Ministries Making a Difference Around the World

Ministries Making a Difference Around the World - Together we really can change the world.

Together we can change the world.

One of the reasons I love my church family is their heart for reaching out to help marginalized people. Our missions board organizes an annual International Fair Trade Expo each year. It was there that I learned about many ministries working to make the world a better place for marginalized people across the globe.

I’ve wanted to create an informational post for a long time to highlight ways that everyday people like you and me can have a global impact. The time has come for me to just do it. I started this list with those I knew about and then took to Facebook to ask my friends. They didn’t let me down.

I’d like to challenge you to read through this list and then turn to prayer to see where God may be leading you to help. Together we really can change the world.

Ministries Making a Difference Around the World

  • Compassion International – Sponsors financially support children from all over the world. Sponsorship is just a small portion of what Compassion does.
  • Samaritan’s Purse – Their most known program is Operation Christmas Child, but they also have ministries to aid in crisis situations, natural disasters, support military veterans, and more.
  • Children’s Hunger Fund – Literally feeding the hungry children around the world. Each $1 you donate provides 20 meals.
  • Restore Haiti – A ministry that provides medical, educational, and nutritional needs in Haiti. You can sponsor children through them as well.
  • Youth With a Mission – Connecting willing workers with projects all over the world.
  • American Leprosy Missions – Curing and caring for people with leprosy. They also recently worked in the Ebola outbreak.
  • Living Hope – Works with at-risk kids to provide emotional, physical, social, and educational needs.
  • Matthew 25 Ministries – Provides humanitarian aid and disaster relief around the world.
  • Word Made Flesh – Works in the poorest of communities, serving children who work in sewers or the streets; women forced into the sex industry; and children soldiers fighting in civil wars.
  • Amani Ya Juu – Means “higher peace” in Swahili. This ministry serves marginalized women in Africa, teaching them to sew and run a business. The fair trade products you can purchase through their website directly helps a woman who has nothing.
  • Wipe Every Tear – Rescues girls and women from the sex trade industry in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
  • RecycloCraftz – This ministry works with widowed, unemployed, and orphaned women to help them create a business to support them and their children in Zambia.
  • Education and More – Educating children and aiming to reduce poverty in Guatemala.
  • Sari Bari – Sari Bari works with women in India’s red-light district. These women have heartbreaking stories that start at very young ages. The ministry teaches them to sew and they make beautiful blankets out of recycled cotton saris.
  • World Gospel Outreach  - Works with the poor in Honduras.
  • Samaritan’s Creations - Beautiful jewelry and accessories created by Thai women whom the ministry has rescued from Bangkok’s red-light district.
  • Mission Lazarus – A ministry that works to provide educational, medical, agricultural, and spiritual help to those in Honduras and Haiti.
  • Medical Ambassadors International – Providing medical help worldwide.
  • Community Livestock Integrated Development Consultancy – Located in Uganda, CLIDE works in the area of community development.
  • Gospel for Asia – Focusing on the 10/40 window, you can sponsor a child or a missionary to help spread Christ’s love and provision.
  • United Methodist Committee on Relief - A wide range of services provided.
  • Insight Resources International, Inc. – Entrepreneurial guidance for people, businesses, and communities around the world.
  • New Missions – Another option for sponsoring a child’s needs in Haiti.

As you can see, you can support these ministries by donating funds or buying items created by the people (largely women) your money will help. Consider doing holiday or birthday shopping with one of these ministries online or finding a local fair trade store.

Picture Smart Bible K-3 Curriculum (a Review)

The Picture Smart Bible for K-3: Old Testament - a review from

About Picture Smart Bible

The Picture Smart Bible comes from Picture This! Ministries, founded by Dan and Juanene Peters. The goal of the ministry is to “get people into the inspired, dynamic, life-changing word of God, so that God’s word can become implanted in His people.” They do this because they believe the Bible is the inspired, only infallible word word of God.

This is a mission I can get behind.

The Picture Smart Bible is the original Bible study curriculum and is a comprehensive overview. The study covers history, doctrine, geography, and more. The study is aimed for students in 4th grade to adults. You can purchase The Picture Smart Bible as a printed text, a digital download, on cd, or a combination of the above.

