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This month, HOPE is running the ‘Will You Be Mine’ campaign in order to put a different spin on Valentine’s Day. February is the month of LOVE, but our goal is to move past the expensive flowers, the crowded restaurants, and the heart-shaped box of chocolates, and do something a little different. Instead, we're asking donors to expand their hearts and choose a different kind of valentine this year.
Over the course of this month, on our Facebook https://www.facebook.com/thisishopeforthenations page, we're introducing 8 children who are in need of sponsorship in order to provide ongoing care, medical treatment, and education. You could sponsor by yourself, as a couple, or maybe get together with some friends and make a commitment to make a difference for a young life this month.
Sponsors and donors are the foundational cornerstones of our organization. Thanks to the support of our donors we’re truly able to say that we’re working to change the lives of children at risk all over the world and even here at home.
Colin and Valerie Muir has been long-time donors to Hope for the Nations. Their continued support has made the difference in countless young lives. Here, Valerie shares her story and why she chooses to lend her support every year:
“I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers and Colin has 3 brothers, 1 sister, 2 step brothers, and 1 step sister. I am a retired teacher and my career was absolutely wonderful, teaching kids from K-9 for almost 40 years. Kids have always played a big role in my life. We have 3 daughters and 1 granddaughter whom we have raised since she was 6. She is now 19; we have 9 grandchildren and 2 great grandchildren, tons of nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. I am going on my first Missions trip, along with my 14 year old great granddaughter, at Spring Break (March 15th-31st) to Guatemala.
Dennis and Diane Unrau (Director's at Children's Homes in Mexico) have a special place in my heart and knowing them has greatly influenced my support for Hope for the Nations. When I was going through a rough time as a single mom with a rebellious teen, Dennis and Diane were there for me. I am also familiar with Nick Arkle (Country Director in Nepal), having taught his daughter, Nicole (a wonderful young lady). I guess I just love kids and really hate to see them hurting . . . physically, mentally, emotionally, and/or spiritually. I do what I can, where and when I can. Over the years I have enjoyed supporting a family of 2 brothers, a sister, and a half brother; the 2 brothers and sister have now graduated and moved back home with their grandmother; the stepbrother, I have enjoyed watching grow and mature since he was 4, he is now 10. God is so Good. He is my everything and especially my Peace.”
Whatever your reason for lending your support, we appreciate it, and we’re happy to extend you the opportunity to take part in the ‘Will You Be Mine’ campaign. Whether it’s through sponsorship, donation, or simply by sharing a Facebook post.
Please join us in welcoming the newest member of HOPE Head Office: Gill Drakeford-Lewis. Gill comes to us a with a wealth of experience as our new Community Outreach Coordinator. Here’s a little about Gill . . .
I was born in England, but lived in Belfast, Northern Ireland for all of my school years. We moved there 3 months before the conflicts in Northern Ireland started which made life very interesting growing up.
I studied Business Studies at Portsmouth University, and came out with a BA in Business Studies. I’ve (allegedly) had several ‘big’ jobs in business, such as managing a brewery and an airport, to name a couple. I became increasingly frustrated, as I wanted to put effort into something I felt was worthwhile. A major accident and subsequent spinal injury gave me some much-needed perspective and helped me to focus on what was truly important to me.
My husband, Chris, and I gave up the rat race, and spent several years backpacking, and working at various orphanages and at an HIV charity in Thailand. This is the best thing we ever did. It gave our lives so much purpose. To make a difference to one life makes everything worthwhile.
Our lives are now busy as we have two children, Ella, aged 8, and Sam, aged 6. They are wonderful children (I’m not sure how that happened!).
After emigrating to Canada 12 years ago, a group of friends and I began meeting once a month. We decided to give $20 each to a charity of the host's choice. When it came to my turn, I wanted to do something bigger, so I suggested that we fundraise to build an orphanage instead. I started looking for an organisation to do this through, and found out there was a non-profit based in Kelowna. I called at the HOPE office and instantly loved everything about the people and the organisation. We helped to fund an orphanage in Cambodia and also sponsored one of the girls at the orphanage. The girl we sponsored is now studying Social Work in Cambodia.
I am passionate about making a difference, helping vulnerable children, and bringing people together to join in the joy of changing lives.
I love the integrity, the people, and the work that HOPE does. I told all my friends through the years that my dream job would be working at Hope For The Nations. My dream came true!
This week, we’d like to share with you an inspiring update from the children from New Hope Center and their vision for the future!
“Where there is no vision, the people perish!”
