An Update from Margaret

Written by margaret. Posted in Children, Education, Health

Wow!  Things are moving forward around here faster than we can keep up! Here’s a quick update about two of our major projects:

The Clinic

Davis, Terry, and I recently took a trip to Rondo to visit the Sabatia Eye Hospital and meet with the director there.  It was a great meeting for us! The director provided us with great information that will be so helpful as we run the clinic in the expansion.  We all came away very encouraged. We head to Nairobi this week to get lab equipment!

They have started painting the clinic with some very bright and beautiful colors.  The reception room is painted, as is one of the doctor’s offices.  Some of the windows have also been painted.  They are already getting the land around the building leveled and ready
for planting!

 The New Well

The well (borehole) is nearing completion!  Oh my, it is exciting for sure.  We got home from Rondo just in time to see them begin the testing phase.  A new truck arrived to test the output and purity of the borehole. They pumped water for 24–30 hours; at first the water was cloudy, but then it became pure and beautiful.  What a gift to the children and the village!  We
should now have plenty of wonderful clean water!

 Love Changing Lives!

Margaret

Food for Thought

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Sponsorship

I came home this evening to dishes piled in the sink and pots and pans left on the stove from a hasty dinner prepared before my husband and I both ran out the door for different meetings. I have to admit that I grumbled to myself a bit as I filled the sink with soap and water and prepared to attack the baked on cement that had been refried beans hours earlier. As I scrubbed and scraped the dishes, I suddenly remembered something I read this weekend and I began to feel ashamed of my grumbling.

I have the pleasure of reading the interviews of every child eligible for sponsorship in our program, and I often write their brief bios to help potential sponsors get to know each child a little better. On Saturday, I spent some time going over some recent interviews and came across one that really made me stop and think. Our interviewers have started asking the children what they have had to eat that day and what they consider to be their favorite food. Most of the kids say they’ve had tea, maybe some chapati (a kind of bread), and that when they go home they may have ugali (a Kenyan dish of cornmeal and water) and vegetables, maybe some fish. When it comes to the question about favorite foods, I always think about the answers that kids give here in the U.S. I know when I was the age of some of these kids, my reply was always macaroni and cheese. These kids, however, will probably never know what macaroni and cheese tastes like, may never see a pizza, and may never have the pleasure of eating a cold ice cream cone on a hot day. No, the typical favorites found at the top of a child’s list in the US were nowhere to be found in the interviews I read. The most common favorite foods of the kids at Heritage? Rice.
Bread. Meat.

But the one that came to me today as I washed the dishes from a meal, lavish by Makutano standards, was six-year-old Wilson’s favorite food. When asked what his favorite food was, Wilson said milk. Milk is his favorite food. Just think about that for a second. I thought about it on Saturday, but I really thought about it again today. How many times do we take even the most basic parts of our diets for granted? It’s astounding to think that those “basics” are the very things that kids in Makutano, around the world, even here in our own country, dream about and savor, if given the opportunity.

Needless to say, I had a different perspective as I finished cleaning up. I think we often take for granted so much that we are given in life, and my experiences with the children at Heritage Academy remind me time and time again of this truth. These children aren’t asking for cheeseburgers or the latest gadgets. Their needs are for the very things we often don’t even think twice about—they need opportunity for an education, they need love, they need care, and they need something more than just tea and vegetables to eat.

Want to share with these kids just a taste of what we take for granted? Check out our sponsorship page

“For I was hungry, and you fed me…” Matthew 25:35

Year End Update

Written by margaret. Posted in Children, Education, Farming, Health, Village Project Africa

2012 has been an exciting year for Village Project Africa! We have continued to see God at work in the village and are so pleased to see programs continue to blossom and grow. We are so excited to see what He has in store for us in 2013!

Here are a few highlights of the exciting things that have happened and continue to happen in the village:

  1. Heritage Academy will add 6th grade curriculum in January 2013, and accept enrollment for a new preschool class, bringing our enrollment to approximately 600 students.  Our children are healthy and happy, and they are learning.  Each term we see the test scores improving.  Recently the teachers gave their testimonies to some visitors.  We were inspired as they told, one by one, how God had called and led them to Heritage Academy.  Our school is a safe, loving, Christian educational environment.
  2. 41 students graduated from Heritage College this month with a degree to teach early childhood education. We started Heritage College two years ago with this African proverb in mind: “Educate a girl and you educate a community.”  Of the 41 graduates, 11 are girls from our village. These girls now have hope for a brighter future not only because of their education, but also because of their association with our Godly teachers and staff.    
  3. We will break ground in the coming weeks for the expanded clinic. Recently, another parent died, the father of three of our dear students.  We see this much too often.  Now our community has another widow and more fatherless children.  At the funeral, we saw fear in their eyes because their future is so uncertain.  But our Village Project community will walk with them through these darkest days. The death of this father is another affirmation of the priority to expand the clinic and improve the health care available to our community.  Thank you, Church at the Crossing, for partnering with us.
  4. Grace Community Church is growing. We see attendance of over 30 adults plus children on Sunday mornings.  Pastor Joseph and Pastor Isaac will begin teaching the congregation from the books that we used to teach the pastors’ classes.  Pray for them as they spread the Word and disciple believers.
  5. The agricultural program is growing and prospering.  Two greenhouses and the surrounding land are planted with vegetables.   We have 4 cows and more on the way.  The chickens are producing eggs and meat.  AND the bees produced the first honey! This farming program is providing nutritious meat, eggs, dairy products, and vegetables to our school children and employees. It also provides employment in the community and a small income to the school as we sell extra products in the market.
  6. We are getting electricity!!   This project was initiated by the parents of our Heritage Academy students, and is a partnership between parents, local community, and VPA donors.  Parents each gave 100 shillings and one of the neighbors is allowing the power lines to go through her farm to help reduce the cost. But it was not enough.   VPA friends joined together to finish the project, and we will soon get electricity.  This will allow opportunities for evening meetings and classes, as well as expanded curriculum such as computer training.
  7. The new multi-purpose (cafeteria/auditorium/church) building is almost completed and is already being used for school and community meetings.  It is the only building in the area that can hold such large groups. Recently, we held a parent meeting with over 250 in attendance, who fit comfortably in this beautiful building. In addition, we are completing new classrooms and administrative offices to accommodate our growing enrollment.  Often children tell us what they like best about Heritage Academy is “the buildings.”  We smile at their answer, but they really love to have a good place
    to learn.
  8. Our child sponsorship program continues to grow! We now have over 150 children sponsored and hope to have even more sponsored by this time next year. The education, nutrition, and healthcare that sponsored children have received this year have been absolutely transformative for so many children. A new online system for sponsorship will be rolled out in 2013, so stay tuned. We hope that even more children will find sponsorship—we have close to 500 children waiting for a sponsor!

