Thursday, November 25, 2010
It all started a few years ago when I added the Goodsearch toolbar to all of the computers in our house. At the time I was the only one searching the internet. That year I earned $50 for Caroline's Promise just through my internet searches. As the years passed and more people in my house began using the internet, the amount raised for the ministry has increased. In 2010 our family has raised over $150 for Caroline's Promise!
The coolest part about online shopping is that the Goodsearch toolbar includes Goodshop! When I go to a store's website, the goodshop toolbar will light up and give me extra coupons and tell me how much that store will donate to Caroline's Promise from my purchase. It could be 1% - 30% of my purchase. Amazing!
So, if you've always wanted to make a difference for orphans and just didn't know how.......add the Goodsearch toolbar! It's a "no brainer!"
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Let us help you with your Holiday meal or Party with a great, made from scratch dessert. Two of our volunteers are selling Home made, Fresh to order Pound Cakes now through Jan 3rd. All proceeds will be applied toward the set up of a computer lab at Casita Adonai in Guatemala.
Plain or Butter Nut $15.00/ Chocolate $18.00
Contact Susan to inquire or place your order.
Phone 336-817-4574 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Rain Changes Things Guyana Thursday
Our intended morning was to have PAL playgroup, however God had other plans! We woke up to rain- which didn’t change our first destination. We went to Ruimveldt Children’s Home to deliver care bags collected by Shady Grove Wesleyan Church in Colfax. We were greeted at the gate by faces peering out and shouts of “Auntie, Auntie!” We spent just a few minutes with the children as they were dashing out to school.
The rain was pouring as we crossed the bridge towards Plastic City. As we rode over the bridge we were captivated by the thick fog to our right and the dark clouds hovering to the left. The rain and sinking mud kept our playgroup parents away, so we prepared to go into the community to them. We walked into the oldest section and were greeted by a grandmother of a 9 year old PAL member. She asked us questions about how her granddaughter was doing and invited us into her home to chat. Our intention was for a brief visit and then move on to see more families. God had other plans and sent the rain! The rains echoed on the tin roof as we looked at photos and heard the story of an orphan’s life. And even now the words of her story continue to resonate with us. In a world that has rejected her, she finds a haven in PAL and the growing relationships that come with it.
As we checked back in to see if anyone had risked a soaking in the downpour to come to PAL, we found our host visiting with a friend on her porch. He was very curious, inquiring as to who we were and what we did the community. In our minds, we did not have time to have a conversation, especially with a young man we weren’t sure of. When he asked outright, “Do you have time?” we were convicted- isn’t this all about building relationships? So we set our agenda aside. He was puzzled by the idea of someone coming to Guyana to volunteer- whether short or long term. He couldn’t figure out why- when there wasn’t something in it for us. The next questions came... “So, are you Christians or something? What are you teaching the children- to pray?” His questions highlight why PAL has made a conscious choice to build relational bridges preceding any talks of Christianity. We are able meet a practical need and show we genuinely care about all people. It brings to light the passage in Acts 11:26 and how the community was the ones to recognize the disciples and call them Christians after a year of teaching and meeting in the community.
We then took a boat across the Demerara River back to town in the rain AGAIN. We excitedly purchased books for PAL usage. It is amazing how expensive used books are in Guyana, especially well-made quality books. It brings to light another reason books are not readily accessible in homes such as Plastic city. The resources of PAL are so needed for the children.
Finally the rain had stopped! We reentered Plastic City for the afternoon session. Due to the rain, we were delayed and Sister Genny was already with the children. We walked up and were delighted at the development in Genny’s skills. One of our goals in this week was to develop the adult leaders of PAL. Development was both taught and caught as we modeled and encouraged the practice of new skills and a creative perspective when teaching. We realize that the PAL children respond best to relational teaching and a hands-on, interactive approach. This hands-on approach is out of Genny’s comfort zone and experience. However, as Stephanie poured her life into Genny this week, Genny heard and responded to the ideas. We felt rushed and were a few minutes late due to the rain, but as we peered onto the porch from the sea wall we saw how once again God used the rain. On a corner of the porch 15 children sat together engaged in a book as Genny encouraged one of our stronger young readers. It was clear by what we saw that the principles taught to the PAL leaders and put into practice this week, was absorbed by Genny and was bearing fruit. And the biggest smile was hers.
We jumped into our activities. Today was based on “The Very Hungry Caterpillar”. We chose this book to illustrate the idea of transformation. PAL is like the cocoon of the butterfly. It offers a safe place for the children to be their best and transform their lives. Each child made their own picture of a butterfly to remind them of their potential and commitment to rise higher than they are right now.
The back says "143 million orphans.....Where do I start? I start with One." The front has a picture of a child, holding their finger up and says "I am one."
