Friday, April 28, 2017

Friday Burn

::: Elevators in an Age of Higher Towers and Bigger Cities

::: The Retail Meltdown of 2017
What's up? Travel is booming. Hotel occupancy is booming. Domestic airlines have flown more passengers each year since 2010, and last year U.S. airlines set a record, with 823 million passengers. The rise of restaurants is even more dramatic. Since 2005, sales at "food services and drinking places" have grown twice as fast as all other retail spending. In 2016, for the first time ever, Americans spent more money in restaurants and bars than at grocery stores.

::: How to be Insanely Well Connected

::: God doesn't speak to your today from your current situation, because He's already been in your tomorrow. - Steven Furtick

Photo: Speaking of elevators.... top of the Burj Khalifa

Thursday, April 27, 2017

17 Italy Mtg #3

Concept: Contextualization
Mantra: Disciples are made on the road, not in rows. - Kim Hammond
Support Update - 25%
Task: Start conversations with strangers. Because most of us have been taught not to talk to strangers and it has made us uninteresting.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

A Wider Circle and Middle School Students

Last week, The Ember Cast had the honor of facilitating a service experience for the junior honor society of a local private school, our first ever school group client. We took this opportunity to work with A Wider Circle, a nonprofit based in Silver Spring, whose purpose is to break the cycle of poverty one family at a time. In the past few years, I've had a number of people mention how great A Wider Circle is, and they were all correct, I was super impressed.

A Wider Circle runs four programs: a furniture and clothing donation distribution program, a workforce development program [interviewing, resumes, free professional clothing], wrap around support [pair 4 families not in poverty to a family struggling for a support network], and neighborhood partnerships. Their typical customer is a single parent with 3 kids living on $12K a year, they serve between 20-30 clients a day, they have 60 full time staff, they partner with over 300 other nonprofits and government agencies in the DMV, and they average 200 volunteers every weekend - a huge operation.

Our time there was spent helping with the Neighbor to Neighbor program, the furniture and clothing distribution aspect of their service. Our kids did lots of work including cleaning up a pantry section, sorting boxes of books, and moving and cleaning houseware products. Although we didn't have any direct contact with their customers, our work was planting a stake in the future - we served someone we hadn't met...yet. Ember is grateful for the chance to spur on these students for a future that they shape and mold through their service and character.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Friday Burn

::: The Pope Opened a Free Laundromat for the Homeless
Link via The Hustle
I think I met those Laundry Love guys mentioned in the article at The Idea Camp.

::: A Fully Autonomous Suitcase
Link via The Hustle [again]

::: Netflix Says English Won't Be It's Primary Viewing Language for Much Longer

::: "The rate determining step of our mission is not the opportunity in front of us, but the leaders developed through us. - @dave_rhodes" via Dan Sadlier

Photo: Old souk, old Dubai.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ember Upcoming

If you are interested in what we do and how we do it, ping for more details:

+ Student service experience - local nonprofit and private school - Friday 21 April
+ Local church mobilization training - Saturday 22 April
+ College service experience - Saturday 29 April
+ College student fellowship - Thursday 11 May
+ Local church student mobilization training - Saturday 13 May

Photo: old and new Dubai.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Creative Revenue Plans - 2017

Ember believes that missionaries of the future will rely on a 'portfolio of revenue.' [credit for this term goes to Ben Arment.] In other words, they will need to actually make some money outside of personal donations. Since 2013, our summer teams have been required to dream and execute a Creative Revenue Plan - a way to make some income based on their talents and gifts. This unique income will go directly towards 10-25% of funding of their missions experience. Prayer and financial support letters are also required.

We ask students to dream up these plans by helping them assess their talents, skills and networks, and this is done as part of their application to summer teams. I'm proud to say that over $16K over revenue has been made as part of these Plans over the past 6 years and it represents students growing in skills such as pricing their product, making a pitch, dealing with customers and lots of hard work. All skills that benefit just about everyone.

This year's plans include: dog walking, landscaping, tutoring, lawn mowing, babysitting and my 2017 favorite - humor [I have no idea what that means.]

Photo: Creative Revenue, buy a Meklit summer special. summer 2015.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Father of the Gazelle

We are cooking - well my wife and mother in law are - a few little Easter dishes since Kt is hosting a little Easter get together later today with her friends at school. So a little jaunt to the grocery store this morning. You should always take advantage of going to a grocery store in another country - it is an excellent cultural experience.

Fascinating mix here: an unreached city and country, hearing the call to prayer a few times a day, attending a church tomorrow for Good Friday [Friday and Saturdays are the weekend here], all with the backdrop of Holy Week.

We are not serving gazelle tonight.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Top of the Burj Khalifa

One should never underestimate the significance of architecture in Christianity. - Diarmaid MacCulloch via Justin Long

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Perspectives Peeps

Some of the people and conversations from two classes I taught last week:
+ B, who heads to Turkey later this summer. There are 81M people there but Christians number in the thousands. He gave an open invite for anyone wanting to go with him, long term.
+ Bill Gates is not a friend of unborn babies.
+ What are your best travel tips? [Chase Sapphire cards and put a dryer sheet in your luggage.]
+ MeganC, who was in a student ministry we served with before Ember, who is now serving full time with international students.
+ J, who married a long term missionary sent out to Latin America by one of the host churches. They moved back to be sent out again by this church to plant a Hispanic church in the Annapolis area.

Perspectives has some of the best content for cross cultural people as well as the chance to mingle with these kinds of people.

Monday, April 03, 2017