Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BUILDING CAPACITY IN TAJIKISTAN

TAJIKISTAN
CAPACITY BUILDING
Serving Orphans and Vulnerable Children
Strengthening Families
Believing in a World Without Orphans
One Child - One Family at a Time


Arriving into Tajikistan, it was easy to see the majesty of this beautiful country.  Crossing the Himalayans was breathtaking - but this was not the goal of my time here in this country of mystery.  

The goal is to assess an NGO, help them develop next steps to expand their capacity to care for the most vulnerable of society - children who are or could become orphans.

There are no solid statistics on the number of orphans in Tajikistan, but there are said to be 9,000 children who are living in internats (orphanages).  In addition, work migration is wide spread, leaving children to be cared for by other family members, government centers, or other institutions.

My time here - to be shared with you carefully - is to help expand capacity in the critical areas that help families stay together, return children to their families and promote for the development of a comprehensive and effective adoption and foster care system.  I will engage key leaders over a seven day time here, conducting an assessment of present strengths and needs - identifying opportunities and then ending with a plan/strategy that will help these leaders carry forth in strengthening their efforts to bring and keep children in families.

I will not post pictures of people I meet, or places I go.  The pictures here are from stock photos to just give you a view of the culture.  Please pray for this beautiful country and their beautiful people.





A few facts about Tajikistan:
  • The Interfax reported the announcement by the Tajik Government Committee on Religious Affairs that over 99 percent of people in Tajikistan are Muslim.
  • The landlocked, mountainous Central Asian states of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan gained independence when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991. 
  • At this time, Tajikistan is still recovering from its civil war (1992 -1997) during which 50,000 died and more than 10% of the population fled the country, many to Kyrgyzstan. Although the economies of both states are growing, the gap between rich and poor is getting wider. The farmers do not grow sufficient food to feed everyone and the cost of imported food has skyrocketed since 2007. In Tajikistan some 80% of the population lacks food security. Many households depend on remittances from family members who have left to find work in Russia or Kazakhstan, which has been severely constrained due to the onset of the global economies crisis. In addition, in the rural areas, many children do not attend school regularly nor can they access treatment when they are ill.
  • At least 8,000 children in Tajikistan live and work in the streets, where they are vulnerable to violence, sickness and coercion into the sex trade, drug trafficking or other crimes. 
  • Children's rights are still a new concept in Central Asia. Though Tajikistan ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1993 and Kyrgyzstan in 1992 nbsp;, children are generally unaware that they possess rights, as are parents and community leaders in general. (Save the Children)

In the mean time, Lynn and my mother are serving in Kyrgyzstan - 
  • serving graduating orphans with continued skill building with the transitioning orphans of Jeremiah house; 
  • sharing with teams at Mercy Foundation; and 
  • building relationships with the little children at Dayspring; 
  • serving the seniors in Kemin; and 
  • preparing for the upcoming conference in the Fall....focused on finding families for orphans

RENOVATION CHALLENGE...YOU CAN BE A HERO HERE

WE NEED YOUR HELP
DAYSPRING NEEDS

This is your chance to be a hero to our kids.  We need to get ready for the next heavy rain...ceilings have been "attached" by the recent rains.  Might you want to help?

We thank you in advance.

$400 FIX ROOF
$400 NEW TIRES FOR VAN
$1500 NEW PAINT - ENTIRE INSIDE
$300 FIX ENTRANCE

video

Thursday, April 24, 2014

JEREMIAH PROJECT - SUCCESS AND MOM IS A HIT FOR SURE

WHO SAYS BEING 85 MEANS YOU CANNOT MAKE A DIFFERENCE?

Mom's new friend Babushka Valentina - she lives in the apartment above us.
They love to sit and talk and talk - while here on this bench outside our apartment.  Keep in mind,
Mom DOES NOT SPEAK RUSSIAN AND VALENTINA DOES NOT SPEAK ENGLISH!
Yet mom comes in and says, "Valentina said, .....".  Then she gives me the brief of what their
conversation was. Hmmmm.

Slavik's new sheet for his bed.  He made this himself!
Omerbeck is making his own pillow case!
Aziz is making placemats.
Jonabeck is cutting fabric to make placemats.
Slavik made his own blanket cover - like a duvet cover - not an easy first project!
Jonabeck is making towel tops - to hang on the stove - hand drying towels.
Zukra - who will be in charge of the sewing project in the future
is making sheets for the home for disabled persons.
More kitchen hand towels to hang from the stove..Slavik hard at work.
Just a look into the hobby room.  Soon we will have some comfortable
seating and a radio.  We just need to wait for more donations.

