Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mattie's Miracle!

Many of you have asked for an update on Mattie. If you remember, Mattie was the young girl from China whose adoption was disrupted several months ago. A family at First Baptist Church, Decatur heard her story (by way of Children's Hope) and immediately sensed God's call to bring Mattie into their family. This would be the Ponter's 10th adoption. The adoption would cost approximately $13,000. Another family at FBC, Decatur wanted to help with raising financial support for them, so they set up a paypal system on their blog at http://www.pattersonposts.blogspot.com . I discovered the good news today that between the Patterson's blog and a Sunday morning bake sale at FBC, Decatur over $12,000 was raised within seven weeks! For those of you concerned about the cost of adoption, please let this story serve as a reminder that your church family and people in community are ready and willing to help you!

The Lord continues to work in Haiti. Is seems as if we stuck the tip of our toe in the water and the Lord has parted the Red Sea! Jay and Chip will accompany Andy on a short vision trip in May (24 - 26). I should be able to share some more information about Children's Hope future in Haiti towards the end of May.

Finally, Children's Hope would like to have several volunteers that will lead the way in getting FBC Mtg. and others committed to praying for this ministry. Andy and I will work with this group in designing a prayer guide that could be given to SS classes and placed in the foyer as well as posted on a blog entry. This ministry has been so blessed by those of you already covering us in your prayers. Therefore, we want to broaden our prayer support by having a team organize and visit the SS classes explaining the ministry and requesting prayer. Perhaps the prayer team could meet monthly as well. We are also open to other ideas. Please let us know if you are interested in helping to lead this effort.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Two New Kids!

Edy and Charles
I can't remember if I mentioned this previously, but Samuel has taken two new children in: Edy
Blaise (male) and Charles Sylmaine (female). In case you are wondering, Samuel has agreed not to take in any more children until we have a permanent home for them:) He has such a passion for children that he has a hard time saying "no" which I think we all would in his position! The whereabouts of Edy's mother is not known and his father simply could not take care of him. He is a very sweet boy; quiet but seems to be happy. He has never been in school but will start in the fall. Charles' parents were both killed in the earthquake. She is full of life and in the first grade. They both need a sponsor as well about six of the other children. If you are interested, please let me know.

Many of the children need to see a dentist, so we are praying for both a dentist and ophthalmologist or optometrist to make a trip to Jacmel soon.

Remember that the Towel/Swimsuit drive for foster kids will run through May 1. Please place your donations in the designated box by the reception desk at FBC. To follow the progress of the drive on Facebook, check out Bighouse Foundation. They are far from their goal, so please remember that this is a simple way to help a child feel special. The foundation plans to monogram a towel for each child. It is rare that foster children have items that are monogrammed!

Alabama Pre and Post Adoption (APAC) will begin a GPS class on May 3 that is geared toward adoption rather than just foster care. Mike and Kerri Moore completed this class last year and speak very highly of it. Remember, that DHR requires this training in order to adopt a child in the State's custody. The training will be held at the Montgomery Baptist Association and will last for 10 weeks. If interested, please contact Beverly Owings at 334-207-5962.

Finally, please plan to attend the Caleb Chapman concert on May 4 at 6:30 - main sanctuary at FBC. Invite others and lets fill up the sanctuary to over flowing!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Haiti Trip - April, 2011

Micro loan recipients
Playing with Samuel's kids in their front yard. Eastmont BC built the security wall in the back of picture
Rhonda telling the Easter story
Samuel - it is very obvious that he loves these children and they love him
Tanya teaching "shapes"
11 of the 18 children (Samuel's children)
Brittany and Danakai
Rhonda and Christella formed a unique bond
John with two new friends
Pastor Egume's 40 children
Pastor Egume's children working with stickers - think this may have been new to them

Jeanette with a lap full of children
Brittany giving a helping hand.

We returned home from Haiti late Saturday night with greater affirmation than ever that the Lord has given us the assignment of working with orphans in Jacmel. On this trip we were able to spend a lot of time interacting with the children through crafts, games, and Bible stories. Their individual personalities came shining through and we were reminded once again how God created each of us to be unique individuals. I was also reminded that God has created each of us in His Image; therefore, we are all equal in His sight regardless of our circumstances.

We had a fabulous team which included John and Jeannette Bush, Brittany Finch, and Rhonda Thompson. We are grateful to this team for placing the needs of the "least of these" before their own. You all were awesome! I love the way the Lord puts a mission team together.

We spent most of our time with our original group of children that Samuel cares for in the four room rental home. Samuel has taken two more children in which brings the number up to 18.
Charles (a girl) lost her parents in the earthquake and Edy whose father can not care for him. The whereabouts of his mother is unknown. All of the children are in school except for Edy (age 9). He has never been to school, so Samuel is working with him at home. Samuel plans to enroll them in a "better" school this Fall which we all agreed was an excellent idea. I completed an informal educational assessment, and the results were not very promising to say the least. They are all so far behind, but they are bright children who were easy to engage with learning activities. If given opportunities to learn, we think they will succeed.

We also spent two mornings with another group of children. Another Baptist pastor, Pastor Egume, has taken on the care of about 40 children who do not have parents that can care for them. The parents are either deceased or for whatever reason can't provide for them. Sixteen children live with P. Egume and his wife. The others spend the night with church members or families in the community. They come to the church during the day, and Pastor Egume's wife provides them with one meal per day, and teaches them songs, verses, etc. Only two of them are in school. Most of these children did not know their date of birth (even older ones) and some of the younger ones did not know how old they were. Again, these children were easily engaged and so well behaved. We got names and pictures of each. When you place a name and a face on a child, they become a real person instead of a statistic. We hope to continue to reach out to Pastor Egume and these children.

As far as land, the piece we were considering next to Pastor Paul's church has been sold. We think the land being developed by the Canadian group is still available but it is questionable at this time. Andy plans to pursue this further.

Ten members of Pastor Paul's and Pastor Franky's church each received micro loans. We are excited to see how this endeavor works. We consider this a form a family preservation and hopefully, will help families be able to provide for their children.

We are so blessed to be a part of God's work in caring for orphans. Thank you all for your prayers during our trip and please continue to pray as we seek the Lord's plan for the children in Jacmel.