30 December 2013

Christmas Trip to Nepal

 Our Christmas Trip to Nepal  has become a regularly scheduled event on the calendar now. I guess  we will do it every year.  It is the time that  we begin work on the annual updates on each child in the program-- both for our own records and  for the sponsors.  Beginning with Nepal, we travel to each country, taking the new photos, filling in the reports, distributing and receiving letters between the children and the sponsors. It is very time consuming and must be done very carefully.  The names of the children are often very similar and if they are new to the program,  I might not recognize them by face.  So, step one is to identify the correct child.   Step  2 is to get the proper identification on each item-- photo, report, letter. Step 3 is to make sure we have all the materials as we leave each place. The,  there are so many more little steps as we  update our data space, scan reports into folders, label and file the photos.  I am so grateful  for the  people who help with all of these necessary things.  I went to Nepal with a team of 4 women ( including me). We  packed    Christmas bags for more than 500 children.  We traveled to or from another area  in Nepal almost every day. When we returned to our guest house each night, it was time to pack bags for the next day.  But the reward was seeing the children get their bags.  These were poor children who would receive very little, if anything for  Christmas. Their bags contained  a Bible and song book, a Christmas craft, toothbrush,  hand knitted hat, letters from their sponsor,  T-shirt,  school supplies, candy.  They also heard the Christmas story from  Scripture. If the child was new to our program, s/he  might have been hearing the story for the very first time. What a privilege to be the one to share it with them.

23 November 2013

Oct 13 Medical Ministry in Nepal

It is not too hard for  folks to imagine what we do in  the medical ministry.  We set up  tables. We sort out our medicines.  We organize the people to see the doctor in turn. What is difficult to describe is how we manage to get up a mountain  to reach a people who have little access to any kind of health care.  We were a group of 18 people and a mountain of  supplies  in  three trucks. I was the only  American in  what was most definitely a Nepali  project. Two of our trucks were four wheel drive, but still   became stuck in some of the deep  muddy ditches. The other truck was a  two wheel  drive and got stuck in  EVERY ditch. There is no way to get a tow truck up in this mountain. We had to rely on  man power to  keep progress moving. Fortunately, we had  a good group of young men with us.  I slept in a store (storage) building  literally hanging on the side of a mountain with six other women with me.The men slept in the church, which was closer to the toilets. Twas necessary to scale a rock face to get first to the store building and then on  up to the church where we held the clinics. During the day,  people sat on the rock as they waited their  turn to see the doctor. During the night,  I climbed the rock several times- in the dark--one handed  (mobile phone shedding light in the other hand)  and with full bladder  to reach the church and then the walk way to the toilets.  I love adventure.

During the day, we showed the Jesus video in   Nepali,  from the back of one of the trucks. The people gathered and watched it over and over. At night, the big screen was brought out and the  Jesus Video was the  social event of the year for a village without much ( any)  technology.  Now we are praying that the words they heard and the truths they learned will  take root in their hearts, that they will be drawn to the Lord and to the little church in their village.

We  have 6  children in  our sponsorship program  from  this village. The children  must walk for hours to get from their homes to the place to meet me for the annual  Allow gathering. I always feel badly about it, but there is nothing that can be done.  I need to meet every child at least once a year-- for accountability.  If they come, then  I know that they are getting their money. If  they are still in school, then we know how the great part of their sponsorship money is being spent. I need to get a new photo and progress report each year and we also give them each a  Christmas  bag. This year,  the bag will contain a new  T-shirt,  Bible, warm  hat,  school  notebooks, a  Christmas craft,  toothbrush and toothpaste, soap, candy   and hopefully   a letter from their sponsor.

Bangla Adventure

Bangladesh is always an adventure.   I needed to visit two children's homes and one  village where we have a sponsorship program and  a meeting with  children of pastors/evangelists from  many areas of the country who  are under our sponsorship.  Children in  the photo are in the tribal "hill tracts"  area.   It is  high  in altitude,  far to travel,  far from  city and civilization.  No  American would  question the  term if  I called it  "remote mountains,"   but  Asians call them "hills"   if there are no snow caps.  Each of these children  is from a difficult life situation  with  extreme poverty as only one aspect of it.  It is doubtful  that  any one of them even  heard   the name of   Jesus before coming to the home.  Missionary work of any kind is strictly prohibited. There is a difficult permit process even for me to make the visit. But we can  support and  encourage  Bangla believers as  they work with these people.  One little children's home is there, with  30+  children learning of the Savior and preparing to  return as witnesses to their own people.  The ministry of a children's home is so much more than just feeding  and caring for the orphan. I  must drive for hours over  some of the roughest road conditions that there is to reach this home. Then walking for a while, crossing the Sangu  River...  things were dry going in, but the rain poured on the way out. We must pass several check points before a certain time on the way out, so it was not possible to wait for the rain to stop.   The  slick mud underfoot was just as  difficult as what was coming from the sky.   There was no choice but to sit and slide down the mud embankment,  which was at least  30 feet.   When  I stepped into the river to  rinse off the  mud, the current was  stronger than it looked.  It "took"  me and  I was on  my way down river,  making my way slowly across without the boat--  and with the rain still beating down.   I was already soaked anyway.   If you  are a sponsor of an  LFH   child, know that your new photo and progress report is hard won.

