08 April 2015

Urgent Needs in Nicaragua

The wheel was broken and the hand rests were in shreds.  Maybe those things could be repaired, but the boy had outgrown the chair-- and there was only one  remedy for that. How could I find  a new wheelchair on an island community  deep in the country of  Nicaragua?   And if I could find one on the main land, how could I know that it was the right one for this boy and how would I get it  back to him?

The boy is  Jesse, the son of a pastor in Nicaragua.  He has been in our sponsorship program since we started on the Island of Ometepe. Like all of the others, his family lives on a minimum of worldly goods.  Prices are high for anything brought to the island on the ferry.  Fortunately, volcanic ash makes fertile soil and lots of good food grows  almost year round.  But the island cannot grow a wheel chair.

It was exciting  for me as I watched the Lord answer each question-- that is, those about which chair, how to find it, how to get it back to the island.....  One  issue was already resolved-- that  of how to pay for the wheel chair.  Assuming  that we could find the chair and resolve the logistic issues             (which we did)  the Allow  The Children  Urgent  needs  Fund  exists for situations like this one.   Many people give  generous un-designated gifts which we  use for needs like this one.  During travel in country, we often come upon needs that just cannot or should not wait for fundraising or  search for a specific donor. It is a joy to be ready to meet needs like this one and to know that the Lord has used many hands along the way to accomplish His provision.

03 April 2015

What was I doing in Haiti? A new sponsorship program for children of pastors.

What was I doing in  Haiti?  In most of our ministry countries, we have a sponsorship program for children of pastors. I love to do these  for several reasons. (1)  Pastors are an easy group to define and manage. The appreciate the help and they use the funds wisely for their child.  (2)  It gives some real help to laborers on the field who are often serving without any compensation at all.  (3)  It is the first step towards other projects  such as pastor training,  funding an evangelistic outreach, supply  Bibles and discipleship literature  (4)  Contacts with widows and orphans who need our program.

 I do not know how our work with develop in  Haiti.  There are certainly plenty of opportunities.  As we build these relationships with pastors, we  may be able to organize medical clinics as an outreach tool or  many of the other projects we are doing in other countries.

We took about 15 children of pastors this time. As we find sponsors for these and build the  program, we will  probably move up to at least 30 children. It is exciting to think of the new directions and the many new  projects to come as we serve in  Haiti.

What was I doing in Haiti? Committee meetings with ministry leaders.

What was I doing in  Haiti?  Mission trips can be exciting, adventurous, productive and inspiring. I love that kind of trip and many others do as well. But managing a sponsorship program requires a lot of just plain admin work.  I need to meet with the leaders of each of our ministry  programs and a lot needs to be accomplished within the time I am able to be with them.

On this day,  one committee drug  a table out to the beach and we had our meeting at the sea side. It was a wonderful reminder of the spectacular beauty of Haiti. Haiti is struggling with profound poverty, the devastation of the earthquake, crime, fraud, filth and drought.  It  would be difficult to find many places on the planet where daily life is more challenging than Haiti. At the same time, the Lord has blessed this island.  There are little pockets of believers who are busy working for the spiritual harvest. It is a privilege and a joy to partner with them.

What was I doing in Haiti? The children of Chacha Mountain

What was I doing in  Haiti?  The children of  Chacha Mountain would not have any education at all, if not for a few church leaders and their wives who give their time to teach and disciple. It is not an official school in any sense.  There is no government  funding.  There are no materials, not even desks to write on.  Most of the children do not have a uniform. But over 100 children come each day to learn reading, writing and arithmetic and they  are taught from  God's Word. As Haitian believers invest in these children, we have the opportunity to be a part of it with them. We are hoping to sponsor children in this program with the money going  for the school needs and a daily nutritious lunch.  It takes several hours of hard driving to get up the mountain to  Chacha.  If ever there was a place where there is nothing, this is it.  If ever there was a place that could be called the "ends of the earth" this is it. Poor? There is no water, except what is collected from the sky.  Toilet?  Until recently, there were not even  outhouses. Clothing?   Require a long trek down the mountain to the market to buy  supplies of any kind. Jesus said if we do it to the least of His  brethren, we do it to Him. It would be difficult to find any more "least" than these.

What was I doing in Haiti? A new church plant

What was I doing in  Haiti?  I visited this new church plant  in a small village outside of  Port-au- Prince.   They filled the  shelter with people on  Sunday morning in a neighborhood that did not even exist a year ago.  These people were  displaced by the 2010 earthquake and were among the thousands living in "tent cities," temporary shelters created by government and aid groups. They were relocated to this place and  we have an evangelist working to plant a church among them.  This tarp  will be nearly worthless when the rains come. It is torn and damaged in many places.  This little body of believers need a modest, one room cinder block building  for worship and teaching, a center of ministry in this new community.

What was I doing in Haiti? Visiting our children's homes.

What was I doing in  Haiti?  I was visiting our children's homes, taking  new photos and reports, talking with the leaders for the ministries for accountability, encouragement, trouble shooting future planning and assessments of the needs of the children.

The Hope for Life Children's home needs a new kitchen, but so many other things as well.  Which project should have the priority?  Which ones could be accomplished better  or with less expense if pursued along with another?   For example, should we build a kitchen or work on a whole house which would include a kitchen?

02 April 2015

Where The Pulpit Was ( The Slum Ministry in Nepal)

Pastor Daniel is standing where the pulpit of the slum church once was.  The city demolished the building and many homes  in order to build a retaining wall.  The "homes" were makeshift shelters made of scraps of all kinds-- but they were all these people had. Now, we have more than 100 displaced families struggling to survive. In addition to the destruction of the church, we had a shelter which was home for 3 widows  of the church.  And--- we had a little unofficial school for the small children in the slum. About 100 children were coming daily to learn reading, writing and arithmetic and  God's  Word. It might be the only education and the only opportunity to hear of the  Savior for these little children.   Allow has already sent some emergency help for this ministry. The partners on the ground have identified a place for the church to meet temporarily and another place to rebuild.   We need to include the widow shelter and the slum school in the new plans as well.  Praying for the Lord's abundant provision for these things in His time.