When I mentioned to my husband and local friends in 2009 that I had joined Bloom, an online book club, there were blank stares and polite nods. You know the kind. *cue crickets chirping*
Frankly, I would have had the same reaction had I not been captivated by Angie and Jessica’s irresistible enthusiasm. Little did I know the plans God had to use the book club far beyond the confines of the books we’d read…
Put women in a room together, virtual or otherwise, and the bond that is created through the many common threads of life will give birth to the sweetest of friendships.
Add to that the conversations amongst “Late Bloomers” night crew that always turned to shoes, food, and Jen’s Australian vernacular —what’s not to love?
It was through Bloom that I met my best friend Tia back in 2009. Even though we were nearly 2000 miles apart in two different countries, we had a lot in common including our love for God and the sponsorship of several children from Africa.
When Ato Sam, one of our Compassion children in Ghana, learned that Tia had served in Africa, he confidently told us we should (and would) serve in Ghana next. “I asked God for us to meet face to face… God says this too shall come to pass… Amen!!” Had he taken classes from Angie and Jessica?
Drawn to his prayer, we researched serving opportunities in Ghana together and learned that Ghanaian children as young as 4 were being sold into slavery.
Faced with life threatening poverty, mothers are tricked into selling their children to cunning slave masters, believing they are giving their children a chance to survive. Forced to sell one of your children, which would you choose?
Trafficked into the fishing industry, these children face some of the most dangerous child slavery conditions in the world. Barely school aged, they’re forced to work 14+ hours a day without basic necessities, facing dangers such as beatings, drowning, electric eels and crocodiles.
Although you’ll mostly find boys as child slaves on Lake Volta, the girls are not spared. First bought as domestic servants, many are pregnant before they reach their teens, most ending up as sex slaves.
Having grown up in an environment similar to sex slavery for 18 years, I immediately knew that God had shaped my heart for this calling.
Would it hurt, would it take much sacrifice, would it be daunting? Yes, acts of faith always stretch us uncomfortably, but what good were the books we read if they didn’t stretch us to impact the world around us?
Had those books not affirmed that we were created to serve God by serving others?
When we announced that we’d be going to Ghana in November to help negotiate the release of these children and to build a school for them, Debra, another original Bloom night owl, contacted us and said “I just have this crazy feeling that I’m supposed to be coming with y’all…”
And so two Bloomers turned into three. Can God turn three turn into thirty thousand?
$30,000: the cost of building the school needed for the rescued child slaves. The cost of not building it would be unthinkable.
Alone, we can’t – but we’re not alone.
We’re the body of Christ and when we join as one, He can build this school through us. We are not looking for someone with $30,000 – we are looking for many to give a little.
God multiplies the loaves and the fish given in His name.
Bloom? Build a school? Raising $30,000??! Those who initially raised an eyebrow about the book club are now watching to see what God will do next through Bloom, the not-so-ordinary book club.
Will you join us and watch the seeds He planted bloom for these precious children? Will you Bloom with us?
For more information and to help build the school — Ghana Child Slave Rescue Mission.
By JD, Compassion CanLeave a Comment
Oh, how I miss my Night Crew Bloomies!! I will talk with Adam tonight about how much we can help… Do you take Aussie dollars?? 😉
Jen, I miss the Night Crew too! The conversations were classic, I can close my eyes and see the chat text scrolling up almost faster than we could keep up, and sure enough, someone’s screen would freeze, they’d get booted off, only to scramble back on and try to catch up… Good memories!
Yes, Aussie Dollars or loaves and fish, it’s all good!
Erin Brady says
That’s funny, JD. I got the chirp of crickets, too, when I told my husband and friends that I joined an online book club. And I still get the blank stares when I tell people that I am STILL very close to some of you night-crew girls. I can’t even tell you what Bloom did for me…all I can say is that Bloom was a vehicle that God used to take me closer to where He wanted me to be.
I miss our night-crew chats.
And the first book was Francis Chan’s “Crazy Love.” How fitting for what you and Tia are doing. It takes a crazy kind of love, an unearthly love, to do what you are doing. I will dig deep and see what I can do to help.
“Bloom was a vehicle that God used to take me closer to where He wanted me to be.” Amen, sister, amen… I couldn’t have said it better.
The crickets are still chirpin’ here too, “You’re going where? Do do what? How’d that come about?” I might as well be telling them that I met my husband on a 1-800 number. Wait, I did, and the crickets still chirp for that one. 😉
Yes, Crazy Love was where it all started… totally fitting. I can’t get the image of Clara out of my mind & heart, nor would I want to. I know that this is what I want to be doing when He comes.
Teena Price says
Wow loved reading JD, praying and asking God to give you all guidance, wisdom and peace in this journey! I am so thankful our paths crossed.
So sweet to cross paths again with you here, Teena! We have so much in common! Thank you, friend! Your prayers and encouragement have made a difference each step of the way, blessed by your support!
