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Today was a much clearer picture of life in Moldova and the overall mission of Beginning of Life Ministry (BoL).

Yesterday Jenni shared about what the school visits were like. My experience was similar minus the singing part. Kids were extremely gracious, curious and well mannered. My group spoke to 4 classes at the 11th and 12 grade levels. When I asked them if they could go anywhere in the world, where would they go? The most common answers were, New York City or Las Vegas.

This morning we spent a couple hours at the psychological art center which is another ministry of BoL. This facility is designed to use art as a form of therapy and teach skills that can transfer into income. They craft a bunch of cool things that can be purchased in their little store. Their customers up to this point have been special orders from larger countries and short term mission teams that visit. Now they are in the process of opening a little retail store front in their building which should give them much more exposure.

They have an extremely talented artist teach painting as an art form not only for therapy but as a way to create things people will want to buy. The other gals teach the girls, often times single moms, life skills that include sewing and crafting. The items range from bags crafted from used denim jeans to dolls and stuffed animals created from socks. Every single item is made by the girls and the sale proceeds go back to them to help cover living expenses. It’s a great reason to purchase stuff. Here are a couple paintings that weren’t for sale that one of our team members purchased anyway.

Baby Crying Photo

Candles Photo

From the art center we went out in small teams to visit single moms who have been or still a part of one of these ministries. These visits include bringing a toy or two for the children and bag of groceries to help the family. A typical single mom has difficulty even earning a couple hundred dollars in a month. Most tiny apartments will use up all their income in just the rent. On top of the rent they have expenses like heat, electricity and so on. Their utility costs are very similar to ours in the States yet their opportunity to earn income is so much more limited. From our perspective it seems impossible to survive. Here is a story of one of the families we visited

As Jenni also shared in her post today, my favorite part of the day was celebrating Valentina’s 18th birthday. It makes me want to focus on reminding people of how special they are in God’s eyes no matter what trauma or mistakes they’ve experienced. Everyone was so intentional in showing her love and you could tell she soaked it up. She is finally in a place in life to begin to receive love and believe that it is real. This may sound very simple to many of us but it has taken her over a year of intense recovery to begin to believe that she has value and that there is geniune love with no strings attached. She is finally understanding the heart of God. This is all happening because of the heart and intentional actions of the BoL staff.

Looking at life back home, I want to take a little piece of what I have seen in action here and begin to duplicate it in El Paso. I want to live more on purpose each day to influence a society in my back yard that can have a ripple effect for generations. I am so thankful for each of these BoL team members and what they have taught us all and for the inspiration they have offered me in this short visit.

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I’ve gone on a few mission trips over the years. Here’s what I’ve learned and experienced by going on these Jesus centered humanitarian adventures.

1. I am the one who usually experiences the richest blessing and reward from the acts of service

2. I gain a whole new appreciation and respect for other cultures and gain a renewed a perspective on how incredibly blessed my life is.

3. God speaks to me in a clear, direct ways that I don’t often eperience in my normal routine.

4. The relationships that are formed with other team members are deep and long lasting.

5. I get inspired by those who are dedicating their whole life to missions work in very challenging environments. Experiencing their world allows me to find ways to encourage them and pray for them in very specific ways.

If you have not participated in a mission focused trip outside of your culture, you should. It’s eye opening and faith expanding. God calls us to get out of our “normal” life to partner with him in this great adventure.

About this trip and how you can help me make this happen. Jenni traveled to Moldova last year to see what Beginning of Life Moldova (partners of Children’s Hope Chest) is doing to rescue, rehabilitate and prevent human traficking. She got to experience what they do on a dailby basis and to spend time encouraging young women who have been through hell and are now trying to live a restored life. You can read more about her and last years team experiences here. (Scroll down to see several posts from last year’s trip.)

ImageI

This coming February Jenni and I will be taking this trip again along with a team for our Paseo Church family. Jenni has explained a lot about what we are going to be doing and the expenses of the trip that need to be covered here so I am not going to re-write but I’ll paste in the meat of her post.

will be working with Beginning of Life Moldova (HopeChest in country partner) to help bring awareness to their programs that assist trafficked, abused and exploited girls/women. BOL operates three programs that we will be visiting/working in:

  • A rehabilitation house – Girls live here after they have been rescued. The girls in the safe house are ages 8-16. They live at the safe house where they receive holistic spiritual and psychological treatment.
  • A reintegration and independent living program – Once the girls have completed treatment they move to this phase of the program where they continue to receive ongoing treatment and begin to learn life skills, receive job training, and prepare for independent living. We’ll also visit with girls who have successfully completed the program and are now in independent living.
  • Prevention program – BOL and HopeChest work in schools and offer training and support groups to educate vulnerable children and teens to connect them with services and prevent trafficking. We will be working in the schools and assisting with this program. There are pieces of the prevention program that deal with crisis pregnancy and abortion prevention that we may also be visiting.

We’ll also be meeting with staff, checking out the local area, learning about Moldovan culture, and participating in worship and just spending time with the girls. It’s EXTREMELY rare that outsiders are allowed in to work with actual victims of trafficking. This is humbling… a privilege… and I can’t wait for my team to experience all that I did last year.

