Tuesday, December 02, 2014

#Giving Tuesday and Nuru International

The woman in the photo above is a farmer named Amarch Sama. She lives in an area called Meteka Mele, Ethiopia. Earlier this year, she was sharing with Nuru that for the last several years her family has gone through a six month hunger season. This hunger season  has led to a lack of savings, and even difficulty buying seed and fertilizer for the next year. Rather than opportunities and choices, her life was defined by anxiety. “How will I be able to feed my children? What happens if someone becomes ill? How will we save for the future?”

This year, all of those anxieties began to melt away. Amarch and 487 other farmers in Ethiopia joined Nuru and began to learn better farming techniques. They began farming as groups, and the community grew closer. When harvest came, Amarch and her neighbors were thrilled to see incredible yields of maize and beans because they knew that hunger would not be part of their future.

And this year, Nuru is working hard to help 1,700 farmers like Amarch to begin to lift their families out of extreme poverty for good! To do it, together we need to raise $350,000 this month to begin implementing our programs. Thankfully, to help us get started we had a generous donor step forward to match every donation that comes in TODAY (December 2 2014), up to $15,000. So if you give to Nuru in honor of #GivingTuesday, your donation will be doubled! How cool is that?

Will you help us maximize this match by donating today? With your help, Nuru can raise $30,000 today and be far along the way to raising $350,000 by the end of the year!

Also check out this video if you would like to learn more about Amarch, about Nuru, and about Nuru's plans for 2015!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Joshua's Story

I just had to share this incredible new video from Nuru International with you!

Joshua Makira Chacha is from Ihore Kenya. He’s been farming with Nuru for the last three years, and his story is both heartbreaking and inspiring. Heartbreaking because no one should have to go through the challenges he and his family had. They did not have enough food to eat. How heartbreaking would it be to look at your children knowing that you and they were hungry and not having any idea what you could do about it or when the hunger would end.

In Joshua’s words, “Not being able to provide for my kids and my wife made me feel like I was nothing.” When Nuru came,  Joshua learned new methods for planting and provided a loan of good seed and fertilizer. Joshua was able to go from growing five bags of maize to twenty two bags of maize on his farm.

Not only that, now Joshua is teaching other families, He and his family are not only able to address hunger, but they are practicing healthy behaviors like boiling water, sleeping under mosquito nets and using latrines—so he and his family can stay healthy. He also joined a savings club which helps him to save in case of an emergency the money will help him.

Very happy because he can now feed his family, has beddings, house, and cattle. Nuru didn’t give him a handout, but rather gave him the ability to provide for his family.  And now, the result is not only seen in the improved crop yields, but more importantly, in the restoration of Joshua’s dignity as a human, as a man, as a husband, and as a father. In his own words, “Now when I hang out with friends, I feels like I am somebody, a real father.”

And stories like Joshua’s are becoming reality for literally thousands of families in Kuria West, Kenya.  It is an honor to work together with you and Nuru to make this change possible.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


The brilliant video above is the latest promotional piece from an incredible advocacy organization called ONE. ONE was started by Bono, the lead singer of the band U2, in an effort to challenge governments and individuals to take action in the fight to end extreme poverty. Jamie and I have been members of ONE for several years, and just this summer, Jamie took a volunteer position with ONE as the Congressional District Leader for the state of West Virginia.

The video above illustrates a challenge we all encounter in our lives—the challenge of waiting. We live in a world where we expect immediate gratification in every arena. As a culture, we are becoming increasingly self-absorbed and we easily grow impatient with slowness in download times, traffic, food service, and you name it.

And yet, when it comes to bigger issues, we often sit by—watching. Meanwhile, there are people who are waiting and hoping for individuals like you to take action and use your voice and your time to make a difference.

Right now, the Ebola virus is devastating West Africa. For some, the problem is far away and out of mind, but we are no longer all that separated as a global community. Within hours, anyone on the planet can be anywhere on the planet. What affects one truly does affect us all.

Every day we wait to take action on issues like Ebola and extreme poverty, more people die. People die while waiting for funding to reach the ground, waiting for doctors and nurses to be deployed, and for shattered medical services to be rebuilt.

So what can you do? To start, sign ONE’s petition asking world leaders to step up and take action on Ebola. Beyond that, start spreading the word—tell people what THEY can do to address the issue. That’s why I wrote this post. I’ve signed the petition, and I want you to do so as well. Looking for more steps to take? Stop waiting and joinONE.

May we each take appropriate action as we are able so others can stop waiting for a response.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Beams Of Our House: A Future Book By Trey Dunham

My friend Trey is a really smart guy. We’ve known each other and been friends for almost as long as I’ve been a Christian. We’ve worked together in various capacities over the years, and he even officiated mine and Jamie’s wedding!

I’m really excited about Trey’s latest efforts to develop his skills as a writer and share some of his insights about life and faith with a larger audience.  His most recent focus has been the exploration of marriage in a fictional futuristic account that merges Trey’s background in writing about technology and society with a commentary on the Song of Solomon.

Trey’s first book in this six part series is called The Beams Of Our House. In an effort to launch the series, Trey created a KickStarter project to raise the funds needed to launch the book. He is currently trying to raise $15,000 to cover the costs associated with producing and marketing the book.  Jamie and I decided we would invest in this project, and we wanted to encourage you to do so as well. If he hits his funding goal, by November 29, 2014 every person who invests at least $15 will get a free tshirt. Also, everyone who gives at least $15 will be able to receive a digital copy of the book!!!!

At the time of my writing this post, Trey is $4,475 shy of his goal with ten days left. Will you help him hit his goal by investing in his project? Even if you can’t invest, will you at least share Trey’s Kickstarter campaign with your friends?

Personally, I’m really looking forward to reading this book!