He Loves a Cheerful Giver

It’s my birthday! I was on Facebook a few nights ago and I noticed I could dedicate my birthday to a cause and raise funds for a related non-profit. I chose to dedicate my birthday to a group that provides humanitarian aid to persecuted Christians in the Middle East, the Iraqi Christain Relief Council.

God has placed a great love and compassion in my heart for persecuted people around the world, particularly in the Middle East and Iraq. I’m a monthly financial supporter of the Hatune Foundation, which provides humanitarian to help Christian and Yazdi women fleeing ISIS.

When I saw I could raise a little bit of money through Facebook, I jumped at the chance. I set a goal of $340 for my 34th Birthday. It only took a few days, and so many contributed, we surpassed the goal! So far $420 has been donated! It’s pretty awesome! I have a feeling we are going to make at least $100 more than the goal.

fundraiser-goal.pngI want to thank everyone for their support. Among those who gave include my Dad, Mom, Sister, close friends, and even a single mother with a son who was recently diagnosed with cancer. When I look at the sacrifices each person made, my heart is stirred with compassion. I know the heart of God is stirred as well, and that He will multiply our gift to bring aid to people in need.

I thank God for another year to live, and another year to give. I want this year to be the year I give more than I have ever given to help people in need, both in the U.S. and around the world. Thank you all for making my birthday so special, and thank you for supporting me by supporting this cause that I care so deeply about.

Tomorrow, I am starting a drive at work to collect items for the Houston flood victims. Please pray that we collect a nice amount of useful items, which will be transported to Houston on Friday. Much love 

P.S. I want to share that for the past week, I’ve been praying for the Lord to help me regain a sense of happiness and joy. As I give to others, I realize I’m gaining much joy in return. God truly does love a cheerful giver. I also want to say that this effort was not without resistance. Within an hour of posting my online fundraiser,

I also want to say that this effort was not without resistance. Within an hour of posting my online fundraiser, one of my now ex-Facebook friends was very demeaning to me for donating to an organization that in his words “only helps other people in their cult.” I have to come against his statements

I have to come against his statements because of the following. #1, Christianity is not a cult. #2, Every humanitarian and human service organization has a target population to serve. #3, Christians in the Middle East are not the only persecuted people there, but they are a minority among the victims and sometimes victimized by other people who are also victims of the “really bad guys” like ISIS. #4, If you don’t want to donate, don’t. But you don’t have to be rude and discouraging to someone who is just trying to do something nice for someone else.

Be thankful I am helping others, regardless of who those people are. I chose this population because I relate to them. They are my brothers and sisters in the Lord, and that means they are family. In short, I lost a Facebook friend, but I gained a lot of support from people who love me and who love to help people around the world. Much love 

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Cross out chance.

Sharing some great thoughts from my friend!

From Nonsense To Sense

Recently I have been noticing that people almost always have something hanging from the rear view mirror in their car. Usually it’s either some form of a cross, or hanging dice. It got me thinking: People are either choosing Christ and the cross, or they are leaving their lives to chance… What a revelation!

When I speak of life – I am not just referring to this life. I mean the eternal life of your soul. Can we take a moment to comprehend the severity of this situation? Not through the filter of fear, but through a perspective that sobers us into an awakening. It scares me to think that some people are okay with rolling the dice, and gambling their salvation away for a few years of supposed fun.

On my birthday a few years ago, I went gambling for the first (and only) time. I hated it…

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A Weekend in Prison (Ministry)

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I just came home from four days at Kairos Prison Ministry at Pulaski State Prison in Georgia. I and 29 other women volunteers went to the all-female facility to bring the hope of Christ to 36 inmates. The weekend was a life-changing experience for me as a volunteer.

Many things struck my heart this weekend and I’m still processing a lot of what happened. I know I’ll be writing more about it over the next few weeks. I’m having a difficult time thinking about what exactly to share in this post, as the entire weekend was so full.