K-3 Picture Smart Bible: Old Testament

Up until early 2014, there was no option for younger students, but Picture This! recently released the study of the Old Testament in The Picture Smart Bible specifically for grades K-3. It can be purchased as a book or a download. I was provided with a free copy of the download so that I could share a review with you lovely people.

Each book of the Old Testament is covered in an overview of 25 lessons. The book gives you an overview of how the study is designed to flow with a breakdown of each component (and why it is used). There is also a section on teaching tips that covers several areas including preparations and how to use it in a classroom setting. There is a chart for the “Power Symbols” and then you dive into the study.

For each lesson, you are given a master copy of the student’s coloring page and then the lesson itself. Each lesson is laid out and you are walked through each component of the page step-by-step. Lesson supplies and optional crafting materials are spelled out. The key people and object of the lesson is also listed so you can reinforce that throughout the lesson.

There is an “orientation” section that gives you wording to give your student an overview of the lesson as you start. The lesson includes an exact script you can use with lots of Bible references, some are specifically marked to be read, others are supportive that you could use for further study (copywork?). The lesson ends with some review questions and a key Bible verse for memorizing.

After the 25 lessons (some books are combined into one lesson), there is a resource section with printable maps, timelines, and other illustrations. The last section contains all of the student pages.

My Review of Picture Smart Bible: Old Testament

I had never heard of the Picture Smart Bible Curriculum before this review. As I’ve read through the text and used it a little (more on that in a minute), I really like it. The lessons aren’t terribly long and the teacher’s script is very easy to use. I go back and forth on whether I like scripts in curriculum, but sometimes it is just nice to have it laid out for you so you can pick it up and go.

I appreciated in the teaching tips that they break the preparation down into parts: spiritual, physical, emotional, and family time. When we do Bible study with our children, it is easy to forget that this is an eternally important matter and we have an enemy who would love for it to not happen.

One downside was that I was unclear whether I was supposed to draw these out on my own (ha!) or simply lead her through her page step-by-step like the lesson has laid out. I chose the latter (in the future, I’ll likely color along with her). You may find it a fun, creative exercise to draw your own.


  • Easy to use format. Lessons laid out step-by-step.
  • Hands-on, especially good for kids who like to color.
  • Option of download or printed book. Download saves space.
  • Illustrations are good. They aren’t too “babyish,” but cartoony enough to be fore kids.
  • The tracing format is good for kids who don’t feel they have drawing skills (like me).
  • It all comes back to Jesus!
  • Helps kids connect the books of the Bible as one, verses just a book of books.


  • Kids who find coloring boring will likely not connect with the coloring page.
  • Download format. I have a love-hate relationship with downloadable books/curriculum. I love how easy it is to store them, but hate how easy it is to forget them.
  • Need a printer. There are not a lot of pages to print, if you only print the student pages and use a tablet or laptop for the directions, there are only 25 pages to print.

My new third grader and I did not get to use this extensively due to some illness and holiday timing issues. However, I have read the curriculum and we will continue using this for her Bible study this coming school year. I think it is a great tool for connecting with your child over the most important book of all time and leading them to the Savior who loves them so much He was willing to die for them.


Picture This! Ministries has generously offered a download copy of K-3 Picture Smart Bible: Old Testament for a giveaway to you lovely folks. Simply fill out the Giveaway Tools widget below and choose the entries you would like. Giveaway ends July 17, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EST and is open worldwide.

An Amish Garden (a Review)

An Amish Garden - A 4 novella collection. Looking for some easy summer reading? Read my review to see if it's for you at

Summer Reading With Tricia Goyer

A couple months ago, I came across a summer reading initiative for author Tricia Goyer’s work. In exchange for reviews, I would receive some books for free. I chose three books for a few reasons.

One, I was getting serious about including more reading in my days and that fit well with the overall vision of the initiative. Two, I’ve been wanting to read a few of her books as it is and this seemed like a great way to do that. Three, there are three months of summer. Genius, I know.

