Tag Archives: Venture

Yes, you can! Strength for the Heavy Burdened

Just a reminder, if you’re looking for the perfect Mothers Day, graduation, birthday, or “just because” gift, check out the Nourish Hope necklaces at www.hannahkallio.org/nourish. Each necklace provides 150 meals starving people through Venture. They’re beautifully hand-crafted from sterling silver and other quality materials, and available in four color choices.


Yes You Can

I know you. I know that you’re tired, and over-scheduled, and that you have a lot of things pulling for your attention. I know that your family requires a lot of you, that your employers/teachers think they should be the most important thing in your world. I know you get sick, that you have seasons of tight finances, and that sometimes you just feel powerless. I know you have unlimited heart – but limited resources.

I know you because I am the same. I have a family, job, grad school, bills, car trouble, cold and flu season, church obligations – all of it. I get it, I really do. I know you’re not lazy or uncaring, you’re just stretched too thin. So today I just want to encourage you. I want to remind you of your value and your power. So take a deep breath, grab a cup of coffee, and let this truth sink into your weary soul.


God is WITH you and He is FOR you:
– Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

– Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

– Romans 8:31 “What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?”

I remember as a small child not being able to see in a crowd, and my six-foot-four-inch dad picked me up and set me on his shoulders. I couldn’t make myself tall enough to see, but he offered me his height. All I had to do was accept his help. God offers you His strength, His comfort, His peace, His hope. You don’t have to do life on your own. He is more powerful than anything you face, and he is on your side.

You need others, and that’s a good thing:
– Psalm 68:5-6 “A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing;”

– Genesis 2:8 “The Lord God said, ‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.’”

– Exodus 17:10-13 “So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning. When Moses’ hands grew tired, they took a stone and put it under him and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held his hands up—one on one side, one on the other—so that his hands remained steady till sunset. So Joshua overcame the Amalekite army with the sword.”

God knows we need other people. We need them to share life, and to help each other. Don’t fall for the lie that you can do life on your own and handle everything by yourself. You need people like Aaron and Hur who held up Moses’ arms when he grew too tired to do it himself. Needing others isn’t weakness, it’s humanity. We were designed this way. Even in the perfect Garden of Eden Adam needed the companionship of Eve, and God knew that. He didn’t scoff at Adam for not doing it all on his own, He understood, and He made a companion for Adam. Recognizing that you need the community and support of other people isn’t weakness or failure, it’s honesty and self-awareness. We were created for community.

You are not too old:
The popular verse Jeremiah 29:11, “I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future,” was written to the elders living in exile. God wanted to remind them that He had not abandoned them. They were not too old or too far away. God still had plans for them, good plans for their future.

You are not too young:
1 Timothy 4:12 “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.”

In the Bible, we see story after story of God using men AND women, teenagers like Daniel, David, and Mary, older people like Moses, and Abraham and Sarah. There is no peak point where you are useful to God. If you’re breathing, you can play a part. “Let EVERYTHING that has breath praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150:6, emphasis mine)

You have the power you need:
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”

Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Matthew 16:19 “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

You have the power and the authority you need in this life. Not because you’re super special, but because God lets you use His name and His authority to do His work.
I hope you can hear my heart today. I want so badly for you to get this. You are enough because God is more than enough. He offers you His strength, and His power. He puts you in relationships with people who can support you and whom you can support. He has plans for you no matter your age, gender, or financial status. All you need to do is let go and let God – John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Organization Profile: Venture Expeditions


If you have been reading Food Shelf Friday very long, you’ve heard me talk about the Hope for Dinner initiative. If you missed that, Hope for Dinner is a fundraiser for Venture Expeditions. Every year during the week before Thanksgiving and/or the week before Easter, families give up their normal evening meal and instead spend 5 nights eating rice and beans. The family gains awareness of life on a limited diet, and they save quite a bit of money on their groceries. That money is given to Venture Expeditions. That’s how my family became familiar with Venture, and I know some of you have participated in or read about that fundraiser. But what about the organization itself? What does Venture do?

Venture Expeditions started in 2002 when a group of guys from Northcentral University here in Minneapolis decided to bike across the country to raise money for a church in Argentina. They made it safely across the country and raised over $17,000 along the way. The second year, the group grew and the trip did to. In 2003 they biked across Europe and raised $23,000 for HIV/AIDS patients in Africa. It was clear that this program had legs. Or, um, wheels.

