Hope in Zambia

Sarah Gray – August 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Written by Shelbyrae Myers

Zambia Country Coordinator

I recently spent 6 weeks iZamb 1n Zambia on my first trip as the GlobalFingerprints Country Coordinator. I went with a general plan of what I had wanted to accomplish; one of my main goals was to have a meeting with parents of the GlobalFingerprints children in Chipata.

Chipata is rundown, impoverished township, outside the main city of Kitwe. It is home to St. Michaels Feeding Center and School. Most of the Zambian GlobalFingerprints children attend this school. My teammate and I spent the week leading up to this parent meeting in the school and with the children. The Friday meeting was held in one of the newly built school classrooms, with a translator to assist. We started out by explaining a little about what GlobalFingerprints is and how it impacts their children. We told them what we had been doing with their children over the prior week and shared some of our goals for the future.

We then opened up the floor for the parents to ask any questions. After a couple moments of silence one of the parents started talking. She was speaking in her native language of BemZam 3ba and I wasn’t able to understand much of anything she was sharing. As she spoke, I saw so many different emotions run through her face. I saw years upon years of hurt and pain. I saw desperation and exhaustion. I also saw a glimpse of hope in her eyes. And pride in her family. But most of all I saw Jesus’ love shining through her! She talked for a minute or so and when she finished other parents started clapping.

Our translator turned Zam 2to us and began explaining what she had said. This parent was actually the grandmother of two of the newer girls at the school, Minet and Marianna. The girls and the rest of their younger siblings are double orphans and were left to their grandma’s care. Our translator explained to us that she was saying how incredibly grateful she is for this opportunity for her granddaughters to go to school, and how thankful she is for the meal that they each receive on a daily basis. But most of all she was thankful that the truth about Jesus was being taught to her precious granddaughters!

Tears welled in my eyes as I thought of how much GlobalFingerprints was impacting, not only this family but, countless of other families in the area and around the world. Something that seems just a small monthly donation to us, can mean the difference between life and death for some of these children.

To learn more about GlobalFingerprints and the sponsorship opportunities available, please visit www.globalfingerprints.org 

When helping helps: Panama

Sarah Gray – August 8, 2016 Leave a comment

 

The face of poverty…. 

dscn3202

It’s a fine line. One that is easily blurred in the name of Jesus. It’s a line your heart and mind must learn to walk on together, but so often they go in different directions. I was one of those people who thought it was simple. Helping without hurting seemed a no brainer when I lived in the comforts of my Minnesota home. Yet, you can see the truth of this concept everywhere: from the mishaps in the welfare program in the U.S. to the national hospitals that went bankrupt in Haiti because of all of the non-government organizations (NGOs) that went in and took over indefinitely.

I read the book. I thought I had it all figured out. That is, until this week, when I met a mother and her three boys who live in a shack on the side of a hill, with no hope of a government (or NGO) program to assist them. Staring poverty straight in the face, my heart goes in one direction and my mind in the other. Poverty is messy, ugly, and often most visible on the faces of children — those stuck in the consequences of the lives of the adults before them.

dscn3200

So I began to question God, “Why? How?”

“Why” is the easy part; it began in Genesis and has continued to our present day. Sin, like a virus, has infected our world. But “how” . . . three little letters that keep me wrestling with God . . . how do we even make an impact and help without hurting? It’s too much, too deep . . . so I go to his word, and here is what God says:

“Religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless is this: To look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep one’s self from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27

Carry each other’s burdens and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

Over and over in the word, God calls each of us, the body of Christ, to look after, supply what is needed, to carry the burden, and so on. We are not to come in like a superhero and solve the problem for them or take over and “do.” That’s where the hurting comes from. James 1:27 says we are to look after them in their distress. When I glance through the gospels, I see Jesus doing just that. He didn’t change people’s poverty level, per say; he changed their hearts, and in doing so, he gave them hope to continue to live life in their current circumstances.

In 2 Corinthians 8, Paul encourages the churches in Philippi, Thessalonica, and Berea (churches that spanned 325 miles) to complete a collection they were taking for the suffering believers in Jerusalem. As I read Paul’s words, the once blurred line becomes clear again and I begin to see how the body of Christ is intended to work.

