About Me

Van Walton

Fun Facts about Van Walton

My favorite smell: The way the earth smells after it rains.

My favorite sound: The first notes of a grand symphony.

My favorite way to relax: Sitting anywhere outside - on my front porch, on my deck, or by the lake, early in the morning with my first cup of coffee.

My favorite birthday dessert: a Peach cobbler baked by my husband. He’s my fave chef!

I will not eat: Avocado. They turn my stomach into a volcano that never erupts.

Technology I couldn't live without and why: My laptop - it takes me anywhere I want to go.

One thing that makes me smile: My sons' faces!

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My Resources



My book, From the Pound to the Palace, is available for $10
from Proverbs 31 Ministries.


Pound to Palace


My book, Little Halos, is available for $5.99 from Proverbs
31 Ministries.


Little Halos


Proverbs 31 Ministries












Links




Sponsor a Child in Jesus Name with Compassion

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

POVERTY, ALTHOUGH NOT A GARDEN, IS THE PLACE WHERE GOD RESIDES

Before leaving for Ecuador I braced myself, knowing that I would experience extreme poverty, deep despair, and seemingly hopeless situations. And I was right. What I saw broke my heart. Overwhelming circumstances threatened to defeat my purpose for visiting the work Compassion International accomplishes with children and their families.

The Sunday while visiting Ecuador our team of traveling speakers had the privilege of going to church in the mountains with typical native Andeans. During that service my heart broke. It broke because it had weakened, become too dependent on the things of this earth. God needed to repair it and He used the pure words of a most unlikely man to mend and heal. I first felt God’s presence during the pastor’s prayers. What struck me was the intimate manner in which he spoke with his Lord. He addressed his Creator with deep reverence and committed love. I expected to hear prayers asking for needs to be met. I heard prayers of thanksgiving instead. I thought I would hear a pastor ask for today's daily bread, but I heard him ask for forgiveness. I expected to hear an anguished cry for help, but the humble pastor praised God. He lifted his face to the Almighty giving due honor. "God, You are Lord of lords. You are King." He poured out passionate words that spoke of trust in a Sovereign God and a loving heavenly Father. He verbally placed himself at the foot of the cross, submitting to his Provider listing all God’s blessings. God worked through Compassion International to provide the necessary funds for surgery that made it possible for his son to walk (Even though he struggled mightily with crutches. My thoughts, not his words.) God used Compassion International to provide sponsors for the children in his Community, giving them a future hope. God provided the church building so families could gather, finding shelter and release from their hard lives. The prayers of this small-in-stature yet tall-in-faith man continued to audibly usher me into God's sanctuary.

An overwhelming sense of joy and peace, flowed over my visions of hopelessness and despair, poverty and rejection, carrying me higher than my own human focus and earth-bound concerns could take me. I might be one person and yes, I could never have the resources to make a change in the midst of the severe squalor I encountered.

But God's power is unleashed when His armies unite to do His work. My trip to Ecuador was truthfully a journey into a Holy and Sacred Place that I can only describe as the inner chamber of God's heart. From that vantage point He illustrated for me in full living color, using my senses and deep feelings for others: The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

When we follow God into the places where the poor and needy live, those He considers to be worthy, the veil tears allowing, us access to His heart beat, pouring out indescribable and unimaginable blessings upon His obedient followers.

A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Interested in sponsoring a child with Compassion International? Please visit: vithttp://www.compassion.com/Sponsor_a_child/default.htm?referer=68813
Saturday, August 18, 2007

A JOURNEY TO GOD'S HEART

http://www.compassion.com/child-advocacy/find-your-voice/photo-essays/what-does-poverty-look-like-slideshow



Omar served not only as a language translator for our group, he translated the Word and Jesus' commands into real life by living every moment of his day just as Jesus would have, had he been walking in our little group of ambassadors. Omar and the Compassion International staff - a living example of Jesus walk while He lived on earth. "You don't have to walk alone. Please come walk with me."



Last week I left the comfort of my garden and traveled toward the jungle, literally. Along with several other pilgrims - my teammates, the Proverbs 31 Speaker Team, and the Compassion International staff, I made a journey into God's heart. Yes! That is right, into God's heart!