Our children in New Hope Center have every reason to give up! For many of them, life has seemingly dealt them a losing hand. All refugees from war in Congo or survivors of the massacre in Burundi, they have been forced to leave what had become home for them in our Center in Burundi, and now find themselves living yet again in another country. Most of them have lost parents, family members, and friends along the way, and in many cases survived both physical and emotional wounding. And yet, rather than giving up or becoming bitter and resentful, they have survived and even thrived. They have had to learn another language, pick up their studies all over again, this time in English, and settle again in new and strange surroundings. But they have thrived, determined to be better and not bitter.
Recently, the children have been asked to share what vision and dreams they may have for their lives, and how they think they can make a difference. I have been blessed and overwhelmed with their passion, vision, dreams, and determination to be difference-makers wherever God would lead them. Here are a few of their responses: cardiologist, surgeon, doctor, writer, journalist, professor, businessman and businesswoman, engineer, pilot, pastor, evangelist, professional football player, lawyer, government minister, military officer, and even President. In every case, it was not to be successful for themselves, but rather so they could give back and be agents of change in their country or wherever God should lead them.
When Jeanne arrived at New Hope Center she received the first nice clothes and shoes she had ever had. It so impacted her that she began thinking about all the children she had seen in Congo and began to have the vision to start a clothing manufacturing company which will provide clothing and shoes to orphans and the poor. With vision and dreams continuing to live in and through them, they surely will not perish but rather live life to the fullest.
Learn more about the New Hope Center in Burundi.
This September, our ambassador of HOPE, Nadine, set off with her team of volunteers to visit our friends in Kenya. HOPE was fortunate enough to have Mike Ayers, a certified counselor, and Charlene Nguyen, a doula, join Nadine on this trip.
Pregnancy, poor nutrition, and childbirth are significant risks to mothers and their newborn babies born in the slums. Charlene put together a unique training session focussing on basic nutrition, prenatal care, and emergency delivery techniques and breastfeeding. The highlight of the class was the opportunity for these women to hear their baby's’ heartbeat for the very first time. The overwhelming turnout for the class showed a real hunger in the community for more understanding. It has set the ball rolling forward as we look at these challenging but life-changing issues in the slums.
Mike and Charlene spoke openly about addictions and struggles in the slums. This class went so well and sparked a passion in the young men to continue meeting and supporting one another on a weekly basis. Mike will be working with local groups in Chilliwack, BC to ensure they get all the resources they need to move forward together.
HOPE has also been working hard to help set up a “community library” for our school, Hope and Bright Future. We are so thankful for the very generous gift, given by a HOPE donor in loving memory of his late wife. Additionally, through the generous donors of HOPE, the team purchased books, set up shelving, flooring, and provided cozy cushions for sitting. Final touches came together with this quote being painted on the wall: “Write to be understood, Speak to be heard, and Read to grow.”
These are just a few of the highlights from the Kenya team trip. If you are interested in going on a volunteer trip to serve, contact us for more information.
Support Hope & Bright Future Future Center Here
The Fall is always a busy time for our volunteer teams. This September our Country Director, Carol Jones and her skilled team, traveled to India for some very exciting work.
Carol and her team have been working hard to bring the issue of women's hygiene to the forefront and help find creative solutions to solve this crisis. Did you know that 23% of girls in India drop out of school because they don’t have sanitary pads? Those who do stay in school are unable to attend up to 50 days in a year. Only 12% of the 355 million women and girls across India use sanitary pads due to cost and unavailability. That number drops to 3% in rural areas. They resort to sitting on sand, sawdust, corn husks, leaves, newspaper, dirty rags, etc. Approximately 70% of all reproductive diseases in India are caused by poor menstrual hygiene, which also contributes to maternal mortality.
Country Director, Carol found an awesome organization, Days for Girls, that provides patterns and has a whole system to make washable, reusable sanitary pads. Carol then started up a group locally who met regularly on Mondays to create the kits to bring on the trip. Carol and team also received kits from other groups and took about 300 kits with them to distribute. In addition, the team taught Indian women and girls how to sew their own sanitary wear and how to turn it into a small micro-enterprise making these kits affordable for even the poorest.
The team not only provided workshops on the basics of female puberty and feminine hygiene but also trained several young women how to sew their own sanitary wear. They left behind several sewing machines, serger, tables, scissors, and notions to start their own small businesses.
They also had the honor of visiting two villages where water wells, thanks to you, our generous donors, have been drilled and installed. The people are so thankful and this simple commodity that we often take for granted is changing their lives.
These are just a few highlights from the trip, if you are interested in putting your unique skills to use, and would like to serve on one of HOPE's volunteer teams, please contact the office.