Paseo (my home church) is strategically sending all of us on this trip to figure out how we can permanently partner with BOL/HopeChest in. Our ground costs are $1,000 and flight will be another $1,500 or so. Since Brian and I are both going, the total cost for both of us is $5,000. We humbly ask that you partner with us.

I’d like to ask you all to consider the following:

(1) Prayer: We need prayer. Moldova is far from “safe”. We actually had to sign a waiver in our application that stated we understood that there would be no efforts of negotiations if we were kidnapped. I highly doubt that will happen… but the fact that THAT needed to be signed warrant for SOME prayer. Please pray with us and FOR us. Please pray for our children. We aren’t taking them with us, though I really would love to one day… but for now, that they’d feel secure at home with the friends we are leaving them with.

(2) Financially: We need to raise $5,000. It sounds like a lot. It IS a lot if just ONE of us had to pay it. But if 50 people partnered with me for $100 or 100 people partnered with $50, that could be covered quickly. This letter is going out to 400+ friends/subscribers. Every little bit counts and is EXTREMELY appreciated.

If you feel called to help in this way, you can simply CLICK HERE (or on the Online Giving logo on the right column) and give your tax-deductible donation to Paseo. Just make sure you label it: “CLAYVILLE’S-MOLDOVA” in the “Description” section.

I have not stepped out to do something like this trip since 2007 so it’s time. I work on commission in my mortgage business so it is a sacrifice because when I’m not out interacting with people my business generally slows down. I am trusting that God will continue to provide new clients and my business will be in capable hands while I’m gone. I trust my kids will be protected and loved and not miss us too much while we are gone.

I look forward to sharing the ways we saw God working in Moldova, with our team and in our own hearts. Partner with me!

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Birthday Presents

Birthday’s are awesome…It’s fun to have everyone acknowledge you one day out of the year.  Even if your birthday represents an age that feels old or you thought you would never reach.

Last Thursday (Nov. 19th in case you want to plan for next year) was my birthday and I got a ton of “happy birthday” wishes on facebook and twitter.  But i have to say, the best two presents I got were:

Love Endures (Snoring) by dg4G

Lyrics:

Waking everybody with a sound
That’s been likened to sawing
Some call it snoring
All the best husbands do it
So our wives have something to tweet about

As if the bobbleheaded conversation
sprinkled with some speculation
covering the sanitation habits of the generation
that we’re raising all across the nation
…wasn’t enough

(some choral wailing)

Kids are upside down in nearly
Every single family picture
It’s probably better that way
Definitely better than attempts
to fish for sharks from the car

I wonder whose genes he got?
Should this be rhymed with bergamot?
Maybe, but probably not
Though citrus-scented gas
Might be a winner

(some more choral wailing)

(Love)
Love never gives up, never looks back
Never gives up, never looks back, never gives up…
(endures)

(Love endures)…

Waking everybody with a sound
That’s been likened to sawing
Often called snoring
And if I’m not sleeping through life, you’re not going to either.

All the other gestures were awesome and truly appreciated!  I am blessed with more quality friendships now than at any other time in my life.

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Birthday Tribute

It’s really hard to compete with Jenni’s own birthday tribute so I won’t even try.  Instead, I will just make a couple statements showing my admiration.

     JENNI

  • You are one the most courageous people I have ever known
  • You seek to love, respect and honor me (this makes me happy)
  • God is using you in huge ways because you choose an authentic life
  • You are a fabulous mother to our boys
  • Your cooking skills have blossomed and I love the meals you make
  • You are beautiful on the outside and the inside
  • I am so excited about spending the next 31 years with you

Hope you enjoy your free birthday present because that is all I can afford this year.  I love you very much!

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Sunday Wrap Up

I am not even going to try and write an update right now.  Today was overwhelmingly good but exhausting.  Please check Jenni’s update and links to our story when you have the time.  Thanks for all the prayer support today.  It was so needed and appreciated.

Good Night.

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About three or four weeks ago, I made a decision to be completely obedient to God.

You may think, If you are a Christian, shouldn’t you have done that a long time ago?

The answer would be, YES!

And I have done this several times in my life before.

Life happened and I slipped back into old habits, justifying behavior as I went along.

Part of this obedience process has been really painful, but the joy I am feeling is SO much greater.  This morning at 10:30am Jenni and I will be sharing something that is very painful and real at our Church.  We are so fortunate, that our story doesn’t end with the pain, we have found hope in forgiveness and in Jesus Christ.

If you read this in time and live in Portland, come here our story.  If you can’t make it, go ahead and listen to the podcast that should be available by Monday.

God is so Good and I am excited to see where this adventure takes us over the coming days, months and years!  Please, Keep us in your prayers so God can be glorified in our humility.

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911 Remembrance

Don’t forget about the people who died on this date 8 years ago. Some died just doing their normal work or errands others died willingly trying to save lives. Remember that our way of life was attacked that day, that attack was meant for all of us.

Only God can help us make sense of a senseless tragedy. As you remember the horror of the day, remember that God is here and ready to comfort, heal and restore all of us who are lost with out Him.

Remember to pray for people who are still being subjected to these types of attacks on a regular basis. For those who don’t enjoy the freedom we have. Pray that we can continue to have the freedom we experience now in our great country.

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