This is a project that Carrier Ministries has supported, and we are hoping to continue to do so. This project has the potential to entirely change the lives of families in West Africa for generations to come! This is not a quick fix or a band-aid, but a transformation of entire communities.

“Missionaries who live among famished village children have searched for a Christian response to the needs around them. Planting fruit trees is one way to meet physical needs while we also work to meet spiritual needs. You can provide five families with orchards to feed and provide for their families. For just $4000 you can plant 2000 trees! Over the next 8 to 10 years the orchards will raise each family’s income from about $300 per year to $7000 per year. Your one time investment of $4000 should yield a total annual income of $35,000 that will last for decades for those five families.”

$4,000 will plant 2,000 trees to help five families

If you would like more information about this project, please let me know! It is being implemented through Pioneer Bible Translators, where my husband Dane works.

This is a great project for groups to tackle together – set the fund raising goal for your Sunday School class, small group, church, school service club, etc!

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A group of 20+ people from First Church of Carrollton will be going down to Honduras over Spring Break to help with some maintenance of the grounds at the orphanage in Jalaca that we visited last summer. They are still narrowing down exactly what work projects will be done, but I know they will also spend some good time loving those kiddos!

During First Church’s Missions Week, we will also be having two fund raisers for project costs/materials for this trip. Your job in helping with this, even/especially if you can’t go on the trip yourself, is really difficult: Eat yummy food. And tell your friends to do the same.

Monday, February 11 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm, come and eat at Fuzzy’s Tacos on Josey Lane at Hebron Parkway. Drop your receipt in the box to give a percentage of sales to support this trip.

Saturday, February 16, from 8:00am (chicken biscuits: breakfast of champions) to 3:00pm (just right for 2nd lunchtime), just do us a favor and eat at the Chick-Fil-A near Willow Bend Mall (Park & Plano Parkway, in west Plano). Just mention FUMC and Honduras, and leave your receipt in the box! A percentage of sales will go toward the mission trip.

See you there!

Last weekend, Lauren Shirley, Sharon Roelke and I went to Jalaca, Honduras to check out an orphanage there called New Life Children’s Home. Carrier hopes to help them start some agricultural projects that will give their kids a better diet and allow them to not only save the money they’re using now to buy food, but even possibly make some money by selling some of the product.

I’d like to lay out some of the projects that we’ll likely be getting involved in, and then in a future post tell you about WHY THIS IS EXCITING, because it’s a really cool organization with a sweet spirit and some unique challenges. But it’s a lot of content for one post!

A little background/context: NLCH was started about ten years ago by Jim and Georgia Lamont, a retired couple from near Fort Worth. They had 35 children up until a couple of months ago, when the closing of another orphanage suddenly brought them 16 more. The kids range from about two years old to 17, a near-equal split between boys and girls. Most of them are sibling groups of 3 or 4.

Saturday we took a tour of the whole facility. They have a number of acres of land, two boys’ dorms with about a dozen kids in each, and one girls’ dorm (which should hold about a dozen but has 25). They really need another girls’ dorm. The 16 new kids came suddenly and they really aren’t quite equipped yet. They also have a semi-finished church building down near the road, the building where we stayed which is classrooms, kitchen and dining hall downstairs and dorms for about 26 (for work teams) upstairs. They also have a small laundry room and the house where the Thiesens live.

The agricultural potential is pretty amazing… they have a very small area with pig pens in it that could house about 12 pigs, but they only have 3 small ones that they have been able to afford so far. These can primarily live off of table scraps and they don’t have to invest much in food. There is also a chicken yard but they would need to find the funds to purchase their first round of chickens and enough feed until they start generating income/food. There are some tilapia ponds that are dug but need to be lined, and need to have pipes bringing water down the mountain from a waterfall. They also have to purchase the first batch of fingerling tilapia and again, a little bit of feed. Ron has some ideas about how to put in feeder fish and predator fish to where they might be able to create a little ecosystem that would be cheaper to maintain.

Across the road is an orchard property with a house on it that needs some work. The orchard is not being tended at the moment because they don’t have the personnel or the funds to do it. It yields some wilder fruit that mostly is picked by villagers.

They also have corn fields that are being farmed now, but are a little risky because they can only irrigate and guard from pests sporadically as funds allow. This makes them more susceptible to drought and, obviously, bugs.

