Wednesday, December 31, 2008

#1 Photo of 2008


This is what it's all about. We can visit orphans, love on them, give them shoes and school supplies and backpacks. We can host fun events, and teach them sports and share our lives with them. But if we don't share Jesus with them......we've done it all in vain.

Psalm 89:1 "I will sing of the Lord's great love forever!
What a year! Thanks for all that you've done to help Caroline's Promise minister to orphans. We could not have done any of it without you.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Photo #2 - The face of HIV/AIDS in Guyana

HIV/AIDS is the leading cause of death for adults in Guyana and one of the top killers of children under the age of 5.
An estimated 12,000 people - about 2 percent of the population in Guyana - are living with AIDS, a number that is expected to steadily increase.
Guyana has 4,200 AIDS orphans.
“Thousands of children in Guyana, either orphaned by AIDS or abandoned by their
families because of their overwhelming medical needs, suffer from choices and circumstances beyond their control. Most of these children have nowhere to turn.
The stigmatization they face, even when they aren’t infected but are simply orphans of
parents who died from AIDS, makes it almost impossible for them. They are shunned by neighbors and relatives, left to fend for themselves. Without hope of getting the medical care they need, the lives of children with AIDS in Guyana are short and painful. Not only do they suffer the debilitating physical effects of their condition, but they carry around deep psychological scars of abandonment and isolation. The prevalence of myths and fear surrounding the disease also keep perfectly healthy, disease-free AIDS orphans from living normal lives. They end up being semi-cared for by poor relatives or neighbors who treat them as outcasts.” Taken from Cross International


“HIV/AIDS has the potential to distort the very fabric of everyday life in
Guyana, with profound implications for both social and economic
development... Guyana’s AIDS orphans face an uncertain future and the
threat of exploitation, violence and abuse.”
A recent statement from the Government of Guyana’s National HIV/AIDS Programme

Monday, December 29, 2008

Photo #3 - Kids impacted by missions

Our lives are changed when we learn about the needs of orphans. We find purpose when we allow God to use our talents and resources to minister to them. Our children are no different. They see the world differently, learn to give, and gain a glimpse of the heart of God.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Photo #4 - one of 143 million


It's easy to get overwhelmed by the statistic: 143 million orphans worldwide. When we focus on ONE - and do our part - we realize that God IS the father to the fatherless. This child has a home because a lot of people did their part. I'm reminded of the story of the young man who saw an older man on the beach - bending down and then throwing something into the ocean. As he got closer he realized that the older man was picking starfish off the beach and throwing them into the ocean - saving their lives. The younger man said "What are you doing? You can't make a difference for all of them!" The older man picked up a starfish, threw it into the ocean and said "I made a difference for that one."


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Photo # 5 Children of the King




Our 2008 Family Team visited a different orphanage each day and presented a program called "Children of the King." Each child was able to choose a prince or prince costume which made them feel great about themselves! The program stressed what it means to be a child of THE KING!!!

Photo #6 - Orphans ministering to orphans
















Today's Picture of the Year requires us to share more than one picture. Our friend Angie helps direct a children's home in Guyana, South America. Families in North America purchased Christmas gifts for the kids and we shipped them down there just in time for Christmas! Several people helped with special donations to an area of Guyana called "Plastic City." This community is full of single and double orphans and poverty is the norm.


Angie shared these needs with her children at the home and their first response was to share their Christmas gifts with these kids who otherwise would not receive a gift. The week before Christmas Angie and other caregivers took the oldest children to Plastic City where they walked through mud to minister to deliver the gifts. Orphans - ministering to orphans. How beautiful!












Thursday, December 25, 2008

Photo #7

We were at a church in Guatemala, thinking that we were there to minister to kids in need. The team had worked hard to prepare a carnival for a group of kids who were sponsored by Compassion International. They go to the church twice a week where they are tutored, fed a nutritious meal, and experience the power of God's love.

This is one of our favorite ministries in Guatemala and teams love to minister to the kids. They knew we were coming and so they had worked for weeks to prepare a special program for us. Each class made their way to the stage with a special song or dance. In this groups' mime the little girl had a beautiful paper heart. One by one boys came on stage and tried to take her heart from her. Three boys stole her heart and ripped it to pieces. The little girl fell to the ground, crying over her broken heart.

You could have heard a pin drop as the mime progressed. In the end this little boy shared Jesus with the girl and she prayed to receive Christ. God was there that day and everyone in the building could feel the Holy Spirit.

Our team mistakenly thought that we would minister to these kids. But they ministered to us!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas from The Holbrook Kids!


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Photo #8

In 2008 our short term mission teams delivered over 2000 school supply bags to kids in Guatemala and Guyana. We were also able to send school supplies to a children's home in Georgia.

