Sunday, December 30, 2012

An unexpected lunch date, listening to God, and an old tree

Last week God gave me an unexpected gift.  A few hours with a friend I have known for several years but have not seen in months. I woke up that morning with the idea that I should give her a gift.  But I was running short on time.  Our newest Caroline's Promise t-shirt immediately popped into my mind.  "That's crazy!"  I thought.  "I'm not giving her a t-shirt."  As I continued getting ready I could not get away from the idea that I should give her the shirt.  As the thought got stronger I began to sense that it was God leading me.  While drying my hair I heard "Share Isaiah 61 with her."  It didn't make sense to me but I grabbed a random card on the way out and wrote a note inside expressing how much I loved her and telling her to read the scripture on the shirt.

The moment I picked her up she began sharing her heart.  It was like old times.  I was still not sure about giving her the t-shirt so I left it in the car.  Over lunch she talked and talked and I could see that she was different.  God had healed her on so many levels.  I was beyond proud of her.  She shared how she wanted to be healed completely and when I asked her what else she needed God to do for her she talked about how she had always been drawn to darkness.  As we brainstormed some things she could work on  I saw an image of her bound by chains.   I encouraged her to draw a picture of herself and ask God what each of those chains were.  Those were the things she still needed to work on.  She talked of wanting to be healed so she could help others, of how she wanted to live life differently, of how the past few months had been hard but what she needed.

And then I thought of the oak tree.  If you've been around me at all in the past six months you know that I've been stuck on trees.  Weird, I know.  Until you hear how God gave me a vision for our ministry in Guatemala and then confirmed it with Isaiah 61.  (You can read that story here).
Our whole theme for our ministry in Guatemala this past summer was based on this scripture and how God wanted to be Isaiah 61 for our kids there and make them Oaks of Righeousness  (Isaiah 61:3). That's where the idea for the t-shirt came.

I knew that I needed to read Isaiah 61 to her, but I didn't take a Bible to lunch with me.  As I started talking about the verse she said "I have my Bible in my purse - do you just want to read it to me?  I don't usually carry my Bible but I guess God knew I would need it."  As I read the verses I explained the vision God had given me and how one morning while I was in Guatemala He told me that He wanted to be Isaiah 61 for the kids there but that He wanted to do the same for our team members and for other people in my life.  In that moment it hit me! Because I did not have phone service in Guatemala that day I had no way of knowing that my friend was going through a horrible crisis.  A crisis that God used to put her on the right path.  The morning that He spoke to me about being Isaiah 61 in the lives of those I love was the morning after this life changing event in her life.  As I was praying Isaiah 61 over the kids in Guatemala, and our team members, I was also crying out to God on behalf of people at home that I love........never knowing that she was one of those people.

As I shared, my friend and I both started crying and then I saw this verse as if for the first time.

"He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted
To proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners. "
Isaiah 61:1

Have you ever read a scripture over and over and then one day one tiny part of it comes to life?  Hebrews 4:12 says that God's word is "alive and active".  In that moment we both knew that God was saying that He wanted to release her from the tie to darkness that she had always felt.  She got it.  I got it.  Thank you Jesus.

I told her about the gift.  Of how God told me to give it to her but it didn't make sense.  Of how He told me to share Isaiah 61 with her and then how I left the gift in the car because I still thought that giving her a t-shirt was stupid.  On the way to the car she shared how she wanted God to use her to help kids and asked if I thought she would one day be able to go to Guatemala with me.  I'm claiming that for her.  What redemption that would be for God to use her brokenness to heal others - on the anniversary of when the enemy tried to destroy her.  He's growing her into an oak of righteousness - planted by God to display his glory.  As she opened the gift we both were in awe of what had just transpired.  Why had I doubted that God was up to something?!

A few days later I stood outside Charleston, SC, beneath the Angel Oak.  I thought of my friend and all God continues to do in her life.  I thought of Caroline's Promise and the lives that this ministry touches.  

The kids in Guyana, South America who barely have a roof over their heads and how God is using our partner church and missionary, Angie to help grow them into Oaks of Righteousness.  I thought of the kids in the orphanage in Guyana that Angie ministers to on a weekly basis.  How God is a father to the fatherless.  
"For, I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity.   In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them."  Isaiah 61:8

I thought of the orphans who came home to their forever families this year and how Caroline's Promise was a part of that through our adoptive family grants.  "Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples.  All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed."  Isaiah 61:9

And I thought of our kids in Guatemala and how they are growing physically, emotionally, and spiritually through our partnership with the church there, Iglesia Adonai.

