A COLLISION … and Thanksgiving

It happened five years ago …

only two months before Thanksgiving. Renaissance Man and I experienced a collision from which we’ve never really recovered. I pray we never do.
We made our first trip to Brazil. The comfortable life of a college administration career we’d been living for 17 years had recently been turned upside down, and we felt God leading us in a different direction … but we were still reeling from the sudden changes. What we thought was a world of increased opportunity and hospitality had turned overnight into one of shock and searching.  COLLISION   What now?
In Brazil, we saw poverty beyond anything either of us had seen in Mexico, our closest point of comparison. We heard story after story of children abandoned, abused, trafficked by their own family members. We saw scars from knives and cigarette butts and hot grease on the bodies of teenagers. Smiling teenagers. Smiling?   COLLISION
How can that be?  We listened as a job opportunity — ministry opportunity — was laid out before us.
After several days of observing the clash of poverty and smiles, we found ourselves standing in agreement … and nervous excitement … with the “still, small voice” leading us away from all that was familiar. We flew back to the U.S. and our comfortable home, our full pantry, our overflowing closets … and left behind the plywood shacks, the hungry faces, the scantily-clad children. Or so we thought.  COLLISION
There was something we couldn’t get out of our minds. How is it possible for a child to move so completely from tragic reality to smiles? True, joy-behind-the-eyes smiles. As far back as either of us could remember, Renaissance Man and I had spoken truth: ALL things are possible with God. We still believed that … but how?  HOW had God worked such transformation in the lives of so many once-desperate children? How is it that children once considered “mortally at risk” … some of them now young adults … were actually thriving?

I’m certain God could have accomplished that miracle on His own had He wanted to.

But, as is so often the case, He gives people like you and me a chance to share in the accomplishment. Three men who, 21 years ago, went to Brazil to try to do something about the massacre of innocent street children. Would they be successful? Only God knew … but they left their comfortable homes behind and stepped into a world of poverty and evil.  COLLISION

An interesting thing happened.

Over time, while enlisting Brazilians to help them, they learned the best way to care for children with such tragic and overwhelming pasts. They learned what worked … and what didn’t. The step of faith taken by three men over two decades ago has evolved into the award-winning orphan care ministry known as Hope Unlimited for Children. Five years ago, my husband and I joined the team when he took on the job as president of the organization.   COLLISION   The world as we knew it changed forever … and I am so very thankful.
Today, during this week of Thanksgiving, I am also thankful for something else. It’s something we at Hope have been wanting to do for a long time … and now we can … and so can you.

YOU sitting there in your comfortable home.
YOU can change the world … one child at a time!
YOU can become a charter member of the Thrive Team.

Take a look at the Thrive Team logo.  It symbolizes all that we strive to provide for the children of Hope. The arrow points upward, symbolizing growth, improvement, and engaging the future. The arrow also carries the shape of a home, because it is at Hope that many of our children experience family for the first time. The drop of water represents not only the life-sustaining work of Hope, but also the Living Water which brings true transformation.

YOU can change the world of a child in mortal need.

Not a child who is “just” living in poverty … but a child whose very life is at grave risk unless circumstances change quickly. YOU! YOU can do that … for only $35 per month.


Real need. Financial commitment.


100% of each Thrive Team sponsorship goes directly to meet the needs of the children at Hope. 100%. I know of no other organization that can claim that. It’s been our goal … and now it’s our commitment to YOU … for the sake of the children.

Join today! You’ll be in good company. Besides yours truly, these bloggers are also supporters of the Thrive Team.  I’ll add their links when their Thrive Team posts publish — and I’ll add yours, too, if you join us!  (Just send me your link.)
Celia – High Heeled Life
Heather and Vanessa – At the Picket Fence
Laura – Decor to Adore
Please.  Click on the button below to learn more about the Thrive Team. Then join the rest of us and change the world … one child at a time.  COLLISION   How will you respond?

On the Thrive Team sign-up page, please type “My Place to Yours” on the comment line. I want to know how many children will receive Hope this holiday season because of the commitment and good hearts of My Place to Yours readers. In advance … on behalf of the children … thank you!


Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!
I  pray you’ll share some of your many blessings with others …

If a monthly commitment is more than you can do right now, no problem!  YOU can still change the world for a child. It’s easy!  Click HERE to learn how — for as little as $10 — YOU can unwrap Hope for a child this Christmas.
I’ll be linking to:
Spiritual Sundays @ Blogger Spirit
Seasonal Sunday @ The Tablescaper
Blue Monday @ Smiling Sally
Metamorphosis Monday @ Between Naps on the Porch


  1. Susan .. to see those smiling faces in the photos above … warm my heart more than words could ever say. These children are going to make a difference in the world – because someone cared!! They may grow up to be doctors, scientists, teachers or the most important profession of all a loving parent to the future that remains yet to be born… Happy Thanksgiving ..xo C. (HHL)

    • So true! Celia, among our many graduates, we certainly do have some wonderfully loving parents. I’m also thinking right this minute of a lawyer, the head chef at a fancy Brazilian sushi restaurant, and an engineer for Toyota — all our grads. All these kids need is a chance — and I am so thankful that you’ve joined us to give it to them!

  2. Susan, I would love to participate. Is there a way to do it through PayPal instead of having to give my credit card information? Thanks. Cherry Kay

    • Thank you for your question, Cherry Kay. YES, there is a way to donate through PayPal, but unfortunately it’s less convenient than the Thrive Team sign-up page because your sponsorship isn’t debited automatically; you would have to make your own payment each month — or pay several months/year at once. However, it IS do-able.

      Just click this link: Donate to Hope You’ll see a Donate button (for credit cards and bank accounts) and BELOW IT is a link for donating through PayPal. Click that link and on the PayPal site enter the amount you wish to donate. Then, on the confirmation page, click on “Send a note to Hope” and type in this information (#s 2-4 only needed the first time):

      1. Thrive Team sponsorship (# children sponsored/# months paid)
      2. Provide t-shirt size if you want to received the Thrive Team t-shirt
      3. Confirm e-mail address for receiving monthly letters from children sponsored
      4. Referred by My Place to Yours

      I hope this helps!

  3. Beautiful work you’re doing. I pray your continued “collision” success!

    To God be all the glory!

  4. Hi Susan- I hope this word spreads and reaches thousands. We are involved in ministries, too, and work along the same lines as you do. God bless-you are doing a good work- xo Diana

  5. I love the way you called it a collision from which you hoped to never recover. Amen. I have something similar to that. It got a hold of my heart, and it has yet to let go.

    Though monthly commitments are still not yet in the budget, I’m believing for a miracle in 2013. In the meantime, I will give what I can and trust the widow’s mite to be multiplied to the glory of God.

    Well done, good and faithful servants.

  6. And just so you know… YES. I thought you had had a wreck when I saw the title.

  7. We have already participated through our church. Thanks for playing today.

    Happy Blue Monday and Happy Thanksgiving, Susan.

  8. You are doing such a beautiful work. God Bless. Happy Blue Monday.

    Mine’s here.

  9. Great post and timing, Susan. We have so much to be grateful for. I cannot commit monthly at this time, but I am clicking on the gift guide for other options.
    Wishing you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving.

  10. Wow, What a ministry! I am going to do some investing and reading Susan! I have had a burden for the child trafficking industry and already support one child. I will prayerfully consider your request.

  11. I did make a Thanksgiving gift as a small overflow of our abundance. I’ll be checking back again.

  12. Great post. We need to know about opportunities. Thanks for sharing.
    Have a Blessed Thanksgiving.