Amy L. Sullivan

Summer!

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As of June 14 another school year will be completed! A bittersweet moment for me, as I most likely will be doing a new work in the fall. It was my great privilege to be a small part in the lives of some incredibly special students with special needs. They have my heart- forever. You could pray for me in the coming weeks that I feel God’s peace and clarity moving forward.

We got a long-awaited puppy! Meet Ginny Weasley Van Engen, a German short-haired pointer. She is sweet, puppyish and has lots of energy. The kids have been waiting their whole life for her!

 
changed for lifeI finally get to share a project I was blessed to be a contributing writer for called Changed for Life. Changed for Life is a free, downloadable online resource from the CRC and RCA that equips short-term mission teams, the hosts who receive them, and the congregations who send them, to craft a well-organized mission experience with the potential to catalyze lifelong change.

 

The curriculum features the work of established voices in cultural intelligence and missions Kurt Ver Beek, Jo Ann Van Engen, and David Livermore. Read more about the why behind the curriculum from Pastor Shannon Jammal Hollemans called Missions Tourism. I loved being a part of this project, because it is challenges us to think about seeing how God is already at work where we serve and joining God in that work alongside one another.

 
TJ ACTSSummer also means Talk Justice Playgroups! If you are in the Holland area, I so hope to see you there! Sign up for updates at our Facebook Event Page or send me an email! Our first date is Monday evening June 20! Meet up at Kollen Park from 6:30- 7:30.

We will support ACTS, a local ministry led by Jamie Blom that reaches out to neighborhood kids through meals, art, and an open door. Listen to a story about creativity, play at stations, make newspaper watercolor hearts, and contribute to the collaborative art project it takes a village.

Let’s encourage the Blom’s and their ministry by bringing needed donations like Meijer gift cards for meals, gas cards for field trips, art supplies, or even toilet paper.

 
GutsyGirlsCorrieandBetsieCover3Our dear Amy L. Sullivan has released the second book in her Gutsy Girls Series (Gladys Aylward: Book 1). This addition is a beautiful, moving, and winsome look at the sister duo of Corrie and Betsie ten Boom. I love everything about giving our girls role models that are worthy examples of making a difference! Want more book suggestions- join Amy’s summer book club looking at more books for girls and talking to their authors.

 

What does the summer hold for you family? I can’t wait to keep doing justice together!

 

 

 

Be Brave Gutsy Girls!

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Amy L. Sullivan debuts Book One of her Gutsy Girls Series today! Yay Amy!

I love the concept of introducing our girls to strong, Christian women who impacted the world. This is even more needful to me, as I navigate having a tween! How did that happen?

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This is my Gutsy Girl. She had her first b-team basketball game last Tuesday. I was so proud of her and her teammates. They had so much courage and determination. After the game there were tears of exhaustion, and also the realization of how intense a real game really is. Shortly after the last tears were dried, she was pumping her fist in the air and exclaiming how excited she was for the next game.

Life, not so easy. There is exhaustion, intensity, sadness, fear, worry and anger right alongside joy and beauty. We need everything possible to strengthen their hearts and prepare them to live for God. The inspiration of Gutsy Girls is a beautiful book for doing just that.

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The whimsical illustrations by Beverly Ann Wines are the sweetest accompaniment to the story of Gladys Aylward, an ordinary girl who did extraordinary things for God. For all of us that feel the pangs of not being enough- her story is impactful. Gladys never gave up despite insurmountable odds. She became a missionary to China and saved numerous lives. She kept going in faith. She made a difference, and now will inspire another generation of girls to be brave.

AmyI just love Amy. She’s an encourager, a wisdom-giver, full of grace, and kind. Follow her work at her website amylsullivan.com. Check out her #raisinggirls Pinterest board. I also love Amy’s first book When More is Not Enough. She is a hip Instagrammer too! And a Mom to two girls. She lives in North Carolina among beautiful mountains, but you can invite her to move to Michigan. Holland specifically.

 

If you order Gutsy Girls by September 25, Amy is giving away really fun freebies! Gabfest conversation cards and a five page guide of extra enrichment activities! You can order Gutsy Girls: Gladys Aylward here. Visit Amy’s blog for details of how to get the free stuff! (Just email lisavanengen@gmail.com)

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I would love to give away a copy of the book! Leave a comment to be entered.

Who is the gutsiest girl you have ever known? 

(I would say my Mom who just did nine months of treatment for breast cancer like a boss 🙂

 

 

Talk Justice

 

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It’s been a long winter hasn’t it? So long. I’m excited for spring and the new hope it brings to our hearts. I’m also so happy to begin a new series called Talk Justice!

My friend Amy Sullivan, writer of the amazing When More is not Enough, sparked thoughts about talking justice with our kids a few months ago when we were having a phone date. In the right context walking beside children and teaching them about justice issues from a young age, shapes them to be people who understand, empathize, serve, and love others.

 

I tried to put it off.

