Rescue & Restoration in Puerto Rico & Mexico

Casa de Luz, or House of Light, is the Hispanic congregation of Willow Creek Community Church. Each Sunday morning at 9 and 11:15am, Pastor Juan Guillen and his team welcome local Spanish-speaking families into a vibrant community of faith.

The natural disasters of recent weeks have hit very close to home for many in this close-knit congregation. One Casa lay leader lost three family members in the recent earthquake in Mexico. Other Casa families still await word about loved ones in Puerto Rico.

Despite their own grief and fear, the Casa community is committed to being the light that is their namesake, as they pray and take action on behalf of our brothers and sisters who are suffering.

For nearly a decade, Casa de Luz has brought a beautiful cultural and spiritual dynamic to our church life–and to my life personally.

Not being a Spanish-speaker, I’ve enjoyed the music of the Casa worship team and the preaching of Pastor Guillen via translation headset.

I’ve felt the heartache and fear of Casa members as I’ve joined them in workshops on DACA and comprehensive immigration reform as part of their ongoing immigration ministry.

I’ve been inspired by their commitment to Love Everyone Always. Ama a todos siempre.

And now I join them in grieving and taking action on behalf of the people and countries they love.

Working through a network of like-minded churches and respected NGOs, Casa de Luz is raising funds for rescue and restoration in Puerto Rico and Mexico. We can join them in prayer and giving:

Prayer: Saturday, September 30, 7-8:30am. Willow Creek Guest Central Lounge (South Barrington campus, entrance D or E, check screens for more information or changes).

Giving: Write checks to Willow Creek Casa de Luz. Memo: Mexico and Puerto Rico.

Mailing Address:
Willow Creek Casa de Luz
Willow Creek Community Church
67 E. Algonquin Rd.
South Barrington, IL 60010

For more information, follow Casa de Luz on Twitter and Facebook.

If you have a favorite church or organization responding to the crises in Puerto Rico and Mexico, please donate to them. But if not, we welcome your donations to Casa de Luz. The needs are so great. Let’s join this House of Light and show up together for the sake of those who are suffering.

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Why I’ll be fasting for our country on the 21st of each month.

Some weeks ago my friend David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World, invited me to join him and a coalition of other Christian leaders in fasting and prayer on the 21st of each of month.

Bread for the World is a collective Christian voice urging our nation’s decision-makers to help end hunger at home and abroad. Given the priorities of President Trump and Congress, David and his colleagues believe unprecedented action must be taken on behalf of the world’s most vulnerable.  Continue reading

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Why I Spent Mothers’ Day in Mosul, Iraq #2

“Being imprisoned in our homes was so demoralizing. ISIS was in control for two and a half years, and we couldn’t leave the house.”

“The only thing that kept me going was to think about what I’d do after ISIS left. Continue reading

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Why I Spent Mothers’ Day in Mosul, Iraq #1

“My dad, my brother, and my husband were all killed by ISIS.”

At fifteen she got married. At eighteen she was a widow, the mother of an infant, and caretaker for her widowed mother.

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Why I’ve Never Missed The JUSTICE Conference—and Won’t Miss It This Year!

June 9-10  Chicago
June 9-10 Chicago

In 2011 I asked myself this question: Has the American evangelical church actually awakened to the biblical call to justice as a part of our discipleship as Christians? Or, did we just get caught up in a temporary cool to care movement? Continue reading

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Why I Signed the World Relief Open Letter on Refugees

Today a reporter asked me why I signed the World Relief open letter asking President Trump to reconsider his recent executive order impacting refugees. She also asked my opinion on the apparent divide between the pulpit and the pew when it comes to refugees. In other words, over 500 evangelical leaders signed the letter, yet polls have revealed that a majority of white evangelicals do not feel a responsibility to Syrian refugees and would support a law barring Syrian refugees from entering the US. Why that divide?

Here’s my answer: Continue reading

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What Climbing Kilimanjaro Taught Me About Refugees

On March 8, 2016, International Women’s Day, I reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. At an altitude of nearly 20,000 feet, it’s the highest peak on the African continent, and the tallest free standing mountain in the world.

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Help First-Responders Rescue 4,000 Syrian Women & Children–NOW

Questscope is one of my favorite organizations serving refugees and displaced people in the Middle East. I’ve traveled with them, I’ve seen their programs, I’ve met their top leaders as well as grassroots volunteers. I just received the following email update about an immediate and critical need. Would you join me this weekend in giving on behalf of 4,000 women and children. Just $50,000 can lift them from despair to dignity and hope.

From Questscope

4,000 women and children are currently being evacuated from two besieged towns in the Idlib governorate of western Syria to designated areas around the city of Homs – right now, this week. They have lived under siege for more than three years. Our team there will coordinate this move and provide support and shelter.

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December–The Quiet Month

I actually wrote this blog a year ago. Called “Confessions of a December Dropout,” I wrote it to give myself–and anyone else who needed it–permission to opt out of the crazy hustle and noise of the season. Turns out I need that message even more this year than I did a year ago. The weariness I felt in December ’15 I feel even more deeply now, and the quietness that beckoned me twelve months ago calls with even greater insistence today. So, here’s to a quiet month, a month of slowed down hours and simple pleasures, a month of deep healing and profound joy and the anticipation of new birth. Join me? Continue reading

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What I’m Thankful For

I actually wrote this blog the weekend before the election. I decided that for two days I would shut out the steady stream of negative and depressing political rhetoric and focus on a few things I’m thankful for. Unfortunately, before I could post the blog, my computer succumbed to a severe virus and crashed. But as the negative and depressing political rhetoric continues—and as Thanksgiving approaches—I offer these humble and meandering thoughts. Continue reading

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