Oct 2013 Building Project

Maranatha Children's Home is not just a place to house and feed children.  It is a training center  for those who will go out and witness among the unreached people of this area.  We have 25  children who  are preparing to  return to their villages-- able to read and write and with a  solid  Bible foundation.  Each one has led  praise and worship.    Each one is  fluent in the language and culture and ready to make an impact for the Lord in  whatever  walk of life He leads them.

The building team made the trip to Nepal to begin the next phase of the  Maranatha  Project. The second floor of the children's home is started.   When it is complete,  we can double the number of children and we can separate boys and girls on different floors.  This ministry is growing.    The next  building team  trip will be in  May 2014. 

08 September 2013

Critical needs in Haiti

 I  think everyone knows that  Haiti is a poor country,   struggling in  every area of life, especially since the  earthquake of  2010.  The aid which poured in following the earthquake did not reach everyone.    Even those who were fortunate enough to   receive some help find it  winding down now.  These little ones were not  born at the time of the earthquake, though still it affects them.   The orphanage where they lived once had a modest building, but it  crumbled to the ground and has never been rebuilt.  Now the daily focus is on   finding and preparing food for the children. Clothing is minimal.  Medical care is minimal.  Schooling is minimal.  Survival is the goal of each day.

Completed the church for Los Limonas

 Three different ministry teams worked on this church  project in  Guatemala for the village of  Los Limonas.  In  March,  Timberlake  Christian   Schools   Senior  class laid the foundation and  the roof, leaving  a very  good place of worship for this village.  In  June,  the next group came and raised the walls.  Then, following them,  a third group came, applied the  plaster and the paint-- leaving a completed building for the honor and glory of the Lord.

Ministry in Nicaragua

Every country where we work has its own special beauty,  but I find myself gasping at the Lord's amazing handiwork in  Nicaragua. The island  of Ometepe was  formed by volcanoes which are still active. Volcanic ash still forms a cloud at the  top of the volcano and  falls all  over the island. It takes more than an hour to reach the island by motorized boat. How did the original  people come and  WHY did they make the crossing?  But they did and today a thriving community populates the little island. We spent a few days   teaching the pastors and a separate class just for the wives.  Our team visited homes  during the day and preaching in a different village church every evening.  We distributed Bibles. We hope that we left some  bit of c blessing and knowledge for these beautiful people who serve the Lord on the island.

In the capital city of   Managua, our   Belen Home grows and thrives.  The children have mved to anew home since our last visit.  It has  more space and more yard.  These  young ones are growing up  well grounded in the faith that we hope they will carry back to their families  as they move into adulthood.

30 May 2013

Banana Trees

Banana trees are a lot like children's ministry.  They  are beautiful.   They need care. They need time to grow and mature.  A few may fail along the way.  But the day comes, when they  return all of that investment.  Wonderful and delicious  bananas will grow, providing nutrition for the children and those in excess might provide some income for other good food.   Our college team  traveled to Nepal in   May  and planted 50  new banana trees  at  Maranatha  Children's  Home. The ground was hard and dry,  but the Lord sent  a burst of rain on the day after the planting.  What a blessing! They say it will  take about 18 months before the first fruits will come. We have  worked and funded and planted looking towards that day when the investment will return.

The  Maranatha  children are also an investment in the future. We want to build and bless each of their personal lives.   We are providing safety, good food,  education,   Bible training and ministry experience of all kinds.   We are looking towards the day when the Lord will use each  precious life for His work and His glory. We hope the children will spread out, returning to the villages, teaching the Word, leading worship and  following the  Lord as beautiful examples of lives dedicated to Him.    We want to add a second floor to  Maranatha to  complete the project, to accommodate the number of children originally envisioned and to  provide separate floors for boys and girls.  We are praying for this project and trusting the Lord to provide for it as He  has all things thus far.

