Tuesday, May 25, 2010

We Have Made it Law to Pursue Joseph Kony.

Just over a year ago I posted a blog about an amazing organization called "Invisible Children."
In April of 2009, thousands of young people all around the country gathered overnight to symbolically abduct themselves in order to bring attention to those in Northern Uganda who had been abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). After the march we stayed at the abduction site until a media outlet and a celebrity showed up to bring attention to the cause. Channel 12 news was there before the march even started and around midnight Steve-O from Jackass showed up as our "rescuer." Cities like Chicago stood for over a week waiting to be rescued. Finally the small group that stayed was rescued by Oprah and received attention on her show. Needless to say, Invisible Children got the attention they wanted.

Over the past 5 years Invisible Children has been working nonstop to get a bill in front of the government to help pass Joseph Kony's arrest warrant into a law. Last week, Congress sign the bill without one single objection. Such a huge accomplishment. The next step was getting the Bill in front of President Obama to be signed into a law.

Yesterday, May 24 2010, President Obama signed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. In his statement from his Press Secretary at the White House he said, "Today, I signed into law the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009. The legislation crystallizes the commitment of the United States to help bring an end to the brutality and destruction that have been a hallmark of the LRA across several countries for two decades, and to pursue a future of greater security and hope for the people of central Africa."

My favorite part of President Obama's statement is where he says: "I congratulate Congress for seizing on this important issue, and I congratulate the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have mobilized to respond to this unique crisis of conscience. We have heard from the advocacy organizations, non-governmental organizations, faith-based groups, humanitarian actors who lack access, and those who continue to work on this issue in our own government. We have seen your reporting, your websites, your blogs, and your video postcards — you have made the plight of the children visible to us all.

Your action represents the very best of American leadership around the world, and we are committed to working with you in pursuit of the future of peace and dignity that the people of who have suffered at the hands of the LRA deserve."

Goosebumps are the least of what I'm feeling right now. Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has." Central Africa will be changed forever because of a group of people that saw a need and worked relentlessly to fix it. I am so, so excited to be a part of this movement.

To read President Obama's entire statement visit:

To learn more about Invisible Children visit:

Some background on the LRA:

For 23 years, the government of Uganda and a rebel group called the Lords Resistance Army, led by a man named Joseph Kony, has engaged in Africa’s longest war. In recent years, peace was seemingly within reach, largely due to the Juba Peace Talks that began in July 2006. However, despite a ceasefire signed between the LRA and Ugandan government, efforts toward peace through the Juba Peace Talks were stalled on several occasions by Kony’s refusal to sign the final peace agreement. Kony’s absence at the peace agreement signing on November 29, 2008 proved his promises to be futile and ultimately disabled the peace talks. Furthermore, the ICC has obtained evidence that Kony used the ceasefire during the peace talks to regroup, regain strength and resume child abductions. Joseph Kony is the world’s first individual indicted by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. Since September 2008, hostility in the Orientale province in DR Congo and Western Equatoria in South Sudan has reached a feverish pitch. In apparent desperation and a renewed will to spread terror to DR Congo, the LRA murdered over six hundred and abducted more than one hundred and sixty children to fight amongst its ranks. More than 104,000 Congolese have been displaced since Christmas in attempts to escape the LRA forces. A civil war, originally contained within Uganda’s borders, has now evolved into a widespread regional crisis.

Invisible Children (along with many other organizations) now believes an international effort to apprehend Kony and rescue his child soldiers is the most viable way to end the most neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Response to Haiti's Earthquake

Due to the devastating earthquake in Haiti on Tuesday, Global Outreach (as well as other departments) has received many emails and phone calls wondering what we as a church are going to do to respond to this. This has been my (and close to the rest of our teams) response all day:

"Thank you for your concern for the people of Haiti. There is no doubt that this is a huge tragedy that is not only affected the Haitians but everyone around the world. Since Haiti is one of the poorest country in the Southern hemisphere, where the average person lives on $1 a day and 80% of the population is below poverty level, people from around the world have joined forces and are on there way to help.

Luckily, Central does not have any field workers in Haiti. We do know some families working in Haiti that are supported by other organizations and have received an email from them stating that they were not physically affected but were definitely mentally and spiritually challenged and have plans to go and help with the relief efforts.