In 2006 Venture became a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. They have continued to raise funds and awareness through physically demanding expeditions: biking, running, hiking, etc. They also hold an annual gala fundraiser and get support from individuals and churches through donations and fundraisers like Hope For Dinner. The money they raise provides for physical needs, fights for justice, and spreads the message of Jesus Christ. Today most of their work takes place on the Burma/Thailand border, one of the hardest to reach places in the world. They provide Feed My Starving Children’s Mana Pack meals to the hungry, education to children, and discipleship to anyone willing to learn about Jesus.

Venture has not yet been rated by Charity Navigator, but they will be soon because they just hit Charity Navigator’s threshold of raising at least $1 million/year. GuideStar gave Venture a silver award, which means that they feel Venture is committed to transparency in its operations. Venture uses less than 10% of the money they raise for operations, so over 90% of your gift goes right to work. They claim that a donation of $10 is enough for them to provide 100 meals, and $300 can educate a child for a year, or provide food, clothing and shelter for one child for a whole year. That’s a really good return on investment!

As you can see, Venture can do a lot with even a small gift. If you want to help, go to their website and click the “donate now” button. Or, if you’re an Amazon user, start signing in to Amazon through smile.amazon.com, and set Venture as the charity partner that will receive a portion of your Amazon spending. All the prices, selection, and Prime membership benefits are the same, and most Amazon products do generate a donation.

The timing of this post is no random chance. I have been working on an amazing, unique piece of jewelry – a joint effort between Food Shelf Friday and Voice Jewelry by Hannah Kallio. We can’t wait to unveil it (soon!). I know you are going to love it, and it will make a perfect Mother’s Day gift. The project will benefit Venture Expeditions, so I wanted you to have a good understanding of who they are and why I chose them for this project. Keep your eyes peeled (that’s such a gross metaphor…), I’ll probably be spilling the beans via Periscope this week and then on social media by next weekend. To find Food Shelf Friday on Periscope search @foodshelffriday (it’s an app, so I can’t just give you a link 😦 ). I’m absolutely giddy about this project and we have been working really hard on design, ordering materials, and preparing the marketing. It’s going to be great. Keep an eye on the FSF social media outlets (Links: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) for the announcement!


Have you participated in Hope for Dinner or one of Venture’s expeditions? Tell us about your experience!

Beans, Beans, the Musical Fruit…


Happy Food Shelf Friday!

Last week I posted about Hope for Dinner, and this week I’m piggy backing on that post with some recipes and information to help us all prepare for next week’s rice and beans dinners.

Rice is the most universally known and consumed food in the world. It’s a grain, so a good source of cheap calories. It provides the body with carbohydrates and fiber. Brown rice is the same plant as white rice, just as wheat flour is the same plant as white flour, but the brown rice is less processed than the white and therefore retains more of the fiber you get from whole grains.

Beans are another of the world’s common staple foods. The name “beans” covers a whole bunch of different legumes. Beans are low in fat, high in fiber, and a good source of protein and minerals like iron and folate. Vegetarians and people who cannot afford much meat benefit greatly from beans because they provide those hard-to-find nutrients that most of us get from meat.

Rice and Beans, in one form or another, is a staple dish around the world. The varieties of beans and the seasonings may vary, but overall this dish is familiar and available in most of the world. It’s also cheap. Last year my family participated in Hope For Dinner, and we found Venture’s estimate that rice and beans will save $4 per person per meal to be pretty accurate. Our nutritional needs were met, we found some recipes that have become regulars on our menu, and we gained awareness (in a small way) of what it’s like for the poor of the world to eat the same thing day in and day out.