I’ll be reviewing one book for each month of summer. You can follow along with all the summer reading fun on Twitter and Instagram with the hashtag #triciagoyersummer. I’m not the only blogger participating so you won’t get overloaded on me.

Want a sneak peek of what I will be reviewing? Check out my summer reading list, all three books are included.

About An Amish Garden

An Amish Garden is a collection of four Amish novellas. They are written by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, and Vannetta Chapman. The book is published by Thomas Nelson, runs 416 pages, and includes a reading group guide for each novella.

The novellas included are “Rooted in Love” by Beth Wiseman; “Flowers for Rachel” by Kathleen Fuller; “Seeds of Love” by Tricia Goyer; and “Where Healing Blooms” by Vannetta Chapman. All four revolve around an Amish garden. Shocking surprise, I know.

My Review of An Amish Garden

This was my first Amish novel of any length. I think the only other work from the Amish genre I’ve experienced has been watching The Shunning and being rather annoyed with the sudden ending. Apparently, there’s a sequel, but I digress.

An Amish Garden was a great read. I very much enjoyed the novella format. I am one of those readers that gets sucked into a black hole with a good story. Forsaking everything else, I must finish the story! This is actually why I rarely read fiction. I have too much work to go “forsaking everything else” too often.

I found the novella length to be perfect. The stories read quickly and I didn’t lose too much of my day(s). The stories are easy reads that have just enough mystery of backstory to keep you reading to find out what happened and what is going to happen.

I was going to tell you which one I enjoyed the most, but I don’t know if I could pick. So instead, I’ll tell you what I most enjoyed about each one.

  • Rooted in Love – I could relate to Rosemary’s lack of gardening skills. Shocking for someone who writes gardening posts, yes? It’s something I have to be intentional about, it doesn’t come naturally to me.
  • Flowers for Rachael – I actually loved all the references to flowers and their meanings. The way Rachael and Gideon use the flowers is sweet.
  • Seeds of Love – I’m a big fan of heirloom seeds and I love how they are included here. I love how strongly Sadie wants to preserve her heritage and the touching turn of events at the end.
  • Where Healing Blooms – I love the non-traditional aspect of this one. Emma is an older woman and it was such a heartwarming story. I loved the Naomi and Ruth-like story line of Emma and Mary Ann.

One thing I appreciated about all four of the books is the reminder of how often hurts are caused by miscommunications or misperceptions. It’s a good reminder to not let hurts fester for days, months, or YEARS, but to attempt to reconcile with open communication. It’s something I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately.

Anywho, if you are looking for some fun, quick summer reading, pick up An Amish Garden. I think you will enjoy it! I did.

My Summer Reading List Plus Other Resources

Summer reading is in full swing around here. Today I am going to share some summer reading resources along with my summer reading list. Let’s dig in!

My Summer Reading List Plus Resources

Every new year, I make a list of books I want to read in that year. Some years I read them all, others I barely finish one. The last couple years have been like the latter. I’ve been so busy with homeschooling, blogging, and social media that reading real books has fallen down the priority list. I decided to change that last month.

Actually, that’s part of the reason you haven’t seen much of me here lately. I’ve been busy putting my house and priorities back in order. Seems to be a regular happening for me. I keep telling myself one of these days I’ll get it right, but who knows? All I know is that when my priorities shift from where they should be, everything suffers.

The one book that is not included in my picture, but is a consistent read for me when my priorities are in line, is my Bible. I’ve been intentional the last six weeks to make sure that the very first thing I do when I get up is read at least one chapter in my Bible. I made it through Matthew in May and moved on to Mark. It helps set my perspective for the day.

After I read my Bible, I usually take the time to read some of my current book. I use this time to encourage me in a specific area. I read a lot of encouragement in the homeschooling area last month. Specifically, I worked my way through Zan Tyler’s 7 Tools for Cultivating Your Child’s Potential. I will be reviewing it here on the blog, but you don’t have to wait for that. It’s a GREAT book.

