As a mommy of 8 adopted children, and my husband and I having over 30 years of combined Christian camping experience- it is easy to see that we LOVE children! So when I received an invitation to read Julie's book I was excited.
As I began to get into the book I realized a truth so powerful it will change the way I look at parenting - FOREVER! As a Christian family we are focused on Christ. I thought, after adopting 8 children that I have a fairly good grasp on Christian parenting. There is this truth though that has found its way into who I really am.
It is so easy for parents to get wrapped up in - doing devotionals with children, teaching them right from wrong, and praying with them. That's good enough right? How about if you really do all you can and some of your children have surrendered their hearts to Christ- is that good enough?
What I got from the book was more than that. Not actual parenting tips of how to potty train, but HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD! Given clear examples, and ideas Jule points us all to the fact that our children need to be more than just Christians who join the church and one day help with everything at church- NOT that this is bad. Just that there is soooo much more than just thinking that average is ok.
What if we all instead of aiming our arrows - our precious gifts from heaven- at the target and hoping we will get there- AIM DIRECTLY AT THE CENTER OF THE TARGET? What would our world look like? What does this involve. Well for one thing it is NOT passive parenting. It is not something you can squeeze in.
It involves sacrifice, training that takes time, planning, prayer, fasting, more prayer, and patience. It involves making sure your children know what it looks like to MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Letting them have ideas about how God can change the world, supporting them, helping them develop their passions, giving them all the support we can in impacting the world.
Then- let those arrows FLY! By sharpening our children for Christ in such a way as to NOT hold back anything that could be a possibility we let God do with our children as HE KNOWS BEST!
I don't know about you, but I WANT to imagine a world full of children who have been raised with such a passion for Christ, and heart for HIS MINISTRIES, that we CAN TRULY REACH EVERYONE! The great part is our summer camp theme that we picked was - How The Lost Get Found! If that is our true desire then what a great present and future our world has with one million arrows hitting the bull's eye.
The following is an interview with Julie.........
One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World
Interview with author Julie Ferwerda
1. The title of your book is, One Million Arrows: What is that all about? The title originated with a man I met in India by the name of Dr. M.A. Thomas. He’s received many national awards in India such as the Mother Theresa Award and the Padma Shri for his humanitarian efforts, especially for his work with orphaned and abandoned children that he started in the 1970s. In the 90s, Dr. Thomas read a verse in the Bible that describes children as a gift and a reward, like sharp arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior (Psalm 127:3-5). He realized that all children, regardless of background and circumstances, should be seen as a gift and a legacy to society because they can make a significant and positive impact in the world if given the proper training and opportunities.
India has as many as 80 million orphans so he set a goal of rescuing one million orphaned and abandoned children, sharpening them with love, education, and spiritual nurturing, and launching them back into society to bring positive change through the power of the Good News about Jesus. To date he has raised over 16,000 orphaned and abandoned children who have become doctors, nurses, teachers, politicians, missionaries, and leaders, and he has planted over 21,000 churches in India and South Asia.
Relating to us…the arrow vision of raising children to be a gift and heritage to their society is for all parents, all countries. So many parents in our culture have lost their vision as to the incredible opportunity we’ve been given to shape—not just tomorrow’s leaders—but today’s leaders and shapers of their peer groups, schools, and communities. But this takes vision and deliberate investment and training. One Million Arrows casts a vision for parents to sharpen and launch our children right now to make a positive impact on society.
2. You mentioned the notion of parents investing in or training their children. Isn’t this what parents already do? Some parents do invest in and train their children to some degree, but there is also a lot of hands-off parenting in our society today, especially in training character development as well as teaching our children how to live for the big-picture—like what were they made to do in this world, what are their unique gifts and abilities, and how can they use them to make a difference now?
We have to train our children to serve others—it doesn’t come naturally. But for many of us, once our kids head into kindergarten, it’s easier to let someone else take over a lot of the training, or to allow our kids to fade into their entertainment-driven culture in their spare time. We need to see parenting as a much bigger opportunity and invitation than that!
I use an illustration in OMA from 9/11 about victims, bystanders, and firemen, the roles people take when lives are at stake. We must teach our children to see themselves as the firemen of this world…the heroes who are willing to set aside their own comforts in order to make a radical difference for others who are suffering or even in danger. There are so many in our world—whether the world around us or the world at large—who need our help and care in order to be saved from terrible circumstances.
I am so encouraged to see a great movement of young people in our world right now who are joining God in His work, coming back to historic levels of competence, purpose, and service for their fellow man. OMA emphasizes helping your kids find what they are passionate about and then training them to use it to serve and positively impact others.
3. Can you give us an example of kids who are using their talents and passions to serve others? Many of these kinds of young people are featured in the book, such as Chloe who is currently majoring in filmmaking in order to positively impact her culture by communicating truths that will spur her peers to make positive choices in life. She’s already received Film Festival awards for her work on the film, “The Enemy God” by (10X Productions), Ivan uses his love for extreme sports to hold events worldwide for sports enthusiasts where he shares a bold Gospel message and then plugs youth into local churches. My oldest daughter Dani uses her love for music and working with kids to impact hundreds of kids during the summer as a Christian camp counselor. These are just a few of many inspiring examples!
4. You have an emphasis in OMA for families to invest in taking care of international orphaned and abandoned children through established organizations. Why is that? Investing in other children is one of the best ways to get your kids hearts interested and engaged in serving and helping others. Also, there are so many children worldwide who are the truest victims and have no means to get out of the gutters of life without help. As mentioned, these kids are currently being rescued and shaped to become spiritual leaders and contributing citizens of their own countries. Our family can make a true difference in the world by impacting lives of these children, which will in turn impact whole villages and cities as they grow up. What a great investment of our time, talents, and money! Many organizations will even allow you to visit the orphanages and ministries you help support.
We love to make it known that all proceeds of OMA go to international orphan ministries.
5. Is this a “how to” parenting book? We do share many principles-based parenting tips from several successful arrow-raising families. But there are already many how-to books on the shelves and I’ve had publishers tell me that parents ask for them but then don’t buy them. That’s because parents need inspiration: “What’s possible through our family if I commit this kind of energy to deliberate parenting? Can our family make a true difference in the world?” The major emphasis in OMA is inspirational aspect of parenting—casting a vision of the exciting ways your family can plug in to make a difference.
6. Is there any place parents can go after reading the book for more inspiration and guidance? We are currently developing our website (OneMillionArrows.com) as a community where parents can share testimonies as well as spiritual training helps. We are also adding many resources on our site such as unique orphan ministries to consider getting involved in, suggested books and resources, daily spiritual training helps, and stories of young people around the world who are making a difference.
****ANOTHER GREAT PART IS THAT ALL PROCEEDS FROM THIS BOOK ARE DESIGNATED FOR INTERNATIONAL ORPHAN MINISTRY!!!!! So go check out!!!!