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Then a little volume came to my mailbox to be reviewed. If you find this letter, by Hannah Brencher. She was featured in our Craft for a Cause Issuu magazine! As the founder of the World Needs More Love Letters, the book is a beautiful unfolding of her journey to crafting love letters to strangers and leaving them all over New York City. Her little dream grew into something so much bigger than herself, and millions have been touched by the love letter movement. Learn more at her website.

 

Hannah had this struggle I know well.

She longed for God to use her fully, but she didn’t feel good enough.

God used her anyway.

 

Do small things. On repeat. And think about other people. ~Hannah Brencher

 

That is what we are going to do each week.

 

I hope you will join me here on Mondays, for the next three months, to Talk Justice. Not just for ourselves, but for the generation we are raising up. They can handle proximity.

I’m really excited about so many things. (I’ll keep them a secret for now, but especially about Summer Serve Play Groups with the Citizen Kid Book Series given to About Proximity.)

 

Also, you are good enough. My love letter to you… I hope every time I write.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gray Fades

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Friday evening, I felt depleted. Oh the gray that builds sometimes, especially this time of year. Laying on the couch, I hit play on A Path Appears. 

The three-part documentary film based on the book of the same name by Nicolas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, shows on PBS. Episode One talked about sex trafficking in the United States. Episode Two covered Breaking the Cycle of Poverty. You can watch Episode 1 and Episode 2 on-line until February 14. The last part will show this evening and takes place at the Kiberia School for Girls.

It was midnight when I finished, and the gray had receded.

Proximity does that to you. You remember who you want to be.

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Earlier in the month, Nicolas Kristof wrote an article about a high school friend, stuck in a cycle of poverty called Where’s the EmpathyOh, how we need and long for understanding that leads to empathy, that moves us to act.

 

I’m excited about A Path Appears.

The IF Gathering where so many women gathered and dreamed this past weekend.

Voices like Amy Sullivan, who remind us that serving is hard, but glorious.

and progress like the Millennium Development Goals.

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{Mother and their children at a Mother’s group in South Delhi, India}

The Global Team of 200 is reporting this month with Save the Children and MDG4, reducing childhood morality. The number of children dying from preventable causes decreased from 12.6 million in 1990 to 6.6 million in 2012. Progress… but still 

  • Each day an estimated 800 mothers and 18,000 young children die from largely preventable causes.
  • More than 1 million babies die on their first and only day of life across the world, and 2.9 million in their first month.

Newborn mortality rates can only be reduced through

  • fairer distribution of essential health services
  • universal healthcare access; this means making these more available to the poorest and most marginalized families, as well as to communities living in rural areas.

The world produces enough food to feed every man, woman and child yet 1 in 8 go to bed hungry every night. 

???????????????????????????????{Mother and son in a hospital in Lusaka, Zambia}

 

Let’s rise up to meet those suffering with empathy and action.

It is our calling, why we breathe.

and gray fades.

 

Chasing the Good Life

 

A Guest Post by Amy Sullivan 

I used to chase The Good Life. You know the Good Life. It’s the one where struggles prove few, material possessions many, and the needs of others lounge in the backseat, think the back of a Suburban. Way back, the back, back.

I’m not sure when this Good Life chasing began, but I know when the effects of Good Life chasing grabbed me by the shoulders, stared me in the face, and shook me.

 

The conversation went like this:

“I don’t know any poor people,” stated my mini-me of a daughter.

“What? Of course you know people who go without,” I snapped.

Blank stare.

“Um, yes. There are kids in your class who don’t have enough to eat.”

Blank stare.

“And kids all over the world go without.”

Blank stare. Losing interest.

“Like in Africa (Africa, always a good go-to). In Africa, kids don’t have enough food and some kids even have to walk miles for water (I mean Matt Damon mentioned something about water right?).”

Interest is now lost, as mini-me twirls a loose thread on her pajamas.

The end.

 

Mini-me didn’t care about people with less, and I failed in a colossal way to explain the idea of poverty.

I pondered how my girl grew to eight, and people with less never came up, and I’m not going to lie, I felt physically sick.

That moment at the kitchen table is when I knew I didn’t want cardstock awards, soccer trophies, or picture perfect photos from our latest vacation. This is when I started to think serving others meant more than serving the girl who stared back at me from the mirror.

And that’s our story or at least the beginning of the Sullivan family’s story. Thankfully, our ideas about serving God and serving others didn’t end there. Now, we drag our kids to all kinds of crazy places, we go without water on purpose, and my kids know the names of people with less.

 

We work to chase things that don’t break or fade. Things like truth, justice, and Him.

 

Amy Sullivan writes about finding God-sized ways to give in the everyday at her website. She resides in North Carolina with her husband and two daughters. Her writing is inspiring, add her work to your reading list! You can also follow her on facebook,  twitter, and pinterest.  Amy is a fellow Global Team of 200 member. I am so thankful to call her a friend. She has a beautiful, welcoming spirit! You will love her work!