My Summer Reading List

No More Perfect Kids: Love Your Kids for Who They Are by Jill Savage & Kathy Koch – I’m skimming through this one, honestly. It’s a good companion for Zan’s book. Encouragement to honor how God created your child to be someone specific with a unique path.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Horse and His Boy; and Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis – We recently watched the three movies and it encouraged me to finally read this series. I am reading this with the kids. Yes, I am reading out loud, but the real shocker is that I’m enjoying it. See? Homeschooling has a way of changing you. ;)

Blog, Inc. by Joy Deangdeelert Cho – I’ll be honest, the thing that attracts me to this book the most is the interviews with other bloggers. I love seeing how other bloggers define success and how they reach it. I’m sure I’ll pick up some other helpful tips related to actually blogging, but that will just be icing on the cake for me.

Whit’s End Mealtime Devotions by John Avery Whittaker – This has been on my list to use for a while, but never actually picked it up. I’ve always wanted to do mealtime devotions with my kids, but never put legs to that. I’m using this book to do just that. We won’t make it through it completely this summer, but that’s ok.

Hands Free Mama by Rachel Macy Stafford – I got this for Mother’s Day, per my request. It just seemed like encouragement I need right now.

An Amish Garden by Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, & Vannetta Chapman – This is the very first Amish fiction I’ve ever read. It is four novellas in one nice sized book. I actually have finished this one already and you can look for a review on it soon.

Christian Unschooling by Teri J. Brown – This is a reread for me. Homeschooling encouragement for my slightly weary homeschooling mama heart.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – A fiction book that I picked up after Kelly reviewed it on The Library Adventure. Editing Kelly’s posts is actually a double-edged sword. I find great books and want to add them all to my to read list, but that list is already quite large. Eh, I’ll take that problem.

101 Kids Activities That Are the Bestest, Funnest Ever! by Holly Homer & Rachel Miller – I’m sort of, kind of wanting to challenge myself this summer. After telling more than one person that I’m not a “fun mom” I realized I’d like that not to mean I’m a “boring, put everything off for SOMEday” mom. We’re going to do something from this book, hopefully a few somethings. I’ll be sure to tell you about it.

Lead Your Family Like Jesus by Ken Blanchard, Phil Hodges, & Tricia Goyer – I’m hoping to read through this with my non-book-loving husband.

Good Call: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Fowl by Jase Robertson with Mark Schlabach – We enjoy watching Duck Dynasty around here. We own all four seasons that are out and I just received notice that my pre-ordered 5th season is on its way. Jase is my favorite Robertson, he reminds me of my husband.

The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens by Debra Bell – I am a big fan of Deb Bell’s. I don’t have a teenager yet, I have a good year and a half for that. I am going to focus on the middle school section of this book for now. I’ll dive into the other sections this winter.

eBook Suggestions

My 2014 To Read List is kind of ebook heavy this year. I’ve purchased some of those ebook bundles over the last two years and have a back log of ebooks I want to read through. Here are a few for you to consider adding to your list:

Other Book Lists

I don’t know about you, but I enjoy seeing what people are reading. I think you can get to know a person by the books they choose (and how they like them). I also often add new books to my list to check out at the library. I’m including a couple other blogger’s to read lists and I’ve collected some other lists that you can check out. Be sure to check out The Library Adventure, we have a ton of book reviews and book lists for all ages.

Follow Vicki’s board Book Lists on Pinterest.

How to Write Acrostic Poetry With Kids

How to Write Acrostic Poetry with Kids with free printables, includuing a printable card from

April is National Poetry Month and we’ve celebrated by reading poetry books so far. I decided to take it a step further and try writing some poetry. We are starting with acrostic poems and I’ll tell you more about that in a minute, but first I want to talk about this project.

I’ve partnered with Carla of Preschool Powol Packets as she has coordinated a group of bloggers to bring you a month-long celebration of poetry. Be sure to check out the other posts in the series!

What is Acrostic Poetry?

An acrostic poem uses the letters of a topical word to start the lines for the poem. An example:

Many are the hours
Ornery are the children
Measureless are the blessings

Yes, that beauty is all mine. Once upon a time I fancied myself a poet, don’t you know it?

There can be more to acrostics, but for the sake of our post, simple works. You can read more on Wikipedia about acrostics (yes, I know I just linked to Wikipedia…the shame…).

