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!

Taylor’s Story: Heartbreak to Joy

Written by lauren. Posted in Children, Sponsorship, Stories

Taylor Norsworthy and her family were one of the first to become a part of our sponsorship program after it launched in 2009. Since then, their support has continued to grow. Here, Taylor shares the personal story of how the sponsorship program helped her through heartbreak and how it has made a difference in her life and the life of her family. We are so thankful for their support and Taylor’s willingness to share this story with us.

Friday, October 12, 2007: I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the day my heart became overwhelmed and in love. It was the day my son was born. It was the day I learned for the first time what unconditional love really felt like. The first time my eyes focused on this amazing creature God made I knew right away how much God loved me, or at least I got a glimpse. I’ve learned since then that God’s love for me is just simply incomparable and really how amazing is that! It was also the day I fell in love with the idea of a bigger family, a close family, a family to love, and a family to care for. Truthfully, I never in a million years would have said anything like that before that very day. That day changed my life forever.

As time passed, I grew content and more in love with my little family. October 12th didn’t instantly change me, but my more selfless dreams and goals brightened, and God’s plan
for me became more evident. For now, I was to be a mother. That was my new dream.
It is human nature to want more of a good thing and so, just like that, I wanted
more children.

August 1, 2008 was the start of a waiting game and the start of my struggle with God. Secondary infertility entered my life and took me on yet another emotional roller coaster.  It is a sensitive topic that I have found very few like to discuss, unless they have been there and eventually been blessed with a child. Those not going through infertility don’t know what to say to you and, honestly, you end up feeling alone. I was confused, hurt, and frustrated with God because I wasn’t getting what I wanted. I didn’t want to hear about God blessing others with children.

In December 2009, I hit rock bottom in depression. Not the sort of depression where I wanted to take my life, but the sort where tears were the only makeup on my face. Sobbing seemed to be my new hobby and life just felt meaningless. It was during this time that I forgot how good I had it. I forgot I had a husband who loved me, who took care of us, and because of it I was able to be a stay-at-home mom. I forgot about my son. I forgot how amazing he was because I was so focused on the child that didn’t exist.

It wasn’t until after the New Year (January 2010) that life began to have meaning and I began to listen to God again. Sitting in our living room with my laptop in hand, I remember scrolling through my newsfeed on Facebook and coming across a post from an old friend pertaining to Village Project Africa. I went to their page to check it out and immediately felt drawn to it. I literally sat there for what seemed like forever, just reading and learning everything I could about it. It was certainly then, and more so now, that I realized Village Project Africa was a Godsend.  You see, my heart changed again that day. I was lifted from this depression that bound me so tightly that I couldn’t breathe and I began to really understand the line that people kept tossing me “in God’s timing.”   The tears stopped.

It was shortly after the 5th of February, 2010 that I received a picture and information about sweet little David, a third grader at the time and one of the first students at Heritage Academy.  I really don’t know how to explain it (as I now have tears welling in my eyes just thinking about it), but looking at David’s photograph was reminiscent of the time I first laid eyes on my own flesh and blood. What was initially about me feeling lead to give and to help a child drastically changed the moment I locked eyes with a photograph of a smiley little boy I had never met and still haven’t met almost three years later.  David immediately became a part of our little family and from there it grew.

LeviWe now sponsor five children in Makutano and, God willing, we will reach our goal of twelve children by the end of the year (2012). David, Metrine, Belvin, Nicanary, and Francis now have pictures hanging on a wall of our home to symbolize the part of our family that they are and to serve as a constant reminder to pray for them every day. Our son is learning their names and has taken so much from this experience. He doesn’t think of them as siblings, and still has a desire to have a brother as great as my desire is to give him one, but he is learning through this experience that God loves everyone no matter what they look like and he is learning to give and to pray for others.

It’s been four years, 2 months, and several weeks now that I’ve dealt with secondary infertility and as much as my heart still desires to have more children, I no longer have an open wound. I’m open completely to God’s timing.  God is so amazing in the way he brings the absolute last thing you would ever think of to your aid. To think God used kids so far away to  “fix” me and help take such a burden away is just so remarkable, impressive, and so God. 

FamilyBeing a part of VPA has blessed my family and me more than I feel we could ever bless our sponsored children financially. The whole experience has been incredible and I cannot wait for the day when we get to meet these special kids face-to-face. Now, the businesswoman in me wants to make money to change more lives!

In Him,

Taylor 

Project 5&2

Written by shelly. Posted in Children

bagsWe are so excited to be partnering again this year with Church at the Crossing in Indianapolis, Indiana as part of their outreach program, Project 5&2. The name of the project comes from Matthew 14 which tells the story of a boy who gave what he had—five loaves of bread and two fish, which Jesus multiplied to meet the needs of the entire crowd.

