Monday, July 28, 2014

Catch Movie Review

Last week, I stumbled across an article written about a former Disney actor: Actor Reveals How He Found Success In Hollywood Without Compromising His Faith and Values. Why did it stand out to me?

Well, think about it. How often have we read in the news about celebrities who have stayed true to their beliefs and values throughout their career in the entertainment business? Rarely. So, I clicked on this article to see what this guy did to stand out.

Photo by Benjo Arwas
If you clicked on the article, you'll see that it's about actor (and now director) David Henrie. He is best known for his roles in Wizard of Waverly Place and How I Met Your Mother. And recently, he directed his first movie: Catch.  I've known about David for a while but didn't really follow his career because I wasn't allowed to watch his Disney show when I was younger. And then I found out that he's a strong Catholic and while his former Disney co-stars Selena Gomez and Miley Cyrus have sometimes made the news because of unwise decisions, he has stayed true to himself and beliefs.

David is only 25 years old but has wanted to direct his own movie for years now. The short film that he put together follows the story of an 8 year old boy who goes to drastic measures to spend time with his father. It stars William Mapother, Robyn Lively and Jet Jurgensmeyer.

For his first film, David has proven to be an incredible director. In the film's webisodes, one cast-member made note of his paternal instinct as he directed Jet Jurgensmeyer (who plays 8 year old Jimmy). He always got down to Jet's level to explain how he wanted something done. Not only do directors need to know how to communicate their thoughts and ideas for their movies but they also need to know how to do it well.

The film is just about 11 minutes long but even in that short amount of the time, the message comes through clear and strong. And not only does the film have a great message but it also showcases the kinds of movies that David wants to continue to be involved in (whether in front of the camera or behind). Hollywood needs more uplifting and challenging films with strong morals.

David Henrie and Jet Jurgensmeyer
The movie was first released on iTunes a week before Father's Day (because it's definitely a film for fathers to watch!) so it's a shame that I only heard about it a few days ago. But it's definitely worth the watch.

All over the world, with parents working long hours of the day, it's important to remember that even though they're doing a great thing by stepping up and providing for their family, children still need that love and quality time.

For me, I got proof of this the day that I first watched the film. I've been working all summer at a day camp and I spend a lot of time with one of the little girls. She explained to me how much she enjoys her Saturday tradition that she and her dad do together (Pajama Day!) but sometimes, he'll get called into work leaving her to stay at home and just watch TV.

Catch is challenging and inspirational. It shows the impact that a father's words and actions will have on their children. But it also shows that even when a father doesn't keep his promises and seems to have neglected his family, his children won't stop loving him.

When you buy Catch, you will also be supporting a non-profit organization called "Family Works" that focuses on supporting families across the U.S.

At the end of his final webisode about his movie, David Henrie said:

"This to me is the perfect short film to showcase who I want to be as a filmmaker and the types of projects that I want to be involved in. I couldn't have picked a better story to embody who I want to be."

Please watch the trailer below:

And you can buy the movie for yourself HERE or on iTunes.

Keep up with David Henrie:

** Photos found at David Henrie's Official Facebook Page

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: What Inspired Me?

For those of you who keep up with my blog, you will know that I am a Compassion Blogger. And every so often, I am given an assignment. This time, I have been asked to blog about what first inspired me to sponsor a child. You have all heard my story before but here it is again. Please read and then share in the comments below about what first inspired you!


I was about 12 years old when I first heard about Compassion International. I was reading through my Brio magazine and came across an article about how a few of the staff had traveled to Kenya to meet their sponsored kids. Ashley Boyd has written the article and I immediately began to look up to her because of her heart for her child and for reaching out to those in poverty.

Unfortunately, I was 12 and had no way of earning money. I prayed and prayed that God would let me sponsor a child because I wanted to make a difference. But I also knew in my heart that there was no way that I'd be able to raise enough money each month. So, put the desire in the back of my mind and forgot about it for a while.

4 years later, my passion for sponsorship returned. I was reading a blog post about another writer from Brio and she was talking about meeting her sponsored child. A video was included and I just fell to pieces over her little guy. I just knew that I needed to sponsor too.

So, after praying for a bit, I talked to my parents and they told me that God would provide if this was what he wanted me to do.

