EP Writing Contest

Sharpen those pencils! The EP Short-Story Writing Contest starts in one week!

Pencil, Sharpener, Notebook, Paper, Education, Supplies

April 15th marks the opening of our short-story contest. This will be our second annual contest! A few things have changed in the rules, so make sure to check the Short Story Contest page. Entries must be shorter (500-1500 words) and they all must be submitted on Google Docs to keep them looking uniform.

Your story can be fiction or non-fiction, but if you are writing non-fiction, remember that it’s a story contest. Tell a story; don’t just tell about something.

On the contest page you can read last year’s winning stories. One of the first place winners was actually the first to turn in her story, so no need to hold out till the end. Our judges would appreciate not getting half the stories on the last day!

Submissions will be accepted from April 15th to May 15th. The registration link will appear on the contest page during that time. You’ll register once you have your story ready. I can’t wait to see your entries. Our stories last year got thousands of readers!

Have fun and get writing!

Short Story Contest Rules

P.S. I’m looking for HTML5 coders to replace Flash games on our Math Facts and Thinking pages. Code must be in html/css/javascript. Copyright must be respected. I’ll buy each activity for $25. They can use same game type for multiple activities (such as addition to 5, to 10, etc.) with just a little adjusting, but do something to mix it up to keep it interesting. All activities should be hosted on Github.

More Miracle Stories

This week I told more provision stories. They were stories of how God answered prayer, moved in people, and moved in circumstances, all the while showing us He is our good Father, always seeing us, always for us.

There was a time we were going to be spending three months in Macedonia, and my husband and I each regretted not bringing something with us. We were talking about it and then I went into our bedroom, and those two things were sitting there next to each other alone in the middle of our bedroom floor. One was a mug my husband had regretted not packing, not something important, not something God cared about, but He cares a whole lot about people.

We learned that day to pray whenever we packed that the Lord would just put in our bags anything we forgot. We forget too much how He can and does take care of us. He must do so many miracles like that that we never notice. I told a few other stories about learning to pray first. We called a washing machine repair man who wasn’t going to be able to come for a few days. We realized we hadn’t prayed and the washing machine was fixed instantly. Another time computer fix-it people spent ten hours working on my computer and couldn’t fix the problem. I realized I hadn’t prayed and did, and it was fixed. I got on those stories because just two hours before I did my recording I was looking for something in the kitchen and kept looking where it belonged and my husband looked and one of our sons looked, and I gave up and moved on with dinner without it and then realized I hadn’t prayed. I apologized to the Lord and started praying. Walking back over to that same drawer I prayed, “Lord, please help me find…” I pulled open the drawer and it was just right there. I didn’t even have time to finish my sentence.

Once the Lord sent the miracle on the way before we even knew we needed help. Our phone stopped working, which was also our internet connection at the time. We were living in Istanbul. My husband didn’t want to take the day standing in line at a government office trying to report it and went out to go about his day and figured he’d tackle it another time. He left and there was a knock at the door. It was the phone repair man. He thought I was a lunatic as I asked him over and over again why he was there. He was like, “Is your phone not working? Well…” He had no idea why I was so crazy. God must have put us on his work order for the day before we even knew our phone wasn’t working.

Back when my husband left his work in Istanbul and we decided to work for Jesus and live without an income, the Lord sent us an encouragement, showing us a little glimpse about how He could provide for us. We didn’t need food or anything at the time; it was just an encouragement that He was in the decision and would be taking care of us. A man showed up at our apartment; he had never been there before. We don’t even know how he found us, but he brought us all the fruits and vegetables he hadn’t sold that day from his food cart that he used to sell in the streets. On his way over, he had stopped and bought treats for the kids, cookies and a whole cake. We ate that for dinner that night and our family gained an expression, “God provides cake too.” He doesn’t just make you eat your vegetables. God gives good gifts. He is a good Father. We have abundant life in Christ!

The final story of the week is of the time God gave us a glimpse into how He protects us. We had just arrived in Macedonia. Our now twenty-year-old daughter was only two then. She was very verbal, could speak in paragraphs. She and my husband were waiting alone at the bus stop to head into the Roma (Gypsy) village where his language teacher lived, where we would be living in the next year. It is called Shutka. My daughter asked him why those two men always came with them when they went there. My husband looked around and saw no one. “What two men?” She pointed to them. “Those two men. They always get on the bus and come with us when we go into Shutka.” They always did. This was just a time when He gave us a big reminder of the fact that we were always guarded.

Psalm 91:9-11 “If you make the Most High your dwelling– even the LORD, who is my refuge–then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.”

