Monday, August 29, 2011
Guyana, South America October 14 - 22, 2011
Guatemala December 26, January 1
To read more about what an experience in Guyana or Guatemala is like, type in "Guatemala" or "Guyana" into the key word search.
If you've been feeling God say "go" - this is your opportunity! We would love to have you join us!
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Read the post here
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
One of the greatest joys that David and I have had as parents is watching our kids serve the Lord in Guatemala. This year they all three seemed to come alive as God opened doors for them to use their specific gifts and talents. Our middle child, Cameron is outgoing, full of energy, and has a heart as big as Guatemala! At the end of the week we asked all team members to process their trip and narrow it down to one sentence with a story to back it up. This is what Cam learned:
"God taught me that I shouldn't judge people by the way they look or how they sound. If a kid looks happy he may not be on the inside. His Mom could have died and his Dad may have left them and he may be living with his Grandma. He may look happy on the inside but not really be happy on the inside. I met this little boy Jonathan. At first I thought he was maybe 4 years old but then I found out that he was 14. He has a disease and is very sick. I helped him eat and played patty cake with him. I saw his cute little smile. I liked spending time with him and hope I can see him next year."
Monday, August 15, 2011
We are the Armstrong Family. Mark and I were married in November 2000. Even before we were married we talked about adopting one day to add children to our family. How neat it has been to see God grow our family. He blessed us with the birth of our daughter Addison in 2005 and then our son Barrett in 2008. We continued to talk about adoption but it wasn’t until December of 2009 that we felt God telling us to move forward. We didn’t know if we were to adopt domestically or internationally. We did know that God placed a desire in our hearts to adopt a child that had special needs. One night at church I was talking to a friend who was in the process of a domestic adoption. I told her our heart. The very next morning she sent us an email that her agency had sent out about a little boy in the Philippines who needed a forever family. His name was Moriah and he was 18 months old and was blind. That is where our journey to Moriah began. After several weeks of praying and talking we felt like God was opening the doors for us to bring Moriah into our family.
As we began the process of adopting him, we soon found out that it was going to take a significant amount of money to do this! We really felt like the Lord was telling us to trust Him for what seemed a large feat to conquer. We are in the ministry and live on a modest income so we started praying for the Lord to show us ways that we could raise the funds necessary to bring Moriah home. We immediately hosted a yard sale and that was where some of the first funds came in. We were able to secure some others resources as well. Someone suggested that we start looking at grants that were offered to help families in the process. We came across Caroline’s Promise and started reading about their ministry. Mark started filling out the application. We were impressed with the quick response from them. Unfortunately at the time we applied there were no funds available, so Lisa told us they would retain our application and consider it the next quarter. We were disappointed but understood. Once again we had to wait and trust the Lord. It was December 2010 when Lisa contacted us and asked for an update with our adoption process. We sent her an update. She told us that they were reviewing applications for this quarter. The week after Christmas she called us to tell us that out of the many families that applied we were chosen to receive a grant that was being offered for that quarter. We were so excited and humbled!! Once again God was showing us His faithfulness in providing more resources for us to bring our sweet boy home.
We traveled the end of March to get Moriah and bring him home! What a blessing it is for our family to now have him with us! It has been a busy few months getting adjusted to being a family of 5 but God continues to bless us with his grace. We are so thankful for ministries like Caroline’s Promise that seek to minister to orphans worldwide and also assist families in bringing them home. We are thankful for the many donors that are so generous with financial gifts to help make this possible. We will always be able to tell Moriah of this sweet ministry and the people that support it and the very important role they played in him being able to come join our family!
Thank you, Caroline’s Promise, for your commitment to orphan care, and for the role you played in the adoption of our son.
Mark, Carrie, Addison, Barrett and Moriah Armstrong
Friday, August 12, 2011
We were thrilled to learn that the kids at Liberty Baptist Church in Thomasville, NC had raised money at their summer Vacation Bible School for Caroline's Promise! They decided to apply their gift to our Adoptive Family Grants. Thanks kids for making a difference!
