by Jason Bollinger on December 23rd, 2016

​Growing up, my Grandma in Minnesota would always ask us if we were coming "Home for Christmas." Even though I never lived in Minnesota, traveling there most ever year definitely felt like coming home. A couple of years ago, we took our kids there for Christmas, and they said it felt like home. The truth is there's more to being home than simply being back where you are from. 

People make home a home. Usually it's family members that make you feel at home. For those with difficult family situations, friends can make you feel at home. You can feel at home anywhere.

For missionaries, home is complicated. Responding to the international mission call means being willing to leave everything - including home - for at least a season. Serving the nations often involves leaving the comforts of your native land...including the people you are closest to. 

This is a hard reality for both those who have left and for those left behind. This is tough all year long as you are apart for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and other special days, but it is especially tough during the holidays. 

For those who have family members across a border or ocean during the holiday, remembering these things can help us get through the difficulty of being apart. 

PRAY - Praying for each other always reduces the miles between. Praying also focuses us on the bigger picture of why you are apart. There are people desperate for the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel all around the world, and our friends serving the nations are messengers of that hope. The sacrifices they are making and you are making are a practical demonstration of Philippians 2:3: Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. The value of seeing the lost, the least, and the last coming into the Kingdom is worth the cost of not being together on the holidays. 

COMMUNICATE - We live in the time of the global village. In most places, a Skype, Facetime or good old-fashioned phone call is as simple as making sure the other side of the world is awake. Set aside some time to get in touch and let the people you are missing know you are missing them and praying for them. Things get really busy really quickly, but setting aside some time to talk to them is not only doable but a significant use of our time. 

CELEBRATE - The holidays are a time to give thanks and to remember the power of Jesus leaving heaven to be with us.  Even if there are people missing from our table, we have a lot to celebrate. Not only that, we should celebrate the work of our friends and family in the field. Let's celebrate them when we talk to them, and let's celebrate them to the family and friends at home. When someone you love can't be home for Christmas, we can make them feel like they are. These are just a few ways to get us started, and the possibilities are endless for including missionaries in our times of being together. 

For those of you in the field, we love you, are proud of you and are praying for you. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making to be ambassadors of GOOD NEWS. We miss you, but we know you are where you need to be. We hope to be able to see you soon, and we rejoice at the work the Lord has put before you. 

For the Kingdom,
​PS - The Harper Family pictured above is serving in Northern Uganda. They are an example of the many people serving the Lord on mission around the world. For more on the Harpers click here

by Jason Bollinger on December 13th, 2016

​2016 has blessed us with the opportunity to engage with Nicaragua at a greater level than ever before. Things are shaping up for an incredible 2017, and you will be hearing more about several upcoming initiatives.

One of our partners has asked us for some help. The Hope Project is currently building a community center that will multiply the impact of their mission. This facility will also be home to several of our initiatives. The Hope Project is employing local people for most of the construction, but they have hit a snag and need some help. This is where we come in.

We need to put together a small team to go and help with some construction projects. We are needing general construction folks who can do drywall and electrical work (one of these or both). The dates are shaping up to be late January/early February. If you want to be a part of working on something that will change lives and transform a community for generations to come, this is a great opportunity. It would be great if we could find some folks who could spend 5-7 days in country. 

All of the expenses once you are there will be covered. All you need is to be able to buy a plane ticket. However, If you're available to go, and need help with money for the airfare, please let us know.

If a construction trip isn't something you feel comfortable going on, would you consider making a financial gift so that someone else can go? Plane tickets to Nicaragua are higher than they have been in a while ($700-$800) and every little bit helps.

Finally, would you join us in praying for this project? Let's pray for the workers to be available, for the costs to be paid, and for The Hope Center to be finished in a timely manner so it can be used as soon as possible to bless the people in Nicaragua. 

Let me know if you have any questions or feedback. Thank you in advance!