Words can't describe the joy that these kids felt when they realized what was in the bag and that it belonged to them! If you would like to help us by collecting school supplies for our 2009 trips, contact us at info@carolinespromise4u.org.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Photo #9


This is Anna Kathryn. Last Christmas she was living in China, alone. Oh how this Christmas is different! With your help Caroline's Promise was able to assist Mark & Kimberly with their adoption and this fall Anna Kathryn came home to her forever family.
Just think of how different her life is going to be! Thank you for helping us "Reclaim Hope for Orphans." Merry Christmas Anna Kathryn:)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Top 10 Photos of 2008

There are 10 more days in 2008. We usually use this time to reflect on the past year. God has been incredibly good to Caroline's Promise!
We hope you'll come back to this blog each day as we highlight our Top 10 photos of 2008. We pray that you will be encouraged by the stories and celebrate God's faithfulness with us.



This is our friend, Audrey - on a mission trip to Guyana, South America. Our team was able to help with a lot of repairs and updates to the children's home there. They ministered in church services, trained caregivers on HIV/Aids issues, took the kids on incredible outings and even had a "Children of the King" party for them. But I think it was moments like this one that made the greatest impact.....on the kids.....and on the team members.

When I look at pictures of orphans now I think about myself......before I had a relationship with God. The Bible tells us that apart from God we are orphans. But He sent His son, Jesus to make a way for us to be adopted into His family. That has to be one of the coolest parts of a short term mission trip. When we minister to orphans we are reminded of God's love for us!

A Home for the holidays - Tuesday evening


THE 10TH ANNUAL A HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS WITH FAITH HILL, a new entertainment special to be broadcast Tuesday, Dec. 23 (8:00-9:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network, will include moving performances by Grammy Award-winning country music star Faith Hill, Grammy Award-winning rock singer/songwriter Melissa Etheridge, Grammy Award-winning country music star Tim McGraw and rock musician Gavin Rossdale and Academy Award winner Jamie Foxx, among others. Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth ("Pushing Daisies," "Wicked"), Emmy and SAG Award winner Patricia Heaton ("Everybody Loves Raymond," "Front of the Class"), Rene Russo ("The Thomas Crown Affair"), Emmy Award-winning comedian Martin Short ("Father of the Bride," "SNL") are among the celebrities presenting inspirational stories about adoption.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Quaker Gap Baptist begins oprhan/adoption ministry

Seeds of Hope is a ministry of Quaker Gap Baptist Church. It was started by a group of ladies at our church with a heart for adoption and foster care. Information packets about adoption, foster care, and orphan care were put together by the Seeds of Hope ministry in hopes that getting information into people's hands would move them to action.

Our God sized vision is to see no waiting children in Stokes County, North Carolina, and eventually the world. We started this ministry at home by saying that there are currently 56 children in foster care and over 90 churches in the county. If every church took a child, or supported a child, we would solve the problem here at home.

We hope that as other churches in our area learn about the plight of the orphan they will get involved in some way. We can't all do everything, but if we all do something, we can make a huge difference in our community and in the world when it comes to these precious children.

Our goal for the first year was to have one family in our church foster or adopt. God has already exceeded our expectations by having two families in our church go through the MAPP classes. Our goal for year two was to get information out to other churches about what we were doing. We have learned quickly that God's timeline is a little faster than ours. Other churches have already been asking us for information. It is amazing to see what God will do when you are open to His call.For more information about the Seeds of Hope ministry, and to view the news story on our ministry done by WXII, you can visit our churches website www.quakergap.info and click on the link for Seeds of Hope.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Encouragement for those waiting on children

Waiting....it's pretty hard for me. In December, 2000 God made it crystal clear that He had a daughter for us. Christmas came and went and I didn't miss her - I didn't even know her. I was just excited that He had called us to adopt.


Christmas 2001 - we finally "got out of the boat", stepped out in faith and started the adoption process. What took us so long? We were overwhelmed by the cost. We were excited to finally be on the journey!


Christmas 2002 - our paperwork had been turned in for 4 months but we didn't have a referral. It was the third Christmas since God had told us that He had a daughter for us. We had named her "Baby Caroline" and the boys kept asking when she would be home. I didn't want to take family pictures because I didn't feel like my family was complete. It was hard.


Christmas 2003 - Well worth the wait! Caroline had been home less than a month and it was as if I had forgotten about the 3 years of waiting.


I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. Kind of like Moms who give birth to their children - they tend to forget what a "pain" it was!


Why am I sharing this? Because I know some of you are waiting. You've waited longer than I ever did. And Christmas is hard. You long for your child to be home with you. There's a verse that God gave me during the waiting and He showed me that it was 100% true.

"The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait on him."

