Videos about Living Stones

sexta-feira, 13 de dezembro de 2013

10 Perfect Present Ideas

1.       Become a Foundation Builder
Child sponsorship through Living Stones provides for a child, a church, and a community (
2.       Buy a present for a child in Brazil
Provide a birthday party/holiday present for a child who wouldn’t normally receive one (
3.       Feed 5 Children
Giving $5 provides for 5 children to have a hot meal (
4.       Magazine Subscriptions
Sign up for Living Stones e-newsletters at Other amazing ministries are and
5.       A Real Letter
Forget Hallmark and sit down to write a letter that they can treasure forever
6.       Photobooks has options for as low as $6 for books of pictures, poems, recipes, or your creative works/memories
7.       Homemade Cookies and coupons
Breakout your Pinterest ideas, and then add some coupons for future service in something meaningful
8.       Make Memories
Find out their love language (physical touch, gift giving, acts of service, words of affirmation, or quality time) and then give them that gift.
9.       Volunteer Together
At a soup kitchen, friend in need, baby-sitting for someone who needs a night out, hanging out with someone lonely…
10.   Passion

The greatest gift you can give someone is YOU being passionate about life and what you can do to make a difference.  Begin the wave of something great.

An amazing 2013

Living Stones has 5 different programs running, currently on a $1000 budget (ideal is $1000 for each Living Stones program). This year:
·         17,000 meals served
·         280 children enrolled at Cajueiro Claro, Mussurepe, Trash dump, Guadalajara, and Lagoa De Itaenga
·         250 Birthday parties
·         300 involved in the Literacy program
·         600 children heard the gospel
·         Vehicle (Kombi) was purchased for Living Stones .

As far as finances, $14,150 was spent ($4,800 on food, $4,800 on transportation, $2,100 on salaries, $2,150 on special events and promotional costs, and $300 on general supplies). Donations were $16,250, so we have over $2,000 rollover for 2014! Praise the Lord! Note: the Kombi was $17,500, but that was stored in a separate account and given over in a one lump sum, and so counted separately. If you have any other questions about finances or accountability for Living Stones or Rachel Ferguson, please write to We are firmly committed to using every cent given to us wisely and with accountability. 

Merry Christmas from over 250 children in Brazil! 
Cajueiro Claro:
Trash dump:
Lagoa de Itaenga:

The Wedding

On November 9th, over 100 children from Living Stones (Trash dump, Cajueiro Claro, Mussurepe, and Guadalajara) were able to come and be a part of Caid and Rachel's wedding. Rachel has served in Brazil for 9 years, and been the coordinator of Living Stones for the past three years. For many of these children, it was the first wedding they had ever attended:
You can read more about the event here:
Rachel and Caid are now back in the States enjoying the holidays with their families. Rachel will continue to be the coordinator for Living Stones, just on the USA side of things. She will still be in charge of checking finances, writing the Living Stones blogs, sending out monthly information and newsletters, and raising funds for Living Stones through speaking/meeting with churches and individuals.
Caid and Rachel are excited with the special opportunity to partner with Shelbyville Community Church, who is taking on Living Stones as a church ministry! They are sending a trip to Brazil in October 2014, and Caid and Rachel will be helping them to prepare for it, as well as praying (and hoping!) to go along with them as they help Living Stones celebrate Children’s day 2014.
Caid is working on finishing his degree (he has over 90 credits) in Urban Leadership at Crossroads Bible College next year, so they will be living in Indianapolis, close to friends and family, during that time. They are both looking for jobs and opportunities as God leads them in this new life together, as well as praying about what God might have for them in the future—whether in the States or abroad.  
Merry Christmas and God bless you--From the Fergusons