"For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations."  Isaiah 61:11

None of this would be possible without you - praying, giving, volunteering, going.  Thank you for being a part of Caroline's Promise.  Our prayer is that you will experience Isaiah 61 personally.

We realize that there are many worthy ministries that you could give to at the end of the year.  We encourage you to ask God where He would have you invest your time and resources.  If you choose to support Caroline's Promise  you can mail a check to 1950 Beeson Road, Kernersville, NC 27284 or give online. 
You can choose to give to:
Adoptive Family Grants for a family in South Carolina   - Choose South Carolina CP
Our partner missionary, Angie and the work in Guyana - Choose Guyana Orphan Projects
The Hope Grows Campaign to build a school in Guatemala - - Choose Guatemala Orphan Projects
General gift to CP - Choose Wherever Most Needed

All gifts are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.  Whether you give to Caroline's Promise or another ministry we encourage you to get involved in 2013 and experience the joy of God using you to make a difference for others!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Update from Angie

  Three years ago Vreedenhoop Wesleyan Church adopted the local primary school.  The first step in the process was the establisment of a feeding program that first served fifty children and today serves one hundred and twenty-five.  The fire started there, but soon more wood was added with the idea of presenting each child a gift at Christmas.  How was this going to happen with 800+ students in the school?  No fear - it happened.  Hard working Sunday school teachers solicited businesses in the first year for donations and the members of the church gave and wa-la, every child had a smile on their face and a gift in their hand.  Now, in year three, the children of the Sunday School department and their teachers underwrite the entire cost and give time to purchase gifts, wrap them and sort them by grade and gender.

On Thursday, December 6th, Christmas came to Vreedenhoop Primary School. Now, I can say that, and not mean just a gift, as many attribute Christmas only to the act of giving a gift.  When church leadership spoke with the school leadership to offer this idea they also proposed to share the message of Christmas.  On Thursday, Minister Genifer Husbands, shared the message of Mary giving birth to a son, to all the 1st - 4th grade students.  Voices of all ages bellowed out, Joy to the World and Hark The Herald Angels Sing. The place then went quiet as every head bowed, every eye closed and even hands went in a reverent prayer position.  Then, teachers helped keep their students in order as every child came forward and was given a gift.

The scene was repeated for the 5th and 6th graders except that Bro. Leon talked about how gifts show that we love a person.  So when we are given a gift it is out of love and then tied in how God gave a gift to us all because he loves us all.  It was a short talk on how we can model love and unity to everyone because God's love does not know race or religion.  

One girl bounced past me and joined her friends, squealing out the words, "I got Jewelry!"  Boys, wound up their trucks and raced to see whose went further. And younger children showed me their cooking sets and smiled when I asked if they were going to bake some cake.  There were other children who carefully put their gift in their school bag to carry home for Christmas day. This year the church even presented teacher gifts and the Head Mistress shared with me how wonderful this is for the  children.  The relationship with the school has been strengthened and God's light is shining bright. The light continues to shine all year round as the third part of adopting the school is hosting a weekly Bible Club where songs are sung, a Bible story is shared and over a 100 children attend regularly.

Rev. Angie Hemric
Partner Missionary, Caroline's Promise
Personal Blog: <>

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas from Caroline's Promise!

On behalf of our family, the Board of Directors, all of our wonderful volunteers, and our church partners in Guyana and Guatemala........

Merry Christmas!

We are so thankful for all of your prayers and support through the past year and we pray that you will experience the love of Jesus as you celebrate him today!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Joy Beyond Measure

The Parker family has reason to celebrate this Christmas.  Tom and Amy Parker and their three children, Grace, Shane and Marta (who came home from Guatamala about five years ago), will soon welcome Jake age 9 and Joy age 10 from China into their family. Jake has a repaired heart defect and Joy is a child with dwarfism.  Because of their ages and special needs, Jake and Joy are considered difficult to place in an adoptive family.  But really, older children and children with special needs are just kids, kids who need a family.  

Caroline's Promise is thrilled to have the opportunity to be a part of bringing Jake and Joy into their forever family. 
Our 2012 South Carolina grant will help the Parkers to pay their final travel and adoption expenses.  If you would like to join us in bringing Jake and Joy home, please consider an end-of-the year gift.  You can give by going to this link and chosing South Carolina Caroline's Promise under the fund tab. Follow the Parkers' adoption journey here.  