I pray that you will cling to it and know that His timing is perfect - even when you are tired of waiting. This video is super short - but it's the first moment we met Caroline. You might want to turn the volume down to avoid hearing my Mom giving "directions":)





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Praying for Pastor Carlos


One of the joys of ministry is meeting incredible people from around the world. One of our favorite couples is Pastor Carlos and Delmi who faithfully minister in Guatemala. Delmi is like my 2nd Mom and Carlos always makes me smile.

Pastor Carlos had surgery on Dec. 5 to remove a mass, his prostate, and his gall bladder. After weeks of complications he is now at home. My friend Sarah was in Guatemala and describes her visit with him at the "hospital."

"It was a rude awakening for me because when we left to go visit, I was expecting to arrive at a hospital that looked somewhat like we have here in the United States. As we pulled to the curb in an area of low-rise commercial and residential row buildings, you had to look hard to see the sign that indicated a hospital was present. For those of you who have been to Guatemala, it looked like most any of the area we pass through on the way to the airport from the compound. There was a guard to let us in and you could see a car in the attached garage. There was one hallway and on one side you saw the office, the operating room, and three rooms for patients with three beds per room, and the other side you could see the car inside the garage. Some of the glass panes that separated the hallway from the garage were broken.

When we left, I asked Pastor Luis if it was really a hospital. He told me it is what is considered a private hospital and there are many of them all over Guatemala City for people who cannot afford the better grade hospitals. He said that Pastor Carlos and Delmi looked at their options and that was the best they felt they could afford. My first thought was that "most people in the States wouldn't take their dog to a place like this and I sure don't want Pastor Carlos here." While it was not a place I would like to be, it did provide care for Pastor Carlos and he is doing better this week. However, I personally think that he is doing better because of all the prayers that were lifted on his behalf. Thank you so much for praying for him and for Delmi. She is doing okay but is physically and emotionally exhausted."

My heart breaks for them. They are so faithful to serve the Lord and the people of Guatemala. Now they are faced with medical bills of $10 - $12,000. Will you pray with me that God will heal Pastor Carlos, give Delmi supernatural strength, and provide for their needs?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Orphans giving Christmas gifts to orphans


Our friend Angie serves the Lord in Guyana, South America at a children's home for orphaned and vulnerable children. This is the home's third Christmas and I could not wait to share with you how God worked in the kids' lives today! Here's an excerpt from Angie's blog:

"I reached back to the home just in time to welcome our first batch of visitors bringing Christmas cheer to our children. They were from a private Christian school and a bus load of them pulled up and came to share gifts - useful ones like soap, underwear, clothes and fun ones like coloring books, school supplies, small dollies, etc.

When the dust had settled our children remained on the carpet and I talked to them about an upcoming plan to "really" give back from all they had been given. Now, to the American eye they may not seem "spoiled" but I still remember back to our first Christmas when a grandmother of one of our employee's came by to share gifts with the 6 children newly into our care. It was two days before Christmas and one of the small girls who was 4 at the time, but street smart beyond her age, asked if she could keep her dolly till Christmas and open it then so she would have a gift. I was moved deeply. I softly spoke to her and said you can if you want, but if I promise you that you will have a gift under the tree with your name on it would that make you want to open it now? It was in clear plastic wrap so she could see it. She shook her head with a big affirmative yes.
So today we sat together on the carpet and I explained how it felt to be given a gift and they expressed their joy. I then asked the opposite. And the opposite reaction came. So, then I asked how they would feel if they could be the ones to give a gift just like these special people had just given them a gift. I then asked this same girl if she would like to share a gift with another child that did not have a gift. She had that same affirmative nod and verbally exclaimed yes! Then without asking she stood to her feet and brought a gift to me from her two. The others followed her example and willingly chose one of theirs to put in the give away box."

You know, it's one thing for my kids to be willing to give up one of their gifts so that an orphan can have a present at Christmas. My heart is touched by these fatherless children in Guyana who have blessed to find a home......and are anxious to give to those who have not.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sedge Garden Methodist's Orphan Care/Adoption Ministry

The Adoption/Orphan Care Ministry of Sedge Garden United Methodist Church began two years ago. The ministry was formed of not only parents who have adopted but of individuals who have a sensitivity to the need and a heart to serve. There are three components of this ministry at this time:

Adoption Grant Program: This is to help ease the financial challenge of adoption.
Orphan Care: Supporting organizations that directly provide aid to orphans such as medical care, surgeries, nutrition, clothing etc.
Resource and Mentoring: There are members who have adopted domestically and internationally who are willing to offer support and or mentoring to those seeking to adopt or in the process of adoption

In November, Adoption awareness month, the ministry participated in Sedge Garden’s Mission Tree program, a program in which a tree is decorated to represent a mission project each month. They made a paper doll chain, added colorful clothes and used them as garland. Each doll highlighted a different agency, all pertaining to adoption or children’s ministry, and the members had a chance to choose an agency they wanted their donation to go to. There were several options such as Caroline’s Promise, Angel Covers, The United Methodist Children’s Home and Smile Train. The donations they received helped with the cost of a camcorder for Caroline’s Promise, sent baby cribs, bouncers, and formula through Angel Covers and was able to provide enough money to go towards one or two lip/palate surgeries with Smile Train.