In response to the question "what are we going to do about it?" We, as a church are violently praying that the Lord heals the souls and spirits of those that were and will continue to be affected by the devastating tragedy.

Alos, during our regular weekend services, Central will have boxes this weekend for financial or medical supplies donations for Project C.U.R.E. ( with whom we have a very strong relationship with. Project C.U.R.E. gave us the following list of items that would be most helpful:

  • Band-Aids

  • Gauze

  • Medical tape

  • Baby bottles and baby equipment

  • Baby diapers and wipes

  • Disinfectant and other skin-cleaning products

  • Crutches

  • First aid kits

  • Antibiotic ointments

  • Pain relievers

  • Leg and arm braces

  • Water purification tablets

We encourage you to not only donate materials or finances but to also pray for the people of Haiti and the workers from all the organizations that have gone to help with the relief efforts. Pray for strength and safety and pray the God will make his presence known amidst the wreckage. "

If you have any other questions regarding Central's efforts to aid in the relief of the Haitian people, please email me at

Monday, January 11, 2010

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

My 2009

I know this is about 5 days late but I just have not had time to write lately and I have been thinking about what I wanted to say about 2009.

2009 was a year full of ups and downs. It was also a year full of growth and maturity and learning experiences. I feel like in the beginning of 2009 I was in every aspect an 18 year old, and now days before I turn 20 I feel way older than that. It's amazing how big of a difference 1 year can make. It would be very easy for me to focus on the "downs" from 2009 but my list of "ups" for 2009 would blow that list out of the water.

My 2009 "ups":
  • I'll start with a very important one: I grew madly and insanely in love with Joe DiMercurio :)
  • I celebrated my one year anniversary with Joe as well!
  • I also celebrated my one year anniversary being on staff with Central!
  • I started my Junior year of college at ASU and am officially "on track" for graduating in May 2011 with a Bachelors of Science in Communications!
  • My best friends Mike and Sarah got engaged!!!! (along with many other of my friends)
  • I got my passport!
  • I passed my one and only required math class on the 2nd try! (HUGE accomplishment for me.)
  • I did my first real photoshoot.
  • I went to Las Vegas!
  • I went to the San Diego Zoo (lifetime goal marked off!)
  • I only went through 2 cell phones!
  • I walked in the Invisible Children RESCUE march.
  • I served as the Men's Challenge for the 2nd year in a row.
  • I only got 1 piercing and no tattoos!
  • I cut back on Starbucks immensely.
  • I let down my guard and allowed amazing frienships to grow.
  • I worked on stopping my personal judgements of people and realized that not everybody is who others say they are.

All around I would say that 2009 was a pretty decent year. But I can't wait to see what is in store for 2010!

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Better Christmas For Everyone.

This Christmas I have decided that all of the gifts I'm giving are going to serve a double purpose. Yes, I want the people who receive them to like and enjoy them, but I want others to benefit from them as well. This year I have decided to support 4 different organizations through purchasing items from them. The organizations I have chosen are: TOMS Shoes, To Write Love On Her Arms, Overlooked, and Invisible Children All 4 of these organizations stand for things I believe in. And proceeds from every purchase made go to causes I believe in.

TOMS Shoes was started by Blake Mycoskie in 2006. The name might sound fimiliar as he came in 3rd place on the second season of the TV show "The Amazing Race." While vacationing in South America in 2006, Blake discovered the Alpargata, a traditional rope-soled shoe that has been worn by Argentina farmers for the last 100 years. At the same time, Blake was struck by the terrible poverty that he saw: too poor to afford shoes, children developed cuts and scrapes on their feet that led to serious infections, like Podoconiosis (or podo, for short). Blake returned to Los Angeles with 200 pairs of shoes in his duffel bag and the idea for a new company, TOMS Shoes. TOMS Shoes was founded on a simple premise: With every pair you purchase, TOMS will give a pair of new shoes to a child in need. It is that simple. So this christmas I encourage you to CHOOSE SHOES.