Pastor Training in Nepal

 In  May 2013, we held our first pastor  training in the new Maranatha  Church building. What a blessing to see 40 pastors/leaders gather  for three days from several areas around the country of  Nepal. We have prayed and  hoped and worked towards this day for a long time. Not only the church,  but a little separate kitchen needed to be built and  still another separate building for toilets to prepare for this day and future training sessions.  We hope these leaders will be strengthened and encouraged  through the teaching  and that they will return to their people to share the training with others that  God's Word will multiply. We are praising the Lord for the many people who contributed money, time and prayer to this project. May the Lord use it for His glory.

29 March 2013

New Address

We have a new address  for  Allow The Children.  I guess this is not a huge step in the  eternal scheme of things, but our little ministry is growing and multiplying. We need to separate our ministry mail and personal mail.   Please make a note of it.

20 March 2013

A place for Worship in a Guatemala Village

  The   Senior class of  Timberlake   Christian   Schools,  4th  year in a row,  traveled  to  Guatemala under   Allow  The  Children. The main project of the trip was to build a worship “shelter”  for a village where there were no believers  just a short time  ago.  A  Guatemalan  evangelist is working there   and a few people had come to the Lord.    After a baby  became  very ill and was taken to the mission compound for treatment, more people came.   None of the small homes seemed adequate as a place to meet,  so the people gathered under a tree.  Our project completed a gathering place with  walls about half high,  concrete floor and tin roof. It is not a full building, but  a  LOT of ground  preparation,  moving cinder blocks and mixing concrete went into  it.  On the last  day,  we gathered there for a worship service and dedication and it is  ready to be used for their  regular worship time.   Please  see the photo  taken at the dedication.  At this point, our plan for the summer teams is to  continue to build up the walls and hope to finish a building that can be enclosed to keep chairs,  etc  inside.  In addition to that, we  served  a hot meal in  3 different villages,  distributed clothing and shoes,  painted  buildings  for the orphanage,  preached in 2 church  services,  music and testimonies in the church services,  teaching   Sunday   School  for the children,  brought our 30  Chiquimula  children into  the compound to spend  vouchers  with their sponsorship money to get things they needed.   I think  the  Timberlake  Christian  School  senior class got a great experience with missions and ministry (1)   among the poor and needy,  (2) in a different country and language group, (3)  with  village and orphanage children  (4)  building that will last and serve for worship .  I am looking forward to doing this again with  2 more groups this summer and a similar ministry in  Nicaragua with still another   group.

Slum Ministry, inner city of Nepal

The slum is  a study in contrasts. There are long term families who have collected enough scrap  metal and wood to make themselves a relatively sturdy dwelling, some that can even be closed and locked. A more common situation  are those who have made a frame of bamboo and cover it with literally anything--pieces of cloth, newspaper,  plastic tarp ( to be envied)  or plastic bags torn open and taped together   which is  better than nothing.   The  family pictured above had nothing. It was February of  2013. The temperature dropped to bitter  cold at night and it poured rain  on the night of this photo.  They were "camped out" on  garbage strewn  bank with the filthy river on one side and the slum dwellings just  a few steps away on the opposite side.  The mother was trying to wash clothes,  though it seems that  they could not have been more dirty than the water she was using.  The man paced about  the family's few possessions.  They may have lost their home  in  a flood, which is common in Nepal.  Or they may have come into the capital  city to find work, which is also  a common story. I stood and  watched them for a while with the evangelist we support standing beside me. They are not part of our church ministry in the slum and none of our believers there know them-- yet.  But  I am grateful that the  little church is just  a short  walk down the river.  It is thriving in this unlikely environment, almost filled to capacity at each week day worship.  So much so that the children are taken out for a separate program.  I do not know how this family came to be homeless,  but they came to a place where the Lord  Jesus Christ is known and shared.  They will have a chance to come to know Him. They  will be offered some physical  help first, just as the Lord often did in  His ministry-- perhaps for the children. Then they will hear  words to meet their spiritual needs. As you  read this, please  pray for them.