Friday, December 21, 2012

To Celebrate Christmas is to Celebrate Your Adoption

We love being a part of a worldwide community that cares for and advocates for orphans.  Abba Fund and Together for Adoption are part of that group!  We so appreciate what they do.  I thought this post by Dan Cruver was a great reminder of what God did through the birth of Jesus!  Enjoy:)  And check out the newest resources on the Together for Adoption page.  Lots of free sermons!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Please pray for two of our sponsored kids

I learned this week that two of our sweet sponsored kids lost their father unexpectedly.  He suffered from an issue with his brain and passed away after three days in the hospital.  He was 39 years old.  His sweet wife, Brenda attended Iglesia Adonai in Guatemala City faithfully.  Throughout the years I learned to expect her sweet smile to greet me no matter when I was at the church or school.  Her kids, Pablo and Paola were always with her and loved to interact with our teams. 

Pablo is full of life, a typical boy who likes to do typical boy things.  But what has always stood out to me is that on Sunday mornings Pablo is always the first to stand up front and lead the group in worship.  And he's always the first to offer to pray for the group.  Pablo loves Jesus.  And he loves Casita Adonai and his church.

Paola, his sister will begin classes at Casita Adonai in January, thanks to the amazing family that sponsors her.  These kids sadly are not the first to experience the loss of a parent.  What I have grown to expect is that when they enter Casita Adonai or the church, Iglesia Adonai - they are safe.  Safe to express their feelings, to be loved and prayed for, and to be cared for.  I'm so thankful that Pablo, Paola, and their Mom, Brenda will experience the same.

On my last day of a three week trip to Guatemala this past summer I was struggling with some things.  When we arrived at the school I heard people praying upstairs.  We were told that they had been fasting and praying throughout the night.  Our team quietly worked as they prayed.  Delmi came to me at one point and said "Do you hear them?  They are praying for you Lisa."  Before they left three of the women found me and told me how they would commit to pray for me and for my family.  Brenda was one of those women. 

I'm so thankful for the ministry of Caroline's Promise, the people who pray, those who give, the child sponsors, the volunteers, those who go on teams, the churches who support.  And I'm thankful for the churches that we partner with in Guatemala and Guyana.  Those who minister to families like Brenda's - day after day.  Thank you.

Will you join me in praying for Brenda, Pablo, and Paola?

Help us reach our matching grant!

Maybe you have read that a friend of the ministry has given us a gift of $5000 to help build the new school in Guatemala City under the condition that we match that $5000 by Christmas Day.  Or maybe this is the first time you've heard about the project.  Either way we need you!

As of today we have received $1035 toward the goal of $5000. 
Your gift of any amount will help us reach the goal and what better feeling than to know that your gift is being doubled!  If you are thinking about end of year giving, we encourage you to give now - before we reach the deadline.  

Donate Now   Choose the fund, "Guatemala Orphan Projects" 

Check out this short video and see why this project is so important!

Don't forget our Hope Grows Christmas Contest!  Once you watch the video follow this link to enter and win great prizes! 

  Hope Grows in Guatemala: Building a School for Casita Adonai from Lisa Holbrook on Vimeo.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Honor your loved one or teacher and your gift will be matched!

You may have heard that we received a $5000 matching grant this week toward the construction of a new building for the church and school in Guatemala.  We are excited about the ways that God is going to provide and wanted to let you know that when you give a Gift With a Purpose that donation will be matched!

There are two ways you can do this:

Honor a special Teacher - $10 each
Honor a loved one - $25 each
We'll send you this beautiful Christmas card that you can give your loved one, acknowledging the gift. 

Just follow this link to order your gifts and remember - your donation is matched 100%!

If you haven't seen the video of the Hope Grows Project, check it out!  You'll be blessed!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Watch Melany's Story and Win Prizes!

Melany is a precious child living in one of the most difficult areas of Guatemala City.  She is a  student at our partner school, Casita Adonai.  This new video shows what life is like for Melany and her friends and why they desperately need a new school building.

A friend of the ministry has given us a $5000 gift to help build the school in Guatemala on the condition that we can match it before Christmas Day! Instead of just asking you to help us spread the word, we want to give you an opportunity to receive  amazing gifts!  Gifts include

3 - $100 credits to a Caroline's Promise mission trip to Guatemala
1 - Coffee/tea set from Guatemala
1 - Wooden salad set from Africa
1 - Purse from Guatemala
4 - Hope Grows Long Sleeve T-Shirts

Hope Grows Christmas Contest 
Here's how it works!  From now through midnight Christmas Eve you will receive entries into the contest for each item below.  Simply comment at the bottom of this blog post and tell us what you did.  On Christmas Day ten winners will be chosen from the comments on this blog post to receive a giftYour prize will be shipped on December 26.  Remember, the goal is to spread the word about Hope Grows and the desperate need to build this school in Guatemala.  Feel free to share the Hope Grows blog post to help you explain the urgent need!
You'll receive one entry each when you.......