I think the main thing that struck me was at the closing ceremony when I saw a few of the women inmates gathered around one that was about to speak in the ceremony. They were praying for her. It was amazing to see the women supporting each other in the community.

I heard a lot of testimonies of God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. I saw women who were struggling with the consequences of their choices. I saw women who were given fair sentences, and women who were given seemingly unjust sentences.

I think the women that stood out to me the most were the ones that were so sweet and kind. It’s hard to imagine them doing anything to be put in prison. But something happened.

We don’t know the women’s charges or sentences unless they share them with us. We do have access to look them up in the system, but I didn’t want to look anyone up this weekend. I wanted to just be with them, not knowing what wasn’t shared in natural conversation.

I have come home and looked up a couple of them that are on my heart. I will be praying for them, and I plan to go back in to visit them with the Kairos team, Lord willing.

So much to think about and pray about. God is moving in Pulaski State Prison, and He’s moving in the hearts of the women, and in my heart.

Letter #26 to a Woman in Prison

Letter #26 of 36. Each woman who attends the prison ministry weekend will receive a handwritten letter from each volunteer. Please pray for us as we prepare for the weekend.

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Dear ______,

Have you ever heard the saying “the truth hurts”? Sometimes truth does hurt, but sometimes it’s exactly what we need to hear.

Proverbs 27:6 says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.”

I had a friend tell me some truths he felt very strongly. I didn’t fully agree with what he had to say, but I appreciated that he was brave enough to tell me what he was really feeling. I acknowledged his feelings and thanked him for being honest with me. I told him I wasn’t sure how I would handle the situation, but that I appreciated his friendship and respected him.

Have you ever been in the place where you were the friend that had to speak the truth, and were afraid of hurting your friend? Have you ever been the one on the receiving end of a truth that hurt to hear?

I hope and pray that you will not lose your friend over the situation. You will have to decide what is most important, risking losing your friend and telling the truth? Or losing your friend because you are hurt and angry they took a risk and told you the truth?

True friends are honest, even when it hurts. Go forward with love and forgiveness. Make amends with your friend, and keep the friendship honest.

Praying for you in Jesus’ Name,

Rachael Hartman
Proverbs 27:6

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I’m raising money to help pay for this weekend. $150 will pay for one female inmate to attend the Kairos prison ministry I’m volunteering at.

If you would like to donate to the prison ministry, it needs to be in the form of a check made out to: KPMI (which stands for Kairos Prison Ministry International). In the memo put: Pulaski, GA. You can mail it to me, Rachael Hartman, at: PO Box 501, Bloomingdale, GA 31302. If you want a tax credit, include your full name and address on a note and they will mail you a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers! Every $5 goes to pay for a meal for one of the inmates that weekend. The meal will have a tag with your name on it. And we will have a paper chain link that will also have your names on a link to show that you have prayed for and invested into the weekend. Praise God for what He will do! Please keep me in your prayers as I will be speaking on Obstacles to Accepting God’s Grace, and sharing part of my own testimony in the process.

To add your name to the prayer chain (which will be visualized with a paper link chain – your name will be on one link) please leave a comment below. And please pray for Kairos #40 ~ Pulaski Women’s State Prison in Georgia. Kairos weekend happening August 25-28, 2016.

Letter #16 to a Woman in Prison

Letter #16 of 30. Actually, I found out I need 36 letters. So of 36. Each woman who attends the prison ministry weekend will receive a handwritten letter from each volunteer. Please pray for us as we prepare for the weekend.
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Dear ______,

My cousin’s young daughters came to visit me this week. One is 6 and one is 12. They are very sweet. The 6-year-old has quite the personality!

Every evening before dinner, the 6-year-old volunteers to pray over the meal. She keeps her prayers short and to the point. “God, bless this food! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!”

Last night after she prayed, she piped up and said, “You know what happens when little people pray? God listens!”

