Saturday, July 31, 2010

Great Blog For Adoptive Dads!

It seems like so many blogs on adoption are written by moms. We love this blog written by Adoptive Dads, for adoptive dads. Check it out!

http://adoptivedads.org/

Friday, July 30, 2010

Join Us at The Mid-Atlantic Orphan Summit!

Many of you have heard us speak about Summit, hosted by The Christian Alliance for Orphans. It is a yearly orphan and adoption conference for churches, agencies and ministries. David and I have been so blessed to attend these conferences. We always learn something new, connect with old friends and make new ones, and come away with a renewed passion and vision for orphans!

Well, we’re excited to announce that there will be a Mid-Atlantic Orphan Summit November 5-6 in Hershey, Pennsylvania and we want you to join us! Of course, you can register and go on your own, but we think it would be fun if we went as a group! Either way, we don’t think you should miss it!

Registration is open and is only $40 per person or $35 per couple. If you’re interested in traveling together and hanging out with the Caroline’s Promise team, contact us! We will depart Greensboro via air on Friday morning November 5 and return either Saturday night or Sunday am. Worship will be led by Meredith Andrews and guest speakers include Tom Davis, Russell Moore, Peter Greer and others! Workshop topics include: Ending child slavery in Haiti, Listening to local churches for their economic freedom, Your business and the orphan, Foster care and adoption through the child welfare system, Engaging your church in international orphan care, and more!

Contact us if you want to go and read more at http://midatlanticorphansummit.eventbrite.com/

Thursday, July 29, 2010

PAL Partnership, Part Two

The following is from Angie Hemric, sharing an outing some of the children of Plastic City, Guyana experienced as part of their PAL program. Caroline's Promise is excited for the opportunity partnering with PAL is affording these children and ultimately the families of Plastic City.

"Reward time for PAL has come around for the second time. We have set the standard that every eight weeks we will honor those who have the best attendance record. Our last reward time came when school was in session and we rewarded the top five based on the size of the group. The prizes were all educationally based and that will continue to be our standard. Monday we celebrated eight persons for attendance, which now included two complete weeks of summer session of four days a week for three hours each day. The reward this round was a trip to town to walk the sea wall and collect sea glass.


Our children did not know anything about sea glass and some had never been on the sea wall. Georgetown sits well below sea level, so a long time ago the Dutch built a four foot wall to shield the capital city from the ocean tide. The adventure began with a boat ride across the Demarara where we watched big ships off-load their cargo and fishing boats come in for the day. The excitement and “story talk” of who has been here and who has not and what it’s like and what it’s not, continued as we journeyed by bus and then finished with a ¼ mile walk to the wall.
One of the questions that rose to the surface was, "What is sea glass?" and "Why are we collecting it in a large bottle?" I answered the "why" first as I explained that friends of mine have learned to make jewelry and they want to make up a lot of it to sell for us. “Why us?” came the next question followed by, “Can I have an earring or a chain?” and “Will they teach us how to make it Sister Angie?” I chuckled at their enthusiasm and pure joy over someone doing something for them. I finished by telling that they are making it so we can have money to buy stuff for PAL. So, if we need exercise books or pencils then we have a way to purchase it. The eight echoed one big “ohhhhh” as I asked if that was a good reason to collect the sea glass. All of the children from the seven year old to the twelve year old were now motivated to collect all the sea glass that they could put their hands on!




The three main principles we have built into PAL are: (1) We work in partnership which means we do things together, (2) We speak positive words and (3) We respect our stuff and each other. These eight have really formed the backbone to our group. The boys arrive early almost every day to set up the benches for the lessons. I turn to these eight to partner with a new person and teach them how we care for our materials. The positive spirit builds every time we are together as we celebrate small personal successes.

Yesterday was an outflow of partnership from a different slant. The children understand that the cool white boards and markers are gifts that make learning fun. We won’t get them in Guyana if we lose or mess one up. They understand that our flashcards are learning tools that we must keep together and not lose. As we were on the sea wall they understand that our partnership extends beyond our group. They had total fun yesterday picking up shells as they marveled at all the colors and shapes. It was the delight of a child who had never been to the ocean and never picked up a shell. However, they also just helped themselves by doing their critical part in the jewelry making process.


