My friend Becky Sherman is the co-founder and director of the Afghan Child Project–a non-profit that seeks to improve the lives of Afghan children and their families. Becky’s husband Will works as a pilot in Afghanistan and on his own time he spends hundreds of hours helping install solar powered lights for medical clinics, collecting and delivering books to women’s education centers, providing medical supplies to hospitals, and building schools for children.
On Thursday, June 16th, The Hearth: Real Stories by Regular Folks will host a storytelling event to raise funds and awareness for the Afghan Child Project. The theme is “Tales from Childhood” and I’ve found six people from Southern Oregon to share riveting tales from their own childhoods. The event takes place from 7 to 9pm at 717 Siskiyou blvd (the grey UCC church) in Ashland. The line-up is outstanding with international fiddler Kevin Carr, Co-Founder of the Afghan Child Project Becky Sherman, theater teacher Jim Martin, nationally known journalist Jennifer Margulis, Rightwork consultant Skip Andrew, and poet/community activist Joyce Hailicka. The event will be hosted by Mark Yaconelli with music by Wendi Stanek, Kevin Carr, Duane Whitcomb and friends. The cost is $5 and all proceeds from the event will go to the Afghan Child Project. If you’re in the area show up early, it will be a full house.
My son Noah was asked to participate in a kind of male beauty/talent show at his high school as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network. He raised money for the CMN, and for every person who donated he wrote a letter to congress asking for an end to the war in Afghanistan. He ended up winning the dang thing, in a large part because of the video he made. The assignment was to create a “Day in the Life” video. His is about an 80’s racquetball guy named Wayne Thorson. It’s quite funny. Check it out:
I wrote a book of stories, meditations, and prayers for my own kids entitled Wonder, Fear, and Longing: A Book of Prayers. The book has really begun to take off with adult groups as well as youth groups. Here’s the beginning of an interview I did with Deborah Arca at Patheos about the book. You can read the complete interview here:
Your latest book concerns the life of prayer. Tell me about your own experience of prayer — how has it developed and what is your prayer life like today?
I wish I could tell you my prayer life has followed some beautiful evolution — from simple biblical prayers, to beautiful contemplations on the mystery of love. As a child most of my prayers were basic bargaining — sort of like the story in my book where my son Joseph, when he was four years old, prayed for healing for my wife when she was ill. Later, when I asked him to pray for me as I prepared to go on a trip, his prayer was, “Please God, let him bring me a toy.”
I’m forty-three years old and my prayers are still basically like those of four-year-old Joseph; I’m drawn to prayer by my immediate fears and anxieties and desires. Even when I engage in contemplative forms of prayer, it’s often because I’m aware of some background anxiety that needs God’s silent love. I’ve read many books, written with great sophistication, about how prayer grows and evolves within us. Maybe that’s true. I guess prayer has taught me to be more accepting of who I am, what I’m feeling, what’s broken in me, what’s beautiful in me. My prayer life goes through different seasons, and I try to be accepting of that. Sometimes I need words, sometimes I need silence, sometimes I just need to sit with others who are praying and pray the prayer that lives between us. To be truthful I still find great comfort in very simple prayers like, “Help!”