To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery. TWLOHA was started by Jamie Tworkowski and a few friends in efforts to rescue a 19 year old girl named Renee from self-mutilation, drug abuse, and a life that was going downhill very fast. (To read Renee's story click here.) Jamie and his friends created t-shirts to help pay for her treatment and created a myspace page to give the story a home. The members of the bands Anberlin and Switchfoot were amongst the first the ever wear the shirts. Now bands like Paramore, Underoath, Mat Kearny, Copeland, The Rocket Summer and more support TWLOHA. Before long the page exploded with people wanted to know how to help their friends and share their stories as well. From there TWLOHA took off and has not stopped since. Jamie has brought the conversation out of myspace to concerts, universities, festivals and churches around the world. (For you Centralites reading, you might remember Jamie speaking here at Central about a year ago.) The proceeds from everything purchased goes towarsd to organizations that TWLOHA financially supports: Teen Challege, Hopeline, Mercy Ministries, the efforts to stop Human Trafficking and Sex Trade in India, KidsHope in Australia which they support monthly and many other organizations as well. In 2008 TWLOHA donated over $250,000 to causes just like the ones listed above.

Overlooked was started because one person wanted to make a difference and decided to act on it. Overlooked offers easy, practical ways to help people that have been overlooked and make the world a better place. By buying merchandise it allows Overlooked to provide children in Africa with mosquito nets and clean water. You allow them to free young girls in India from sexual slavery. You allow them to loan money to women in poverty to start new businesses for a chance to support their own families. The goal Overlooked is to expose you to the problems in the world around you and offer you simple ways to make a difference. To introduce you to different issues and the organizations that address them. They sell t-shirts and other merchandise that address different issues. When you purchase one of the shirts you are participating in informing others of the issue as well as actively supporting organizations that are making a difference. In addition to the shirts they will give you information on how to dig deeper into the issue if you choose. Maybe you will find one that you are especially passionate about and want to get more involved. Overlooked supports many causes in one place. They work to end hunger, homelessness, sex trafficking, malaria and to provide clean water and KIVA loans. Besides t-shirts and accessories they sell fair trade items made by the people they support. They have jewelry hand made by survivors of the sex slave industry in Nepal, christmas ornaments made by struggling artisans in Ecuador, necklaces made by entrepreneurs in Uganda who simply lack the infrastructure, funding and/or exposure and the proceeds provide a consistent income.
To view their causes click here.

Invisible Children uses the power of media to inspire young people to help end the longest running war in Africa. The war in northern Uganda has been called the most neglected humanitarian emergency in the world today. For the past 23 years, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) have been waging a war that has left nearly two million innocent civilians caught in the middle. The GoU's attempt to protect its citizens from this rebel militia has largely failed, resulting in an entire generation of youth that has never known peace. (to read the history of the war click here. It is estimated that more than 90% of the LRA’s troops were abducted as children. Invisible Children's goal is to raise awareness and encourage the US Government to take action. In recent years more and more international attention has been focused on this crisis. In 2001, the US Patriot Act officially declared the LRA to be a terrorist organization. In 2004, Congress passed the Northern Uganda Crisis Response Act, the first piece of American legislation to address this disaster. And in 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued arrest warrants for Joseph Kony and four of his top commanders. As the motives of the LRA become more ambiguous and their crimes more horrific, Invisible Children remains committed to seeking sustainable solutions to foster an environment that encourages peace. We are supporting and equipping a generation ravaged by war so that they can finally know peace. Invisible Children addresses the need for access to education and economic development through innovative programs on the ground. Proceeds from everything that is purchased goes to supporting these programs.

Is there a cause out there that you support? Are you looking to make a difference in the world? If so, maybe you'll join me this year in making it a better Christmas for everyone.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


At Central we have something called a Connection Card that everyone fills out when they attend one of our 9 services on the weekend. This connection card just lets us know you were here and also has a "next steps" section. In the "next steps" section you can select what your, yup you guess it, next steps would be. Whether thats attending Central's membership class, want to be baptized, or want to serve somewhere. Whenever someone writes anything on their card about Global Outreach the card comes straight to me to handle it in the appropriate way. Today I received one from this past weekend that had alot of writing on it. This person was totally interested in everything possible. On the very bottom of the card there is a section that says: Share about your experience at Central. This is what this person wrote:

"your Church explodes with the love of Christ."

I love it. Isn't that exactly what the goal of a Church is? To EXPLODE with God's love? Isn't that exactly what the goal of us that call ourselves Christians is? One day I hope that someone can say that I explode with God's love.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident."
-St. Augustine