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Book Review: Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

Posted by Julie on July 26, 2017 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Book Review: Healing Love by Jennifer Slattery

A news anchor intern has it all planned out, and love isn’t on the agenda.

Brooke Endress is on the cusp of her lifelong dream when her younger sister persuades her to chaperone a mission trip to El Salvador. Packing enough hand sanitizer and bug spray to single-handedly wipe out malaria, she embarks on what she hopes will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

But Brooke is blindsided by the desperation for hope and love she sees in the eyes of the orphans she encounters. And no less by the connection she feels with her handsome translator. As newfound passion blooms, Brooke wrestles with its implications for her career dreams.

Ubaldo Chavez, teacher and translator, knows the struggle that comes with generational poverty. But he found the way out – education – and is determined to help his students rise above.

When he agrees to translate for a mission team from the United States he expects to encounter a bunch of “missional tourists” full of empty promises. Yet an American news anchor defies his expectations, and he finds himself falling in love. But what does he have to offer someone with everything?

HEALING LOVE is not your average missions story. I loved the complex baggage Brooke brings before she ever steps on the plane to watch over her sister as they travel to El Salvador. They are orphans and Brooke lives in fear in her day-to-day life. She has dreams regarding her career, but she’s got her sister to worry about. The last thing she’s got on her agenda is falling in love.

Brooke doesn’t just fall in love with a person, she falls in love with a people. The transformation in both storylines is beautiful.

Her career goals, her new passion, her colleagues, family and heart all collide when Brooke needs to determine her future. I definitely felt her conflict and was moved by it.

This is a quick read because I wanted to learn what was going to happen. I believe you’ll feel the same, too.

Purchase HEALING LOVE HERE

I received a copy of HEALING LOVE in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 

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Guest Blogger Jessica Dotta: Inspire a Fire through Media Change.org

Posted by Julie on December 12, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender, Writing |

Julie’s note: Inspire a Fire is so much more than a nice website full of my favorite authors. I think today’s post captures the heart of what Inspire a Fire is about and their mission to have readers like me be aware and do something. This post is here because Gina Holmes is passionate enough to want this blog post spread, and I share the passion for children in need of hope. Please read this blog post and prayerfully consider how you can make a difference. Thank you.

***

We have much to be judged on when he comes, slums and battlefields and insane asylums, but these are the symptoms of our illness and the result of our failures in love.” – Madeleine L’Engle

When my brother traveled to the Sudan he had an encounter that changed his life—and as it ends up, mine too.

He stood in Darfur at an orphanage filled with children leftover from the genocide. There were over 800 children, and during the night wild dogs were dragging them off and killing them.

My brother already felt shell-shocked from the travesties he’d witnessed in Uganda.

The day was hot. The sun beat down upon him. His camera had nearly been ruined from all the dust. He’d barely slept. His gear was heavy. Yet his conscience was seared by the numbness he felt, so he turned and confessed to a Sudanese pastor.

“We shall pray right now that your heart will be opened,” he was told.

Not long after that prayer three young children approached Joshua and started to follow him. After a bit, his father nature kicked in and he stopped and sang Father Abraham. It didn’t take long before the four of them were dancing and going through the motions.

When they finished, he asked the children to tell him how they came to be there.

The oldest, a girl, answered. “The soldiers came and shot my mother and father, so I came here.”

The two other children nodded in agreement. “Me, too.”

He was grief struck, but it was what transpired next that tore my heart. “Do you have a Mommy?” The little girl asked my brother.

“Yes,” he answered.

“And a Daddy?”

Again, his answer was yes.

“Oh,” she said, her voice hinting at a strange intermingling of numbness and grief.

Her question stirs me still. For I believe it came from her soul and revealed the thoughts of her heart. She didn’t want to know what his country was like, what kind of food he ate, or what he did for a living. She had her own bullet holes leftover from the genocide. Her world consisted of this single question: Who still had parents and who didn’t?

In her questions I heard her worry and fear. Imagine being trapped in a war-torn country, a land of famine, drought and disease. Imagine trying to survive it as an orphan with death threatening you every hour. No matter how much she’s endured, at the end of the day, she’s still  just a little girl. And all she really wants is her Mom and Dad.

I imagined my daughter living as an orphan in the Sudan. If I were shot and dying, it would be my hope that my brothers and sisters would care for her. But what if her aunts and uncles were killed too? What was it then, that her parents hoped?

As members of the body of Christ these children are not alone. They have aunts and uncles. Multitudes and multitudes and multitudes of them. Talk about staggering! These kids are our nieces and nephews! Mine. Yours.

So who, I wondered, within the church has the responsibility to step in?

I didn’t like the answer that came. Earlier that week I was shocked to learn that globally I was one of the richest people in the world—even though as an American, I’m pretty poor.

