I have been home for a couple days and I continue to reflect on my time spent in Guyana. I wanted to share some of my thoughts. And as an additional perspective, Angie is contributing her thoughts on my reflections.
Relationships make all the difference.
We can tutor the children of Plastic City every day for years, but if they do not feel love from us, then we have not given them what they really need. Almost ALL the children we had in PAL tutoring have never ever been told they can do it, they are smart enough or they are special. If you have children, reflect on your child never ever hearing those words or feeling encouraged. In most of these children’s lives everything points to the opposite. This constant reality breaks my heart.
So we can help stop the cycle right now through our presence. I am so thankful that these children have Angie, Genny and the other volunteers working with them each week. You cannot imagine what it is like to tell a 9 year old child, for possibly the first time, "You are special"! That child cried when I left because she felt connected to only a couple people who she felt cared. And I was one of those people and was walking away to reunite with my family back an ocean away. Will you please join me in praying for the hearts of these children?
High fives go a long way to making a child feel good!
I LOVED watching the volunteers and kids learn the effect of positive encouragement and the importance of the children feeling our love. The smiles showed it. And I don’t just mean on the kids’ faces—on the volunteers too!
(Angie) As Stephanie taught a Fast-Track overview course on the Five Love Languages of Children the adult mentors absorbed the information for their own lives! Our team not only practiced High Fives with the children, but with one another! The overflow of all Stephanie taught from her head and modeled with her heart still flows in the lives of our mentors and our children. We all feel good! High Fives are one way to fill the love tank of another and as we practice this one we also incorporate all the others in order to help every person know that they are indeed loved by us! One day I look forward to introducing children and families to the one who is the source of our love. “Greater love has no man, than he lay down his life for his friend.”
God will use your willingness and multiply it!
I am truly amazed, in awe, of how God used the info I brought and the materials that were donated. He took my portion and like the loaves and fish—multiplied it beyond my imagination.
Are you ever like Moses (and me!) and sometimes think God has somehow got the wrong person- there are all kinds of reasons that God surely couldn’t have called YOU! Is it to go on a short-term mission trip or lead a team, or train people, etc. God has more than we need and blesses what we offer to Him. When hearing what the local team and children got out of the week, I was speechless. Not because I think I am so great, but because He has multiplied my offering to Him. God is awesome! Angie says AMEN!
Importance of Local Church Involvement
Caroline’s Promise partners with local churches in the countries they serve. I am excited by the vision of the Vreedenhoop Wesleyan Church in Georgetown, Guyana. To hear of the ways they are reaching out to assist the community and realizing that care about the issues in people's lives, not just to get them through the doors of the church.
(Angie) One hundred members have stepped out in faith to sponsor a Friday feeding program that empowers 100+ children at a primary school with 850+ enrolled students. Love is being lived out and families are being touched by the consistent care shown to them.
The church is showing a great example to churches in the area and the US. The church
demonstrates that they care about domestic violence and child abuse, and lack of
education in areas like Plastic City
(Angie) The complexities of situations do warrant frustration, but compassion is not thwarted. The leadership team has shown amazing resolve to do what they can do while protecting their long-term investment in the community.
The vision to transform Plastic City is awesome! I was excited to hear about the future vision for serving Plastic City. To hear the conversation between Angie and a church member as they dreamed about a large warehouse that could potentially be a future site for a Resource Center, to help transform Plastic City. Will you join us in thanking God right now?
So what are the next steps?
Stage 1 is The community resource center that will serve as the one and only library for the area. It will also be developed to include life skills training for parents and job skills that empower residents of Plastic City an opportunity to change their life and location through micro-enterprise initiatives.
Stage 2 will establish a support system for children who suffer from disease and need
daily medicine supplemental nutrition to keep them healthy and strong.
Stage 3 moves us into the more difficult areas of social support and a haven of healing
for those who have been abused and/or victims of trafficking.
Isn't that exciting? You would be immensely blessed to come next time to Guyana and
be a part of touching lives and being a piece of the transformation. You will get hot and
sweaty and you will hear "Miss, Miss" a thousand times a day as each child wants your
attention...but it is the sweetest sound!
Most of all you will touch lives. Your heart will connect to the life of another and
be forever changed. Your time will not only refuel your walk with God, but it will
encourage the local team that tirelessly works to accomplish the dream God has called
them fulfill. So, are you ready? I certainly am, and I just got back!