“At the present time, your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need.” – 2 Corinthians 8:14

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, through our “plenty” we are enabling Templo Bautista to reach into their community with small tangible acts of Christ’s love. Each month, a caseworker from the church will enter the home of the children you sponsor and share the word of God with the child and their family through a Bible study . The caseworker will also evaluate how the child is doing using the internationally recognized Child Safety Index. Let me be clear in saying this program cannot and will not fix all of the problems these children have, but through the gospel, it will give them hope and they will experience the love of Christ through the church in a tangible way.

dscn3206

 

A huge thank-you to those who have already sponsored a child.  Currently we have 19 kids sponsored.  For those that still desire to sponsor a child please sign up today. It only takes five minutes to complete the online form. Your sponsorship will make a huge difference in the life of a child that we interact with several times a week.

Thank you for your support of these precious lives in Panama! 

 

By Christina Pineault:

GlobalFingerprints Panama Site Coordinator and ReachGlobal Missionary

 

Edited by Sarah Gray

 

fam

Myanmar (Burma) is one of the poorest countries in the world. Political corruption, military rule, wars and natural disasters have all taken their toll on this beautiful Southeast Asian country. Surrounded by a range of mountains, bordered by Bangladesh, India, China, Laos, Thailand and the Andaman Sea, this ancient country has spent the past 70 years in isolation, poverty and terrible abuse of human rights. Recently, with a change in the political ruling parties, the country has opened up to more help from the outside.

This summer, we are excited to announce that we are partnering with a trusted indigenous church planting organization who is already reaching out to poor communities where Christ has not been shared.  Let me take you into just one of these communities.

Along the banks of a small river on the outskirts of Yangon, huddles a collection of tiny bamboo and palm thatch shelters.  These one and two roomed shelters are home to families who, in truth, don’t own the land and earn very little mining sand from the river and making bricks.  The work is hard and pays only a fraction of what they need to survive. When a mother is divorced or abandoned, she is left to fend for herself and her children.

myanmar 1Health care and education are a luxury and even food is scarce.  Homes are patched in an attempt to keep out the monsoon rains and the scorching heat. Using whatever can be scavenged from their surroundings – old tarps, scraps of corrugated metal roofing, and random pieces of plywood – these families are still unable to keep out mosquitos and other bugs and critters.

Most of the children do not go to school because the families need them to work. In fact, having seen no economic value to education, parents rarely encourage their kids to go to school. Of course the cycle of poverty continues.

Most dismaying of all is the spiritual bondage that chains them in more devastating ways than poverty.  Under the power of Buddhism, animism and superstitions, fear rules everyday life.

It is to six communities like this that our brothers and sisters in Christ have intentionally stepped in with Good News, help and hope.  Children from these communities attend Christian children’s programs they put on each week.  Home visits are done regularly to build relationships and share the Gospel. Despite opposition from the village leaders and monks, children are becoming believers in Christ and being baptized.  They share with their families and friends. The beginning of spiritual awakening is being seen.

It is into this vibrant ministry that we have been invited. As the children get sponsored, they will receive the nutritional and medical care they need.  They will be given the opportunity to go to school. And most importantly of all, they will be touched by the fingerprints of Christ through His servants in Myanmar.

Please sponsor one of these children today.  You will bring hope, healing, and a good future to not only the child, but to their family and community.

Mynamr

My Trip to Indonesia

Sarah Gray – June 27, 2016 Leave a comment

Written by Kasia Ashwill, 18, after a trip with her family to visit the Indonesia GlobalFingerprints site with Site Coordinator, Rachel Bliss.

 

Kasia and her sister OlenkaExiting the airplane, I was extremelygrateful for the flowy skirt I was wearing as the weather was warm and decidedly humid. The differences between my chilly home state and this tropical land were larger than just the weather, though. Great big smiles were everywhere on the tanned faces around me, each about 4-9 inches below my own exhausted, yet ecstatic grin. Colorful covered heads bobbed all around us as the women gathered their children and luggage. It did not seem at all rude to stare at the tall, white people standing awkwardly in the center of the tiled room, in fact, it seemed to be a cause for great enjoyment. As we were ushered outside, it appeared to me that we were leaving a “safety zone” in which everything I had previously attributed to life, would be left behind. How right I was! However, I did not realize that it wouldn’t be the country or culture that would cause the greatest astonishment and impact in my life, rather the people I met.

My sister and I went to the mall one day and met a mom and daughter from a small town. We were in a restaurant, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of the mother. She was one of the most petite women I have ever seen. Not short by Indonesian standards, but oh so small. You could see the years of starvation in the creases of her withered hands, in the stoop of her shoulders, and her gaunt cheeks. This woman was beautiful, though, I couldn’t quite put a finger on it. Her body was covered head to toe with loose clothing and the usual head covering, a jil-bob. There was not a thing about her that would inspire beauty according to what the world says. Yet there was an intense beauty in her eyes and her mannerisms that caused me to stop and wonder.