And in November 2012, I sponsored 6 year old Fadi from Honduras:

Fadi at 6 years old!

So . . . what inspired me to sponsor? God placed that article in my favorite magazine and forever laid sponsorship and compassion on my heart. Even now, when I think about the billions of little boy and girls around the world with no food, shelter, parents or hope, my heart breaks. We can't just sit back and wait for someone else to act. God is calling each of us to do something for his children.

 Since sponsoring Fadi, I have also sponsored two more:

Ali at 9 years old!

And a few months after becoming Ali's financial sponsor (you can read more about my journey with him HERE), I still desired to impact another child but did not have the money to sponsor a 3rd child. So, I co-sponsored again and that is when Lucy entered my life:

most recent picture - Lucy at 7 years old!

Now, I want to be clear on something. Even though I keep talking about how I wanted to impact a child's life and make a difference, I have also had my life impacted and I have been blessed through Fadi, Ali and Lucy. Each of them has told me countless times that they pray for me. They tell me that they love me and encourage me in my faith in Jesus. Fadi, Lucy and Ali draw the most colorful pictures for me and I know that they do their best in school for me. I am so blessed.

If you'd like to read more about Compassion International and my sponsorship journey, all you need to do is look to the right and click on the "Sponsorship Saturday" "Passionate for Compassion" labels.

If you feel that God is leading you to sponsor, please do not hesitate. Click on the link at the bottom of this post and let God change your life forever.

What inspired you? 

Check out last week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post:

                                                                   Sponsor a Child

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: Give Them Hope

Meet Mayc. He's 4 years old and lives in Peru. Actually, he just celebrated his 4th birthday two days ago. Mayc is fortunate to live with both his parents but unfortunately, they're not always able to financially provide for their family. Mayc is lucky to have the opportunity to go to the Compassion Center to learn about Jesus. This means that he may give his Heavenly savior and spend eternity in heaven where there will be no poverty, not tears, no fear and no sickness.

Mayc loves playing with his toy cars and drawing pictures for his family and friends. And Mayc has been waiting 320 days for a sponsor.

Please SPONSOR him and give him hope.

Meet Alondra. First of all, she is so adorable and so precious (just look at that smile!). She's 4 years old and lives in Nicaragua. Alondra lives at home with her mother and sibling and loves to play with dolls and play house. She is lucky to have the opportunity to go to the Compassion center where she hears about Jesus and his love for her and that beautiful smile. So, whenever she feels sad or scared, she can turn to her Savior not lose her hope.

Alondra has been waiting 351 days for a sponsor.

Please SPONSOR her and give her hope.

And if you're not able to sponsor either of these precious children, please pray for them. Ask God to keep them safe, provided for and loved by their parents and teachers.

If by the time you click on the links to sponsor either Mayc or Alondra and they're unavailable, don't let that stop you from giving hope to a child in need. There are thousands of children on who are waiting too with stories similar to the ones that I just told you about. Give them hope.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: An Exciting Update!

For those of you who follow my Facebook page, you'll know that I recently got an updated picture of Ali! He's turning into such a handsome little guy. In about three months, he'll be 10 years old!! And next month, I'll have been sponsoring him for a year now.

Not only was his picture updated but so was his family information and his interests. It seems as though his mom finally has a job (which is an answer to prayer!) as a cleaner. Ali is into marbles and group activities now.

Both my mom and I noticed how skinny he looks in both pictures. That concerns me a little bit. His birthday is coming and I'm considering how much I should send to him. Usually I send about $20 but I want to do what I can for him and his family. I'll be praying about that in the next few days. I'll also be praying for his family and their safety and health. I'm in the process of sending a birthday gift to Ali and a small gift to his mom with someone traveling to Honduras in October. He will always be close to my heart.

I just got a letter from Fadi yesterday. She's in great health and is a very happy little girl. My favorite part of the letter was:

"At the project she feels very happy and she has learned the importance of washing her hands before she eats and brushing her teeth. . .What Fadi likes most about Honduras is the geography because thank God there are no volcanoes here."

I love, love, love the three pictures that I have received from her and am excited to send something to her in the next month (thanks to a fellow sponsor who was willing to bring something directly to her in Honduras).

