Tag: reflection

Sponsored children take part in an Unbound activity in Colombia.
Aug 22 2016

Unbound, a shelter of hope in times of war


By John Fredy Arango, Unbound staff member in Medellin, Colombia

The Colombian government has been in conflict with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the country’s largest guerrilla movement, since the 1960s, as well as other armed groups. More than 50 years of violence has had an impact on people from all parts of the country. Unbound staff member John Fredy Arango reflects on the recent evolution of the conflict.

I was barely in my mother’s womb when the echoes of war were already shaking my body. I was born and grew up, I became a young man and I heard those sounds of war again, but this time they were stronger. I saw how they were numbing the hopes and neutralizing the dreams of those around me.

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Henry Flores, communications center director for Unbound in El Salvador, takes a moment to play with Dulce, who's sponsored through Unbound in Guatemala. Henry was in Guatemala to help shoot a series of commercials featuring Dulce and her family.
May 4 2016

Being the eyes and ears of Unbound in Latin America

Henry Flores, communications center director for Unbound in El Salvador, takes a moment to play with Dulce, who's sponsored through Unbound in Guatemala. Henry was in Guatemala to help shoot a series of commercials featuring Dulce and her family.

Henry Flores, communications center director for Unbound in El Salvador, takes a moment to play with Dulce, who’s sponsored through Unbound in Guatemala. Henry was in Guatemala to help shoot a series of commercials featuring Dulce and her family.

By Henry Flores, director of the communications center in El Salvador

Communications in our day can be challenging. Everything is fast. Many prefer short videos, fast-scrolling in their social media. They get bored with stories with a lot of words.

These same people, however, still appreciate true, honest, life-changing stories from real people, videos that capture the dignity of the person and natural photos depicting the true beauty of the humans of our world.

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Children in the Philippines make a heart with their hands.
Feb 10 2016

Embracing the gift of mercy

Children in the Philippines make a heart with their hands.

By Larry Livingston, senior writer

In Catholic tradition, a holy year is a time of special prayer, pilgrimage and grace. They normally occur every 25 years, but there can be exceptions for special occasions.

2016 is one of those exceptional years, with Pope Francis proclaiming this The Holy Year of Mercy. During this time, the pope has invited not only Catholics but all people of goodwill to enter into deeper reflection on the concept of mercy.

So let’s reflect a bit, through the lens of Unbound.

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Simon proudly displays some of his art.
Feb 8 2016

“I can only go further”

Simon proudly displays some of his art.

Simon proudly displays some of his art.


By Regina Mburu, communications liaison for Unbound in Africa

Regina Mburu, the communications liaison for Unbound in Africa, recently visited sponsored friends and families served through our Kampala, Uganda office. One of the young men she interviewed is 24-year-old Simon, a sponsored youth currently pursuing his higher education goals.

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Dan-FEATIMG
Oct 19 2015

‘Saving one life is like saving the world’

Dan Pearson, director of international programs, recently gave an inspiring webinar talk to Unbound staffers around the world. He told a story about a sponsored child he met in India, and how helping one child now could affect millions in the future.


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sunflowers
Jan 2 2015

‘To the stars through difficulty’

sunflowers

By Alley Stonestreet, bilingual communications manager

There’s something about Unbound that has always puzzled me.

Not about how sponsorship works better when both parties involved write to each other. Not about where the money goes. Not about why this works. But why Kansas?

Don’t get me wrong, I love Kansas. Midwestern values, sunflowers, Jayhawks, BBQ — I love it all. But as the hub of an international organization that brings hope and empowerment to kids and elderly across the world? Probably would not have been my first thought.

I’m not the only one to ask this question. It seems like such an interesting location for the headquarters to be. Of all places in the country or the world, how did Kansas get in the mix? Other than the founders being from the area, how did Kansas become the right place for Unbound?

After a year of working here, it finally hit me: Kansas’ state motto, “Ad astra per aspera,” or “To the stars through difficulty.”

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Sponsor a child
Nov 12 2014

Putting Gandhi’s wisdom into action

Martin Kraus

Martin Kraus (second from right), director of finance for Unbound, with his family

By Martin Kraus, director of finance for Unbound

“You must become the change you want to see.”

As I walked through the Mumbai airport in India, I couldn’t help but notice this quote on a huge banner hanging overhead. Most of us, whether from India or not, easily recognize this quote as being from Mahatma Gandhi, one of India’s most influential and respected leaders. What struck me are the many ways in which I am privileged to see Gandhi’s quote being put into action all over the world.

At Unbound, our sponsors take this quote to heart by taking action. Their sponsorship allows them to “become the change” that this world so badly needs, and in doing so, they make significant changes in the worlds of others. Recently, while performing an audit of Unbound’s office in Manila, Philippines, I met two beautiful examples.

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Voices of Unbound: Madagascar
Nov 7 2014

Setting ego aside to let music in

By Barclay Martin, new channels coordinator for Unbound

It is an outlandish thing to make your living as a singer/songwriter, and one of the lessons it taught me early was that in order to make it, you have to hustle.