The real joy of partnership is that it draws people together to achieve a common goal. Our children are catching on to this idea and a new trend is emerging. In small ways they are learning about the part they play in being a partner in PAL and now a partner to keep PAL going for their benefit. They can’t make the jewelry and they can’t pay for PAL supplies or outings. However, together God is drawing together people of passion to reach a common goal. The goal for PAL is to strengthen children’s education and gain the respect of the families. Once we gain the families respect then we can offer ways to strengthen the family unit. In the months, and we can say years ahead, attendance to PAL won’t be the only thing we are celebrating! In the years ahead we will be celebrating a transformation family by family that flows from the establishment of partnership. "



We are currently looking for sponsors to help underwrite the monthly cost ($100) of our PAL groups. If you are interested in giving toward this project please visit https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/CarolinesPromise/OnlineDonation.html
Choose one time or monthly gift in any amount for the Guyana Orphan Project Fund.
In the comment section write PAL.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

PAL Partnership, Part One

Our work in Guyana is a beautiful picture of partnership. Caroline's Promise has the privilege of working alongside the Vreed N Hoop Wesleyan Church who have had a heart for the people of Plastic City for years. Angie Hemric is our Guyana Coordinator and serves as the bridge between the two groups. Angie and her team of volunteers from the church tutor daily a group of children in Plastic City through a program Angie developed called PAL. PAL is a blended partnership of the local church sending volunteers, work with Angie and Caroline's Promise providing the financial support they need for supplies and materials.

The children who come for daily lessons have little to no previous education; this opportunity to participate in PAL is not only a privilege but a blessing. Below are some pictures of them working on their lessons. In our next post, we'll hear from Angie about how PAL instills a sense of partnership for the children as they play a part in supporting their education.


We are currently looking for sponsors to help underwrite the monthly cost ($100) of our PAL groups. If you are interested in giving toward this project please visit https://app.etapestry.com/hosted/CarolinesPromise/OnlineDonation.html
Choose one time or monthly gift in any amount for the Guyana Orphan Project Fund.
In the comment section write PAL.

Friday, July 9, 2010

An Emotional Day

Thursday was emotional to say the least. We learned earlier in the week that the children at Casita Adonai were giving Caroline a Princess Party for her birthday. At first we were hesitant. We’ve never wanted Caroline to be in the spotlight when it comes to this ministry. But it was so obvious that the teachers and students had worked hard to make this happen and the party was for them as much as it was for Caroline.

I talked to her the night before and tried to explain that there would be a party the next day for her. She was confused. Why would they give her a party? When reality hit she began jumping up and down and smiling. Then she said “Has Delmy been planning this?” “Of course” I said. “Well, I want to write her a note and tell her how much I love her!”

And then Thursday came. The moment Caroline opened her eyes she began running to the bathroom. Bless her heart, she was so sick. We managed to get a shower and get dressed and thankfully we made it to the school without any accidents. She felt horrible. When the door opened I could not believe my eyes! Seventy kids were standing on both side of the entry way, in beautiful prince and princess outfits. Delmy had been able to collect them from visits to the states. They were precious!

The party included songs and dances from the kids, a huge Cinderella piñata and cake. The teachers had worked so hard. They cut out and pasted pictures of princesses onto white Styrofoam cups. Every detail was done with love. What a joy to watch these kids having fun! Caroline was a little overwhelmed, especially while she was serving the kids their snack. Many of them reached into their bags of candy from the piñata and gave her pieces as a gift. She said, “Mommy, these kids probably don’t get candy very often and they’re giving me some from their bag.”

Caroline was born in June, 2003 while we were with a team in Guatemala. We didn’t know until we returned to the states that she had been born while we were there. Because of that timing, there have been plenty of birthdays where we have been with teams in Guatemala while she has been at home with Grandparents. We’ve always celebrated her birthday before we leave, but in very small ways. The party that Casita Adonai gave her was such a gift.

The Mural….
We had been praying for a breakthrough with the teachers at the school. Earlier in the week Esme worked with them on strategies for their classrooms while the rest of us painted their classes and worked on the mural. It takes a while to build relationships, especially with a language barrier. We had asked the Lord to fill that gap and help us connect with the teachers. It happened Thursday! After the party they stood around the team as we worked on the mural. One team member offered one of the teachers a paint brush and before we knew it, they were all painting with us! It was a great team building exercise and we could see the teachers making the mural their own. We finished the afternoon at the school with a pizza party for the teachers and the team. Who can’t bond when Domino’s is involved?!

