Angel Tree

It’s that time of year again when Christmas music will soon be played in stores all over the country which means it’s almost time to kick off the Angel Tree program. This year Faith Promise will begin passing out Angels on November 10th and 11th at the Pellissippi, North Knox, and Blount campuses.

The Following Organizations and Schools will be represented/supported by the Faith Promise Angel Tree:

Beaumont Elementary School – Pellissippi Campus

Norwood Elementary School – North Knox Campus

Salvation Army, ROC (Reaching Our Community) – Blount Campus

As a part of this Angel Tree program, we need families, not only to consider adopting an Angel, but also to consider volunteering to help “run” this program.

We need volunteers to serve in a variety of ways including:

Lobby Table Hosts – pass out Angels, take in gifts

Wrapping Party Attenders – attend the wrapping party at their campus on December 2nd to help wrap gifts, make Christmas cards

Wrapping Party Set-up/Take-down

Donate wrapping paper, tape, scissors, gift bags, tissue paper, bows, ribbon, etc. for wrapping party

 

If interested: Click Here to Volunteer for the Angel Tree

Make a big difference in the life of a child!

“Can you imagine loving Monday mornings? For a whole school year I did, and I’m not even a morning person! That’s what being a “Big” can do for you. Funnier than that, an eight year old named Brianna loved Monday mornings too! Her mom said Mondays were the easiest day to get her ready for school. Every Monday morning last year I got to see Brianna’s bright smile and it made my whole week. As we read together, played games and even did a little Math, we got to know each other a little better each week.

This year, Brianna and I were both disappointed that her class schedule wasn’t conducive for our visits to be Monday mornings. We then found out that our weeks were just as awesome meeting on Tuesday afternoons. This new time slot posed a whole new set of opportunities, memories, fun and a friendship that is more unique and special than can be imagined or explained. It’s AMAZING how God loves to work in the details!”

Sixty minutes every week can change the life of a child. As Susan described in the above recount of her past year in Kids Hope, she saw this happen first hand in her “Little’s” excitement to see her week after week. The child’s mother saw the effects in her daughter’s attitude toward school and the teacher saw results within the classroom. Proven through Susan’s story, and many others, one hour every week is the most important hour many of these children have. One hour of one-on-one attention, just for them.

Many of our children face a world full of problems they did not create and can do nothing about. Principals and teachers recognize the Kids Hope mentors as an effective, proven intervention in the lives of these at-risk kids. They know how the one-on-one relationships fostered by the Kids Hope program restore self-confidence and personal security as well as encourage academic excellence in their school. As a result, this sixty minute connection can ultimately make a big difference in the life of a child … and that’s no small change!

You CAN Make a Difference!

KIDS HOPE USA, partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Knoxville, strives to develop a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult and special child at Beaumont Elementary. Our mentors spend one hour each week reading, talking, playing and listening to a child at school. By showing the child love they help that child to learn, grow and succeed.

One of our dedicated mentors, Andrea, has been involved in the mentor program at Beaumont Elementary for 2 years. Here is what she had to say about her time with her “little”, Endia.

“When I first started with Endia she was a little reserved, so we got to know each other by visiting all the different areas of the building.  We practiced dancing in the dance studio, did research in the library, made a “ping pong table” in an empty classroom, painted each others fingernails on the porch, and she tried to teach me to hula hoop in the gym.

We took pictures in each of these locations, and at the end of the year I made her a photo album of our year.  She still has it.  I wondered this year, because she is in the 5th grade if she would feel too grown to have a mentor.  When I asked her if our Thursday time period was going to work well for her this year she said “Yes, but I wish you could come every day”.”

This is just one of the many stories of life change from the KIDS HOPE USA program. It is our goal to help support these children through a critical time in their lives when values are formed, self-esteem is developed and problem-solving skills are acquired. We believe that through the KIDS HOPE USA mentoring process this one relationship can make a difference in the life of a child … and that’s no small change

 

Cape Town Day 5

This morning we headed straight to Mountain View to set up the tents for testing day. Attendance started out slow, but picked up very quickly. We had stations set up for height/weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, and testing for TB and HIV/AIDS. In all, we probably had around 60-70 people show up. It all went off without a hitch!

There were two kids standing next to the table while we were cleaning up and after I picked up the juice container they started running their fingers along the table and then licking their fingers to get the juice off. There was one little girl named Mimi who would not smile at anyone or talk to anyone all week. By the end of the testing day today she was running around, laughing, yelling “Ante, Ante” to every lady and playing hide and seek under the table.

I saw a lady named Anthea in the testing line and asked her where her baby was. For those of you who have seen photos from my previous two trips, I have gotten a photo with this baby named Anica each year. She was at the day care and she asked if I would like to see her. She went to the “kritch” (daycare) to get her so I could see her and asked if I would like to take a photo with her. It is so amazing to watch these kids grow up.