The question of beauty stayed with me the longest, and I realized the answer. It is the same answer for why the Indonesian Christians go to the market place and explain who Jesus is over a box of pungent dried fish or spicy red peppers. It’s the reason why the missionaries care so much for the little girl suffering with malnutrition and family problems. And the reason they do not hide in their houses in fear for their physical safety. The answer to my persistent question was simply the truth of who God is. These people had a faith so alive they radiated the love of Jesus. Despite the poverty and poor-health, I saw an alluring grace that was not fading. For though they themselves might be faded, their souls were gaining strength, and it was gorgeous!

 

Currently there are 2 girls in Indonesia who are in urgent need of a sponsor:

Putri (Child number 310009): a precious 14 year old girl, living with her mother who is working to provide for the family. Putri is responsible for caring for her baby brother and chores at home which prevent her from attending school. She also needs health care for her eyes and teeth. Sponsorship will help with these needs.

download

Widya (Child number 310001): a shy 15 year old who loves sports and riding her bike. She is in her second year of high school and needs sponsorship support to continue school in order to graduate. She also needs nutritional care.

w

To sponsor one of these girls or view other children in need of sponsors, please visit www.globalfingerprints.org 

 

Naomi

Sarah Gray – May 12, 2016 Leave a comment

By Peggy Maynard

GlobalFingerprints Liberia Coordinator

On my recent trip to Liberia I heard so many stories of children in need that it was hard to chose just one to share with you. However, the story of Naomi really touched my heart.

When she was small, Naomi’s father died and her mother abandoned her to relatives in a rural village. These relatives mistreated her and didn’t give her enough to eat. Eventually she was considered a witch and abandoned even by these relatives.

Through God’s grace she was brought to the town of Ganta and lives with a relative who treats her kindly. She is recovering from her ordeal and has now enrolled in school.  She has even proven to have future leadership potential!

Last fall I had the chance to visit this remote area of Liberia and expand our program to that area. We are working with the church and school in Ganta to enter children in our program. Naomi is one of those children. If you are interested in sponsoring her go to https://www.globalfingerprints.org/sponsorship/ and search for her number, 407002.

Once she is sponsored, Naomi will have her schooling paid for, as well as health care. A Child Advocate will check on her to make sure she doesn’t suffer from abuse again and share the gospel with her. As she is encouraged to go to school and church, get an education, and have her basic needs met, she can grow into the woman God created her to be and fulfill the leadership potential that God has given her. Who knows? She may even go on to help other abused children in the future!

Psalm 82:3-4

 Defend the weak and the fatherless;
uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed.
Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.

 

naomi

 

Tough Choices, Healthy Kids

Sarah Gray – May 6, 2016 Leave a comment

Written By Peggy Maynard: GlobalFingerprints Liberia Coordinator

Imagine having to choose between feeding your child and getting them medical care.  Or choosing to get them medical care or send them to school. Many parents in Liberia face this issue. There just isn’t enough money to go around for all the children and all the needs.

One of the benefits of GlobalFingerprints Child sponsorship is that we pay for the child’s health care needs and schooling. This frees up family money for food, clothing, and other needs like rent.  Also, a child who is often sick misses many school days, impacting their long-term education.

This child, Danieline, has been sick for many months. There is something wrong with her stomach, giving her pain and making it hard for her to eat. She’s been losing weight and missing school. But her GlobalFingerprints Child Advocate has been taking her to doctors, getting her tested, and will continue to do so until an answer can be found. Her parents probably can’t have afford to take her for all these visits.

health

A special project we have in mind for later this year is a short-term medical trip. We will do medical screenings on all the children, give them vitamins and other medications, and do first-aid training for school staff.  In addition, we are giving each school the money to purchase a first-aid kit. This allows them to de-worm all the children at the beginning of the school year and deal with minor illnesses and accidents as they come up. The cost of the first-aid kits will be $600 for all the schools.

If you are a medical person who would like to go on this trip, contact me at peggy.maynard@efca.org.  We will do medical screenings, including vision and dental.

If you would like to contribute money for the first aid kits, you can send donations to GlobalFingerprints Hope for Health at

EFCA

901 East 78th St.

Minneapolis, MN 55420

Or go online to https://go.efca.org/resources/document/hope-health-vbs-supplement

For more information on GlobalFingerprints, please visit our webpage! 