Rosa de Amor
Thursday evening we drove about 45 minutes to a home called Rosa de Amor. From what we understand, this lady began taking in girls who had been abused. Before she knew it, her house was full. The project has very little support. The youngest was 6 and the oldest in her teens. These girls have been abused physically, mentally and sexually by their parents. We were told of one 10 year old who was sold for sex by her parents so that they could support their alcohol addiction. Several of the girls have babies, a result of incest. The youngest with a baby was 13. Several have been rescued from prostitution.

Most were extremely loving and the Director was quick to tell us that God is making a difference in these girls’ difficult lives. Lisa shared a short devotional about God’s unconditional love and ability to heal. The team did a craft with the girls and fitted them for new shoes. Each person in the home received a basket of goodies. We presented each of them with a starfish necklace – a reminder of how much God loves them. And then the women on our team layed hands on the girls as Delmy prayed for them. Many of them sobbed. It was such a precious time.

I wish you could have heard the conversation from two of the men in the back of the bus as we drove back to the apartments. The things they wished they could do to the men who had hurt these precious girls. As we debriefed we were reminded once again that God is the God of justice. Vengeance is His. And He will deal with all who oppress children.

The needs are overhwhelming, to be honest. As we shared with Delmy last night we realized that God is narrowing our focus in Guatemala. There is much work to be done. We can’t do it all. But God has a part for us individually and as a ministry. He is giving us a clear focus.

Friday will be our last day in Guatemala. We’ll give the kids a party – complete with Giant Pinatas. The parents will learn about the Five Love Languages of their children and we will finish our work projects around the church. In the afternoon several ladies from the team will minister to the ladies of the church. Friday night we will debrief.

There is a part of us that is sad to leave Guatemala. So much to be done. But it will happen, in God’s time. With the support of people like you. Much of the team is ready to go home. Several have been sick the entire two weeks. Please pray with us for energy and safety as we travel home Saturday. We are so appreciative of your love and support!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

At Work In Guatemala



















We are updating our Flickr account constantly, so don't forget to check it out! (Look on our sidebar for the link.)

Monday In Guatemala City

Monday was a great day at Casita Adonai. This school has about 70 kids and is in a depressed neighborhood. Many of these families were displaced after Hurricane Stan and made homes for themselves on a plot of land close to the church. The people are very poor and struggle specifically with alcohol and drugs. There are limited opportunities for the young people and many find themselves involved in gangs.

Iglesia Adonai is a lighthouse in the darkness of this community. They are reaching people in many ways, but one of the greatest is through their school, Casita Adonai. There are five classes, preschool, pre-K, kindergarden, first and second. We learned this week that minimum wage in Guatemala is about $190 a month. These teachers make $127 a month and it’s a struggle to pay them most months.

Caroline’s Promise is excited to partner with Casita Adonai. Our goal is to help them reach the children and families of this neighborhood in an effort to prevent orphans. Many of the children are raised by their moms because their fathers have abandoned them. Being a single mom in the States is difficult, but in Guatemala it is overwhelming. When the kids attend Casita Adonai the moms are able to work to provide for their families.

We were greeted Monday morning with a special program from the kids about the different regions of this beautiful country. We learned a lot and loved watching the kids perform in their typical dress. Some of them even recited their parts in English!

They loved our games and crafts and simply the interaction with people who love them. We felt such great appreciation from the teachers and staff of the school and are looking forward to investing in them this week. We’ll leave on Saturday and they will remain, with a very difficult task. Please pray with us that we will be able to equip and encourage them in their ministry.

In the afternoon we painted part of the school……Carolina Blue Our mural team will begin drawing today and hopefully by the end of the day we will have a great start to brightening up the place. We would like to thank First Christian Church in Kernersville, NC who chose Casita Adonai for their Vacation Bible School Offering. At least $1200 was raised and we are going to be able to make a huge dent in some projects that need to be done around the school.

Everyone is doing well. Just a few stomach and cold issues, but nothing like last week. Thank you so much for your prayers!

It's A Small World

When we arrived in Guatemala City on Friday our translator, Juan Pablo told us that his brother got married in Kernersville, NC. Strange. It wasn't until a few hours later when Tami was talking to him that we realized his brother, Carlos married a girl from First Christian Church, Sarah Shah. They stopped by to visit with us yesterday and were able to chat with Blake and Ethan Wall who attend First Christian. The longer we do mission work, the more we realize that it really is a small world after all!!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pictures From The Weekend











Two Teams in Guatemala

The past few days seem like a blur. Our first team spent Friday in Antigua. What a beautiful city! One of our team members, Jordan, walked into an old church and was surprised to find her boyfriend waiting for her with a ring!!! They are such a sweet couple and the first to get engaged on a Caroline’s Promise team!