She just turned 8 years old and is into reading and listening to music. I need to ask her what her favorite song is! And although her parents are back together under the same roof, Fadi's mom doesn't have a job. I will be praying that she is still able to provide for her 4 children.

I haven't heard anything from Lucy in a while and hope that she's doing ok. However, I did just hear today that her favorite subject in school is Drawing! Her birthday is in about two months and she'll be turning 8. I have been praying that she is still drawing closer to God and doing her best in school.

Tell me about your own sponsored kids below in the comments or if you've written something on your blog, send me the link! I love hearing about other sponsored kids!

Check out last week's "Sponsorship Saturday" post:

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: Don't Turn Away

I posted this on my Facebook page a few days ago but wanted to share it on here as well. I found it on The Rebelution. You can read it if you click on this link (These Are Real Children. They Need Your Help. Don’t Turn Away.) where it will include pictures and comments and links to other awesome pages or you can just read it here on my blog. I did not change anything (except for omitting the pictures):

"When I was a kid, I never wanted to be a ballerina or a princess. I have always had a heart for missions. When I was five years old, my parents sponsored a little girl in Guatemala so she could go through school, have food to survive, have clothing, and learn about Jesus.

When I was eight, I got a letter from the organization, showing pictures of more children who needed sponsored. I sobbed and sobbed while looking at their faces, realizing those were REAL people who were hungry and who didn’t know Jesus.
My mom would tell me, “Julianne, you can do something about it” and that’s exactly what I did. I created a group with fifteen of my friends and we sold cookies, candy, candles, and pictures that we drew. We spoke at our church, and went around town getting loose change for children who needed sponsored.
Most people may think, “Awww, that’s so sweet. A bunch of 8 and 9 year olds trying to help a few kids get sponsored.” But that’s just the beginning of the story for me. I sponsored a child of my own the day before I started my first job. I created a group on Facebook to raise awareness of poverty around the globe, raised countless amounts of money for organizations like Boys and Girls Missionary Crusade,Compassion International30 Hour Famine, and Speed the Light. And most importantly, I got to go on my first missions trip last year to Zambia, Africa.
Who knew that ten short days in Africa could flip my life upside down? I could rattle off lots of statistics that would break your heart, but love is not about numbers. Love is about real people.
Vice is a 7 year old girl. She and her three year old brother Nathan followed me the entire time I was in Zambia. I became in love with both of them. They could not stop holding my hands, playing with my hair, or sitting on my lap.
The very last day I was with Vice, I helped her make a craft out of a brown paper bag. At the end of the day Vice sat next to me and ripped up the brown paper bag and began to eat it to ease the hunger that burned in her stomach. The thing is, Vice is real person. She is my friend. And she is God’s child.
Lauren is a 3 year old girl. She is an orphan because her parents died of AIDS. Lauren and I played with a Frisbee together. I could tell she was sick, but most of the children I saw were sick. I watched her chase after this Frisbee for a good five minutes. Then suddenly she started coughing, and coughing, and coughing. Then she leaned over and threw up all this white stuff.
I knew that her running was not a good idea if she was sick like that, so I sat Lauren on my lap. As she fell asleep in my arms I realized she had an extremely high temperature. I asked a team member who went with me to Zambia what was wrong with this little girl. He told me that Lauren had worms which could be prevented for $1.25.
That’s how much I spend on a candy bar! I knew my life had to drastically change to help people like Lauren. Because Lauren is real person. She is my friend. And she is God’s child.
Lubona is a 73 year old woman. She had 5 children who all died in a car accident. She not only had grief from the loss of all five of her children, she also had to take in her 18 grandchildren the same day.
Lubona could barely survive before, and now she has more 18 mouths to feed. In order to feed all her grandchildren she has to rotate their meals — giving six of her grandchildren breakfast, six of them food at lunch, and six of them food at dinner. Lubona and her grandchildren are real people. They are my friends. And they are God’s children.
As Americans, when it comes to missions and the poor it’s so much “out of sight and out of mind,” that we don’t really think much about it. We may think a little bit about it when a missionary from another country comes to our church, but do we really do much more than throw a few loose dollars in the offering plate for them? I mean, let’s be honest, most of us go and spend more on lunch after church than giving to the missionary that just stood in our pulpits.
Jesus says that if we love Him, we are to clothe the naked, to feed the hungry, to visit and care for the sick.
I think one of the hardest things for me when I came back to America was when I looked online at pictures of all the children who needed to be sponsored. I saw the children I had held and I had played with. I saw that they needed sponsored. I realized they really are REAL people.
When you look at a picture of a child who needs sponsored or a video of a starving child, they aren’t just videos or pictures. They are REAL. They are the faces of Jesus. And they are hungry and naked and sick and they are asking us today: Will you feed me? Will you clothe me? Will you take care of me?
I will say yes. And I am asking you to help me.
I am asking, will you help your church support your missions program?
There are millions of people all across the world in desperate need. What are you going to do about it?
Are you going to sit back and enjoy your comfortable American lifestyle where you never think about where your next meal is coming from? Or are you going to see the face of Jesus in people who are desperate for help?
Are you going to ignore the problems in the world because they are so overwhelming or are you going to offer hope to the hopeless? God may not be calling you to feed and clothe the entire world, but you can feed and clothe ONE of His children. So what are you going to do about it today?
Will you answer His call?"
~ written by Julianne Fortney