 

 

 

Introducing Panama

Sarah Gray – May 2, 2016 Leave a comment

Written By Christina Pineault  

 p1    

   God has opened a door…

                 A door of hope…

                       A door that requires sacrifice…

                             Sacrifice by the body of Christ…

                                  For there are needs…

                                       Needs so great….

                                            Too numerous to count…

                                                  Overwhelming…

There is a community. A community that is lost. They have bought the lie that Satan fed them through many generations. They have run after the lusts of their flesh or looked for hope in a bottle because Satan said it was good. No one was there to tell them the truth, and even if they knew the truth, they chose the sweet lies of temptation because no one was there to disciple them. Their choices, like a virus, have infected the next generation, causing an epidemic of poverty that is not easily cured. There seems to be no hope for the next generation.

But wait.

There, on the edge of a dirt-lined community, sits a humble building. It’s small, only one room. The building itself is in need of much repair. A broken chain link fence surrounds the tiny property on the edge of Espave, Panama. The building bears the name Templo BautistaHere in this simple dwelling lies the hope for a once-forgotten community.

p2

Various times throughout the week you will see many children there, 60-70 at times, along with a handful of adults; they call this building their home. These children are stuck with the consequences of the choices made by their parents and their grandparents before them. They carry the weight of poverty.

Many children are forced to work just to eat; they sell charcoal and fish on the street, or they get involved with prostitution and drugs. Some have no shoes on their feet; some have only the clothes on their backs. Many sleep on concrete or dirt floors, and some are covered with flea bites. There are many medical and dental needs, but it appears no one cares. They are left to fend for themselves at a very early age and are fortunate to receive one meal a day. Their parents are caught up in their own poverty-stricken lives, apart from their children.

p3

At Templo Bautista, Pastor Cesar and his wife Dayra, along with their two children, humbly serve 60-70 children (and a handful of adults) each day. Cesar and Dayra are tapped out physically and financially, but not spiritually. They run on God’s strength. To call them the modern-day George Mueller (an Englishman known for his incredible work on behalf of orphans in the 19th century) only scratches the surface of their ministry. Cesar is pastoring this church unpaid, supporting his family by working odd jobs.

Cesar and Dayra pray daily for God’s provision, for energy to do the work God has placed in front of them. They are at the church most everyday, though they live 35 minutes away. They pour their lives into these kids, training them in God’s word. They provide meals for the children who come for after-school tutoring, many times paying for the food out of their own pockets. Each Sunday morning they make a meal such as homemade fry bread to serve alongside a humble piece of sausage divided between the children and adults in attendance. There are many times when Cesar and Dayra have taken children with no one to care for them into their own home; they bathe, feed, and provide a safe place for the children to sleep.

The children who attend this church have found hope in Christ. Templo Bautista is a place where they can lay down their burdens and just be kids, if only for a few hours at a time. They find love, acceptance, and a warm meal. Cesar and Dayra are serving as God’s hands and feet, touching the lives of these forgotten children.

God has burdened our hearts for the community of Espave, and the work that has begun through Templo Bautista.

Several times a week we interact with these children. We feel God is placing a burden on our hearts to mobilize the Church back home to come alongside Espave. Everyone has their place in God’s story. You have faithfully sent us here when we felt God calling us to serve globally,  but it doesn’t end with us. It is just the beginning of the rest of the story.

God has opened a door of hope for your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ through ReachGlobal’s child sponsorship program called Global Fingerprints. This program can help them more effectively reach their community and country with the hope of Jesus. Our eyes have been opened as we see how God is using the national church to implement the key areas of Global Fingerprints first hand in countries such as Haiti, India, and the Congo. Global Fingerprints mobilizes and empowers the national church, such as Templo Bautista, to help care for the needs in their community just as the Bible intends for those needs to be met. They know their culture, their community and their people better than we ever can. They simply need resources from their fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.

We are asking individuals, small groups, churches, even businesses, to sponsor a child or children in Espave Panama. We know and see these kids every week, and want to partner with you to bring them hope, to fill their empty bellies with food, and their minds with the love of Christ.

Please join us in prayerfully considering how you can best support a child in Espave through the Global Fingerprints program.

You can choose from several ways to help:

  • Give a one-time or recurring monthly/quarterly gift toward start-up costs.
  • Commit to helping us find 5-10 sponsors for children in Espave.
  • As a church, group, or individual, commit to a minimum of $200/month for the first year to get the program launched.

And always, pray for this ministry, and for the children.

Follow this link to learn more about Global Fingerprints.