Also in November, Caroline’s Promise choir performed two songs in a special program at the church. One of the church members, who had been adopted herself, sang a beautiful solo called “The Arms of Love”.

This ministry has also written a book called “How We Came to be Family”. The book contains stories of adoption from individuals and or families within their church. In the past year they have developed By Laws, a Mission Statement, a grant procedure and application but they are in the beginning process of raising funds to begin the grant process. They have also developed a bulletin insert for their church with orphan/adoption facts. At the bottom of the inserts are a place that some one can donate in honor of or in memory of children who are to dear to them. They are planning several events in the upcoming year for orphan care.

What is your church doing to care for orphans? Caroline's Promise would love to help you organize an orphan care/adoption ministry. Everyone can do something!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Purchase Children's Books for yourself & earn books for orphans!

Jenna Hodgins loves the ministry of Caroline's Promise! As a consultant for Usborne Books she has set up an EShow to benefit the ministry. When you purchase one of Usborne's beautiful books for a child in your life, you'll be earning books for orphans! If you haven't seen their products, you need to check them out! They're incredible!

So get to shopping! Visit our EShow Link (click here) and make your purchases before 12/31/08. With your help we can earn free books for orphans in Guatemala, Uganda and Guyana! Thanks Jenna for helping to reclaim hope for orphans!

We Pray for the Children


A friend sent this to me and it speaks volumes! It reminds me so much of my kids......and hundreds of kids that I've met throughout the years. I hope it causes you to thank God for the children in your life and pray for those around the world who are fatherless. You can make a difference!


We pray for the children who put chocolate fingers everywhere,
who like to be tickled, who stomp in puddles and ruin their new pants,
who sneak Popsicles before supper, who erase holes in math workbooks,
who can never find their shoes.

And we pray for those who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,
who’ve never squeaked across the floor in new sneakers, who never had crayons to count,
who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead, who never go to the circus,
who live in an X-rated world.

We pray for children who bring us sticky kisses and fistfuls of dandelions,
who sleep with the dog and bury goldfish, who give hugs in a hurry and forget their lunch money, who cover themselves with Band-Aids and sing off-key,
who squeeze toothpaste all over the sink, who slurp their soup.

And we pray for those who never get dessert, who watch their parents watch them die,
who have no safe blanket to drag behind, who can’t find any bread to steal,
who don’t have any rooms to clean up, whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,
whose monsters are real.

We pray for children who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,
who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food, who like ghost stories,
who shove dirty clothes under the bed, who never rinse out the tub,
who get visits from the tooth fairy, who don't like to be kissed in front of the school,
who squirm in church and scream in the phone,
whose tears we sometimes laugh at and whose smiles can make us cry.

And we pray for those whose nightmares come in the daytime, who will eat anything,
who aren't spoiled by anybody, who go to bed hungry and cry themselves to sleep,
who live and move, but have no being.
We pray for children who want to be carried, and for those who must.
For those we never give up on, and for those who never get a chance.
For those we smother with our love, and for those who will grab the hand of anybody kind enough to offer.

~ by Ina J. Hughes

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Adoptive Mom makes scarves to help with adoption costs



Our friends Doug and Jennifer are adopting from Nepal. It's so fun to be a part of their journey and watch God provide. Jennifer (with help from family, left) is making scarves with all proceeds going toward their adoption. They can make just about any color so if you're looking for a Christmas gift, contact her at 336-708-5177 or jenbarrow@bellsouth.net. They are $12 each or 2 for $20.


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Celebrating Advent

Several years ago we started an advent tradition. Each Sunday night leading to Christmas we light the advent candle and share a little devotional. Our favorite part is when each family member chooses a Christmas card that we've received during the week and we pray for that family. I know this will shock you, but we've only received ONE Christmas card this week! So, I guess God knew that we all needed to spend time praying for our friends Tripp & Buffy and their son, Hunter - adopted from Guatemala. Buffy, how in the world did you find time to get your cards done this early?!
We love this family and count it a privilege to be able to share in their lives.

I was amazed at how the kids prayed what was on their heart without really knowing this family's needs. David and I of course knew their concerns and were so touched to hear our kids pray specifically for those things. We hadn't told them what to pray but God did! Of course we can't get through a family prayer without someone saying something "funny". They're just so honest with God. Cameron has developed an interest in hunting this year so his prayer went something like this,

"God, thank you for little Hunter. He's got a great name!"

So, I guess my encouragement to you would be to celebrate this Advent Season in any way that makes sense to your family. It's a great way to remind them what Christmas is all about. And....get those Christmas cards to us so we can pray for you:)