Today I listened to many things… phone alarm, birds chattering, toast popping, car motor, loud music playing, computer keys clacking.

But by far themost beautiful thing I heard was my son praying.  He asked God for peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  Joshua knows that on Friday, Stephan and I will have the absolute honor of “giving away” our birthdays for peace in the Congo.  You see we were born 45 years ago in the same hospital, less than 12 hours apart.  We grew up in the same, small midwestern farming community, and we fell in love when we were …gulp…15!

It has long been our desire to celebrate a significant birthday by gathering some of our favoirte people and throwing a party not in celebration of our selves, but of others. In celebration of the beauty of  Congo.  And in protest to the suffering of Congo.  This amazing and shocking place has captured our hearts.


We had met many beautiful people there. Strong people living in a war zone, yet giving away their own lives to make sure the lives of others were saved.  There were gener based violence councellors, faithful pastors, peace committee workers, teachers, and doctors.


Every one of them a survivor, and every one of them hoping for peace in their nation.  We listened to them, and we heard the call to give it away…


And yes…it really was easy!  The hardest part was just making the decsion. Once  we did, we were off and running. We contacted our favorite artists, Josh Garrells and Micha Bournes, and our dear friend and speaker/ author Lynne Hybels and amazingly they all said that they would give away their gifts to help us give it away!

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Then came the free fair trade ticketing( thank you Brown Paper Ticket!), the gift of a theater (super cheap–thank you National Community Church!), the help of creating and printing signs and cards and such(thank you Melanie and Chelsie), right down to the suprise gift of free birthday cake from one of the oldest and best bakeries in Washington DC (thank you Clements!!), good coffee (charity discount at Starbucks!!) and then…

We started asking friends to come help us give it away… and they said they would!  We invited people and they invited people and others invited more.  We are overwhlemed at the response! Friends who are coming are giving “gifts” to Congo. And friends who can’t come are still giving…

Together, we will listen.  And together we will hear for the sake of  Congo… stories and songs and spoken word.  Together, we all are “giving it away”.  Still some tickets left for this Friday, February 8th … join us?

Listen and join us?  Contact Chelsie Frank at to find out how!

Listen and give? 

Listen and give your own birthday away for Congo?  What a beautiful thing!

If you listen, what will you hear?





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