You all know I love me a good book. And I really love me a good parenting book. But if an author combines great writing with compelling stories that challenge and excite me to raise world-changing children AND allows all the proceeds of the book to go to orphan care around the world…well, that may be a book I’d just have to promote on God Speaks Today.
I’d like to welcome as my guest Julie Ferwerda, author of One Million Arrows: Raising Your Children to Change the World. She’s on her international blog tour this week, visiting 85 blogs in five countries!
Julie Ferwerda is recognized for making the Bible exciting and relevant to everyday life through her writing and speaking. Her articles are featured in many Christian magazines and websites for both adults and teens, and she frequently volunteers her time and talents to international orphan ministry. You can learn more about Julie and her ministry at OneMillionArrows.com.
1. The title of your book is, One Million Arrows: What is that all about? The title originated with a man I met in India by the name of Dr. M.A. Thomas. He’s received many national awards in India such as the Mother Theresa Award and the Padma Shri for his humanitarian efforts, especially for his work with orphaned and abandoned children that he started in the 1970s. In the 90s, Dr. Thomas read a verse in the Bible that describes children as a gift and a reward, like sharp arrows in the hands of a mighty warrior (Psalm 127:3-5). He realized that all children, regardless of background and circumstances, should be seen as a gift and a legacy to society because they can make a significant and positive impact in the world if given the proper training and opportunities.
India has as many as 80 million orphans so he set a goal of rescuing one million orphaned and abandoned children, sharpening them with love, education, and spiritual nurturing, and launching them back into society to bring positive change through the power of the Good News about Jesus. To date he has raised over 16,000 orphaned and abandoned children who have become doctors, nurses, teachers, politicians, missionaries, and leaders, and he has planted over 21,000 churches in India and South Asia.
Relating to us…the arrow vision of raising children to be a gift and heritage to their society is for all parents, all countries. So many parents in our culture have lost their vision as to the incredible opportunity we’ve been given to shape—not just tomorrow’s leaders—but today’s leaders and shapers of their peer groups, schools, and communities. But this takes vision and deliberate investment and training. One Million Arrows casts a vision for parents to sharpen and launch our children right now to make a positive impact on society.
2. You mentioned the notion of parents investing in or training their children. Isn’t this what parents already do? Some parents do invest in and train their children to some degree, but there is also a lot of hands-off parenting in our society today, especially in training character development as well as teaching our children how to live for the big-picture—like what were they made to do in this world, what are their unique gifts and abilities, and how can they use them to make a difference now?
We have to train our children to serve others—it doesn’t come naturally. But for many of us, once our kids head into kindergarten, it’s easier to let someone else take over a lot of the training, or to allow our kids to fade into their entertainment-driven culture in their spare time. We need to see parenting as a much bigger opportunity and invitation than that!
I use an illustration in OMA from 9/11 about victims, bystanders, and firemen, the roles people take when lives are at stake. We must teach our children to see themselves as the firemen of this world…the heroes who are willing to set aside their own comforts in order to make a radical difference for others who are suffering or even in danger. There are so many in our world—whether the world around us or the world at large—who need our help and care in order to be saved from terrible circumstances.
I am so encouraged to see a great movement of young people in our world right now who are joining God in His work, coming back to historic levels of competence, purpose, and service for their fellow man. OMA emphasizes helping your kids find what they are passionate about and then training them to use it to serve and positively impact others.
3. Can you give us an example of kids who are using their talents and passions to serve others? Many of these kinds of young people are featured in the book, such as Chloe who is currently majoring in filmmaking in order to positively impact her culture by communicating truths that will spur her peers to make positive choices in life. She’s already received Film Festival awards for her work on the film, “The Enemy God” by (10X Productions), Ivan uses his love for extreme sports to hold events worldwide for sports enthusiasts where he shares a bold Gospel message and then plugs youth into local churches. My oldest daughter Dani uses her love for music and working with kids to impact hundreds of kids during the summer as a Christian camp counselor. These are just a few of many inspiring examples!
4. You have an emphasis in OMA for families to invest in taking care of international orphaned and abandoned children through established organizations. Why is that? Investing in other children is one of the best ways to get your kids’ hearts interested and engaged in serving and helping others. Also, there are so many children worldwide who are the truest victims and have no means to get out of the gutters of life without help. As mentioned, these kids are currently being rescued and shaped to become spiritual leaders and contributing citizens of their own countries. Our family can make a true difference in the world by impacting lives of these children, which will in turn impact whole villages and cities as they grow up. What a great investment of our time, talents, and money! Many organizations will even allow you to visit the orphanages and ministries you help support.
We love to make it known that all proceeds of OMA go to international orphan ministries.
5. Is this a “how to” parenting book? We do share many principles-based parenting tips from several successful arrow-raising families. But there are already many how-to books on the shelves and I’ve had publishers tell me that parents ask for them but then don’t buy them. That’s because parents need inspiration: “What’s possible through our family if I commit this kind of energy to deliberate parenting? Can our family make a true difference in the world?” The major emphasis in OMA is inspirational aspect of parenting—casting a vision of the exciting ways your family can plug in to make a difference.
6. Is there any place parents can go after reading the book for more inspiration and guidance? We are currently developing our website (OneMillionArrows.com) as a community where parents can share testimonies as well as spiritual training helps. We are also adding many resources on our site such as unique orphan ministries to consider getting involved in, suggested books and resources, daily spiritual training helps, and stories of young people around the world who are making a difference.
This book has certainly inspired me to raise my own Arrows. I don’t want my children to simply grow up and be “good Christians,” able to function well in a church environment. Instead, my heart’s desire has always been to train my children to follow hard after God and impact their world for eternity. One Million Arrows showed me examples of real families who are making this happen today.
If you would like to win a copy of this book, just leave a comment letting me know. I’ll announce the winner on Wednesday. But even if you don’t win, I encourage you to purchase a copy of your own–as all proceeds go to orphan care. Click HERE to purchase.
Coming soon on God Speaks Today: A new series on Balancing God and Life! Stay tuned.