AND THIS IS JUST A FEW OF THE KIDS WHO HAVE BENEFITED

MORE PICTURES IN THE FUTURE - THE DAYSPRING KIDS TOO!  THEY WILL BE MAKING NATIONAL CRAFTS SOON....

WANNA HELP SUPPORT THIS PROJECT? FUNDS ARE RUNNING LOW.   JUST HIT THE DONATE BUTTON - EVERY DONATION IS HELPFUL TO TEACH KIDS MORE LIFE SKILLS.





Sunday, April 20, 2014

FIRE UPDATE - AND EASTER SERVICE BLESSINGS

Wayjay - spent the entire day Saturday cleaning the bathroom and this shower.
Please notice her t-shirt.
Mark 12:  29-31"
 30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’[a] 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b]There is no commandment greater than these.”
PASTOR SASHA 
STOPPED FOR THE ONE 
IN FRONT OF HIM
When we got word of the fire at Tanya and Dabu's, we attempted to get some help to get things out of their home.  The fire was out, the damage done, the work to follow would be overwhelming.  We made a call at 6pm to our Country Director - no answer - he was in church; made a call to our country partner John Wright - he answered as he was just walking into church.  He gave the message to the pastor - we need help at Tanya and Dabu's.

Pastor Sasha was immediately active with the message and he gathered six strong men and put them into his van to head to Tanya and Dabu's - where they lifted things out of the house.  NOW, LET'S PUT THIS IN CONTEXT...

1. Senior Pastor - leaves church at BEGINNING OF MAJOR GOOD FRIDAY SERVICE - CHURCH FULL!
2. He pulls six men to go with him, dressed for church - they go and pull things from a smoke filled very black dirt soot filled home.  After some time they head back to church.
3. The family they came to help DO NOT ATTEND HIS CHURCH.

WE PRAISE GOD FOR THIS SERVANT LEADERSHIP!
The Hands and Feet of Jesus Evident.

Jayne - LAMb's Master Trainer and Coordinator
"Training others to clean black smoke soot!"
Nasta from Mercy Foundation - working out on the drive way - cleaning away!
We had 13 people hard at work all day on Saturday.
There goest my 85 year old mother - could not stop her from helping too...all day!
Saving this piano was a major 8 hour clean up.  Lynn is here doing the last
of the clean up on the keys that were BLACK..but look with the help of
LOTS OF ELBOW WORK - this piano looks almost good as new!

EASTER SERVICE IN TOKMOK

OUR DAYSPRING GIRLS AT THE EASTER SERVICE WITH A LITTLE
STORY OF EASTER.

MINISTRY PARTNER - ANDRE FROM STRONG TOWER
Brought lots of kids from the families he works with - and they too did
a skit for the service - very moving!
Each little one from STRONG TOWER  ministry was precious
performing the Easter Story.



After the service there was a great PLOF lunch - but the best of all was to
see Victor there on his bicycle - he rode all the way in for the church
service.

THAT IS A CLEAR DEMONSTRATION OF
HOW THE IMPACT OF MINISTRY CONTINUES EVEN WHEN
KIDS LEAVE AND MOVE HOME!

Victor is the child who lives on the long journey down the railroad tracks - you have seen that picture many times on John and Julie's blog.

The service was full of wonderful reminders that INDEED HE IS RISEN!








Friday, April 18, 2014

HELP DESPERATELY NEEDED


WE ARE ASKING FOR HELP!!!!!
FIRE DESTROYS FAMILY BELONGINGS


DON'T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN

TANYA AND DABU good friends and ministry partners to all our team members here in Kyrgyzstan -  had a fire in their home today.  Everything is in ruins.  We are asking for help - the situation with their fire is so complicated.  Help is desperately needed.

They were preparing to leave for their daughters wedding next Friday - wedding clothing ruined, wedding gifts ruined, all their furniture ruined, clothing gone.  Shattered dreams, shattered hopes and shattered joy for the upcoming days of wedding events.

SEVERAL WEEKS AGO - ALONG THE RIVER FOR A PICNIC
Most Kygyzstan families do not have EXTRAS - and this family has always been frugal - careful and have worked hard to sustain their family.  There are no extras - no reserve - no insurance here in this country - just the devastation left from this fire.  This fire - started by a plugged in hair dryer and has almost devastated them.  

YET WITH YOUR HELP WE CAN BRING BACK HOPE - FAITH IN OTHERS AND EVEN JOY AMIDST THEIR SHATTERED DREAMS.

The fire was a smoldering fire - as the windows and doors were all closed tight in the house - the fire could not get oxygen to go into flames. When we arrived - there were red hot coals all over the floor.