In a little barn there are two machines that were donated that can make concrete bricks. These fit together like legos and do not need mortar, so they are very handy to make and could be a great source of revenue for the farm. It is difficult to get them to be consistent, so they are still working out the kinks of that. And again, they would have to have some start-up funds to get the first load of materials before they would be generating enough revenue from sales of the bricks to get a system going. They are hoping to use these bricks to build the new girls’ dormitory so that they get a “discount” on the building materials and can work out the kinks and tricks of the brick machines to make the product commercially viable.

LOTS of potential! And the great news is, Ron has lived in South America most of his life and just about all of these projects are things that he has experience with. He is not just throwing some seeds on the ground and hoping for the best, these are typically things he has done before and seen success. In my next post hopefully I can introduce you a little better to Ron and Annette and the other personalities of the place.

Hey, just a quick heads-up from camp this weekend…

Next Saturday, July 9, South Sudan will become a nation.

This has been a very long time coming, and a very difficult and bloody struggle to get here. We will be celebrating it with a lot of the DFW area Sudanese at Irving Bible Church.

Y’all should come! There will be Sudanese choirs, several speakers, lots of music and fun… and FOOD.

When: July 9 from 3-5pm

Where: Irving Bible Church (which is in Irving, 2435 Kinwest to be exact)

What: Music, dancing, celebrating, speakers, food.

Why: Because it’s really, really not very often that we get to actually be around for an entire new country being born. So we should celebrate it with a lot of people who have fought and lost much on the way here…

I tend to think of things a lot in metaphors. I have even been mocked for this particular trait at various points in my youth and young adulthood. I just see parallels between things a lot, and sometimes stuff is easier to explain or even think about when you route it through an image of something else.

I’ve talked on here before about uncertainty.

Lately I’ve been pressed by a few people in conversation to define that. To explain exactly what I mean. Like, so where does it end, and what am I certain of, exactly, or when am I certain, like is it a yes or a no, or which things are yeses and which are nos. Which is kind of the problem, isn’t it?

But basically in my brain it’s been forming into this metaphor of a couple, a married couple, where one of them is in the military.

My sister has a friend (who has a grandma who has a cat…) that told us one time the story of her parents’ early marriage. The gist of it was that they met, they fell in love, they got married, and about five minutes later he was taken as a prisoner of war and went MIA. Which is how he stayed for, if my facts are correct (and if they’re not, Bonnie will correct me), I believe something like seven years.

I cannot even imagine. I can. not. even. imagine.

Sometimes Dane works sound and lights etc. at the CCA musicals in the spring and fall for like six whole days, and at risk of sounding totally needy and like a big giant mess, at the end of those weeks I usually need like a quiet dinner and some major cuddle time and 20 minutes of uninterrupted eye contact because I feel like we’re SO DISCONNECTED. Like I barely even KNOW HIM ANY MORE.

But so I’m imagining this woman, my sister’s friend’s mom, staying faithful and just waiting and hoping and believing that her husband will come back, that he’s staying faithful to her, or that he’s even still alive, for seven whole years, and all this based on what most would consider a fairly small foundation of a relationship before he left.

I think at one point a few years in, Washington called a bunch of wives and mothers of POW MIA’s to come and look through some photographs of bearded, emaciated prisoners that they’d gotten, to see if they could try to identify some of them, so that they might know who was even still alive. She thought that one of the prisoners was her husband. Her mother-in-law said it wasn’t.  (Turns out later that it was.)

So anyway, in my head, I’m sort of chewing on this image of the way I would describe how I feel about God, comma, My Relationship With. And I’m thinking of these few tenuous connections that I can think back on, and kind of remember a little bit but they flicker in and out, and can I really trust them anyway, if I’m honest… and that’s what it feels like during certain seasons. Like I’m supposed to be clinging to this relationship with somebody that’s really, super, very far away and very quiet and sometimes I can’t tell if he’s even actually waiting for me too, and I don’t even have any certainty that there will even ever be a reunion or whatever. And then there’s all this other stuff that’s loud and right in my face and seems like it points to the fact that it’s pretty unlikely that there’s this groom out there, beneath the pale moonlight, etc.

Last week was rough. Like, super rough. I don’t want to be a cryptic blogger that alludes to big secret things and then doesn’t tell you, but I also don’t want to tell you, but this story is a lot better if you know that it was pretty big and crappy, so sorry, that’s what you get.

Saturday I got to have a good long talk with my mom and a really pretty excellent family day all around, but I was still not really feeling the like “talking to God” part of things. I was pretty frustrated and annoyed, and maybe a little angry, and definitely not feeling any kind of intimacy or whatever.