Jason Bollinger
CEO, Links International - USA Office
Contact us here for more information.

by Jason Bollinger on November 7th, 2016

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for coming out to Drinks with Links last week. It was great to see so many good friends and to meet new ones as well. We are excited about working in Nicaragua and the initiatives that are providing solutions for families stuck in a generational cycle of poverty.

I apologize again for the technical difficulties showing the video on Thursday. Cliff and Cassandra did a great job with it, and I want you to be able to experience the whole thing. The video is posted below.

Thank you also for taking the time to text us with your info. If you asked to be added to the e-mail list, that has been done, and you should begin receiving our emails.

Finally, we asked you to consider praying, giving, going, and/or advocating. It is our highest honor to connect the #linksfamily with simple ways to make a difference in the world. Your prayers for us and our partners are strategic and necessary, and we covet your prayer support. Your giving is what puts the initiatives on the ground where they effectively relieve families from poverty. Going with us strengthens relationships and increases the capacity of the work we are a part of. Finally, advocating introduces other people to the reality that they can be a real part of changing lives and transforming communities.

If you would like to give to any of the initiatives we talked about Thursday, I would like to encourage you to utilize our secure online initiative giving site: http://linksinternationalusa.com/initiatives.htm.

We are also always in need of general funds to cover the ongoing expenses that allow us to facilitate all the mission work we do. If you would like to make a one time or recurring donation, you can sign-up here: https://linksusa.cloverdonations.com/general/.

You can also mail a check to our office:

Links International
503 FM 359 Suite 130-116
Richmond, TX  77406


Again, thank you for taking the time to learn more about the life-changing work happening in Nicaragua. Please let me know if you have any questions at all. I love our DFW #linksfamily!

For the Kingdom,

Jason Bollinger
CEO/President, Links International - USA Office

by Jason Bollinger on June 9th, 2016

​URGENT NEWS FROM NICARAGUA
On every trip there are two things we experience (1) things we plan and (2) things we don't plan. The things we plan are initiatives we are already working on where we pretty much know what to expect. The things we don't plan are things that come together simply because we showed up and were at the right place at a time the Lord wanted to show us something. One thing we didn't plan is what I want to share with you.

​The Hope Project is one of our partners in Nicaragua, and they are doing great community development work in the Matagalpa area. They are feeding 500 children a day (M-F) and providing tutoring, counseling, and support for families. We are working with them to implement business development as a way for families to work their way out of extreme poverty. While we were at one of the Hope Centers (community hub where the work is based), a family requested some help at their home. A torrential rain had happened the night before, and there was some damage. 

Many people live in homes of plastic tarp or pieced together metal. When it rains they get wet - even inside their homes. It was heartbreaking to see this first hand. 

We set off with some of the Hope Project team to investigate. We hiked down a fairly treacherous cliff to the site where this family lives. They literally live on the edge of a cliff, and during the storm, a small landslide dumped piles of dirt down against the back of their house. They are about half way down the mountain, and it was easy to see that it wouldn't take much more to push their house right off the cliff. 

​We talked with them and prayed with them as we had to tell them no safe repairs could be made. However, we prayed that God would provide them a new house. The Hope Project is currently building their 12th house in this area. It is just a small piece of the bigger strategy of changing lives and transforming communities. 

A secure home allows the families to not only be dry and safe during bad weather, but it allows them to lock their doors when they leave. One of the reasons people don't go to work is that people often steal their stuff when they leave. It's a real concern. A secure home not only protects families, but allows them to make more money by going to work. Additionally, the houses are built by local builders, so it provides additional work for them. 

​It costs $5,000 to build a complete house that includes a proper bathroom and shower (most are using outhouse type situations now). A plot of land can cost between $2,000-$10,000. So a brand new house for a family costs between $7,000-$15,000. The homes that are built are deeded to the children in order that they will be secure for multiple generations. All of the homes are built for families accountable to The Hope Project as participants in their community development programs. 