Write a Simple Acrostic Poem to Get Started

A simple way to do this with kids is to have them write their name vertically down a piece of paper, then use each letter to find words that describe them. They do not have to rhyme. Here’s an example:

Simple Acrostic Poetry with Kids

Another Vicki Arnold original. I’m on a creative roll today. Snort. (I like to keep my writing authentically me…I snort when I laugh.)

Acrostic Poetry Printable Pack

Now it is time for you to have fun with your kids. I’ve included a printable pack for you to print out and have fun creating some spring time inspired acrostics. You can round out your time by reading some silly poetry with the kids to inspire them that poetry doesn’t have to be a droll process.

Download your set today!

Poetry Contest for Kids

Celebrate National Poetry Month with your kids and have them write some of their own poetry. Over on Preschool Powol Packets, there is a form to fill out to submit your child’s poetry. Some information from the page:

Poems will be judged on creativity, originality, style, and language.  Judging may be subjective and all decisions are final.  This year’s contest will be judged by the lovely Becky at This Reading Mama.  All entries will be anonymized and winning entries will be published on host blogs with the child’s first name only.  Prizes will be awarded to the first place winner in each age category.  All entrants will also receive a downloadable/printable participation bookmark! PLEASE NOTE: PRIZES CAN ONLY BE SHIPPED TO ADDRESSES IN THE CONTINENTAL UNITED STATES.

Sponsors of the Contest

Discover With Dr. Cool:



Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a sweet poetry book, too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other Poetry Celebration Co-Hosts

Preschool Powol Packets ~ Homeschool Encouragement ~ Brave Writer’s Life in Brief ~ Word Traveling ~ The Measured Mom ~ Wildflower Ramblings ~ Line Upon Line Learning ~ Teach Beside Me ~ Living to Learn ~ the Vicki Arnold Blog ~ School Time Snippets ~ Creekside Learning ~ Are We There Yet ~ Look at What You Are Seeing ~ Look! We’re Learning! ~ Our Homeschool Studio

12 Books About Gardening for Kids

12 Books About Gardening For Kids on

Gardening is kind of a big deal around here. We work to make it work every year. Our kids are getting older and are more of a help with the maintenance a garden requires. They actually love to water the plants and work along side us…usually.

This week for our alphabet activities, we read books about gardening. I’m going to share the picture books and kids’ nonfiction books here. If you are interested in books for teens and adults, check out my post over at The Library Adventure – 11 Gardening Books for Beginner to Advanced Gardeners.

If you’d like to dive a little deeper into this, check out my friend Tara’s Garden unit study.

Garden Picture Books

  • Vegetable Garden by Douglas Florian (Easy Florian) – Simple text with bright, bold illustrations.
  • One Potato: A Counting Book of Potato Prints by Diana Pomeroy (Easy Pomeroy) – This book has quite the country feel to it. There is a section in the back telling you how to do your own potato prints.
  • Our Community Garden by Barbar Pollak (Easy Pollak) – I like how this book makes the connection between the plants in the garden with actual meals kids eat.
  • The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen (Easy Larsen) – Lovely illustrations in this story about a girl and her grandfather.
  • Secrets of the Garden by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld (Easy Zoehfeld) – There is a lot of info snuck in this fun book about a girl and her family’s garden.
  • The Gardener by Sarah Stewart (Easy Stewart) – Lydia Grace moves to the city to live with her uncle and help in his bakery, but she dreams of gardens and works to make that dream a reality in the dreary city. Told in letters from Lydia Grace to various family members.

Gardening Nonfiction Books for Kids


Why Should I Bother With a Garden? – 5 Quick Reasons

Why Should I Bother With a Garden? 5 Quick Reasons to Grow a Garden on

Maybe I should have started the Beginner’s Guide to Gardening series with this post. I’ve written some form of this post no less than three times in various places so I sometimes forget that I may have not written it here. Forgive me? Thanks, you’re the best.

We’ve been gardening for years and the romanticism of gardening has worn off. We know the hard work that is involved with a large garden. Our garden space is currently 48′x56′ for a total of 2,688 square feet of garden space. I’ll give you a tour of it sometime this summer when it is teeming with life, but it pretty much looks like this last photo.