The goal of our partnership with Project 5&2 is to connect a family from Church at the Crossing with a child at Heritage Academy. The families are asked to pray for the child they choose and show love to him or her in what may seem like a very small way—by filling a backpack with necessary items that children in the school need to take care of themselves and to improve the quality of their education. Just as the crowd could focus more clearly on Jesus’s message when they were fed, these children can learn about both school subjects and the tangible love of God better when basic things such as soap and pencils
are provided.

We are pleased and blessed to hear that after this weekend’s kickoff, all 540 children who currently attend Heritage Academy have been paired with a family at Church at the Crossing or their current sponsor. All of the children will receive a bag and have families praying for them by name this next year. Because there was such high demand, and many people still interested in getting involved after the last child’s name was taken, Church at the Crossing has decided to go beyond blessing the children currently in our school—they are now creating bags for our “unnamed friends” who will form the new class for the new school year in January.

God is so great, and we are so blessed to be a part of the way He works to tie His people together despite apparent, even continental, barriers! Thank you, Church at the Crossing!

Want to learn more about Project 5&2 and the success of last year’s bags? Click here to watch the promotional video.

 

Photos courtesy of Carissa Drake

Urgent Need for Sponsorship

Written by margaret. Posted in Children, Sponsorship

ButrossAbout 2 days ago, Carol and I were discussing some of the children in the school.  Carol told me about Butross Chagara and said he is an urgent case because he is severely abused by his step mother and he needs to be in the dorm.  I decided to interview him and find out for myself.  Lately, I have not been in tears as I hear the stories, but on this day I cried with him as he told his story and he cried.

He is the cutest little boy.  He is 11 years old and in class 5 in Martin’s class.  He is always in the top 5, and often number 2.  On the last exams, he was number 2 in his class even though he lives in extremely difficult circumstances.  I find it incredible.  He told me that his health is good, though he had had some chest problems but now is ok. 

He lives in Soweto with his stepmother, Violet, another brother named Benson Lomosi who is in class 4 at Heritage (who will also need a school and dorm sponsorship, but Butross’s case is the most critical) and a young step-sibling who is not in Heritage.   There is a father who lives in Nairobi, but Butross said he rarely comes home.  Butross does not know what his father does in Nairobi and he doesn’t know where his mother is—she left the family. 

Butross came to Heritage when he was in the fourth grade.  He was living with his grandmother near KIST when his father called from Nairobi and said he had to go live with his stepmother.  Butross didn’t want to go, but they made him move. When I asked him about his life at home, he said, “My step-mother tortures me.”  I thought that was a very strong word.  He says that she makes him work without rest when he is home.  She beats him and does not feed him what the other children eat.  Sometimes he sleeps in the forest because she chases him away from the home.   I asked him if he is frightened and I think this is when he started crying.  He said, “Yes, I am frightened.”  We cried together. 

Butross is really an amazing child. We want to get him in a safe situation as soon as possible and thank you for considering a sponsorship that would provide for his education and dormitory stay.

UPDATE: Butross was quickly sponsored! We are so thankful!

Please contact Lauren at lauren@villageprojectafrica.org if you are interested in sponsoring a child like Butross. Thank you!

Judy’s Story: God’s Love Shines Through

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

Judy Princell visited the village for the first time this past summer and was immediately drawn in by the people and the way she saw God working around her. Here she shares some of her thoughts on her experiences.

Judy with childrenI wish everyone could have the paradigm shifting  experience of visiting the village  and knowing, even for a short time, these wonderful, bright, courageous people. Ten of us were blessed to spend two weeks with Margaret and Davis and the children, families, and teachers in the village.  We were met by some of the children on our first afternoon with bouquets of flowers and special songs they had rehearsed for us. We were blessed to be guests at Pastor Joseph and Mary’s wedding the next day—an all day affair and a truly unique experience. We were able to visit with some of the children in their homes, and this was one of the times God used us for one of his miracles. There was a badly burned  baby girl in the compound, and  because we were there and met this family, Margaret and Davis took  her to the hospital and her life was saved.

The most precious memories I have of the village are the amazing stories we heard
from some of the mothers, from Pastor Joseph and Mary, from Davis and many others. God’s love always shines through. I could tell you story after story about the miracles
that we heard and saw in the short time we were in the village—all because of God’s wonderful timing. 

My two little sponsored girls, Mercy and Joan, are bright, beautiful children who I pray will have a better chance to grow up and achieve their goals because of Heritage Academy!

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