Money Miracles

This week I shared some more money miracles. Some were just “little” miracles. Three times strangers just handed money to one of my sons, each time the same son. One of the times was his birthday and it paid for the whole celebration. During this time we were living without income. We had left our agency and regular support. You can read that story here.

Another time on the way to buy bread for breakfast, we found a coin on the street which was going to enable us to buy as much as usual. Then the seller threw in extra for the kids. We thought we were lacking, but God turned our lack into an abundance.

Twice we received checks in the mail unexpectedly when we had a big expense. Most recently, just a couple of years ago, we had a big dental bill and over a thousand dollars came in a check from a German bank saying that we had overpaid our heating bill. We hadn’t been in Germany for more than a year and a half.

Once, while we were living in Turkey, we needed $40,000 to renew our visas because of a change in the laws there. (It was supposed to prove we could afford to live there. We didn’t need to have that much in order to live there because we had money coming in from my husband teaching languages online to homeschoolers.) We didn’t have the money. If God wanted us there, He was going to have to figure it out.

At the time we were living in the middle of a school for Syrian refugees, literally. The apartments above and below us had emptied out at the same time and we scooped up out. Within a day or two we got a phone call. It was a friend who had been kicked out of the country. We asked where she was; she said outside. She had gotten back in, bravely showing up at the airport and getting detained and questioned, but they ended up letting her back in. She was with a Syria pastor who was heading a little school for Syrian refugee children. The landlord where they had been kicked them out and they were looking for a new place. We had one. They grew into both apartments and eventually into ours when we left.

While in the middle of all this work for Syrian refugees, we one day met Joseph who was helping getting money to a town in Syria that had been cut off because of the war. One of the Syrians was going to take the money over the border. The problem was that they needed to transfer the money from his organization’s European bank to Turkey to get the money. The Syrians couldn’t have bank accounts, so he asked us if we had one. We did. He asked if he could send $40,000 to us. (I wasn’t sure telling the story online if it had been dollars. My husband says it was dollars and it was the exact amount like that.) We told him how we needed $40,000 and asked if we could use his money to prove we had money in the bank. He was happy it was going to work out so well! We got the money, got a bank statement, took it all out and gave it to the Syrian christian to go help his home town.

Another story I shared was how a Turkish official at the government hospital worked to get us Turkish insurance to pay for our son’s entire two-month stay in the NICU. We never paid anything that whole time. His heart was moved to help us. We certainly didn’t ask if that could happen. He said no foreigner had ever received Turkish insurance before. And he got it started retroactively to cover from the day before he was born. No one knew how to do it, but he called in favors, pulled strings, and had the grace of God on him.

The final story I told this week was of the time my husband’s ATM card got eaten by an ATM machine. The bank who owned the machine said they wouldn’t help. That card was our only access to our money in America. We called the bank in America and the man said they would overnight a card to us. That was that. Simple. The next day it didn’t arrive. We figured it was because it was a Turkish holiday and they weren’t working, but it was really important to us, so my husband called our American bank and asked about the card being sent. He was told that they couldn’t have sent a card. They were not allowed to. We got transferred to the manager. We tried to explain. He explained that they couldn’t send a card. It was impossible. We would have to physically come in to get it. We explained that we weren’t asking for a card to be sent. We thought it already was. We were just wanting to check on it. He looked at our account and there was a note that it had been sent DHL overnight express. He was angry. He asked who we spoke to. It was Dale the best my husband could remember. There was no one who worked there by that name. He was mad, and my husband just excused himself from the conversation. The card arrived the next day. If it hadn’t happened to be the day before a holiday, we never would have known a miracle had occurred. It would have just seemed normal. God gave us a little glimpse of what He does for us, when we might have never even realized it.

Look for the miracles in every day. God is always working for your good. God is always loving you, so you never need to worry about what He’s up to. Rejoice, give thanks in all circumstances. God is a loving Father who takes care of His children. The rain falls on the righteous and the unrighteous, but the house of the one who builds his house on the Rock stands. Matthew 7:24-27

 

The Miracle of the Toilet Paper

I’m going to start sharing some of our miracle stories by video on Facebook and Youtube. I will share those on the blog for you all, so you won’t be missing out.

I want people to get to know God as a good Father. A good father provides, protects, cares for his children. That’s what God does. We can be free from worry and fear and the selfishness that drives us to hurt ourselves and others.

The first story I’ll be sharing seemed appropriate for the times; it’s the time God provided toilet paper for our family. You can look for that story in the next blog post.

EP Leadership Experience

This is a FREE two-month leadership program for high school students.

March 10th is the last day to register for the spring group which starts March 16th. There will be another group starting in June.