Sunday I went to church. My cousin had brought Descartes with him and I was flicking through his Meditations on First Philosophy (during the sermon. Oops!), which I mostly only got through the first Meditation, which is all about wiping the slate clean and unlearning everything you know etc. etc., and I was probably sort of enjoying wallowing in this existentio-religious rebellion and basically philosophically sticking my fingers in my ears and crossing my arms at the same time (which you can do philosophically even though it’s impossible physically) right there as I sat in church.

Then my mom pulled me up to the altar.

[<–bvrzl–<–<—zrrlgbbvd—<–<–]

[That’s the rewind noise, like in movies where they back up to tell the story from a different part.]

Probably a little more than a year ago, I met Sambo. He is the coolest kid ever. He’s from Cambodia, and that guy NEVER doesn’t smile. And one of the first things I ever learned about Sambo was that he had a wife, a wife that lit his face up like Christmas when he talked about her, back in Cambodia.

Every time I’ve seen Sambo over the past year +, I’ve tried to remember to ask about his wife. He showed us pictures of the furniture he had built for her, in their house. He had put pictures of her up in frames all over the stuff that he had built, beautiful ornate handiwork, just jumping out of his skin for when the Powers That Be would decide that she was allowed to come over and live with her husband.

Three years, he waited, getting his house ready, telling everybody he knew, in his slowly-improving English, about his wife that was coming soon, hopefully.

So anyway. My mom pulled me up to the altar. It’s not like we NEVER do that, but it’s not exactly common, either. But she knew about the stuff that was super heavy on my heart, and was making me feel a zillion miles away from God, and I think in her mind she might have even been annoyed for a second to be interrupted by what came next, because she didn’t even know. She didn’t even know!

So our knees barely hit the little red padded thingamajig, and I’m thinking Mom, you’re the best. And I’m thinking, even if I can’t really so much hear or feel anything from God right now, at least I have a pretty fantastic family, so that’s probably good enough. And all the sudden there’s this flurry, and this incredibly beautiful if somewhat bewildered Cambodian girl is kneeling right next to my mom, and Sambo is next to her talking maybe a little too loudly for the altar, and gesticulating wildly, and he’s introducing us to his wife. She’s here!

So, yeah. There’s that. And if I tell all of you, then when my stupid forgetful ingrate flesh decides to not remember it and be all rebellious and angsty again, I fully expect you to throw it in my face. I think one of the most important things we can do for each other is to help each other remember.

 

Dear People,

Stop.

Thanks, (and you’re welcome),

Abbey

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
I kind of want to give a tithing sermon right now. Except not having anything to do, really, with money.

To be honest, I’ve never really had much of a problem with tithing. I mean, maybe I shouldn’t say never… but not in my responsible adult years, so far. I was taught some really great principles about money management and we’ve never really been so tight that I stressed about tithing, and it’s always been actually very natural for me to trust that if I am obedient in giving to God, we’ll be okay at the end of the month. That’s not a stretch for me, it’s always worked out, and I’ve seen his faithfulness, so yeah.

I get all high and mighty sometimes about how people should just be able to live below their means and not stretch things too tight, because they want to have everything and do everything, and they stop being realistic. I shook my head and wagged my finger at those poor housing market kabluey people and thought things like “That’s what’s wrong with this country today. People get greedy. That’ll never be me.”

I fully understand why a person shouldn’t live on credit, why they should only spend what they have, should not commit to things in the future that they don’t know if they’ll be able to handle when that future catches up to them.

But so… what about time? I recently started a new job, and it’s quite different from any job I’ve had before. It’s probably a lot like jobs that most normal people have always had to have. I’ve been a receptionist for a long time, and a receptionist’s job is mostly to be ready and waiting for when something pops up. It’s been a while since I had a job that actually filled my time with, like… work.

Whaa whaa, you say. Must be terrible, you say. Welcome to my LIFE, you say.

Yeah, I know. But basically, especially with this new job adding to the ‘debits’ in my time, energy, and mental capacity, I’ve realized that I have been regularly living month-to-month, on borrowed credit, stretched to the last tiny morsel… of my time.

