Life or Death


Written by Regional Coordinator Marty Shoup…


Death and life are in the power of the tongue. Proverbs 18:21


How true it is.

We’ve all seen-I’m sure countless times in our lives-the power our words have.


My oldest son (9 years old) and I were talking about this very thing less than a week ago. Someone (a relative) had said something to him- something unkind- and he was hurt by it.

He was confused.

He didn’t understand.

Why would someone who was supposed to love him, say something so hurtful?




So we talked about our words and how the things we say have consequences-sometimes good and sometimes bad.

We talked about how once something is spoken out loud- it can never be taken back- no matter how badly we may want to.

Even if this person were to come back and apologize–the words have been spoken and heard. An “injury” had been inflicted-and though it would heal-a scar would remain.

We talked about how words have the power to heal and the power to wound…the power to build up and the power to tear down.

I love you!

You’re so stupid!

Great job!

Can’t you do anything right??!!

That was a smart decision!

How many times do I have to tell you…..?!

I knew you could do it!

You’ll never amount to anything!


We talked too about the power of UNSPOKEN words.

Words that we SHOULD say, but sometimes don’t.


power of words


I’m sorry.

You’re special to me.

Forgive me.

I love you.




New Horizons recently received word about a suicide attempt at one of the orphanages we serve.

 A young lady threw herself out of a third story window.


Why? I don’t know.

But I’ve BEEN to that orphanage.

I’ve walked the halls.

I’ve SPOKEN with many of the children.

I’ve played UNO with them.


Did I meet this girl?

I don’t know.

But her present and future must have looked very bleak indeed if she saw taking her own life as the only way out

alone window

no hope.







What words had been spoken-or not spoken to her over the course of her young life that may have brought her to this point?


It is with mixed emotions that I’m able to relay that at last report, her attempt was not successful. Her body is broken but she is alive–and I praise God for that! But what of her heart?


As advocates and host parents, the power of words-both SPOKEN and UNSPOKEN can have a lasting–maybe eternal impact on “our” orphaned children.

While in the US for summer hosting, some kids will hear for the FIRST TIME–words that encourage and show love. Words of affection, patience, gentleness, kindness, understanding. Words that empower. Words that heal.


But the words that are UNSPOKEN are just as powerful.


You see, host families often don’t share about hosting, don’t speak about New Horizons, fearing a negative reaction from friends and relatives. (And they often get it.)

You’re doing WHAT???

Why would you want to do something like that?

What’s wrong with AMERICAN orphans?!

Sounds dangerous.

The church has enough on its plate. We can’t help.


It’s not like it’s going to make a difference.

Well, don’t look to me for any money. They’re not MY problem.

Are you crazy?!

You can’t afford that!

You don’t know anything ABOUT this kid!

The church does not support you in this!

Sounds like a waste of money to me!

Why don’t you worry about your own kids?!

Trying to save the world?



the desperate need…

the amazing opportunity…

the horrifying statistics…

the countless blessings…

the highest privilege…


goes unspoken


As you might imagine, we talk a lot about orphaned children and hosting at my house.

Not too long ago, someone asked my 9 year old: “What does your mom do?” (I’m pretty sure they wanted to know what I did for a LIVING.)

He responded with: “She talks about orphans and why it’s important to help them.”

(Yay!!!! I’m thrilled to know that he’s listening…but why doesn’t he listen when I ask him to brush his teeth?!)


Whether you are a host parent, the friend or relative of a host parent, a casual onlooker, an advocate or a critic–your words have POWER.


Wield that weapon with care.

You never know who’s listening and what your words will—-




It could literally be the difference between life and death.


girl window butterfly