1Watch our new Hope Grows Video!  (1 entry)

3.  Share the Hope Grows Video on your social networks including email.  Just click the share button in the top right corner of the video.  Be sure to include a personal note about why this is important to you!  (1 entry)

You'll receive  five entries when you

4.  Donate to the Hope Grows Campaign.  Choose the fund "Guatemala Orphan Projects"  and write your name in the comment box (5 entries)

5.   Each time one of your friends donates to the Hope Grows Campaign  (5 entries each donation) Have them Donate  and choose the fund "Guatemala Orphan Projects"  Ask them to write your name in the comment box (5 entries)
Remember to comment at the bottom of this blog and tell us what you did so we can credit you with the correct number of entries!
Thanks for your help!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Looking for a meaningful Teacher Gift?

 Are you scratching your head, trying to find a teacher gift for all those wonderful people who invest in your kids? What teacher needs another coffee mug or hand lotion? This Christmas, Caroline's Promise is giving you a way to honor the teachers in your life while helping a teacher in Guatemala. When you donate $10, we'll use it to assist a teacher at our partner school in Guatemala City. These precious ladies make $120 a month and give so much to the kids at Casita Adonai. In return, we'll mail you a beautiful Christmas Card that you can give to your teacher, acknowledging the gift given in their honor.

If you still need a gift for that hard to buy for person, please consider giving a Gift with Purpose.   Our partner school in Guatemala City is in desperate need of a new building.  Your gift of $25 or more will help make that possible!  In return, we'll mail you this beautiful Christmas Card that you can give to your loved one, acknowledging the gift given in their honor!

Follow this link to give Gifts with a Purpose!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

2013 Mission Trips to Guatemala

Join us in Guatemala Next Summer!

We have just announced dates for our 2013 Summer Mission Trips to Guatemala!  Now is the time to pray and make decisions.  Application and $100 non refundable deposit are due January 15.  Consider asking for the deposit as a Christmas gift!  There will be an Orientation/Training for anyone who has never been with Caroline's Promise on a short term trip - Saturday, February 16.

Wilson Community Church Team June 21 - 29, 2013 - open to WCC Members Only.

Family Team   June 28 - July 6, 2013.  Open to adults (18 and up) and their children (10 and up)
                                                               Adults without children are also welcome.
                                                               Focus will be dental & medical clinic & kids' ministry

Camp team - July 5 - 13, 2013.              Open to adults (18 and up) and teens (15 & up) with a parent
                                                               This team will partner with the local church to provide a camp
                                                                to kids and teens.

If your church is interested in taking a team please let us know!  We can organize it and provide all of the training.  Read about it here.

Read more about our work in Guatemala and our partner church by clicking the "Guatemala" tab at the top of this page.

Application is available on our website. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Visit us at our Open Houses this Christmas!

This Christmas season Caroline's Promise is hosting several Open Houses. At these events you can shop for fair trade gifts with free gift wrap, check out great local businesses, and give gifts that support orphans and vulnerable children.

Open House Dates:
Friday, December 7 Open House - Juicy Java - 500 Pineview Drive, Kernersville.  Behind Hams
                                   9am - 2pm 

Sunday, December 9  Open House at The Holbrook's - 1950 Beeson Road, Kernersville 
                                   (in Colfax)  1:30pm - 5:30pm.  Stop by for dessert, coffee, and
                                   great shopping with free gift wrap!

If you would like for us to bring our items to your business or social event please contact us today!
You can also shop for some of our fair trade events at our website
Our Gifts with a Purpose allows you to donate to Caroline's Promse in honor or memory of a loved one or teacher. For each gift you will receive a special Christmas Card to give to your loved one, acknowledging the gift. Gifts with a Purpose are between $10 and $25 and help us provide for orphans and vulnerable children in Guatemala and Guyana.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Happy Adoption Day Caroline!

 Happy Adoption Day Caroline!

Has it really been 9 years since we welcomed Caroline into our family?  My, how time flies!  December 1, 2003 was a beautiful, summer day in Guatemala City.  David, the boys, and both of our Moms were with us the moment they brought her into the room at Hannah's Hope and placed her in our arms.  We had waited so long, but in that moment we realized it had all been worth it!

 It's hard to imagine life without Caroline.  She is loving, sweet, easy going, and selfless.  Some of my favorite memories are watching her with her friends in Guatemala.  We are so thankful for the opportunities God has given us for her to love and be loved by people in her birth country.  It truly is a gift.

To all of you who prayed for her and us during the adoption process - thank you.  For those who gave sacrificially to help us bring her home - words could never express our gratitude.  And for those who choose to invest in her day after day - we are blessed to have you. 

Happy Adoption Day Caroline! 

                We love you!