Michelle ~ Blogging from the Boonies says
Dear friend, I am continuing to lift this endeavor up in prayer. It was amazing to see how our homeschool co-op children were inspired to scrounge change from all sorts of places to help these children in Ghana. If only more adults would have the passion our children show when it comes to reaching out and helping.
I’m glad that you found a close circle of friends in your Bloom club. These friendships make such a difference. I know how blessed I have been to get to know some bloggers through the comments section of Shaun Groves’ blog. <3
Love ya, sis. I'll be going to Ghana with you in spirit!!
It’s stories such as yours with the homeschool co-op that have already made this journey so beautiful and inspiring, the support encourages us greatly.
Yes, the friendships that are made do make a difference — and looking back, it’s so amazing to see how one thing leads to another, and yet another, and another still…. OC, Bloom, Shaun Groves, Precious, Ato Sam, Ghana, Compassion Blogs, Kwagala, the list goes on!
I’ll be taking you with me — but one day, God’ll bring us there together on a Blogger Trip.
God- via- Francis Chan -via- Bloom Book Club was a defining moment in my relationship with Christ. I realized Christ was Real and He wanted a Real relationship with me. I had been taught the Holiness fundamentals of being a Christian, my entire life; which I am extremely grateful for. When you focus solely on lining-up with religion fundamentals, it is exhausting. (Don’t get me wrong I am not dissing religion.) 🙂 I am blessed to KNOW my Heavenly Father, and am blessed to call so many of you bloomies, Friends.
Love you all! I am praying for all of you, and this Ghana initiative.
“God-via-Francis Chan-via Bloom Book Club” – beautifully said, and it was a catalyst for growth in my spiritual walk as well; still growing, learning, finding my way to Him. As beautiful as it was, looking back, I see growing pains throughout it, but that’s what it’s all about… stretching, growing, learning, reaching, living – and we are never the same.
Blessed to have had the companionship of so many Bloomy friends along the way.
Love your heart, Reese — love you. Thank you for your prayers for this mission!
Bloom has meant a ton to me and “Crazy Love” and the late bloomers changed how I wanted to serve God. It opened my eyes in so many ways and convicted my heart to be sold out in serving Christ. I am so so thankful for the experience of it all. I hope that God touches all of your hearts the way he has touched and transformed ours. These are not just Jd, Tia and my children in Ghana. They are OUR children. A mission born from experiences we all shared together. Children who will know your love because you showed us love and encouraged us and God was faithful and used those late night conversations and heart altering books. I hope you take joy in being a part of something so beautiful.
Amen, Debra! Every heart touched by this will be coming with us, this mission belongs to God, and He’s very willing to share with anyone whose hearts are invested and whose prayers lift up these children and this project. We’re not alone in this!
i havent been reading this lately and happened to turn on this today im an african american and when i think of GHana I think of a place possibly of where some of my family came, to read this when growing up my view of Africa was very different I can see how GOD has woven this all together and why I am saved..to me it’s almost like i am more than obligated…as a Christian and as someone who’s benefitted from this country how can i not get invovled. thanks for this will b praying.
AP — My view of Ghana is multifaceted, whereas one side sees Ghana through the beauty of its people, who are so warm and welcoming, so full of life and love…. one side sees the dark history of the Slave Coast days, traces of which are still darkening its own people. Most of all, I see God freeing Ghana’s people, much as He freed the Israelites from Egypt — Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven!
Your view of God having woven this all together resonated with me, as soon as I learned about this, that’s how it felt… God brought me through all that He had for such a time as this. I couldn’t walk away. I knew that now that I had seen, I became responsible for doing something about it, lest I become a part of the problem too.
Thank you for the blessing of walking this journey with us!
I live in Mexico, how can I help through Compassion?
Although Compassion helps more than 25,000 children in Ghana, it does not yet have a presence in the Lake Volta area where these children are enslaved. That being said, I believe that Compassion is one of the most effective organizations through which to combat slavery, because it is established to effectively eradicate poverty, which is at the root of most, if not all, slavery situations.
Sponsoring a child through Compassion, or donating to any of their four core programs (Sponsorship, Child Survival Program, Leadership Development Program, or Crisis Response) makes a tremendous impact on the future of children in the nations Compassion is present in… it’s life changing — for the child, the child’s family, church, school, community, nation… and for the sponsors.
If you would like to sponsor a child through Compassion in Ghana or in any of the Compassion countries (including Mexico!), please visit http://www.compassion.com or http://www.compassion.ca. If you would like to support our work with the children of Lake Volta, simply visit our website for more details and for ways to donate.
Thank you so much for your prayers and support!
With less than 3 weeks until we leave for Ghana… God has provided 98% of the fundraising needed to build this school. How did it happen? Faith. http://compassioncan.blogspot.com/2011/10/sun-stand-still.html
Thank you all for being His hands and feet in this amazing experience!! Continue to pray as we prepare to have our hearts broken in Ghana, and as we make difficult choices of how to respond to what we’ll experience and see… we know it’s not over, the harvest is plenty, the workers are few… we must continue in His footsteps.