In the evening we did a hygiene day for the parents of the kids. We had stations for foot washing, hand washing and massage, face washing, blood pressure, blood sugar, nail painting and crafts. The first lady that came through was a 60 year old lady. She told Michele how great it was and that in her entire life she had never had a facial, or had anyone care for her that way. And that she felt special.A couple of the support group leaders went through the line as well and loved it. One of them, Bernadette, started giggling as I was watchng her face. I asked her what was so funny and she said “never in a million years would I have imagined that Heather (me) would be washing MY face.” Justin even popped out with his facial skills, and did quite a good job from what I heard. I think that all of us were a bit nervous at first but by the end of the night we all decided that this was the best ministry of the entire trip. Watching these women be loved and pampered and showing them love and Jesus was just amazing. I personally was doing face washing and there was something so amazing about being so up close and personal with them. They would open their eyes and stare straight into mine. It was defintely a connection that was worth something.

Brenda and I spoke to Melissa (one of the life skill educators) about the crafts and asked if they were too hard for the kids. She said no, they weren’t too hard but that most kids wouldn’t even try because they have been told so many times that they can’t do anything. They get that both from home and from school. They can’t keep up with their grade 1, so they fall behind. And then when they get into grade 2 they are still trying to catch up from grade 1, and the same happens every year. By the time they get to grade 5 they drop out of school because they are so behind. The Life Skill Educators have gotten to the point where they have started speaking to the teachers to find out who is falling behind so that they can tutor these kids.

At the end of the evening we gave all of the parents and Living Hope staff goodie bags. There was a gentlemen who was working at the community center where we had the events this week and he was given a goodie bag. He was SO grateful and kept telling us thank you over and over.

We had a woman who told a team member that the only time she has had anything like this done is when Faith Promise comes there. It is cool to see that Faith Promise is making such an impact with these people so far away in the city of Cape Town, South Africa.

Cape Town Day 4

We started the morning off at the Living Hope offices for devotions with the Life Skill Educators. We went to Mountain View to go door to door with the second half of the folks to invite them to the testing day. While we were walking, Julie and I asked Marguerite if we could visit Eunice. Last year she was the lady I blogged about that had TB and had just gotten out of the Living Hope clinic. She had gotten down to 87 pounds and was very sick. This year, however, she was of normal weight and looked as happy and healthy as could be! Marguerite told her that we requested to visit her, and she could not stop smiling. She was such a beautiful lady. We also visited the home of a gentlemen who came right out and and told us that that he was Muslim, but then asked us to pray for him. We saw a few people who were doing drugs or had beer bottles in their hands, and as soon as they saw us coming they hid their stuff behind their backs.

We finished our “street” pretty quickly and went back to the home of Anti Annie where they do the support groups. We sat for about 45 minutes and another group joined us. We sat there and sang songs with each other. We are officially the Living Hope/Faith Promise Church Choir as of today.

After door to door we went back to Jack and Jill daycare to wait for the entire group to return and the pre-k children were in the play yard. I saw Mumfie sitting in the sand box by herself so I walked over and said her name through the fence. She looked up at me, a huge smile came over her face, and she crawled over to the fence to try and give me a kiss. She puckered those lips up! That baby is so sweet, I just want to stuff her in my suitcase and bring her home. That turned into about 10 little girls at the fence trying to give me kisses. I got air kissed on the cheek about 50 times. They thought it was hilarious when I made the mmwwwaaaaa noise.

We got into a circle to share stories and pray. One guy was obviously suffering from TB, so we took him to the clinic. We had another guy who gave his life to Christ right then! Allyson (one of the support group leaders) said that a lot of the folks didn’t want to talk to the Living Hope staff, they wanted to talk to US from Faith Promise. Everyone in the community was very open to speak with us, inviting us unto their homes, and asking us to pray for them. They know who Faith Promise is. They don’t necessarily know we are a church, but they remember Faith Promise and that we return every year and why we are there. We are the only church that goes into that community. Hearing these ladies tell us all of these things was such a blessing to us. You think, “I’m only here for a week, what kind of impact will that make?” But these ladies let us know and constantly reassured us that we are not forgotten. There were a few areas of the township that even the Living Hope staff were not allowed to enter, and this year they spoke to them! That is the work of God! We stopped and talked to a lady and she had a little girl that we assumed was her granddaughter. She told Marguerite that no, she was not her granddaughter. She was just taking the girl for a walk because at that moment the girl’s mother was in her home doing drugs.

For lunch we went to Boulder’s Beach and to see the penguins there. Then we were back to Ocean View for kids/teens club with the kids from Mountain View. We walked over to Mountain View to bring them over to the Community Center in Ocean View. I found Yolana, the little girl who is wearing my sunglasses in the pictures from previous years. I said hello to her and called her by name and she said “You know my name?” I told her yes, I know your name, and your mother and sister and I called them out to her. She went around for the rest of the time telling everyone “She remembers my name, and my sister’s name, and my mom’s name.” The kids really enjoyed everything! From the foot washing, to the face washing, to the hand washing. The thing they were really excited about was the warm water. The minute they put their feet into that water their faces would just light up. They loved it so much that a lot of them tried to come back and get in line for a second wash. How many children in the states do you know that would stand in line for 20 minutes to be washed? There was a kid at the face washing station, Marco, who sat in his chair with his head held back and eyes closed and just waited. He never moved, never opened his eyes. He just sat there waiting for that touch. The kids would touch their face after the washing to see how it felt. There was one teen boy who was sitting off to the side, not really talking to anyone. Jennifer kept trying to get him to come over to the hand washing station. Motioning for him. After awhile, he came over and put his hands in the water. She tried talking to him over and over, but he would never say a word. He finished and started to walk away and then returned and in a small voice said to her “Thank You.” There were several teens there that would tell you straight out what her ambitions were. One girl was named Jamie. She wants to be a lawyer. She is in 9th grade, and she was very sure of her ambitions. Another girl named Lazeem who told Jessica that she was the smartest kid in her class and she was very good at math. These kids WANT to go to school. They want to learn. Again, how many kids in the United States WANT to go to school? Just pray that kids like these two get a chance to get out of these townships and break the vicious cyle of poverty.