You have to release the notion that just because a morning of coffee and scratching in a notebook renders a song the world is compelled to respond. There’s a brawn to art, the idea that beneath the lustrous promise of a new creation there is muscle and metal driving it. With each release, there is a constant chirping in my brain, beckoning people to pay attention for a moment to what I’m doing. It is a daily battle for a sliver of presence in a world more infinitely layered than we could ever know.

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Mar 16 2011

Lenten reflection: Learning to listen for the voice of God

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday throughout Lent, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own Lenten journey.

Simon Peter is one of my Scriptural heroes, and not because he was Jesusí right-hand man or the leader of the early Church.

Rather, it was because he somehow managed to become those things in spite of himself.

The Peter portrayed in the Gospels is a mess of impulses, the guy who always says or does the wrong thing. Todayís Gospel reading about the Transfiguration of Jesus is a classic example.

The story begins with Jesus taking Peter, James and John up a mountain. There he is revealed as the Son of God and Messiah, more worthy of honor even than Moses and Elijah, the two great heroes of salvation history who suddenly appear with him.

For the three disciples, this is a moment to be savored, not interrupted. Yet, Peter being Peter, he canít stay quiet.

Without truly understanding what is happening, Peter blurts out an offer to erect some tents. In so doing, he comes close to stepping on God the Fatherís profound affirmation of Jesus as beloved son.

It is easy to critique Peter after the fact, but I suspect that a lot of us would have reacted similarly.

Many of us, like Peter, have difficulty knowing how to respond in graced moments. We too struggle with the tendency to over-analyze and overreact.

Violet and Audrey in Kenya

Violet, left, a sponsored child in Kenya, shares a quiet moment with Audrey as the two play together. Violet is sponsored by Audrey’s parents, Eric and Sarah.

And we sometimes speak when we would be better off listening.

Thankfully, Godís grace has a way of sneaking through even our best efforts to block it. Sometimes we are forced to pay attention by big and traumatic events in our lives.

But, every now and then, that grace also catches us in quiet moments when, for whatever reason, we are just ready to listen.

For nearly 30 years CFCA has been gently helping people to listen better. We invite sponsors and sponsored persons to listen to one another and to be mutually blessed through their communion.

We seek to facilitate graced conversations where the voice of God might be revealed in new and beautiful ways that help build a more just, more peaceful world.

This Lent we invite all the members of our community to listen well and be attentive to the surprising voice of God.

It may be a voice of challenge or it may be a voice of affirmation. We do not know what that voice will say to you, but we do believe that it waits to be heard.

Simon Peter eventually did become the leader that Jesus knew he could be. In the end, he succeeded because Jesus never gave up on him and because he never gave up on himself.

And because he finally learned to be still enough to listen.

Mar 9 2011

Lenten reflection: Learning to love others more deeply

Larry LivingstonEvery Wednesday throughout Lent, we will post a reflection from Larry Livingston, CFCA church relations director. We hope these reflections help you on your own Lenten journey.

The Scripture readings for the First Sunday of Lent are not subtle.

Right off the bat, in the poetic language of Genesis, we are presented with the destructive force of evil in action.

It is a theme continued in the Gospel, but with a dramatically different result.

The antagonist in both readings is the devil, and his tactic doesnít vary. The temptation he offers, first to Adam and Eve and then to Jesus, is that of godlike power. You have to hand it to Satan for his consistency.

If the devil always seems to play the same card, it is only because it works so well. It sure worked on Adam and Eve, and we know the results.

Their disobedience represents the disobedience of all humanity ñ a sin that has flourished like a rogue weed throughout history and made suffering an accepted part of the human condition.

But Satanís encounter with Jesus turns out differently. Here the tempter doubles, then redoubles, his efforts but in vain. So why did it work before (as it has so often since), but not this time?

The difference is that Jesus knew who he was and what he was called to do. Moreover, he possessed the deep love that enabled him to do it.

Kevin and Gloria in El Salvador

Kevin, a sponsored child in El Salvador, and his mother, Gloria.

In Jesus we see the holiness ñ that is, the wholeness ñ that gave him the wisdom to recognize the tempterís empty promises for what they were.

The irony here is that in refusing the allure of godlike power Jesus proves himself to be truly God-like.

He teaches us that being like God in the authentic sense is not a matter of forcing your will on others but of laying down your life in service of them.

The true power of God is love, and the Lenten journey is one of learning how to love more deeply.

This involves the uncomfortable task of confronting that which is unloving in ourselves, but it is a task we must take on if we seek to become whole human beings.

The CFCA community believes we have something of value to offer on our common journey toward human wholeness. Each of the stories from the CFCA world is, in its own way, about that journey.

They are stories that involve suffering, yes, but they are so much more. Like the story of Jesus in the desert, they are stories about the triumph of loving choice.