Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Blessed Beyond Measure

Recently, our daughter Jenna traveled on a Foundation 4Life® trip to Indonesia to help open two centers for early childhood education. She was deeply affected by her experiences. Below are Jenna's thoughts and feelings, in her own words.

After arriving in West Java, Indonesia, we traveled along a steep dirt road that no bus or vehicle bigger than a moped should try to navigate. As we ascended, I was amazed to see small huts and homes built on the side of the road. I felt such awe for people who make their homes on the side of the road in the middle of the jungle.

The villagers greeted us with cheers, warm smiles, and excitement. Kids stood in the rain with no shoes or shirts on to welcome us. The people had prepared food for us—food that may have been all they had for the week.

They showed us the new building Foundation 4Life had helped build. It was a one-room area made of tightly-woven bamboo husks with bare walls, except for the little pieces of artwork made by the children. As a teacher, my old classroom had supplies, art, decorations, plants, and desks.

The villagers' playground consisted of one teeter totter, a few wooden boxes, and a big rock. At my old school, we had a beautiful playground with a soccer field, kickball field, swings, slides, jungle gym, and more.

I have my home sprayed every month for spiders the size of a dime. These people share their yard with spiders the size of my face. They work hours every day just to have food (and not very much of it) on their tables. Sometimes I'm too lazy to drive to the grocery store to buy food already prepared for me.

Coming back home was hard for me. Lying in my king-size bed with my heated blanket made me feel ashamed. My refrigerator is full. I have clean, hot and cold water, a car, clothes, and other material possessions that add up to more than most people see in a lifetime. I am blessed in ways that I can only truly understand when surrounded by those who are not nearly so lucky.

I miss the faces of the people I met on my adventures. To me, they are not just names or pictures, but real people. When I was with them, life felt simple, happy, and fulfilled. These humble, precious people have changed me and blessed my life more than they will ever know. This holiday season, I am most thankful for the chance I had to remember what it means to be grateful, kind, and humble.

Jenna poses with a few sweet women from the village in Indonesia.
A few kids play on their simple playground set.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Humility, Gratitude, and Kindness

Recently, our daughter Jenna traveled on a Foundation 4Life® trip to the Philippines to attend the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Dona Justa Guido Memorial School. She was deeply affected by her experiences. Below are Jenna's thoughts and feelings, in her own words.

Humility, gratitude, and kindness are just words. They can bring peace, joy, and even emotions that may be difficult to explain or understand. They are often forgotten. I have forgotten these words many times... when life seems empty or dark or when I am engulfed in myself. Sometimes, tender experiences help us remember that without humility, gratitude, and kindness, we are empty.

My tender mercy was given to me by the children of Angono, a small community on the outskirts of Manila, Philippines. I was welcomed with open arms, flowers, music, dancing, and the biggest smiles ever. The school was decorated with crepe paper, drawings, and items made by the students. School uniforms had been pressed and washed for the special occasion. Their shoes were worn and scratched, many with holes in the soles or soles missing entirely.

Teachers, moms and dads, and students called me "Miss Jeen." "Miss Jeen, look at this!" "Miss Jeen, come see my desk!" Little hands reached out to me, touching my skin and hair, and looking at my dangling, sparkly earrings. Holding out their school notebooks, they asked me to write my name, always followed by a burst of giggles. They took photos on my phone and then showed them to their friends. One girl saw our picture and said, "Look, Miss Jeen, we are beautiful." "Yes," I replied, "very beautiful."

In a place with few worldly things like iPhones, computers, video games, or cars, there was an abundance of humility, gratitude, and kindness. I almost felt ashamed, thinking of all of my possessions. The shoes I wore cost more than these families make in a year. The hot water I bathe in is more clean water than they see in months.

Why is it that those who have the least are the ones ready to give all they have? Why is it that those with empty houses, little food, holes in their shoes, or no shoes at all are the ones who smile the biggest and laugh the loudest? It's because they are kind to each other, take care of each other, and express thanks for what they have, no matter how humble their circumstances.

"Thank you, Miss Jeen. Thank you for bringing us food and giving us new paper. Thank you for helping us, Miss Jeen."

I will never forget those words—"thank you."

 Jenna poses with her new friends at the Dona Justa Guido Memorial School.

These students are excited to use their new backpacks!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Share Your Love of 4Life!

We love this time of year! It's such a great opportunity to gather with family members and friends and share our love with each other. It's also a wonderful time to give gifts to the people who mean the most to us. What better time than right now to share the science, success, and service of 4Life with people you love?

The 4Life product line offers something for everyone, so give the gift of science this year! Grab a handful of 4Life Transfer Factor® RioVida Burst® Tri-Factor® Formula pouches and tie them up with a festive ribbon. With its delicious flavor,  RioVida Burst is a fantastic way to introduce someone to the powerful support that 4Life Transfer Factor® provides.

The holiday season is a wonderful time to share with others the success you've achieved through 4Life. Because of your 4Life business, you have been able to create a new life for yourself. It's natural to want to share that gift with others!

And, during this time of year, there are many wonderful opportunities to reach out in service to those less fortunate than us. With the 4Life Fortify® nutritional program, you can give the gift of a nourishing meal to a child in need. And, we also encourage you to get involved in service projects in your local community. Providing service is a great way to recognize the many blessings in our lives.

We hope you will share your love of 4Life this holiday season. Best wishes for a happy holidays!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Thank You for Your Generosity!

Last Wednesday, we appeared on the NBC TODAY show to make a donation to its annual holiday toy drive. Because of your generous hearts, Foundation 4Life® has donated close to one million dollars in goods over the last six years to help support the education and nutrition of children in need. This year, we donated backpacks filled with school supplies, e-readers and software, and 5,500 bottles of 4Life Transfer Factor® Kids for a donation of more than a quarter million dollars.

It was such an honor to represent our 4Life family members, whose kindness and love make all of this possible. Before we went on the air, we chatted with the show's hosts about how a truly happy life has to be one that includes service. We truly believe this is something each of us must discover for ourselves. You are doing phenomenal work in your local communities and we are grateful that you're part of our worldwide family. Thank you for being the kind of people who understand the importance of lifting and building people together, during the holiday season and all year long.

 David and Bianca pose outside the famous Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

David and Bianca wait in the TODAY show studio prior to their live interview.