Everyone at the table laughed. It was very cute. But what she said was true. God does listen. God listens not just to the little people, but also to the big people too–especially when we have the faith of a child.

Childlike faith is simple faith. It doesn’t require a lot of effort or thought. Kids just accept the truth that God is and that He loves them, and that is it.

When you pray today, remember this “God listens!”

Praying for you in Jesus’ Name,

Rachael Hartman
Matthew 18:3

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I’m raising money to help pay for this weekend. $150 will pay for one female inmate to attend the Kairos prison ministry I’m volunteering at.

If you would like to donate to the prison ministry, it needs to be in the form of a check made out to: KPMI (which stands for Kairos Prison Ministry International). In the memo put: Pulaski, GA. You can mail it to me, Rachael Hartman, at: PO Box 501, Bloomingdale, GA 31302. If you want a tax credit, include your full name and address on a note and they will mail you a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers! Every $5 goes to pay for a meal for one of the inmates that weekend. The meal will have a tag with your name on it. And we will have a paper chain link that will also have your names on a link to show that you have prayed for and invested into the weekend. Praise God for what He will do! Please keep me in your prayers as I will be speaking on Obstacles to Accepting God’s Grace, and sharing part of my own testimony in the process.

To add your name to the prayer chain (which will be visualized with a paper link chain – your name will be on one link) please leave a comment below. And please pray for Kairos #40 ~ Pulaski Women’s State Prison in Georgia. Kairos weekend happening August 25-28, 2016.

Letter #9 to a Woman in Prison

Letter #9 of 30. Each woman who attends the prison ministry weekend will receive a handwritten letter from each volunteer. Please pray for us as we prepare for the weekend.

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Dear ______,

Quiet times. Do you have them? What do you do with your quiet moments?

I’m a quiet person. I like being quiet. I like quiet people. I like loud people too, but I can only be around them for short periods of time because I like the quiet.

I have a family member who seems to be the exact opposite of me. She constantly has the TV going. If the TV isn’t going, she’s talking. It’s as if she doesn’t like the quiet. She even likes to sleep with the TV on.

Even when I’m quiet, sometimes my brain isn’t quiet. My brain is constantly processing everything in the past, present, and future. It’s difficult for me to turn my thoughts off. Do you ever experience that?

When things get quiet and settled down, it gives me a chance to listen to what my heart and mind need to say. It’s also a time when I can clear my thoughts from everything the world has sent my way, and take some time to listen to God and what He has to say.

In 1 Kings 19:11-12, the Bible describes the voice of God as a “still small voice.” Some people say that your conscience is the voice of God, that little voice that tells you what is wrong and what is right.

Every thought we have comes from one of three sources: God, the devil, or ourselves. If the thought we have is in line with the Bible, then it is from God or from ourselves as we seek to glorify God.

If the thought we have is a lie, or is against the Word of God, then it is from the devil. If we try to justify our thoughts or twist the Word of God to please ourselves, then we are falling into the devil’s trap of deception. Like with Eve, the devil tells us what he is saying is coming from God, but he’s lying.

When we are quiet, one of the best things we can do is meditate on the Word of God, the Bible. We can re-program our thoughts to be in-line with the Word of God.

What are your quiet thoughts saying to you today? Where are they coming from? What would God’s response be?

Praying for you in Jesus’ Name,

Rachael Hartman
1 Kings 19:11-12

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I’m raising money to help pay for the prison ministry weekend. $150 will pay for one female inmate to attend the Kairos prison ministry I’m volunteering at.

If you would like to donate to the prison ministry, it needs to be in the form of a check made out to: KPMI (which stands for Kairos Prison Ministry International). In the memo put: Pulaski, GA. You can mail it to me, Rachael Hartman, at: PO Box 501, Bloomingdale, GA 31302. If you want a tax credit, include your full name and address on a note and they will mail you a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers! Every $5 goes to pay for a meal for one of the inmates that weekend. The meal will have a tag with your name on it. And we will have a paper chain link that will also have your names on a link to show that you have prayed for and invested into the weekend. Praise God for what He will do! Please keep me in your prayers as I will be speaking on Obstacles to Accepting God’s Grace, and sharing part of my own testimony in the process.