You can read Angie's post and enjoy her short video here.
Thursday, August 11, 2011
Plastic City Video
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Chris from San Antonio, Texas recently visited Guyana, South America. We love hearing these stories of lives impacted by their time with the kids!
"My walk in faith took a new wonderfully unexpected turn in Plastic City. A new soft spot has been added in my heart after meeting many of the children living there and working with Angie and Geny on the sewing ministry. I love to sew and I went there expecting to help with the start up of a sewing program, to help teach women a new life skill. God always has so much more in store for us, if we can let go of our own plans. I did work with a wonderful group of women there and found myself in an age-old story of women coming together to sew, laugh, share and support each other. While sewing was what brought us together, we were women working together to help each other become better people. Our group started out quiet and shy, but before time came to say our good byes, we had sewed buttons, measured, cut and pinned head scarves, learned our way around a treadle sewing machine and made big plans on where sewing could lead us. I can hardly wait to see pictures of my new friends with their completed projects and see their smiles of achievement. Though my journey in Plastic City may have been short, it was certainly big. God changed lots of hearts those few days.
What still lingers in my mind?
I was paired up with a little 10 year old girl, Taneza. Pink is both of our favorite color! We teamed up together in PAL. We painted a happy face together on Miss Angie's lesson board. She easily used a tape measure and we cut and glued with a group of others to end up with a cork board. She is a smart, adorable little girl and we stuck close together, she helping me as much or more as I helped her. She brought fruit she picked to share with me and showed me how to eat it! I think about my new friend and pray for her daily.
I can hardly take in all that God showed us in this forgotten little spot in the world. I guess I am most impacted by the children there. What these children have to overcome might seem insurmountable to some. The living conditions are indescribable. Yet they continue to come to PAL, an opportunity for them to see into a different world. The work Angie and Geny do there shines light into what might otherwise be described as a dark place. The children have many challenges simply because of where and how they live. After our few days there, because of a foundation laid by Angie, the children trusted and embraced us. What I witnessed and learned there softens my heart. I pray our time there shows them that others know their plight and continue to advocate for them. I am hopeful other teams will follow, God is working in the trenches there.
How would you describe or define the work there?Angie has done a terrific job establishing herself into this desperate little community. I have no idea of all the issues and work that she had to wade through for us to be able to stand in our shoes there today. The work and accomplishments in Plastic City seem to be growing in scope. Trust has been established and through good works, it appears God is slowly making himself known to the treasure of children there. I was privileged to hear some of Angie's hopes and dreams for her ministry in PC. She is there for the long haul and while her plans may sound overwhelming to us, we all know God has His way of making the big things small. Lots of awe inspiring, team work would help tremendously in bringing light and hope to an often forgotten population. I continue to pray for this ministry and will do whatever I can to see change happen for everyone involved there.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011
What still lingers in your mind at this time? The faces of the kids and their eagerness & willingness to help and have responsibility. Debra. I miss her sweet face and soft spirit!!! Also, the living conditions that we saw while walking through PC. All poverty is striking, however PC hits you to the core, due to its location.
How would you encourage another team that would want to come and serve there? I would let them know that they will forever be impacted and touched by the people they will get to work for and with during their time in PC. They will be humbled in their own life. In your heart you believe you’re going to bless others and serve them, and in return you feel blessed to be accepted into their homes.
How would you define or describe the work there? Fun!!!! Not only did the kids enjoy their craft, but they were just as interested, if not more, in helping with the chalkboard projects. They really wanted ownership and a part in helping with something that they would be able to use later on, for a long period of time. I wasn’t present for the Sewing Project, but have heard nothing but wonderful experience from the women involved with that project. I think it’s rewarding to know that you’re helping start a program to teach women a skill they will have forever that will help them obtain a job, provide for themselves and a family and take pride in. As well, you’re helping aid a teacher to more effectively reach and teach her children everyday which only benefits the educational and creative minds of the future of Guyana.