  • They have two daughters one little one 14 years old and the older one to be married soon.
  • Both work at Mercy Foundation - Christian Charity here in Tokmok, Kyrgyzstan.
  • Dabu has been a key helper for us for years - driving us, managing different renovations, etc.
  • Tanya often serves with us at the senior home, in translating conversations and working as a manager of some of our activities.
  • Both Tanya and Dabu are our partners in ministry activities and we want to help them.

WE ARE ASKING FOR YOUR HELP - WE SELDOM PLEAD THIS WAY - BUT WE ARE PLEADING NOW TO ALL OUR SPONSORS.

YOU CAN DONATE ON THE BLOG - JUST CLICK THE DONATE BUTTON AND FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

STORIES OF RESTORATION

STORY OF GRACE AND MERCY

After the fall of the USSR, our dear friend here - Hymonot was stranded in Krygyzstan.  You see he was a MIG jet fighter pilot - training here.  Upon the fall, he could not leave for various reasons and circumstances. Hymonot is from Ethiopia.  

HYMONOT AND DENARA
Years of struggling followed along with marrying his gracious and kind wife - Denara, raising five children and grieving for a sixth who was immigrated to the USA from Ethiopia.  His story is one of restoration and hope.  Yet the struggles have been immense - culture, finding meaningful work, respect of persons, country revolutions, ethnic judgement, on and on.

Daughter - Stephanie.

Son's - Abel and Samuel.
Daughter - Annette.
David, Jayne, Lynn and I took the family to dinner - shashleke of course!
Years of separation from his family in Ethiopia, Hymonot was able to return for a two month visit just two years ago - seeing his mother for the first time since he left for Kyrgyzstan before 1991.  She was heard wailing with tears for her returned son - saying that now she can leave this world knowing they will once again be reunited in their true residence - Heaven.  His journey to Ethiopia was a dream that he never could imagine to come true - yet through a donor, this all was made possible for him.  The grace and mercy is evident in so many ways in this family we dearly love.

Only a few months ago this family - who for years was living in a one room of an apartment - was blessed beyond their imagination for hope.  A home was offered to them to live in.  This home represents months and years of prayer - to have a place for their children to pray - room to spread out as a family and peace that comes to a mothers heart to be able to serve her children well in a home.  We visited them there - and were overjoyed to see the blessings of God our Father to this family.  

Yes, restoration is here and showing up daily in the lives of many.  Children becoming sons and daughters, families being restored and youth being given hope.....yes hope and dignity are stories we see coming forth in Kyrgyzstan.  

As Lynn continues to remind us  - we can see the mud - or we can see the beauty.  We choose to see and believe in the beauty!

THANK YOU SPONSORS - BECAUSE YOU ARE THE FOUNDATION TO RESTORATION!

NOT JUST RESTORATION - BUT ROOTS!





Monday, April 14, 2014

UKRAINE - NEVER FAR FROM OUR HEARTS AND PRAYERS

A COUNTRY UNDER SEIGE
PLEASE PRAY FOR UKRAINE

We are back in Kyrgyzstan - yet the vivid reminder of the recent events in Kiev are all too sobering.  Ukraine is not yet settled.  Please pray for the country and the wonderful people of Ukraine.

video

As events continue to unfold in Ukraine - we must remain faithful to what we can do.  That is to pray with faith and to know that He is in control.

THANK YOU ALL.

Friday, April 11, 2014

FROM UKRAINE TO KYRGYZSTAN

GREAT NEWS

RUSLAN IS OUT OF THE HOSPITAL
SURGERY  WAS A SUCCESS AND HEALING 
CONTINUES


Ruslan is leaving the hospital today - and he is pleased with his Samaritans Feet shoes he received at Chui Orphanage during our shoe delivery to all the children and staff from the orphanage. His mother thanks everyone for their support for her son's surgery, medications and hospital stay.  Little Ruslan will be returning to the orphanage and we ask for your continued prayers for him and his mother.

THANK YOU SPONSOR!

MORE NEWS
FROM KIEV, UKRAINE

  • Worked with ILDC staff for week - strategic plan review and update in light of present situation in Ukraine.  Support and encouragement to continue serving - the team is focused and forward thinking.  Please continue to pray for Ukraine.  Things are not settled here.
  • Strengthening Family Conference starts today here in Kiev.  We will have almost 200 parents attend this adoption and foster care conference.  Our team is sharing five different breakout sessions and doing individual consultations with parents.  
    • Lynn - helping parents work through the different stressors and anger - "Stress and Anger Management" -  issues they face in light of the different realities they are experiencing today.
    • Ruby - working in two breakouts with parents in the area of "Adolescents and Psychological Trauma"
    • Jayne and David - "Talking about a Child's Difficult Past", and "Regathering Your Children"