We have our trials each year, but we always remain optimistic about the new growing season. Every spring finds us talking about our gardening plans, what we’ll do differently and what we did well last year. We’ve moved beyond romanticism to this is just what we do.

We garden.

Why should you join us? Well, I’m glad you asked that because I’m going to tell you.

1. Fresh from the garden food is the best.

It doesn’t matter if you buy organic everything, picking food directly from your garden is still better. Why? Because you will let your produce ripen before picking it. Commercial growers do not have that luxury because fully ripened fruit does not travel well.

2. It’s good for your health.

Gardening is good for your health. You have to spend time outside daily, which means your body has the chance to produce vitamin D. You have to bend, stretch, and walk to garden, which means you get exercise ranging from light to moderate.

Then there is the food. The food is better for you.

3. You will save money.

I am going to share more in depth on this in another post, but I can tell you this, you will save money. It is my absolute best money saving tip, which you should read. It doesn’t just save on food costs.

4. Growing your own food brings food security.

Did you know that the US average for households experiencing food insecurity is 14.7%? Gardening often brings an abundant harvest, you can preserve this harvest for your family to eat throughout the year.

You can also make a difference in your community by donating extra garden produce (or say 10% of your harvest?) to your local food pantries and homeless shelters.

5. It’s satisfying.

It can be fun at times, but more than that, growing your own food brings a satisfaction that you can’t understand until you experience it. And when you preserve your harvest through canning, freezing, dehydrating, or proper storage, you experience the satisfaction all year long.

Knowing you can take care of yourself is empowering.

31 Books About Flowers – F is for Flower

31 Books About Flowers - Art, Poetry, History, Science, and Picture books from

Flowers are on our minds here, we are (im)patiently waiting to see our first spring flowers. Well, technically, I guess we’ve seen them, but crocuses will bloom in the snow, so they don’t count. I’m waiting for the daffodils, tulips, and hyacinths.

One of my favorite spring time traditions is to take photo of my Mom’s daffodils and the rest of the flowers growing in our little corner of the world. Flowers make me happy. And I had a blast getting these books from the library. I am still waiting on a couple of these to get here, apparently lots of people are excited about flowers right now.

31 Books About Flowers

Art Books

Poetry Book

History Books

Geography Books

Science Books

Flower Picture Books

  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes (Easy Henkes) – A sweet story about a mouse named Chrysanthemum.
  • Plantzilla by Jerdine Nolen (j Fiction Nolen) – A young boy takes home his class’s pet plant for the summer and then writes letters to his teacher about their escapades.
  • The Boy Who Grew Flowers by Jen Wojtowicz (j Fiction Wojtowicz) – The Bowagons are a strange bunch, but this is a sweet story.
  • The Falling Flowers by Jennifer B. Reed (Easy Reed) – A sweet story about a girl and her grandmother set in Japan.
  • Xochitl and the Flowers by Jorge Argueta (jS A Fiction Argueta) – I’m not sure what this classification means, but the book is bi-lingual. The story is told in both English and Spanish.
  • The Empty Pot by Demi (Easy Demi) – Sweet Ping has a gift that one day seems to fail him, but he learns that honesty is the best policy.
  • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle (Easy Carle) – Follow a tiny seed on a journey through the year.
  • Miss Rumphius story and pictures by Barbara Cooney (Easy Cooney) – A story that shows that one person can make a difference, courtesy of the Lupine Lady.
  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert (Easy Ehlert) – A classic and I can see why. My girls loved this book.


The World of Christopher Robin – Poetry Book Giveaway

The World of Christopher Robin - a National Poetry Month giveaway!

To celebrate National Poetry Month, I decided to give away a copy of a lovely book I came across. You can also check out my post 12 Books for Kids to Celebrate National Poetry Month for some ideas of books to look for at your library. Now on to the giveaway!

I am giving away a copy of The World of Christopher Robin: The Complete Poems of When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six by A.A. Milne. This hardback contains illustrations from Ernest H. Shepard.

Enter to win the book in the Giveaway Tools widget below. Open to US residents only due to shipping costs. Giveaway closes April 30, 2014 at 11:59 EST.