Would you be willing to invest in Casas de Esperanza (Houses of Hope)? The family I spoke of earlier is in urgent need. They are one terrible rain storm away from being homeless. They are also just one example of hundreds more that could use this tangible display of GOOD NEWS. Would you be willing to talk to your church, place of business, community group to see if others might be willing to be a part of this opportunity. Would you be willing to give toward the $7,000-$15,000 total?

The houses we build are houses that we will see every time we travel to Nicaragua. For that matter, I would love to take you to see the house that you had a part in building. It will change your life forever. Any amount makes a difference and goes straight to helping families in desperate need. If you can't give right now, would you pray for these families and the hundreds of others living in these conditions...that God would hear their cries and provide for their needs?

Here is the giving site: 
https://linksusa.cloverdonations.com/nicaragua-casa-de-esperanza/

Let me know if you have any questions about this project or anything else. Thanks for being a part of the #linksfamily. Thank you for working with us to be GOOD NEWS to the poor. 

For the Kingdom,

Jason Bollinger
CEO, Links International - USA Office

by Jason Bollinger on March 27th, 2016

“O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
 (1 Corinthians 15:55 ESV)

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.”
(Romans 8:11 ESV)

It is so fun to see everyone’s social media feeds light up with excitement around Easter. Bible verses, inspiration, worship gatherings, Easter Egg hunts, other special events, and a lot of joy abounds in our feeds. Celebrating Easter is bringing life to things that aren’t usually there.

On a normal day our feeds are composed of the good, the bad, and the ugly. Kid posts, dinner posts, selfie posts, sporting event posts, date night posts, crossfit posts, paleo posts, bad customer service posts, bad day at work posts, my life stinks posts, that’s not fair posts, jealousy posts, passive aggressive posts, look at me posts, winning at life posts, failing at life posts, prayer request posts, prayer request posts that are really gossip posts, and recently horrendous world event posts. 

A normal day has a lot of opportunity for a lot of different experiences. Social media is for sharing those experiences, and our feeds are a reflection of the world we live in and the people we are “friends” with, “like,” or “follow.”

I love that on Easter our feeds seemed to flow as one steady stream of Life. So much joy. So many families looking happy and being together. So many celebrations. So many worship gatherings. So many verses and encouragement being shared. There is something different around Easter.

I’m not saying that suddenly everything that’s wrong in the world was suddenly gone. ISIS is still wreaking havoc on our world. Over 650 million people don't have clean water.  There are still plenty of people suffering from illness or facing hardships of various kinds. Those situations are still there, but Easter week brings reminders of hope. 

Easter seems to bring out the best, and that’s the way it should be. If death has lost it’s victory and sting, then there’s nothing that we’re facing that can’t be overcome by the resurrected Jesus. Not only that, but the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead is bringing life to us.

That Romans verse always cuts to the core of who I am. If Jesus can beat death, then I can beat whatever it is that I’m facing. Not because I’m good enough, strong enough, or ready enough, but because the Spirit in me is. The same power. Not a similar power. The same power.

That Spirit is what has drawn us to Jesus in the first place. That Spirit is powerful and strong. That Spirit is what makes something from nothing and brings life from death. It’s no little thing.
We seem to have a higher awareness of this during Easter, but the truth is that the same Spirit is alive and well every other day of the year as well. I love that Easter fills us with hope and encouragement. It should. But the power of the resurrection is not only something to celebrate and live in one Sunday a year. It is a reality all the time.

As we move on from the biggest Christian holiday of the year. Let’s take it with us. Let’s worship next Sunday with an awareness of the power that lives within us. Let’s go to work and ask God to use that power within us to bring hope to someone else. Let’s live life as reflections of the hope and glory that we experienced today.

My last thought about Easter is that for every one person who claims to be a follower of Christ in our world, remember that there are two that are not. The Easter joy we feel today isn’t something for us to highjack only for ourselves. It’s also for those without hope or without joy. The same power that raised Christ from the dead lives in us. It’s real.

We hope you and your family have had a tremendous Easter today, and we pray the reality of what we celebrate on Easter will go with you every day.

HE IS RISEN...


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