Thank you for partnering with us.

Sponsorship video link

Kongba in Congo

Sarah Gray – April 21, 2016 3 Comments

Written by Naomi Norris

On my second trip into Congo I decided to bring my daughters and their two friends with me. All four girls were in middle school, and I thought it would be good for them to learn how to love and serve the least fortunate in the world.

At the time, I was personally sponsoring seven orphans, and felt good about how I was responding to the orphan problem in Africa. My hope was that each of the girls with me would feel God calling them out of their comfort zone and start thinking globally.

From the first day we arrived we were constantly surrounded by kids. Many were orphans already in the program and doing well, but some were street kids looking for a meal or a friendly face. Right from the start, one child always stood out to me. He was filthy, so much so, the other kids wouldn’t acknowledge him. He had a fungus growing on his body, in his hair, on his arms and legs, and on his torso. His shirt was dirty and had no buttons. His shorts had thick dirt ground in and holes everywhere. He had been stabbed in the eye with a stick some months prior, and his eye was swollen and full of infection. His physical appearance made me literally ill, so I just ignored him so I wouldn’t have to see him. Each day he was there with one of the workers, hanging on the edge of the crowd, watching. I am ashamed to say that I walked as far from his proximity as possible. On my last day there, I was walking down a path that went by the shipping containers that orphan supplies were stored in. All of the sudden, the door opened and out walks this boy, Kongba, with a worker from the orphan program. They had decided he needed new clothes, and when I looked up at him I couldn’t believe what I saw… Two years before, I had sent many clothes from my son’s closet to Africa as donations to orphans. One outfit in particular I had pinned together so it wouldn’t get separated, because it was my favorite on my son John. So there I was gazing on this filthy boy wearing my son’s best outfit. I started to cry as I ran toward him and took him in my arms, hugging him. This boy was now my son. God wanted me to see that even this child covered in so much filth, deserved my love. That day I signed up to sponsor that boy, and I still do. He has medical care, got a new eye, is enrolled in school, and has food and shelter each day.

11552-6510

I thank God for the lesson He taught me that day. There is always one more child to help, there is always hope for the most destitute, and God is constantly working on my heart.

Naomi now sponsors over 40 kids through GlobalFingerprints including Kongba! If you would like to know more about the program or to sign up to sponsor a child, please visit www.globalfingerprints.org

GlobalFingerprints Tabitha

Sarah Gray – April 13, 2016 1 Comment

Written By Jim Snyder

A recent visit to the GlobalFingerprints Tabitha Center in Kinshasa reminded me of the realities we are dealing with when the educational, healthcare, nutritional and spiritual needs of these girls are being met. Just months before, most of them had none of this. The things many of us see as “rights” are, for this demographic, a luxury. The concept of “survival” is difficult to comprehend when our systems of aid are so prevalent. Prior to GlobalFingerprints Tabitha, the sanctity of life, which can only be understood fully through a relationship with God, the Creator of life, is a concept that was necessarily discarded in order to deal with life’s realities. The way I treat others and the way I treat my body becomes merely a tool to eat, to have clothes, to sleep, to feed my baby…to survive. If put in these circumstances, where everything was against me and I faced the world alone, what would I do? These are the young girls, the same ones living in cities around the world, who give up and willfully exchange their nothingness for invitations that lead them into lives driven by drugs and prostitution.

We have found that a fairly high percentage of girls who begin this training find it difficult to do anything that requires them to commit. For most of their lives, anything that involved commitment was risky. For the most part, they do not trust themselves or their environment, making commitment to anything elusive. So, in our program, we see young girls begin and leave. But some return.

The transformation in their own minds first begins when they are able to read and write. All along, facilitated through biblical truth, these girls open themselves up to trust, to love, to hope. We have found that learning often takes place at an accelerated pace that far exceeds that of a normal educational context. There is a hunger that is impassioned by a longing to escape all they have known in order to gain something more. Relationships are developed that no longer want things from them, but instead want things for them. Along with this, they are introduced to the hope that is found in Christ alone and they see it lived out through those who teach and care for them.

There are more. Thousands of young girls are in this mold that has bound them their entire life. Sponsorship liberates them from this. This unique program sponsors these girls for 3 years, providing them literacy education, job skill training and follow-up after they are given the opportunity to make a living that brings fulfillment, not fear and shame. That is GlobalFingerprints Tabitha.

Claira Reading

For more information on GlobalFingerprints and to sponsor a young woman at the Tabitha center please visit www.globalfingerprints.org