Trisuli Ministry in the mountains of Nepal

This photo is the ground where the Trisuli church, Nepal, used to be. This is a very needy and remote area where we have 30 children in sponsorship. We hold pastor training here 2X a year and annual medical clinics. The church has had a huge crack in the side since the earthquake a few years ago and in fear, the people have taken the whole building down and plan to do all of the labor themselves to rebuild. We will make a project of helping with funds for the materials. We are praying that this very important center of worship for this area will soon be back under roof and in use
While in Trisuli, we received a 14 year old girl for Maranatha Home, older than we usually accept for new children. Her father died a few months ago, devastating the family. They lost their home and now with no income, depend on the church for a little daily food. Two younger siblings were taken in by others. The mother, with no other job skills, will become a live in house servant, working all day, 7 days a week for little more than food. This girl was in great  danger of the very same situation. Girls as young as  eight are taken in  as house workes, often due to circumstances very similar to this.  As a house  worker at least  she has shelter and food-- but it is often not the same food as  what the family eats.   There will be no more school and  very little chance that  life will ever be any better. But-- this girl  is coming to  Maranatha. She is only one among thousands.  But the Lord has drawn  her to our ministry and  we  are excited to see what  he will do with her life.    She needs a sponsor who will pray for her faithfully,  especially in this transition period when she is leaving her mother and her home in the mountains.

10 February 2013

New Video for Allow

Caleb   Lee--  a  very young man with a very  big talent  is making a  second trip to  Nepal with me.  He will be taking  video which will become a  DVD to help us draw sponsors  for more children.  Caleb has an  amazing gift for capturing  and communicating with his camera.  We are so grateful that he is willing to give his time and talent for this ministry.

See his website at:  eastwestproductions.com

07 February 2013

Tania's House in Haiti

The poorest country in the western hemisphere is still recovering from the 2010 earthquake and 2012 hurricane. Immediately after the disasters, big organizations came in and distributed tents and food and medicine. Most of that has ended now, but the suffering continues.  The big aid organizations  did not see Tania's  children's  home. They lost their house in the earthquake, but somehow obtained a little piece of land. A fairly solid, but very small house was quickly raised-- concrete walls and a tin roof.  Now 15 children and one mother with her baby live in one room. Though few possession were evident and water  for any purpose has to be carried for a ways--  the children were clean and  reasonably dressed. None seemed to be unusually  thin.   Their hair and eyes held the brightness that is quickly lost when nutrition is poor. Their living standard was incredibly low, but the house father was at least feeding and clothing them.  My first thought was that Allow could not be the donor for a  home as poor as this one.  Our children  in other countries live very simply, but  not as low a standard as this one.    

I offered my hands to pick up Tania, the little girl in the photo. Not only did she accept and let me take her, but she grabbed me around the neck and  held me tightly.  In  that moment, the decision was made.  I would return to the US and do what  I could to make her life and that of the others better. The man responsible for these children is a fellow believer struggling in amazingly difficult circumstances and the Lord has placed them in front of my eyes--  and in my arms. I do not know Tania's story. The information on the children has not come  from  Haiti yet.  I know that she is an orphan--  but she is with people who care for her. I know that she lives in a crowded room-- but she is safe.  Her clothing was torn, but  it was clean. 

Haiti was mostly what I expected-- hot, poor, chaotic, dirty, busy   and somewhat  dangerous.  But the people are very dear.  The Lord has a people called out for His name from this little country. They mostly walk where they go.  They eat rice and beans. They carry their water.  They speak French and  Creole. I hope we can help these  children by meeting some needs, providing some education, seeing to their discipleship and watch them grow into  grounded witnesses for our Lord.  It means more recruiting for sponsors.  It means more trips to Haiti.  It means more paper work.  It means more  obligations. We are going to do it.  And  we already love it. 

15 January 2013

Pastor Training, Nepal

It was a special joy to see these photos come from Nepal in January 2013. These are village pastors from two separate areas in Nepal. One is so high up in the mountains that it takes most of a hard driving day to get to the meeting place by jeep. None of the pastors have a jeep. They walk-- and for some of them it is a vertical climb of two or more days a fact which causes one to swallow hard when tempted to complain of the jeep ride. Of course, many Americans and other foreigners come to Nepal to climb the mountains for fun. But even among committed believers, how many would make the climb in the dead of winter to sit on the floor in an unheated church to receive Bible training? And these men are not full time pastors, though they would like to be. Every one of them farms to feed his family. The other training area is in the terai-- that is the flat land near Nepal's border with India. We have been working with that group for years longer than the mountain group. Most of the faces are very familiar to me. I know their families and I know their ministries. We sponsor at least one child for almost all of them (which is true for the mountain group too). We are grateful for a variety of ministries in Nepal-- children's homes, church building project, medical clinics, Jesus Video outreach, slum ministry as well as the pastor training. My favorite ministry is usually the one I am working on at the moment. But seeing this training module complete and the certificates awarded....is really, really special. God's Word will multiply in the lives of those who heard it-- and these leaders will spread out through some still unreached areas of a little country that I love-- and more people will be reached and discipled for the Lord.