I felt the awesome and trembling experience of venturing to a place where I understood the overwhelming love God has for His children. I not only came to the realization that God longs for the little ones to know Him, I realized my own depravity. Oh, I thank God for my blessings every day - my warm, or cool, home depending on the season of the year, food, health, a car, clothes, precious sons, a strong family, a husband who provides for me, a lovely church where I worship, a free nation... My list is long. But, what if I had none of the above? What if I had no tangible things for which to thank God? Would He still be my God?

Returning to South America has been a dream for me ever since I left my childhood home in Colombia. When I was 14 years old my American family moved back to the United States. Ever since, I have harbored a longing to return. God opened the doors for me to make that return pilgrmage to Ecuador when Proverbs 31 Ministries partnered with Compassion International.
God needed to take me back to remind me of what truly counts. He needed to show me what impresses Him most.

My wide opened eyes, heart, and mind searched the surrounding environment the first day as our bus climbed out of Quito, taking us to a project where we could experience first hand how God takes common, ordinary men and women and transforms them into Christlike servant leaders.

On that first day God invited me to join Him and Omar up a dirt road, higher still over an embedded stone pathway, and into the humble home of a single mother. Our little group of pilgrims included several P31 speakers, two sponsored girls and their teacher to whom they lovingly clinged at all times, our translator, Omar, and the director of Compassion International Ecuador, Sixto.

Guiding us up the steep hill, conversing with the girls and their teacher, gently pointing out the reality of the poverty that surrounded us, Omar's style grabbed my heart. I could not ignore his Christ-like genuine concern for others. Like Jesus he touched the poor and needy in our circle. Like Jesus he treated us all equally. Like Jesus he listened. Like a gentle shepherd he often stepped out in front of us to guide us and protect us.

When his gentle spirit moved slowly and respectfully into the tiny 3-room home of our hostess, darkness immediately overwhelmed me. How could a family of 8 survive in a place with no windows, two light bulbs, no toilet facilities or running water? Something was wrong with this picture.

Slowly, God turned the dimmer switch in my mind allowing my skewed view of spiritual reality to truly comprehend that the wrong thing with this picture was my short sighted attitude!

The moment Omar entered and spoke, God's Holy Spirit moved into that humble place. Omar touched our hostess and thanked her for allowing us to visit her clean home. He complimented her children. He encouraged her to continue being the good mother she is. He pointed out to her that her willingness to allow her nephew and sister to live with her pleased God. Throughout his entire interaction with this sweet and hard working woman he treated her with respect and dignity.

He dignified her daughters also as he spoke words of life and hope into their souls. His interaction with these women is forever branded on my soul. As we returned to the church, the daughters and the teacher continued to walk with us. As I stated earlier, we were a group of American women speakers, a national director, a translator and three young ladies - poor and rejected by society. Omar chose to walk with the young women, "the least of these." As one of the girls drifted off from the group, Omar reached out his arm and drew her in. "You don't have to walk alone," he kindly told her in Spanish. "Please, come walk with us."

Omar served not only as a language translator for our group, he translated the Word and Jesus' commands into real life by living every moment of his day just as Jesus would have, had He been walking in our little group of ambassadors.

Omar and the Compassion International staff - a living example of Jesus walk while He lived on earth. "You don't have to walk alone. Please come walk with me."

Interested in knowing more about Compassion International? Visit www.compasion.com
Thursday, August 16, 2007

LEAVING THE COMFORT OF THE GARDEN ~ TRAVELING TO ECUADOR


When Jesus prayed to His Father the night before He was crucified he said about his followers:








“In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world.” John 17:18 (MSG)
While He walked with His disciples, He taught,

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.” Matthew 5:12-14 (NIV)

I am always amazed when I hear people around me say that they are eager to hear God’s purpose for their lives. I listen to frustrated individuals say that they are waiting for God to tell them what His plans are for their lives. I wonder exactly what we mean when we say, “I just wish God would clearly tell me what He wants me to do with my life.”


How about these ideas for a start?

Micah 6:8 – God has shown me what is good. What does God require of me? To act justly and love mercy and to walk humbly with my God. (my paraphrase)
To me this means that I need to practice fairness in my life, to show compassion to those who need a kind, loving and accepting touch, and to put myself aside as I do God’s work.
When I think of the ones who need to be shown fairness, those who need compassion and then a bit of help to move them out of their desperate circumstances, I have no trouble bringing to mind those in our world who live in poverty. So, often in my quiet prayers to God I ask Him to give me opportunities to reach out to those in need. God gives us opportunities when we obey Him. A year ago the speakers on the Proverbs 31 team were encouraged to pray and consider the possibility of partnering with a group called Compassion International. Each one of us was eager to step in to encourage others to sponsor needy children around the world. Our next step, a trip to a CI project, would take place so we could understand the work this incredible non- profit organization accomplishes for the poor. Some time this past spring the announcement came! The P31 team would travel to Ecuador. I never doubted if I should go. I know God’s will for my life.