I want to do everything. I want to have great relationships and spend time over dinner with my friends, and getting to know new people. I want to organize Feed My Starving Children events, get the refugee ministry up and going, build some kind of partnership with Extreme Response, travel to South Africa, and help organize a trip to Romania. I want to keep up my Carrier blog, my FMSC Dallas blog, the Missions Commission blog, the ER Twitter page and Facebook page. I want to sing in the choir, be in the Bible Study my mom is teaching, play bass in the band, and play bass in my brother-in-law’s band. I want to have the most fantastical marriage any of y’all have ever SEEN, be the best daughter, daughter-in-law, sister, and granddaughter, see all the cool movies, stay in good shape, eat healthy and cook at home, and be well-read.

And I am maxing out my time-Visas, if you will. I’m barely making the minimum payments. I’m in up to my ears, doing that thing like when you’re going down a steep hill and you’re running just so you won’t fall on your face. To some extent, I’m not doing the best at any of those things, because I want them all.

So I started to think to myself, what’s gotta go? I need to pick something, and focus. And I tried to think, how do I know what I should and shouldn’t be doing? How do I make the most of my time, instead of just cramming the most STUFF into my time?

And then the thought hit me – if I was in debt up to my ears, and starting to understand that I needed to release control over my finances, to start living by faith and not by my own strength, I’d start to pray for guidance. And I’d start to tithe.

So yeah, maybe that’s where it’s at. It’s not in priority lists, it’s not in (my beloved) Google Docs pro/con spreadsheets, it’s not in what’s yelling the loudest for my attention, it’s not about cutting something out to make room for something else…

Maybe it’s about stepping out in faith with a tithe of that time. It’s always baffling how the people who seem to actually end up accomplishing the most in life, all those saints you read about, they always tithed several hours a day, their first fruits of their time, before ever even starting in on the other stuff. And ended up with balanced, full, meaningful, productive lives.

I think it’s that nonsensical economy that God works in. When you just give to him first, it’s not necessarily about SACRIFICING things. It’s about seeing how he will alter my priorities, and how he will make the time that is left over, how he will make it enough.

So that’s what I’m doing, and that’s my advice to you. You want to do more? You want to accomplish everything? You don’t have enough time left in the day to even think straight?

STOP.

Do none of the things on your to-do list (or, in my case, my to-do list app). Don’t go buy a Franklin-Covey (necessarily). Don’t work on your time management skills. “Waste” some time, each day, just give it up. And see what shakes out.

Living Hope

The fourth place we visited on our trip was a ministry called Living Hope. It is kind of a holistic AIDS outreach, although they want to be viewed more as general community outreach since there is such a stigma of AIDS in the surrounding communities. If they were seen as outreach to people with AIDS, then people wouldn’t come in for help because others would then know that they had the disease.

They have several branches that are dedicated to different aspects of helping communities where AIDS is prevalent.

Living Care is the medical branch. They have health workers that go into the townships and neighborhoods that they work with to help care for people, and to teach health practices, hygiene and cleanliness to the neighborhoods. In addition to the caregivers and educators that go into the communities, they also have a full-time medical care facility within their grounds with nursing staff that provides more intensive health care for free.

When we visited, we were shown around by one of the people that works there, Natasha. Dane and I decided that we could be best friends with her and her husband Tim if we ever moved to Cape Town, because they are the coolest. But that is neither here nor there.

She was telling us a story about one time when some kind of health care professional came and was going to be giving lectures about general good health and hygiene practices at their center. They do their best to keep in mind the world that these people live in and to set realistic expectations. For instance, usually in the townships there are few water sources and people have to walk to them – so you can’t instruct people to wash their hands with antibacterial soap (which is usually unheard of) every time before they cook, or something. Western healthcare people generally have to make some concessions and lower some standards, just for realism.

Anyway, they were walking through a township before his lesson, just so he could get a feel for it, and he was going through the content he wanted to convey when a person walked by that had the deep cough that was an obvious sign of tuberculosis, and spit on the ground. Just then, a kid kicked a soccer ball and the ball bounced across the road, landed in the phlegm on the ground, and bounced right into the lecturer’s face. He realized he had to change his whole tactic, because in some ways it’s just a whole different world.

Anyway, so they have quite a job trying to educate people and bring up the level of cleanliness to prevent the spread of disease.

The next branch is called Living Right. Living Right is a “prevention program based on a commitment to abstinence, faithfulness in marriage, testing and support that touches the lives of thousands of children and adults in six communities.” They have Health Counsellors, Life Skills Educators, and Support Groups.