Sunday, August 7, 2011
Friday, August 5, 2011
"Being a backpacker has made me aware of just how many things I really DON'T need! What things DO we really need? ...... food, water, shelter, clothes. I can fit these essentials into a backpack. The things we have beyond that is all just "stuff". What I "Want" and what I "need" are worlds apart. Then I saw the homes in Plastic City. It almost makes me embarrassed when I think of all the things I have that remain unused.....closets filled with clothes I haven't worn in years......hobby supplies for projects I just knew I'd do someday........food so far back in the cabinets it's ancient (what a waste). Food in the fridge and freezer no longer eatable. More waste.
I ask myself how much all these things cost that are now going to waste or going unused. What COULD have I bought with this money? Where could I have sent it? After seeing Plastic City, I think of what COULD have been done with that money if I hadn't wasted it on things I didn't need. I will give away what I do not use. I will change my spending habits. I will use what I save to further the Kingdom of Christ."Debra Baker, Texas
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Our next trip to Guyana, South America is October 14 - 22, 2011. This small team will minister to the country's most vulnerable children in an area known as Plastic City. This trip is for anyone who is passionate about kids and wants to play a vital role in breaking the cycle of poverty. You will be immersed in the culture as you help with the PAL tutoring program and assist with community outreach projects. You will also minister at Ruimveldt Children's Home & Care Centre. No special skills are needed, besides a love for kids - but if you have an interest in sewing or community development this trip may be for you! Cost is $2040.
Christmas Break in Guatemala! December 26 - January 1. Visit our partner church and school, Casita Adonai. Light construction at the school, community outreach and Christmas parties. We will also visit Kairos, a home for families whose children are receiving treatment for cancer. No special skills are needed but we are looking for computer geeks to help us set up a computer lab at the school! This is a great time to visit this project to see if it is a fit for your church or youth group in 2012. Cost is $1900.
Ages 18 and up for both trips.
What do I do next?
* Contact us for an application - LisaHolbrook@carolinespromise.net
* Application and $100 non refundable deposit due by September 2, 2011
* Mandatory 1/2 day training for anyone that has not gone with CP on a trip
Saturday, September 24 - 9am - 12pm
Recently I have been thinking and talking a lot about Guyana and about my next trip this October. I am praying that God speaks to people about “catching the vision” for Guyana. It made me think that I should put down on paper what makes me yearn to return…why should someone go to the unknown? What speaks to my heart about Guyana? What makes it a good fit for people to go on a Guyana mission trip?
My first trip to Guyana South America, to serve in the Plastic City area, was in Oct 2010. Previously I had been to Uganda Africa and several trips to Guatemala. I have ties to Guatemala through the adoption of my daughter, but even before that had been on mission trips there. It was a surprise to myself that I felt the call to go to Guyana on a mission trip. GUYANA? I only knew where it was because of CP’s work there. Otherwise I would have never known! It is not easy to switch to an unknown. But I found out that following God’s call is immensely rewarding and He knew my heart would be captured by the children in Guyana.
A basic, but important reason is that English is the primary language. Communication is made much easier by this with children and adults and just in public places. The kids and I can have one on one conversation without an interpreter. It is a different experience to be able to do this.
CP has an in-country missionary, Angie Hemric. She is actively involved in Plastic City, alongside her Guyanese partners from Vreedenhoop Wesleyan Church. Angie is a native of the Triad area and can lend unique perspective on mission trips. She leads teams through the work being done and culture of Guyana and Plastic city. I found that her view of an American living in Guyana to be immeasurably insightful, especially as we seek to be culturally sensitive and relevant. Because of her presence in Plastic City, teams are able to piggyback on that and work more effectively.
This is not a trip for those interested in a touristy, sightseeing or light mission trip. It is a hands-on trip. I was sweaty, muddy and tired, in really good ways. Teams are in Plastic City working amongst the poverty--economic, emotional, spiritual.