Like it or not  I was the rich aunt. I had knowledge of the situation. That made me accountable.

I wasn’t comfortable with the knowledge then, and I’m not comfortable with the knowledge now. But I am determined to do something. Anything.

That day Joshua had in his possession a picture book that someone had asked him to give to someone in the Sudan. It was a children’s book with a story about how we have a Heavenly Father who always loves and cares for us. Joshua read the book and gave it to them.

An American woman took it upon herself to raise the money to build shelter. Every person who donated, even a dollar, helped to create a place where the little girl now sleeps safe from wild dogs.

When Joshua told me he’s going to start a branch of Watermelon Ministries called Media Change, a non-profit encouraging Americans to give up a portion of the money spent on entertainment to serve those fighting world hunger and thirst, I wanted to support it.

For seven years he’s helped non-profits raise money that serves the “least of these.” He’s seen the impact a small investment can have. This is a brand new initiative. He’s not quite ready to launch, but you can sign up and be kept updated at www.mediachange.org. His first goal is garner the support of 10,000 people who are willing to give $10 a month. I’m number #3.

This is only a blog post, but who knows what one blog post can do.

What if the task of helping others isn’t as overwhelming as we make it?

Jessica

Jessica Dotta, Sr. Editor of Inspire a Fire, has earned the right to wear the title of: Social Media Specialist, Consultant, Publicist, Brand Manager, Editor, Writer, Social Activist, and Business Manager. But the only titles that matter to her are: Called – Redeemed – Beloved – Known by the Father – Daughter – Accepted. . . and Mom. Her life has recently undergone a shaking—one that uprooted nearly every trace of her former life. You’ll have forgive her unconventional posts, as she’s still trying to work out her perspective. She knows one thing though. The most humble and worthy person she ever encountered lived in near obscurity—but sent ripples of change into the world. All because he took the time to care about each hurting person he met. He wasn’t Jesus, but he followed the Great Shepherd and left a legacy. She wants to follow that path.

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Character Confession: I Thought I was Just Going for Lunch and a Video

Posted by Julie on April 16, 2011 in About Me, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

It’s Character Confession Saturday and I knew my confession at about 1pm EST Thursday.

 

 

 

 

I was sitting in a living room watching a friend’s video on their European trip that centered in Romania. Their visit even included a stop at a ministry our local church supports. When that missionary came to our church years ago the Lord stopped me. He let me know He had a plan for me one day to serve with that missionary.

Two years later I was enjoying a luncheon at that friend’s home with other ladies from church when “somehow” the missionary and ministry came up.  One by one we confessed that day the missionary visited we haven’t felt the same.  We each felt called to visit there, perhaps as a short term missions trip. It was amazing how God orchestrated different women sitting throughout the same service with the same passion and call.

Watching the video Thursday a friend who visits Romania on a regular basis to work with orphans and gyspies saw the part of the video where everyone entered the ministry so many have talked about over the years.  She piped up and said,

“So Julie, there it is, the place you will be going to hold babies. When are you going?”

That thought has been on the back burner for years. Her sentence brought the call several leaps forward.  I left that lunch Thursday realizing that trip isn’t as far away in my future as I think. I still don’t know when, but the stirring is active.

Seriously, God? I thought I was watching a video and having a nice Romanian meal.

I didn’t plan on you rocking my world, too.

 

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Character Confession: Passionate

Posted by Julie on March 5, 2011 in About Me, encouragement, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

Yesterday in between sickness and snow days I finally had the opportunity to meet up with my Ohio bestie Kim Zaksek. She co blogs with me and Maria Spencer over at the Narrow Gate Invites and has a heart for the orphans of Romania.

Our conversations typically turn to what our kids are up to as they are close in age with similar personalities. As I shared my stories and she shared hers I remembered a definition I was given a couple years ago.

Patience is tempering your passions.

Read that one again.

Once we laughed over the stories I remembered some of my hijinks as a kid and every single one of them was based on an issue where I felt someone was being unfair and I got passionate mouthy about it.  The more I remembered the more we saw the struggle with our kids. They care about others and want to see justice and compassion played out. When it doesn’t happen, they get in trouble.

Truth is, so do I.

Kim and I realized the key is to balance that justice with grace, something Iwasn’t skilled at as a kid and still struggle with as an adult. That definition of patience, again, tempering your passions, is one I need God’s help with every moment I take a breath.

Passionate isn’t bad, it just requires balance.

And lots and heaps of grace.

***

This Character Confession is hosted by Noelle Mena at Pliable in His Hands. She also is the founder of Christian Women Affiliate and on Tuesday she is having a free meeting on why and how to conduct webinars. This is a passion of Noelle’s and I will be logged in and ready to learn. If you want to learn more visit the CWA Facebook page.



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