Living Way exists “to empower local people with skills so they will be able to provide themselves with a sustainable living.” They do this through entrepreneur classes, vocational skills classes, computer classes, etc.

Living Grace works to meet needs of people in the most dire circumstances. It started with a feeding program, and now still includes a feeding program but also has lockers available where homeless people can keep their stuff, shower, toilet and laundry facilities for the homeless, counsellors to help people understand and apply for government aid programs, oversight for AIDS and TB medications. They also have help for seeking and keeping employment, and for setting up housing etc. when they’ve managed to get and keep a job.

That’s Living Hope in a nutshell, I guess. They are doing some incredible things there, and the whole time their biggest enemy is just the stigma that surrounds AIDS, that makes it so that people in desperate need of their (usually free) care won’t ask for or accept it, because they don’t want to become outcasts by admitting their vulnerability or existing condition.

A strategy flyer on the wall

Turns out we were pretty busy getting video footage and got like NO pictures of the actual facility, but it’s really pretty!

Here’s the view FROM the facility…

To see more, you’ll just have to wait for our video.

This is one of the bigger, more established ministries we visited. They have dozens of full-time employees and bring in work groups all the time. They also have prayer requests for each section on their website, so go look around. It’s a cool place, and definitely one that could use any kind of support, whether teams, funds, or prayer!

Bill Eames Project

That’s Bill!

Another ministry we visited was the Bill Eames project. Bill Eames and his folks have built a house in another township called Masephumelele. This house is meant to be a safe house that will hold six orphans or kids that have been pulled from dangerous situations and put into the foster care system.

When we were there, the house was pretty much done. They had even outfitted the rooms with bedspreads and curtains and painted the walls. All they needed was to find a house mother! That seems like a part of the process that might even be harder than building the whole house – finding someone that you can trust to parent six at-risk kids, often from abusive backgrounds, all the way through childhood!

I don’t have any good pictures of the surrounding area, but this house is right in the middle of Masephumelele. All of its neighboring houses are made of corrugated tin and chipped particle board. Crime and violence are pretty standard there. But Bill said that the surrounding community has incredible amounts of goodwill for this project and they know that the house will be safe.

Bill and his wife Anne also have a project called African Hope Crafts. They started this in partnership with Living Hope (I’ll tell you more about them later), but have moved out on their own. African Hope Craft employs women with AIDS in making crafts and jewelry that are then sold in South Africa and all over the world.

Bill had a cool story about a woman in Masephumelele that they knew through AHC. She came to them and said that she had discovered she was pregnant and wanted to get an abortion because she has AIDS, and he says that pregnancy is incredibly difficult for people with AIDS. Anne counseled her through the whole situation and she ended up keeping the baby. Who is now a kid, and they now live next door to the Bill Eames Project house.

We got to meet her! Sweetest little thing!

So. After God’s Little Lighthouse, we were supposed to go serve food at Miemie’s Soup Kitchen to all her little kiddos that she feeds there. We were supposed to go pick up the already-ordered-and-organized-and-set-aside food at the market and bring it to her, and then serve!

Instead, what we ended up with was a life lesson in how sometimes, when you work with ministries that have popped up within South African townships of their own accord and are run by people out of their own little houses who have hearts of gold but very little administrative experience, stuff doesn’t always unfold the way it was written on your typed and printed itinerary.

We ended up with that lesson, a lot of plan-B-ing with the dude at the store, and also about two hundred hot dogs and a bunch of loaves of bread.

(Not pictured: wienies. Sorry.)

And exactly NO biltong*, even though I saw it and had it within my reach.

Then, after a delicious lunch of chicken shawarma sandwiches, during which we discovered peri pepper sauce, and then “veri peri” pepper sauce, and then “supa peri” pepper sauce… on to Khayelitsha! (You say it like “Kyle-eat-shay.”)

Khayelitsha is a township, reported to be the largest and fastest-growing township in South Africa. It currently houses over 400,000 people, about 90% of whom are black, 9% colored, and about .5% white. The main language spoken there is Kosa (or Xhosa, which has lots of awesome clicks in it.)

And this is a truly terrible picture.

Miemie lives in this township and started feeding neighboring children out of her own house. She noticed that they would come by on their way to school and so many of them looked hungry. She now feeds hundreds of kids every day that she can.

Miemie and Linda (NOT Lindy, because Lindy is a girl’s name.)

She has a church that has teamed up with her to help cover the cost of groceries, and work teams and other individuals or groups help out whenever they can.

THERE are the wienies.