My interest is in education and I am blessed to be able to merge passions in my life—orphans, serving, education, faith. God carved out a place for me to serve, meeting the passions that he placed in me and the gifts He gave me. It makes me tear up to think how He has blessed me to be able to do that!
If you like kids, Guyana teams have a place for you. You don’t have to be passionate about education or be a teacher. These children need someone to show them love. Can you smile at a child as they read a book? Give high fives to encourage? Let a little one sit on your lap during story time? Listen as a child counts to 20? Being on a Guyana team means loving kids— if you love kids that are elementary age, teens or preschool, there are children waiting for you to come and show them that someone cares.
I have a chance to build relationships with the children and their families. There are many children that I saw last year that I will be able to hug again this year. I get to continue to build relationships with them year to year. That to me is so important.
And those kids, they keep me returning. Those faces float around my mind so often. I can not wait to walk down the muddy road into Plastic City to the many hands that beg to hold mine, to the lives that need touching, to the place God has called me.
Tuesday, August 2, 2011
Amber Gravley will be a Sophomore in College this fall. During her last year of High School she did her Senior Project on orphans and was able to educate hundreds of people about their needs. She went above and beyond and collected hundreds of pairs of shoes and socks that were given to needy children during the summer of 2010. We didn't think Amber would be going with us to Guatemala this summer, but plans changed and we were blessed to have her join us! Her heart was changed and now she's on a mission......to find sponsors for all the kids at Casita Adonai in Guatemala City. Thanks for making a difference Amber!
To me $35 a month means a child in Guatemala is able to go to a safe and private school each day. In Guatemala City the public schools aren’t safe. Many gangs try to get children in public schools to join in with them. My family sponsors Juan Diego. He is seven years old and he has a little brother Ricardo that is five years old. Their mother was violently murdered last year due to drug trafficking, and to this day we still don’t know if they witnessed their mother’s horrific murder. Can you imagine what it would feel like at the age of seven and five to be an orphan in a third world country? The Webster dictionary defines an orphan as a child without a father, there is also a term called “double orphan”. A double orphan is a child without their father and their mother. Juan Diego and Ricardo are double orphans.
Before I went to Guatemala, Diego was just a picture of a child on my dresser who I prayed for every day. But now, because I was able to go to Guatemala and actually meet Diego he has become a part of my family. Lisa shared with me that at Christmas Diego was quiet and didn’t interact with many people. She suspected that he was struggling from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We started sponsoring him and praying for him in March of this year. When I saw him in July he was getting in trouble for talking too much in class!! It’s amazing what $35 a month and praying for a child can change their outlook on life. Since my family was able to sponsor him he is able to attend a safe school, and he is guaranteed one hot meal each day. Being able to be a part of this child’s like is one of the most rewarding things in my life.
This beautiful seven year old taught me so much about myself and life in just two short weeks. My family is learning not to take for granted the things we have in life. When we don’t want to cook dinner we’ll just go grab a bite to eat at a restaurant. Having a family of four eat out the bill usually runs about $40. That meal we just ate out because we were too busy or didn’t have time to cook could have just sponsored another child this month.
How many trips have you made to the nail salon lately?
Does your hair really need to be colored?
Do you really need more name brand clothing?
Do you really have to golf each weekend?
Do you really need new hunting gear each season?
Do you really need an IPAD?
Do you have to go out for lunch each day?
Do you really have to have Starbucks coffee?
I ask God to help each of us evaluate our spending and call upon our heart a way to help these children. I think you would be amazed if you gave up buying a few non-essential items and made sponsoring a child a priority. You can provide a child some of the necessities of life. It all starts with one child and a family that is committed to loving and praying for them!
Monday, August 1, 2011
Caroline's Promise is excited about all of the amazing opportunities to promote Orphan Sunday this year! If we can help your church by providing a special speaker or project please contact us. In the meantime be sure to check out the Orphan Sunday Website where you will find videos, music, sermon notes, Bible studies, and lots of creative ideas!