quarta-feira, 4 de dezembro de 2013

Jackson Visits Brazil

The dump. I’d heard of it before, of course — it’s one of the many stories that Rachel uses to pitch her Living Stones projects in Brazil. Its stickiness factor lies in the shock of it, so it always remained in the back of my mind. But before today, they were all just words.
“There are kids living at the dump, rummaging through garbage to pick out scraps of recyclables, pieces of cardboard piled in a bundle to sell. Their parents work for less than half the national average salary–lucky if they make 150USD a month.”
Sure I felt bad for them, but these were just words. Statistics.
On the back of a moto, I flew towards the outskirts of Carpina, a city in Northeast Brazil of 80,000 inhabitants. We rounded the corner that opened into a driving school, and a few moments later, dirt paths lined with garbage indicated our descent into the dump.
The smell came first. I thought about all the trash bags in bins beside the toilets, holding dirty tissue paper and who knows what else. The plastic bags I’m seeing everywhere now contain rotting fruit peels and discarded toiletries. Bloody hospital waste. Vomit. Strewn for miles in all directions, decomposing and stinking, exacerbated by the Brazilian heat.
All of Carpina’s daily waste is brought to this dump and overturned onto the waiting arms of desperately needy workers.
I met these workers today. They didn’t wear masks or gloves or boots. They couldn’t afford these. Do they even know about the danger?
Their soiled faces, wrinkled and dark from the sun, squinted into a smile as I zoomed past.
We eventually stopped in the residential area, mere steps from the open-air dump. Rachel was already off her moto, tousling the kids’ hair, and making them giggle. I hesitated. I couldn’t help but think about disease and germs and cleanliness and I kicked myself for not having enough love for them. Rachel's people come every week to visit these children, to play with them, to feed them, to teach them, to remind them that they are not trash, forgotten by society. Why is my heart not there? Why is this fear of getting dirty suddenly rising and holding me back?
But I couldn’t process it all then. The kids have already noticed my arrival and are staring at me curiously, excitedly; their mothers tiredly looking on at the scrambling chaos from the sanctuary of their small houses.
Rachel introduces me in a string of rapid Portuguese, which by now I’ve heard enough of to understand: “This is my friend, Jackson, who I want you to meet. He’s from China!”
I plaster a big smile on my face as these kids beam brilliantly at me with their big chocolate eyes and adorably missing teeth. I try the handshake, but it dissolves into a hug as they move closer. Again, I felt the rush of shameful repulsion – their sticky hands were just picking through toilet paper, their bodies are covered in the slime of the dump. But as I look into their faces, their gigantic grins and dancing eyes, I keep my own smile plastered on and mutter the few words of Portuguese I know, tousling the kids’ hair and poking their sides.

Rachel gets up to show me a bit of the neighbourhood: a house made completely of garbage here, a tragic story of respiratory disease there. She asks the kids to stay with their moms, but they follow us nonetheless – a little boy grabs my hand and leads the way to a shoddy shelter with a tin roof, where they hold their weekly gatherings. Another boy brings along his most prized possession: a yellow bicycle with peeling paint and the chain falling off, probably the discarded toy of some other kid in Carpina. With his helmet resting lopsided on his head, he poses for a picture.
I guiltily take out my DSLR – it’s a luxurious burgundy, and all the kids clamor to touch it. Rachel pulls a boy off of me, telling him he can’t take the picture and that the camera belongs to Jackson—but he persists, making shutter noises and moving his head close. He was also the one who took me by the hand. He’s my favorite, I decide, and I feel a little bad about not letting him handle the machine.
We bring the kids back to their moms, where I take pictures of Rachel with the kids before she asks to take pictures of me.
In all the pictures, I am smiling too wide. It’s a stark contrast to the plight of the kids, wearing only underwear that don’t even fit, and swarmed with flies. Much too soon, I left the dump, throwing one last glance over my shoulder at the plumes of black smoke rising from the ashes of burning trash. Not even 10 minutes later, mansions appear on both sides in Carpina. A boardwalk with patterned tiles glitters, lined with joggers in the afternoon sun. Not even 10 minutes down the road there are fellow Brazilians living a life the dump kids will only dream about.
I felt horrible. I hated the way I was repulsed by the dirty hands and the snot-covered faces. I hated how I spent less than half an hour there, brought out my fancy camera, took some pictures, and then whizzed away on my moto, never to see them again like I was some entitled tourist peeking into their impoverished lives so I can write a story about it afterward. I hated that I couldn’t do anything—that the difference between my being there and them being there was just, as Bono puts it, “an accident in latitude”.
20% of the world live in extreme poverty, a friend pointed out to me that afternoon. That’s one in every five people. How terrifyingly startling.
She told me the first time is always startling.
“It’s good to feel this way, because it shows you have a soul. Return to see it again,” she urges me. “Maybe not here exactly, but everyone needs to see this extreme poverty.”
I peeked into the lives of some real people today. People, just like you and me, who were simply born under different circumstances. Souls attached to bodies in different places. There was a connection, a realization that they were exactly like me but simply living elsewhere. That scared me, and I reacted in fear and disgust. But really, we’re not all that different, the children of the dump and I.
“It is startling how, sometimes, we must first be brave in order to be kind.” – Asad Chishti
I wasn’t brave enough that day. But I’m hoping to return one day and by then, I’m hoping I will be.