And Denise and Anna Claire in Miemie’s kitchen.

We also left gift bags with Miemie and some soccer balls so that Linda could start playing with the neighborhood kids in order to get to know them a little better – more than just giving them food and sending them on their way.

Just a fun little anecdote: While we were in Cape Town, there was a taxi strike going on for most of the week. It started right about when we got there. Not too big of a deal. But the day after we went into Khayelitsha, we heard that they were “stoning” vehicles there with more than two people in them, because they looked like taxis, and therefore were traitorous scabs. Pierre oddly didn’t offer to take the whole crew with him when he went back on Friday morning to drop of the belated groceries.

*Biltong is, for lack of a better simile, kind of like a South African version of beef jerky. Or kudu jerky, or whatever other animal you care to make jerky out of. I left most of my jerky at home on the promise that when I tasted biltong, it’d make me want to punch my beef jerky in the face.

Here it is.

Finally.

The moment you’ve all been waiting for…

For about two weeks.

Because I’ve been trying in vain to find something that would get my pictures off of my camera*, and I just have the hardest dadgum time telling stories without pictures.

We did a lot of stuff on this trip, but the most important thing to me was getting to know some of the ministries that Pierre works with. We were introduced to them and their leaders, and got to see them in action in some cases, and we took some great video of the places themselves and of their leadership.

Dane and I are working on making a series of videos to introduce people to these ministries. Hopefully people will enjoy getting to know them a little bit, and in some cases we will have ways that you can support them through prayer, helping to meet needs that they have, or even by going to visit and doing short-term work/ministry trips!

Also, Cape Town, Tulbagh and the other areas we saw are incredibly, mind-blowingly gorgeous. So I might have to dedicate a post as well to the cool stuff we did and saw that wasn’t super duper ministry-related. You can skip that one if you want. 🙂  (Yeah, right.)

First things first, because I always can’t help myself from taking pictures of about 90% mountains, 7% food, and 3% everything else, this was our first meal in SA.

In this magical, mystical land on the bottom side of the globe, this is what’s known as a “sandwich”. I think we should take notes.

Anyway.

The first ministry we visited is called God’s Little Lighthouse.

(The playground)

It’s basically a day care center in Fishoek, which is a suburb of Cape Town. They watch kids from babies up to six years all day, and kids aged six to teens after school.

The kids get a great, God-centered education there. Most of the children are colored, and from underprivileged families. Most of the children there also would not have any kind of care if not for GLL, they would be left at home alone.

They ask payment from families that can afford to pay, but a significant portion of the kids’ families pay less than the standard tuition, if anything at all.

Denise taught a lesson to some 4- and 5-yr-olds about Joseph, and we made many-colored coats as a craft. Dane led them in some songs with the ukulele. Then we were able to play with them on the playground.

One of the best games was to jump off of a jungle gym, a jump of probably six feet (ish?). Jillian told us about how at her elementary school, they’ve taken away most of the toys and outlawed swings, soccer, basketball, tag, kickball running… the list went on and on.

“They are SO LUCKY,” she said, watching them climbing all over their rusty bent metal playground equipment, jumping off, spinning around with nine kids on a rickety toy probably meant for two…

I asked this little dude for his toughest, meanest face.

“Tougher!”

“Tougher!!!”

The thing that stood out to me most at God’s Little Lighthouse was how utterly accustomed the kids were to receiving affection. Pam, the lady that runs the place, talked about how the #1 most important thing to teach the kids, to her, was their value to God and to value each other.

She said when kids first come in to the school, they’ve only learned to look out for themselves and that they don’t matter to anyone, and she and the other (unbelievably sweet) teachers at the school try to show them how much God loves them. I couldn’t believe how these kids came up and were so comfortable and trusting. That’s not something I see often on mission trips.

We were also able to leave them with goody bags for the kids with toys and games in them, and some food to help them provide their afternoon snacks and lunches. And socks! They said the socks were the greatest thing that they all need and nobody thinks of. Thanks SO MUCH to everyone who gave socks!

There’s also a pretty cool story of why this particular ministry is so near and dear to Pierre and his family. I don’t want to give away EVERYTHING from the video though, so you’ll have to wait.

More soon! I promise!

*Don’t even ask where I finally found a memory card reader.**

**But if you were to ask, I would tell you that I randomly opened a drawer that I don’t use for anything this morning on a total whim and there was one, still wrapped up in the box, seemingly never even used.

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