We spoke to Denise, who runs the Jack and Jill daycare, and she was giving us information about the new housing that is being built next to Mountain View. The residents of Mountain View have been promised for the past 26 year that they will get new housing soon. Now the government is saying that if they have a combined income of 3500 rand or more they are not going to qualify to move into the new homes…which is a total of $416.70. The combined amount for one family-per month. They are also saying that they will allow people from the other townships to move there as well. On land and into houses that the people of Mountain View have been promised. The people of Mountain View are now torn because they want to go, but they don’t want to go if others cannot. Please pray for Denise and her husband, as they are going to meetings on September 20 to lobby for the people of Mountain View. Our devotion this evening was from I Corinthians 15:58. “Always be outstanding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain.”

Cape Town Day 3

Well… Today was AMAZING!!! We started off with morning devotions and fellowship with the support group leaders at the Ocean View township community. I tell you, these ladies are absolutely wonderful. Most of them live in the very communities they serve and have such a heart for their spiritual sisters and brothers.

After morning prayer, we went to the community of Mountain View and went door to door, sharing with them that we are doing a free Health/TB Clinic on Thursday and inviting them to come for the screenings and bring their children. What an awesome time! Even though these people have very little (and I mean EXTREMELY little, by our American standards), they open their homes, invite us in, and share their stories openly. As one of our team members, Brenda, said today- they know the meaning of community!

Okay- so let me just say that these next comments are NOT to make anyone feel guilty, but I just want you to understand the ways to pray for Living Hope and the 7 communities they serve. When we were going around, talking to people and praying with them, do you want to know what the number 1 prayer request was for? Food. Especially food for their children. Our pastor’s wife, Michele, made an observation yesterday that really shook all of us. A little girl had thrown up during kid’s club, and there was absolutely NO FOOD in the vomit. Now, that may sounds like a gross and strange comment, but think about it for a minute- no food at all. Let me say- I have NEVER had to pray for a meal. Never. Every day of my life there has always something to eat. I have also always had a dry, warm place to sleep, shoes on both feet, running water, a toilet, and a mom & dad. The next time I hug my dad, I am going to think of the 84% of kids in these 2 specific townships that don’t even have a father “figure” in their lives (not to mention an actual father).

I don’t say this to make you sad, but to encourage you (as I am being encouraged) to be so very thankful for the people and resources we do have in our own lives. The majority of Americans really have no idea what privileges we have. God has blessed us so richly- it is important to remember that He did not do so just so we could buy a bigger house or a nicer car, but so we could help people in need. Okay- enough of my soap box 😉

Today’s Living Hope “lesson” is on Living Right, the second “arm” of the organization. This focuses on several aspects:
– Teaching on how to live healthy and make right choices (education- ex. Hand washing, diarrhea, drinking water (it would actually shock you to know how many children die here just from dehydration and diarrhea)
– Health counselors (HIV, TB, full health screenings including eyes, etc)
– Support groups (deals a lot with people on anti-retrial viral meds- ARVs- to keep them on the path, otherwise they default on taking their meds and continue in their disease- specifically TB), groups for single moms (how to prevent them from giving HIV to their babies), HIV patients, TB patients, chronic disease, elderly, etc.
– Life skills educators (LSEs) work with children (as I mentioned above, 84% of the children do not have a father figure in their lives). By the way, this is supported by the DAD program (see www.livinghope.co.za for details- basically it is a Dollar A Day- I do this and it is so easy!)
– After school programs (The S.A. gov’t just took all NGOs (basically all non-profit groups- faith based or otherwise) out of schools about 7 months ago- pray for the LSEs as they make the transition and are trying not to lose contact with these children)

After the morning community walks, we went to Cape Point and enjoyed lunch overlooking the point where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. It was one of my favorite sights from last year and was a huge blessing, especially for the first timers in our group.

The afternoon was the start of our Hygiene Clinic, which is part of the health outreach this week. We had the privilege of pampering the Ocean View kids by doing face, hand and foot washing stations, followed by nail painting for the little ladies, craft time, and snacks! It was so touching to see the kids enjoying getting clean (they especially loved the WARM water 🙂

Tomorrow, we will do the same thing, but with the children from Mountain View instead. I’m already looking forward to working at my face washing station 😉

Well, it is very late and we have a 6am wake up, so good night and God bless from Noordhoek Beach!