This is Lee here, creator of EP. I’ve been working for more than a year with the company who has developed this leadership program for high school students. We now have the opportunity to run our own version of it. I’m really excited to be able to give homeschool kids this opportunity. All homeschool high school students are welcome. You will be partnering with local businesses to raise money for a non-profit.

Find out more below…

Learn step by step how to become a leader who makes a difference. Join a growing network of students whose competitive advantage has come from their ability to positively impact others in their community.

Your Extraordinary Mission If You Choose to Accept It…

Partner with a local business in your community to raise money and awareness for the charity of your choice.

Take Laura F. for example, a high school student.

She used the Hire Cause program to partner with Chipotle to raise more than $2,500 for her charity, the International Rescue Committee, a charity that helps refugees survive, recover, and rebuild their lives. She showcased her invaluable experience in her college application to get into the University of Virginia, where she is now pursuing her passion of studying international relations!

Laura F.

Or let’s look at Brett K.

Another high school student who became grateful that his school was properly supplied with desks, chairs, and other educational necessities that others did not have. He learned that 70% of students in Malawi, Africa do not have a desk or chair in the classroom and have to sit uncomfortably on the floor while learning. He implemented the Hire Cause strategies to partner with his local hockey rink to throw a fundraising event to raise awareness as well as $1,500 for UNICEF’s KIND campaign (Kids In Need of Desks). He used this experience in his college application to get into Emory University!

Brett K

Briana B, another high school student, was an inspiring example.

After the horrific news that a school shooting happened again in the United States, Briana wanted to do something about it. She felt terrible for the victims and couldn’t help but feel that she could have been in that school. She utilized the Hire Cause toolkit and strategies to partner with the March for Our Lives parade happening in her town, raising more than $1,000 and significant awareness for the non-profit, Giffords Courage to Fight Gun Violence. She wound up speaking at the parade in front of 4,000 people, an impressive feat she is using to help her as she embarks on the college admissions and internship application process.

Briana B.

Connor Y. is a college student who did something remarkable.

Many of the business panel events available in his local community were comprised of men. Women were underrepresented, so Connor utilized the Hire Cause program to partner with his local university and other women to create an event that promoted female entrepreneurship, in which female entrepreneurs shared their experience starting businesses. Connor charged tickets for the event and raised more than $750 for the Tory Burch Foundation, an organization dedicated to empowering women entrepreneurs! Connor used his experience to differentiate himself in job interviews, landing a job at a software company owned by AT&T.

Connor Y

Alexandra B. another college student did something very creative.

She was passionate about art and utilized Hire Cause to partner with the Columbia Art Business Association (CABA) to hold an online auction for student artists. She used WordPress.com to display the auction. All of the art was donated from students in Columbia University, Barnard College, and Parsons School of Design. 30% of the sales went to the artists, and an incredible 70% of the proceeds from each piece went to Art Start, a non-profit which brings much needed art to deprived communities, often holding workshops in homeless shelters, alternative incarceration programs, and youth agencies. Alexandra’s experience helped her land a job at one of the leading art auction companies in the world – Sotheby’s!

Alexandra B.

Internship Opportunities

Sorry for the funky layout, but I’m taking this from an email I received. Maybe someone will be inspired to look into one of these. These are all for high school students. NASA’s is for 16+, Google’s is for graduating seniors entering college, the Smithsonian’s programs are for students entering 9th – 12th.

Internship Opportunities

NASA

Goddard Institute For Space Studies
Deadline: Multiple Dates
Apply Here
Becoming a NASA Intern is a highly competitive process, where you’ll have the chance to work on cutting-edge research and receive mentor ship from current NASA employees. Internships can be completed during the Fall, Spring, or Summer, and spaces for high school students are limited to select centers.To qualify, you need to be at least 16 years old and have a 3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale (or an unweighted 3.0 GPA). You can apply here, and you’ll need to make sure you have a strong letter of recommendation.

Google

Computer Science Summer Institute (CSSI)
Deadline: Multiple Dates
Apply Here
High school students often wonder if they can get involved in a summer internship at Google. While Google only offers internship positions in various fields like business, engineering, and technology to undergraduate and graduate students, CSSI has a summer program at Google open to high school seniors entering a four-year undergraduate program. Students must be intending to major in computer science, computer engineering, software engineering, or a related area department. While at the program, students will have the opportunity to learn more about computer science and interact with Google professionals.

Smithsonian

Various Internships
Deadline: Multiple Dates
Apply Here

The Smithsonian offers a wide variety of summer internships for high school students interested in fields related to history, culture, art, design, technology, science, and nature. Students can choose from multiple opportunities designed to help them express themselves, learn communication and leadership skills, and prepare for college and their future careers–all while exploring the Smithsonian’s museum environments.