To add your name to the prayer chain (which will be visualized with a paper link chain – your name will be on one link) please leave a comment below. And please pray for Kairos #40 ~ Pulaski Women’s State Prison in Georgia. Kairos weekend happening August 25-28, 2016.

Letter #8 to a Woman in Prison

Letter #8 of 30. Every woman who attends Kiaros prison ministry will receive a handwritten letter from each volunteer. Please pray for us as we prepare to go and serve these women.

piper.jpgHave you heard of the cycle of abuse? Or the cycle of addiction? Sometimes we are on the receiving end; sometimes on the giving end.

I never considered these cycles when it came to my relationship with God until today. I am always saying “I’m sorry” and going right back to the same old sin.

The book of Hosea in the Bible tells the story of a prophet (Hosea) who God called to a very unconventional life. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute named Gomer. Hosea loved Gomer, married her, and brought her into his home.

There was a problem though: the woman was restless. Bored. Gomer left her husband and went back to being a prostitute.

But Hosea didn’t stop loving Gomer. In fact, he pursued her even more. He went and bought her back out of prostitution and took her back home. He forgave her, and continued to love her even though she continued to make mistakes.

God has a reason for sending Hosea to love Gomer. The point was for Hosea’s life to be a picture of God’s love for us. God loves us with the same kind of unconditional love Hosea loved Gomer with.

That’s how God loves you. That’s how God loves me. We keep messing up, going back to old idols, and sinning. But God relentlessly pursues us. He loves us with an everlasting love.

Praying for you in Jesus’ Name,

Rachael Hartman
Jeremiah 31:3

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I’m raising $150 to pay for one female inmate to attend the Kiaros prison ministry I’m volunteering at. It may not seem like a lot of money, and you may think I should just pay it myself, but I can’t pass up this opportunity to share the blessing of having you join with me in prayer and support for this weekend. As well, if you understood the time, energy, and travel commitments of each of us volunteers, you would understand why I’m asking for help in raising the financial piece.

If you would like to donate to the prison ministry, it needs to be in the form of a check made out to: KPMI (which stands for Kairos Prison Ministry International). In the memo put: Pulaski, GA. You can mail it to me, Rachael Hartman, at: PO Box 501, Bloomingdale, GA 31302. If you want a tax credit, include your full name and address on a note and they will mail you a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers! Every $5 goes to pay for a meal for one of the inmates that weekend. The meal will have a tag with your name on it. And we will have a paper chain link that will also have your names on a link to show that you have prayed for and invested into the weekend. Praise God for what He will do! Please keep me in your prayers as I will be speaking on Obstacles to Accepting God’s Grace, and sharing part of my own testimony in the process.

To add your name to the prayer chain (which will be visualized with a paper link chain – your name will be on one link) please leave a comment below. And please pray for Kairos #40 ~ Pulaski Women’s State Prison in Georgia. Kairos weekend happening August 25-28, 2016.

Letter #7 to a Woman in Prison

Letter #7. In the Bible, the number 7 represents completion or perfection. Today’s topic is about quite the opposite: sin.

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Dear ______,

Do you know the definition of sin? The dictionary says it is: “an immoral act considered to be a transgression of God’s law.”

I have a definition I came up with a few years ago. I think of sin as: “anything that hurts my relationship with God, with others, or with myself.” I base my definition on The 10 Commandments, found in Exodus 20:2-17 and Deuteronomy 5:6-21.

  1. You shall have no other gods before Me.
  2. You shall make no idols.
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
  4. Keep the Sabbath day holy.
  5. Honor your father and your mother.
  6. You shall not murder.
  7. You shall not commit adultery.
  8. You shall not steal.
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  10. You shall not covet.