Choose "Caroline's Promise Items" from our smarter shopping site.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Angie: I think of 15 Guyanese children intently watching and hearing a story read to them by one of their own (Genny) with a voice that resonated with pure delight!
Stephanie: I think of school age girls helping us this morning with little ones and learning new relational skills. One day they will be parents from Plastic City and today they helped parent younger children.
Angie: I think of my 7 year old bouncy girl who had to touch everything and see everything before it was time do anything. Who, when we finished our morning session, did not want to leave our side.
Stephanie: A little 3 year old girl in her second session of PAL who cried LOUDLY and had to be carried home by us because she did not want to go home after our session.
Angie: A desire to show Stephanie the country side of Guyana by enjoying a 30 minute bus ride to Parika with Genny by our side to see the mighty Essequibo River.
Stephanie: I remember walking through the mud-soaked, overgrown, winding paths into a squatter area known as Sea Dam.
Angie: I reflect on Joan who asked us if we were looking for someone as we negotiated what seemed like a wooden corn maze of 6 foot high dilapidated fences in Sea Dam. She became our guide and historian as we talked on the sandy bank looking over the Essequibo.
Stephanie: I am thinking of a ten year old girl who stood on the bridge to her house peering for the first sight of us coming into Plastic City for PAL this afternoon. Once spotted, she came running to hold our hand and walk with us to lessons.
Angie: I am celebrating, Compton, a new Pal mentor who took a risk to enter the world of boys playing marbles in order to encourage them to come to PAL. His presence of talking to them and then watching them wooed them to the porch for a first time session. Though the boys are known to us a different connection took place today as a man interacted in the life of a young boy.
Stephanie: I am thinking of adults from Plastic City who stopped on the wall to watch us because they could not ignore the enthusiastic voices of 25 children learning that verbs can be fun. Their eyes really shined as they realized how intelligent they really are.
Angie: I am thinking about our good decision to talk about why the children are out of school today so Muslims could celebrate Eid-ul-Adha. Today we became the students for something that was important to them. As they were teaching us about Abraham we were showing them that we cared about them as a person.
Stephanie: We did eat dinner! I think of a great meal prepared together with my friend Angie.
School begins in January for our Casita Kids. They are required to wear uniforms which can be a burden for their parents who often make just $5 a day. Until we can get all of the kids sponsored we'd like to help out with this expense.
Your gift of $62 will provide a school uniform and bless a family. You'll also receive a special Christmas Card to give to your loved one, acknowledging the gift given in their honor.
Visit our Smarter Shopping (link) page and choose "Gifts with a Purpose/School Uniform"
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
The morning started off with our PAL playgroup. We had 4 young children and two school age children join us that were not in school today. In addition to Angie and me, there were two church volunteers and one mom. One of the volunteers was actually a mom from Plastic City who let PAL use her large porch today. It was great to have her support not just for space, but for the fact that she participated and learned while she was doing it. It was an opportunity to encourage her in how she was helping the children and the skills she showed. Our mom who came with her three children was initially hesitant and unsure, but it was great to see her take the lead at times with her children. That is the goal. Yes, we are demonstrating fun learning activities to engage the children. And we are teaching the children important skills as we do it. But the best thing we can pass on is this: for the parent to engage their own child, to feel encouraged in their ability to be their child’s first teacher, as all parents are. But if you have never experienced a good example, you repeat all you have known.
Well, the title of this blog is based on this afternoon. PAL this afternoon was amazing. Literally, the kids kept pouring in. We had to change our planned site in Plastic City because of the rain yesterday. This was a blessing because our new location was so visible at the beginning of Plastic City. The porch we met on was good sized, but not when you put 25 children and five adults on it! Seriously, that is a lot of people on this porch, especially while you are doing activities! Some were new kids or kids that had not attended in a while. It was exciting to have a couple from secondary school (7th grade and up) attend. They are brave to be there, wanting help. It was a bit noisy and many bodies in one space, but God gave us just what we needed. When you have children begging you to repeat activities that help teach parts of speech or ask you bring another activity that was tough for them…something has gone very right! And those kids just drank in the attention and love. The kids know I am going back at the end of the week, but each day they ask “You be back tomorrow, right?” Today, a couple girls wanted to talk about when I leaving and when I am coming back after that. I told them I am not ready to talk about leaving, to the days we have ahead! I think in so many ways, I am getting more love poured into me, than I am pouring out. Their faces just light up from deep inside when they see us because they know we are here for them!! This afternoon I was helping out a group and one of the other girls wanted my help. I couldn’t get right to her, so she draped herself across my back and hugged me while I talked. Sometimes with kids that is to get us to come to them, but with her, it was just to get that closeness. She just wanted to be near me. I can not wait to see what tomorrow brings, to see what God is going to do. Because He has some God sized plans for Plastic City and the influence PAL is and will have. Who doesn’t want to be part of the desire of God’s heart to transform lives?
-Written by Stephanie
To see pictures of the team, click here!