Check out the last "Sponsorship Saturday" post:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Summer Day Camp Week #2

I've almost finished up my second week managing the Summer Day Camp at one of the schools here in Niamey. While the work can be tough (especially with 10 of the kids only speaking French and me not being able to speak any!) and  the kids a little too energetic, it's been a great experience so far and a lot of fun.

Getting the job and signing the contract was probably the most difficult of this job (so far) with trying to work out the pay, the hours and my responsibilities. I am the one and only teacher for all 13 kids (soon to be about 20) which has been very hard but I am thankful for the older kids who have stepped up and helped me a bit. There are also a few staff members who've been around to translate and manage the kids. Every day, I find myself asking God for help and every day, he answers my prayers and I come home with satisfaction for the day.

Although I am not used to being the only one in charge of so many kids for almost a full day, I've really, really enjoyed all the freedom of organizing the day and all the activities. We've been starting the mornings with crafts and toys inside the classroom and then we move outside for a few hours of sports. After lunch and a little (or a lot!) of TV watching, the kids head back outside until their drivers and parents come to pick them up.

Every time I'm having a hard day and am feeling overwhelmed, my mom will remind me that this will be good experience for later in life. And she's right. Whether I decide to become a teacher or work at a day care or nanny, this experience is going to help me out so much. I've also learned a lot just by going online and looking up fun crafts and activities to do with the kids. Just this evening, my mom and I made two big bottles of bubbles for the kids to use tomorrow. We'll also be painting but I'm not sure how that will go.

Prayer would be extremely appreciated for me right now as I am struggling to manage so many kids, communicate in the little French that I know, wake up early and discipline the kids. The ages range from 5 to 12 years old.

But, please, also pray that God would use me to witness to the children as the majority of them are not Christians and probably know next to nothing about Jesus.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Sponsorship Saturday: It's NOT About You

Well, it's been a while since I've updated my blog, let alone post any Sponsorship Saturday posts! I've been busy with graduation (happened last Thursday!) and my new job.

Anyway, I realized something.

None of my friends here sponsor and I wonder if it's because it takes up a lot of time, money, energy, prayer and stationary. Sponsoring children is no easy job. It really does take a lot of time and you'd better have the money to support him or her each month. Speaking from experience, I've really hated having to balance my money so that I can pay the $76 a month. And it takes a lot of time and effort to write out three (or six) letters a month and draw pictures. But when I really stop complaining and step back to look at the whole picture, I come to a realization: Sponsorship is NOT about me!

I've written about this before but I need it to sink in for myself. Sponsorship . . . isn't about me. 

Sponsorship is about the three little kids who barely eat every night and have never owned their own iPod or even their own bicycle. It's about sharing Jesus with Ali when his sister has been in a bad accident, with Fadi when she misses her daddy and Lucy when she longs for a better future. And it's about looking at the three little pictures that sit beside my bed and praying that each would have hope in knowing that their identities are not in their poverty.  They should not be poor in spirit.

I don't sponsor to make myself feel like I'm doing good in the world. I don't sponsor because it looks cool. I sponsor because God has laid it on my heart. And if you feel that God has done the same for you, instantly obey him. Don't put it off until you feel right about it.