The first four Commandments are about our relationship with God. The next five Commandments are about our relationships with other people. And the last Commandment is about our relationship with ourself.

The last Commandment concerns a sin I know well: covetousness. To covet is to want something that I don’t have. When I begin to covet something or someone, I begin to create internal dissatisfaction and long for something other than what I have.

When I covet, I prevent thankfulness and contentment. I create depression. I create restlessness. I create a state of mind that makes me vulnerable to hurt, pain, and disappointment.

Philippians 4:9 tells us that God supplies ALL of our needs. Do you believe God has a provision for your needs? He does. He loves you and wants the best for you.

Today I pray you will find rest in God, contentment in His provision, and obedience to His Word.

Praying for you in Jesus’ Name,
Rachael Hartman

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I’m raising $150 to pay for one female inmate to attend the Kiaros prison ministry I’m volunteering at. It may not seem like a lot of money, and you may think I should just pay it myself, but I can’t pass up this opportunity to share the blessing of having you join with me in prayer and support for this weekend. As well, if you understood the time, energy, and travel commitments of each of us volunteers, you would understand why I’m asking for help in raising the financial piece.

If you would like to donate to the prison ministry, it needs to be in the form of a check made out to: KPMI (which stands for Kairos Prison Ministry International). In the memo put: Pulaski, GA. You can mail it to me, Rachael Hartman, at: PO Box 501, Bloomingdale, GA 31302. If you want a tax credit, include your full name and address on a note and they will mail you a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers! Every $5 goes to pay for a meal for one of the inmates that weekend. The meal will have a tag with your name on it. And we will have a paper chain link that will also have your names on a link to show that you have prayed for and invested into the weekend. Praise God for what He will do! Please keep me in your prayers as I will be speaking on Obstacles to Accepting God’s Grace, and sharing part of my own testimony in the process.

To add your name to the prayer chain (which will be visualized with a paper link chain – your name will be on one link) please leave a comment below. And please pray for Kairos #40 ~ Pulaski Women’s State Prison in Georgia. Kairos weekend happening August 25-28, 2016.

Letter #6 to a Woman in Prison

Letter #6 of 30. Each woman who attends the prison ministry weekend I’m volunteering at will receive a hand-written letter from each volunteer. Please pray for our ministry team meeting.
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Dear ______,

My heart is screaming for my attention. I can choose to listen, or choose to silence the cries.

If I listen, I can comfort and console my heart. I can learn the problem and find a remedy. I can learn to trust myself, building full assurance that I will not abandon my heart.

If I choose to ignore the cries of my heart, I will cause neglectful damage. When a problem goes untended to, the situation often gets worse.

If a child or a pet were to cry out in need, would I ignore the cry? Would I scream at the innocent one who is begging for my help? Slap them, and push them to the side? Would I teach them not to come to me?

Or would I respond with love, gentleness, and listening ears? Would I reach out a hand to comfort, and provide nourishment? Would I teach them to come to me?

When my heart cries, sometimes I don’t feel like dealing with the problem. But my heart is my responsibility. I’m learning to listen, to respond with love, and to bring encouragement.

I’m learning that my heart cry is not just asking for my attention. It’s asking me to bring my needs to the Lord. Instead of doing things my own way, or trying to control an outside situation, the best thing I can do is bring my heart and all of its needs to God.

When I don’t understand a situation, when I feel like responding with anger or fear, when I need love . . . It’s time to take my heart to God. He is the only One that is the ultimate answer. He provides direction, strength, peace, and comfort. All we have to do is listen to our heart cries, and bring them to God.

A heart cry is simply this: a call to prayer.