I have read it in His Word:


Deuteronomy 15:7-8, “If there is a poor man with you, one of your brothers, in any of your towns in your land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother; but )you shall freely open your hand to him, and shall generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.” (NASB)


2 Timothy 1:7-9, “ For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. So never be ashamed to tell others about our Lord.” (NLT)


That is how my journey to Ecuador began. God told me in His Word what he expects from me. He gave me an opportunity. I said, “Yes!”

Day before yesterday I returned from a most amazing trip. I can’t wait to tell you more.

Friday, August 3, 2007

BRING THE CHLDREN


I finished up the Young Author's week with a high. Air, my dog, the main character of my book went with me to meet the children. When we stepped out of my car, little faces flew to the windows of the club house where the summer day camp operates. My heart thrilled with the excitement those young faces shown. The thought struck me that very little thrills most people today because we have seen so much and been exposed to so many experiences. When Air and I walked into the club house the children obediently sat in a circle. Together we walked around while I introduced my friend to the children and they had a chance to pet him.When I released him from the leash, they were astonished. "Won't he run away?" I used this moment to explain to them about the blessings of submission and obedience. These two acts are the beginning of freedom. I told the children that we can be allowed to make all kinds of free choices when we make good decisions. Then the circus show began and he charmed every one! My faithful friend sat, stayed, begged,rolled over, and jumped high in the air. "Do it again," they all cried. The next time I put him through his tricks without giving him treats and taught another lesson. "Look children. He continues to do what I ask without getting an attitude. I don't give him rewards or treats every time, yet he continues to wag his tail and be happy. Are you positive when your parents ask you to do things around the house without always rewarding you? Learn from this little dog." They fell in love with him!I am in love with him too. YOu see, his dedication to me has taught me how to live a life dedicated to my Master. My little dog has taught me to be glad. When the children had seen all the tricks they lined up with their books and DVD's so Air could "sign" his book.


From the Pound to the Palace. It's kind of like choosing to live in the garden instead of the jungle.
Thursday, August 2, 2007

LISTENING TO THE CHILDREN

I have had an amazing week. This week I was the main deal at a summer day camp! That's right. I have been the visiting author at Young Author's Camp. We began the week reading the very short story about The Wise Man and the Foolish Man. There are other titles to this story:A Firm Foundation and Two Kinds of People. The children were amazed when I finished the story within three minutes! "The End," I said.

What we all learned though, was that there is so much to this story found in the Bible. We talked about the two characters and their choices. We discussed sequence and how decisions lead us down many paths. We even discussed symbols and learned that God is a rock upon whom we want to build our lives. If we are obedient to His laws and commands we are blessed by Him.

I used this story to teach all the parts of a book and to illustrate how a book is written. Then my little charges went to work on their own books. They chose a topic, titled it, designed their covers and went to work writing.

The week also included story time. I read my book to them. The young lady who illustrated my book for me joined us so she could show her original drawings. The kids were enthralled with the entire process. They wanted to know, "What is your favorite color when you are drawing?" Isn't that a great question? They asked, "how long did it take you to draw all those pictures?" They understood the perseverance it takes to start and complete a project when she answered, "about four months." Wow that is a long time," some replied.

The children all related to the story I read about the little dog who wandered away while following a frog. They understood his feelings of fear and loneliness as he sat in the animal shelter because the curious distraction had separated him from his family. Later, while we discussed the story, they told me many tales describing times they were lost. I asked them, "Why did you get lost?" One precious five year old said, "We are just so d-attracted by things in the world." Wow - he understands!

Although he meant to say "distracted" he wasn't wrong when he slipped into "attracted." We are attracted by the world. That is our major temptation - the world's attractions. I reminded the young authors that they want to be like the little dog in my story. He was attracted to his master who called him to follow and then took him home.

I pray your desire is to be attracted to only one Master - Jesus. Follow him and you will never be lost!