We were excited to arrive in Guatemala City Friday night because our second team was waiting for us. We’re staying in a dorm style building across the street from Pastor Carlos Rivas and his wife, Delmy. They pastor Iglesia Adonai and he is the National Superintendent for the 14 Wesleyan Churches in Guatemala. Our first team spent the evening sharing what God taught them throughout their week in Guatemala. We were reminded again that it’s the little things that we do in love that make the biggest impact.

In the middle of the night Friday a few of us went with Rick to a private hospital because he was having complications with a kidney stone. After several hours of tests and pain medication Rick and his wife Ronda decided to go home to North Carolina for treatment. With help from one of our Board Members, Tim Wall, we were able to get them on the same flight that our first team was taking home. Thankfully Rick made the trip and is receiving treatment. Thank you for your continued prayer for them.

Saturday was a much needed break for our team as we spent another day in Antigua. I (Lisa) personally needed the down time. Our time in Guatemala has been eventful to say the least. Caroline had an eye infection, at least 9 of our team had a stomach virus, and several have colds. Not to mention Rick and Ronda having to go home. I truly believe that God is doing something big in and through these teams. That is why the opposition is so great. We have committed to pray more and it seems like the obstacles have made our team stronger and more united. We are thankful for God’s peace and strength.

Sunday has been an amazing day! We worshipped with our friends at Iglesia Adonai. First a group of girls sang. They were precious. Then a group of young ladies were baptized and we shared communion with the church. It was a beautiful service. Our team shared a Bible Story and craft with the Sunday School Classes and we were reminded that these kids rarely get to do crafts. It made me think of all the miscellaneous craft supplies that we throw away in our schools and churches each year. Simple things make a big difference in third world countries. Perhaps you could collect craft supplies for our partners.

Sunday evening we went to Kairos House. This is a ministry similar to The Ronald McDonald House – minus the financial support. In Guatemala parents are not allowed to stay in the hospital with their children while they are receiving treatments. Many families come from up to 12 hours away and don’t have a place to stay. The Valdez family founded Kairos House which provides food, shelter and love, with no charge. Our group provided a meal and activities for the families. Cameron’s third grade class collected stuffed animals for the children. They loved them! Most importantly we listened to the parents and prayed with them. Everyone on the team agreed that Kairos will be a ministry that Caroline’s Promise supports for years to come.

We ended the night with a typical American meal to celebrate July 4th. Hot Dogs, chips, Coke and fireworks!
~Written by Lisa

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thursday in Guatemala

It's Thursday morning and the sun is shining, Hallelujah! It looks like our prayers for an end to the rain have been answered.

We've had several awesome days of ministry. We have so many uniquely gifted people on this team and it's been wonderful to witness the body of Christ at work in so many different ways. Our teacher team, Doris, Esme, Joanne and Lisa, conducted a full day of training for local teachers from the school and children's home at Eagle's Nest and from the Compassion International program. Topics included brain development, learning styles and how to create file folder games. Blake and Ethan taught self-defense.

Another team headed up by our Children's Ministry expert, Chris, has done a great job working with the Manna feeding program that is hosted here at Eagle's Nest. The team has played games and made crafts with the kids. They've also shared Bible stories and face painting. Today we'll hand out the shoes that Amber collected.

(Jody's note: Over the last six months Amber collected a total of 3,085 pairs of socks from her senior project in hosting Sock Hops at local elementary schools. She also collected shoes, totalling in 370 pairs of "happy feet" for the children. Thanks Amber for all your hard work!)

We also have several artists on our team. Doris has spent much of the week drawing murals on the walls of the Children's Home and has led a team of painters in bringing her creations to life. The murals should be done today and they are gorgeous! The children and mamas love them! There are lots of pictures on the Flickr photo stream.

We still are asking for prayer for several team members who are fighting illnesses. A stomach virus is continuing to make it's way through our team. No one has gotten seriously ill, (so don't worry mom and dad) but it is unpleasant, to say the least.

Remember to check the Flickr photo stream on the right side of the blog, we're adding photos often!