Praying for you in Jesus’ Name,
Rachael Hartman

“Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all you that hope in the LORD.” Psalm 31:24

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I’m raising $150 to pay for one female inmate to attend the Kiaros prison ministry I’m volunteering at. It may not seem like a lot of money, and you may think I should just pay it myself, but I can’t pass up this opportunity to share the blessing of having you join with me in prayer and support for this weekend. As well, if you understood the time, energy, and travel commitments of each of us volunteers, you would understand why I’m asking for help in raising the financial piece.

If you would like to donate to the prison ministry, it needs to be in the form of a check made out to: KPMI (which stands for Kairos Prison Ministry International). In the memo put: Pulaski, GA. You can mail it to me, Rachael Hartman, at: PO Box 501, Bloomingdale, GA 31302. If you want a tax credit, include your full name and address on a note and they will mail you a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers! Every $5 goes to pay for a meal for one of the inmates that weekend. The meal will have a tag with your name on it. And we will have a paper chain link that will also have your names on a link to show that you have prayed for and invested into the weekend. Praise God for what He will do! Please keep me in your prayers as I will be speaking on Obstacles to Accepting God’s Grace, and sharing part of my own testimony in the process.

To add your name to the prayer chain (which will be visualized with a paper link chain – your name will be on one link) please leave a comment below. And please pray for Kairos #40 ~ Pulaski Women’s State Prison in Georgia. Kairos weekend happening August 25-28, 2016.

Letter #1 to a Woman in Prison

Today I started the process of writing 30 unique letters of encouragement. Each woman who attends the prison ministry weekend I’m volunteering at will receive a letter. I’ve decided to share a letter with you. Maybe I’ll share more letters as I write them.

Dear ______,
Today was one of those days where I was around someone who put me down and said several things that made me uncomfortable. I knew in my head that she was the one with the problem. She was using words to create a skewed and fearful reality.
I kept telling myself she was the one with the issue, but my heart still struggled and I never quite felt comfortable. Later in the day, I sat outside and prayed for that woman. I prayed God would help her not to be so stressed out, and that He would give her confidence so she wouldn’t feel insecure or fearful around me.
A lot of times people take out their issues on us. And sometimes we take out our issues on them. Today, I’m praying for you that your mind and heart would be secure in who God says you are, no matter how others may try to make you feel, even unknowingly.
I also pray you wouldn’t take out your problems on other people. It’s not easy to stop taking your problems out on other people, but when we see ourselves doing it, we can have more grace and empathy when other people take their issues out on us.
I’m praying God would sustain you with His Word!
Blessings in Jesus’ Name!

Rachael Kathleen Hartman

Romans 15:7

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

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I’m raising $150 to pay for one female inmate to attend the Kiaros prison ministry I’m volunteering at. It may not seem like a lot of money, and you may think I should just pay it myself, but I can’t pass up this opportunity to share the blessing of having you join with me in prayer and support for this weekend. As well, if you understood the time, energy, and travel commitments of each of us volunteers, you would understand why I’m asking for help in raising the financial piece.

If you would like to donate to the prison ministry, it needs to be in the form of a check made out to: KPMI (which stands for Kairos Prison Ministry International). In the memo put: Pulaski, GA. You can mail it to me, Rachael Hartman, at: PO Box 501, Bloomingdale, GA 31302. If you want a tax credit, include your full name and address on a note and they will mail you a tax receipt.

Thank you so much for your support and prayers! Every $5 goes to pay for a meal for one of the inmates that weekend. The meal will have a tag with your name on it. And we will have a paper chain link that will also have your names on a link to show that you have prayed for and invested into the weekend. Praise God for what He will do! Please keep me in your prayers as I will be speaking on Obstacles to Accepting God’s Grace, and sharing part of my own testimony in the process.

To add your name to the prayer chain (which will be visualized with a paper link chain – your name will be on one link) please leave a comment below. And please pray for Kairos #40 ~ Pulaski Women’s State Prison in Georgia. Kairos weekend happening August 25-28, 2016.