If you can’t stomach rice and beans, you can still participate!
– Swap your dinners for a week for Food Shelf Friday dinners
– Go meatless for the week
– Stay out of the grocery store for a week and eat only what you have on hand
– Pick another cheap meal, like meatless spaghetti, to eat all week
– Give up coffee shop treats or fast food

If you’re ready to join us for a week of rice, beans, awareness, and hope, check out my Hope for Dinner board on Pinterest. It’s full of rice and beans recipes you can try. Last year our menu included:
– 1 box of Zatarans Red Beans and Rice for the boys, and a Weight Watchers Smart One Santa Fe Rice and Beans meal for me on a day when I had to be at class after work.
Cheesy Rice and Beans from the Cheese Pusher blog
Best Ever Black Bean Soup with Cilantro Lime Rice from the Iowa Girl Eats blog
Panda Express Copycat Fried Rice from Food.com

This year I have a bunch of recipes pinned, and I’ll be deciding on a menu this weekend. Additionally, I’m looking for hands-on things my family can do during this week of awareness to expand our impact. We might pack meals at Feed My Starving Children, drop off some food at a food shelf, help sort and organize at the church’s food shelf, plan a food drive at work, etc. There are lots of great ideas, I just have to juggle them with J’s schedule as he has started the ski season.

Lots of great things we can discuss in the comments: recipe links, hands-on involvement, alternatives to rice and beans, etc. Let’s have a conversation! Leave a comment!

Hope For Dinner 2015

Hope for Dinner

In poking around for information this week, I ended up finding a new favorite verse:

Isaiah 58:6-9
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.”

I don’t practice literal fasting – the principle of skipping a meal (or meals) to dedicate yourself to prayer – very often. Honestly, I become a total crab, and I don’t find that fasting from food creates any more space in my day to devote to prayer. It’s much more effective for me to fast from social media or TV – things that I usually waste time on. But this verse was eye opening for me. It reminds me of a famous quote from Gandhi, who said “live simply so others may simply live.” That’s the kind of fasting I can really get behind!

And that’s the idea behind Hope For Dinner.

For the week before Thanksgiving (November 16-20 this year), our entire church and families across the country will be trading their normal evening meals for simple rice and beans. Every evening. All week. Hope for Dinner (a fundraising arm of Venture Expeditions) says that by having rice and beans for dinner the average American family saves $4 – per person – per meal. So for my family of 3 that’s $12 per dinner times 5 days equals $60. It might not sound like a lot, but Venture, whose overhead is donated so that every penny coming in can go to feeding the hungry, can take $60 and turn it into 600 meals for starving children in some of the world’s hardest to reach areas.

I posted briefly about Hope for Dinner last year, too, and included some different ways that you can participate even if rice and beans is not your thing. Participating in Hope for Dinner last year was one of the inspirations behind my family’s weekly Food Shelf Friday. Another friend of mine feeds her family rice and beans every Monday night so they can start their week with awareness of how many people around the world live. It’s a beautiful kind of fast that loosens the chains of injustice and unties the cords of the yoke…feeds the hungry and provides for the poor.

Please join us in having Hope for Dinner this year! You can send your savings directly to Hope for Dinner via their website, so give it through Riverdale Church or Emmanuel Christian Center with the envelope and/or check memo marked “Hope for Dinner.”


Hope for Dinner


This week my family and many others from Riverdale Church have been participating in Hope for Dinner, a program of Venture Expeditions. Participants spend this week before Thanksgiving eating rice and beans for dinner each night, and they give the money saved by this basic menu to Venture. Venture then partners with Feed My Starving Children to provide meals for children in Burma and Thailand.

Here’s the breakdown: by switching out a typical dinner for rice and beans, an American family saves about $4 per person. That $4 is enough to provide 40 meals through Venture and FMSC. Do you know what this means???  The cost of a $5 foot long could feed 50 people! Talk about loaves and fishes!

I have long had a passion for the cause of global hunger. So much depends on childhood nutrition, and malnourished kids can have setbacks in physical and cognitive development that stunt them for life. People who are starving don’t believe that God cares about them. This cannot be tolerated. I am going to do what I can for these precious people. Will you join me?

If rice and beans isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other ways to cut your personal costs, freeing up monies that can be used for the fight against global hunger.
– Give up drinking soda or alcohol (or both)
– Go meatless for a week
– Eat only the food you have in your house for a week.  No grocery shopping and my pantry finally gets cleaned up?  Win-win!   – this idea came from a friend at church
– Give up eating out for a week (or more) – one dinner out (sit-down style) for my little family is about $60. We can eat at home for $10 or less, freeing up $50 or 500 meals via Venture!
– Take up the regular practice of Food Shelf Fridays.  (Learn more about it on my About page)

Do you have more ideas?  Leave a comment!