We are so thankful for each of our supporters and the way you have come along beside us in so many ways to continue the work God has laid out before us. We look forward to continued and new partnerships in 2013!

We hope each and every one of you has a blessed and happy new year!

Love Changing Lives!

A Birthday Gift for Jesus

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Education, Stories

Julie Carpenter has created a new tradition in her first grade classroom at Calvary Christian School in Kentucky. Last year, and again this year, the class celebrated Jesus’s birth by throwing a birthday party and bringing gifts in his honor—school supplies to benefit Heritage Academy! Julie shares the response and reaction she’s gotten from the children in her classroom this year.

My first grade class at Calvary Christian School supports the children at Heritage Academy through prayer and donations. They pray for the children everyday, and they were excited to help them when they had the chance.   For our “Happy Birthday Jesus” party, they brought in tons of school supplies for the children, and they wrote sweet letters as well. We hope the school supplies will be helpful to all of the children at the school, and we hope the letters will remind them that their friends in Kentucky love and care about them. 
 
I have two stories to share about two of the little girls in my class. 
  
Brooklyn
During the first week of school, I shared about my trip to Kenya. Brooklyn’s heart was touched when she heard about the children and saw my photos of them. Here’s an email from her mom:
 
Julie,
 
Brooklyn has asked me several times for the last week or so about us donating things to Kenya. Is this possible? She says she would like to make care packages with food and such. I think that’s absolutely wonderful that she’s feeling drawn to help out. She says, “But mommy, they don’t even have food or clothes or toys, I could send them some things I won’t eat, wear or play with.” 
 
Thanks,
Michele
  
Rachel
I have a class website, and I post photos on it throughout the school year for the families to view. Of course, the photos from my trip to Kenya are on there because we support the school as our international class mission. Rachel’s mom told me that Rachel asks to look at the photos of the children often. She talks about them and prays for them every day. She even wants to be a missionary now and go to Kenya to help them!  During our parent/teacher conference, we started talking about her passion for the children in Kenya. Her parents mentioned wanting to go on a mission trip as a family sometime. I immediately mentioned the medical teams going this summer because Rachel’s dad is an anesthesiologist, and I sent more information about VPA. Rachel’s dad made contact with the person in charge of the medical teams and they are now planning on going as a family with the medical teams in the summer of 2014!  I’m so excited for their family, but I’m even more excited for Rachel! God is working out a plan so her passion to be a missionary can be nurtured even more! God is so good!!!        
 
It’s a joy to pass the passion I have for the children of Makutano to my students. God is planting seeds in the hearts of His sweet children, and they’re growing in beautiful ways.  Merry Christmas! 

 

Linda’s Story: Discovering Something New and Wonderful

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Missions, Sponsorship, Stories

Linda Svec traveled to Makutano with the mission to share her experience as a pre-school teacher with the teachers in our early childhood development program at Heritage Academy. She took just as much away from her trip as she left behind with the teachers!
 
I think back on my trips at Makutano often. I still can’t believe I’ve had 2 visits, the first in June 2011 and the second in February 2012. Growing up as a minister’s daughter, the idea of doing mission work has always been part of my life. However, the idea of ME doing that work was not part of my thought process.
 
The purpose of my trips was to work with the early childhood program, sharing what I know about teaching and taking materials to the teachers and showing them how to use them. It took months to prepare and collect everything we might need. 
 
Several times now I’ve been able to speak to groups about my trips. Recently, I found myself speaking again at a small church in Eastern Kentucky. I displayed pictures and items I’d brought home, told about the children, and shared stories about the new friends I made.  I enjoy telling my stories to others. The time spent in the classrooms, playing with the children, meeting other teachers, sharing meals, home visits, and so many other things are all cherished memories for me.
 
One of the highlights for me was meeting a little boy, Job. Job is 9 years old and the same age as one of my grandchildren. He had a horrible home life and is now thankfully in the dorm. Job is now my sponsor child. I think back on my first visit when we were just getting to know each other—he looked at me without much sparkle in his eyes. The second trip, however, showed a different boy. I saw him playing with his friends, running, working hard in the classroom, and SMILING.
 
I think back on these trips and can only think of what this has changed in me. The Lord has shown me new and wonderful work to do. I look at pictures now posted on Facebook and search for the faces I know. I recently received an email with an updated picture of Job, and I love it. I can’t wait to see the changes in store for these wonderful new friends and how I can be used. I can’t wait to go back!

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