Your gift of $42 will provide a new desk just in time for the new school year which begins in January. You'll also receive a special Christmas Card to give to your loved one, acknowledging the gift given in their honor.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Visit our Smarter Shopping (insert link) page and choose "Gifts with a Purpose/Shoes"
Monday, November 15, 2010
I was able to eat a delicious lunch with Angie, the PC team and had good fellowship. God has brought together a great team made up of Angie and 3 native Guyanese. It is amazing to look at the experience and personalities that God has brought together, to benefit a community. After lunch, Angie and I took a walk on the beach- I put my toes (very very briefly) in the Atlantic ocean. It was very different from our beaches in appearance: sand is more like mud and sand mixed together and the water is fairly murky due to the water current bringing silt from where the Amazon dumps into the ocean. Plus the amount of trash that is brought up by the waves. But what wonder and mysteries to explore- So many beautiful shells, I got to hold a real little crab, also hermit crabs walking around, and then we walked farther and I saw something I had been hearing about: Sea glass.
Sea glass is this beautiful frosty smooth glass you find on part of the beaches. It is so pretty and remind you of smooth flat stones . This sea glass starts its life as a glass bottle, then God uses the tumbling and rhythm of the ocean to turn it into a thing of beauty. So much like He does with us. God can take something, someone, that the world would throw away and through His love, power and grace, create something beautiful.
After our walk, we visited the children’s home again. Not much could warm your heart more than being greeted with excited squeals of “Auntie Stephanie” and arms reaching for hugs. While we were there, the home experienced a blackout like we did last night at Angie’s home. I love God’s timing! The caregiver lit candles and lanterns so we could see some. Because of the blackout the kids crowded around Angie and I, sitting on our laps, wanting to hold out hands, just touch us. We all sang songs, then the kids ask me to tell them a story. Eventually they started to wander to do other things, but even then, our hands were never without someone wanting to hold them. Those kids are special and I love hearing “Auntie Stephanie”.
~written by Stephanie
Visit our Smarter Shopping (link here) page and choose "Honor a Teacher". For every $10 given we will send you a Christmas Card to give.
You'll be giving a beautiful gift and supporting our Orphan Projects at the same time.
These beautiful note cards come 6 to a pack and sell for $10. You have two options; Guatemala or Guyana. All designs are from original artwork, created by local artists, of photographs taken on mission trips to Guatemala and Guyana.
When you purchase a gift in honor of someone we will send you this beautiful Christmas Card to give to your loved one, as a way to acknowledge what you did in their honor. So be sure to subscribe to our blog and check back each day as we help make your Christmas Giving easier!
Saturday, November 13, 2010
After lunch at a local place (yummm), we continued on to Plastic City. Our goal was to visit and remind parents in the community about upcoming sessions and time for them to meet with us next week. I loved when we spoke with one woman who is letting us meet in her front yard how excited she was! She was concerned she needed to build us benches to sit on. This woman lives in what we would consider a shack. Yet, she was concerned about our comfort while meeting in her front yard. I mean, she has very little and yet, wants to provide for us!
I got the wonderful opportunity to visit with several of the children who attend PAL tutoring. Anyone who knows me, knows I love children. But even I worry, will I connect? And then I am in the moment…and these sweet girls are around me and wanting books read to them, holding my hands as we walk around Plastic City. And again, I am reminded that kids - the world over - want us to care, to be believed in. They feel it, they crave it. And that is what they connect with. It is funny because God has kept bringing me back to the importance of nurturing a child and even nurturing the family, as I have been planning for this trip. And here He reminds again. He wants them to be able to experience His love through us. So, I look forward to this week of making relationships, building bridges, demonstrating God’s Love through supporting the parents, children and tutors. I am so appreciative of God’s love for me!
~written by Stephanie
2 Corinthians 4:7-10 But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
In a small shelter they wait with other kids ranging from age one to twelve. Some go to extended family while others enter the foster care system. Others return to parents sometimes only to return a second time to the shelter.
This year we decided to invited the kids over for a Harvest party on Southern Wesleyan University’s campus. Students found out about the kids and the excitement grew. Soon lady bugs, Alice in Wonderland, pizza delivery guys, punks, and even Bonnie and Clyde made appearances in our dorm to hand out candy. The kids decorated trick-or-treat bags, intro- duced themselves, enjoyed hay rides and ingested way too much sugar through pumpkin cookies and candy.
And what we hoped would happen did. The kids laughed, the students were moved, and something started. Students keep asking, “When can we see them again?” And that asking is turning into weekly visits to help with homework and play. Because while millions of orphans live worldwide needing our attention, some live ten minutes away. So we will start here where we are planted and, in so doing, hopefully catch God’s heart for the 140 million farther away.
However long your list is, we're making it easy this year! Visit our website and give gifts that reclaim hope for orphans!