's just a little more contagious this season.

Enjoy.  And have a very joy-filled, Jesus-centred Christmas.

 

Around the world with UNITED

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We all love to see how God is moving around the world - it inspires us, encourages us, and ignites our faith.

Since the release of the iHeart film: "we're all in this together" (we hope you had a chance to see it!) our Australian friends have been traveling in South America.  They gave us a lot to think about in the several hours of video footage, challenging us to make a difference wherever we are.  Now they're on the road, sharing God's love,and continuing to cause others to want to do the same.

A few links I know you'll love, will give you a picture of a few things:  what's going on in the hearts and minds of others since seeing the film; and what's going on with our brothers and sisters around the world as Hillsong United bring their music and contagious love to cities on every continent.

#1 Stay in touch a bigger community of believers, determined to make a difference in their world at the iHeart blog. Click around this site, there's so much to see and read: share your story, read about others', get ideas and listen to what people are thinking.  So many valuable resources.

#2 Keep up with Hillsong United on their recent tour, and more.  It's fun to visit them on their website.  Even watch behind the scenes in Lima Peru!

 

LIMA//PERU from Hillsong United on Vimeo.

 

A surprise guest a the ROM

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It was an incredible conference this past weekend at the Royal Ontario Museum and the Royal Conservatory of Music.  The venues and the location reminded me why I love Toronto so much!  What a privilege to join together to worship God in one of the key cultural areas of this great city.

Each musician, leader and speaker brought a fresh picture of the beautiful and timeless truth that God has for us today, given so very long ago. The backdrop of the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit and wealth information laid out for us about the scrolls, brought a fascinating reminder of the reality of God's infallible word.  I heard someone say that they love the thought that God hid those scrolls for all of those thousands of years, only to bring them to light to our generation.  What a gift, and a testimony of God's never failing truth!

A highlight of the weekend for me, however, was a surprise guest.  It was a young man who was simply there at the ROM to attend and enjoy the conference.  Stopping by at the Compassion table on Saturday, he asked for assistance to sponsor a child from his homeland: the Philippines. Moments later he mentioned that as a child, he had also been a Compassion sponsored child.  Hearing that, excited the team member from Compassion.... and soon after, she shared it with all of us.

His story went something like this:

Manuel was the 9th child in his extremely poor family, growing up in a village in the Philippines.  They had no electricity, running water or shoes.  A missionary from Australia came to the neighbouring village, looking for children to place in the Compassion program - children who were from very needy, poor families.  Manuel  was chosen and entered into the Compassion International sponsorship program.  Soon after, someone began to sponsor him, and his life dramatically changed.  In an interview, he was asked how his life was different after he was sponsored, compared to how it was beforehand.

He put the microphone up to his mouth, and as he humbly looked down at his feet, he said:  "I got shoes."

Along with the rest of the audience, I made an audible sound of joy for him - such a small thing as shoes, was obviously a big gift in his life as a boy.

 

He continued.  "And I also got a guitar."

Now the audience clapped - and I began to cry.  His gentle spirit and shy smile beamed from the stage.  He was the real thing.  He was living proof that a small amount of money, and a large amount of love in the name of Jesus could dramatically change a life and break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness.  I was struck with awe at the way God can use us to reach children around the world, and the tears continued to flow down my cheeks.

Manuel continued to tell us his story.  He, and others in his family became Christians, and a number of years ago he was sponsored to come and live in Canada.  Here in Canada he met a young woman who later became his wife.  She too was a former Compassion sponsored child from the Philippines.  Together they have three boys, two of whom join with Manuel playing guitar in the worship band at his church in Toronto.

The real thing.  Compassion delivers Jesus' love, and our money and letters to children all over the world like they did for Manuel, giving them the opportunity to live more full, free lives. What a wonderful surprise and privilege for those of us at the conference to meet Manuel and hear once again, in a very personal way, how our loving heavenly Father watches over His children.  Manuel's life is proof.

 
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