WHAT IS NEXT? 
NEXT STOP TOKMOK, KYRGYZSTAN
Heading back to Kyrgyzstan on Sunday
with Mom, Pastor David and Jayne
  • More sewing lessons by Mom
  • Serving the disabled with new sheets and pillow cases - Mom's next focus with the youth sewing
  • Training prospective foster parents 
  • Trauma training for all the staff from an orphanage 
  • Helping families who are in crisis 
  • IUCA support and board meeting 
  • Working with a team of leaders in and adjoining country 
  • Serving in Mongolia - helping the focus on permanency for children 
  • Completing the organization activities for the fall conference for Kyrgyzstan (Central Asia) Without Orphans
  • Preparing for the next shoe delivery by Samaritans Feet - gearing up to serve over 700 people with brand new shoes; washing of the feet and prayer for their needs
  • Working with local authorities to get the local foster parent program up and going
And don't forget - we just want to encourage and continue developing our Dayspring children and Jeremiah youth!
    • Hiring a full time person to work with Jeremiah youth
    • Make plans for our youth to have a restful and fun event with all the staff
    • Renovations in our new Jeremiah Steps apartment
    • Renovations at Dayspring
    • Prepare for summer
THANK YOU SPONSORS
YOU ARE SERVING IN MANY WAYS ALONG SIDE OF US EACH AND EVERY DAY!

RELIEVING SUFFERING AND BRINGING JOY!




Monday, April 7, 2014

BUTTON BUTTON, WHO'S GOT THE BUTTON


LIFE SKILLS FOR DAYSPRING GIRLS

Sewing is the theme of ministry time in Kyrgyzstan - having mom here to inspire and teach!
Might not seem like much, but let's remember this is a group of little girls learning to be a family!

So, here is the story.  The girls are growing fast and they need school clothing and they were growing out of things - uniforms of white blouses and black pants or skirts.  So with the girls growing out of their clothing, Olga decided it was time to do inventory do hand-me-downs and repairs.  So - girls bring out your blouses, pants and skirts. 

Everyone try on things - exchange what fits others to them and take inventory of shortages and mending needs.  

As for the blouses, exchanges and oh my.....no buttons.  Well, Olga went out and bought 1,000 buttons - YOU HEARD RIGHT - 1,000 buttons for white shirts.  And the girls were set down to make the needed repairs....buttons to be sewn on.  However, they have a great number of buttons for the future!

What a wonderful sight!  You just gotta be proud!




Saturday, April 5, 2014

CHICKENS, EGGS AND AN OUTHOUSE




MIGHT NOT LOOK LIKE MUCH TO YOU

BUT THIS IS A LEARNING TIME FOR OUR 
JEREMIAH YOUTH

CHICKENS, EGGS
LAUNDRY OUT ON LINE

AND OUR BOYS DID THIS THEMSELVES!
REMEMBER THE STORY?

Lynn and Ruby "Boys you don't need a new outhouse, you have a perfectly good indoor bathroom."
Boys "We do - we don't like the indoor one."
Lynn and Ruby "Well you will need to figure something out,"
Boys "LOOK WHAT WE MADE!"

OH HAPPY DAY
LIFE SKILLS IF YOU ARE GOING TO LIVE IN A VILLAGE SOME DAY!
NOT BAD, EH?


NEXT?  OFF TO UKRAINE TOMORROW AM....
 - FOR A WEEK.  We will be working for one full week with our team there - ILDC - Ukraine.  Then a conference 
on Saturday and Sunday before we head back to Kyrgyzstan on Sunday afternoon.  Back in Kyrgyzstan on the 14th.Pastor David and Jayne will be joining us in Ukraine - and heading to Kyrgyzstan with us on Sunday. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

CHEERS FOR VLADY - SEWING ROOM IS COMPLETED

UPDATE AND GREAT NEWS
SEWING ROOM IS READY FOR USE

Three Cheers for Vlady!
LIFE SKILLS NOW IN ACTION FOR KIDS

The kids cleaned the room and all is done - ready to begin!
Mom, checking out the new machine.
Getting things unloaded...ready to really sew.  All are interested, although they did
not like cleaning out the room after the renovation!  Typical youth!
A few new sewing products...check out the shelves, the counters and the floors.
Also beautiful walls!
Okay let's take a look...
And - mom thought they all needed new pillows - maybe to fit the pillow cases they
were making?

Update:  Yesterday (Thursday) we spent the entire day in Balachie (Lake Issakul) -seeing a project that has had success in finding adoptive homes and guardianship homes for older children.  We took the Tokmok social services director with us and we were ALL IMPRESSED with the work they have done there.

Mom stayed back and gave sewing lessons to four Jeremiah Youth... Great day for her too - although she was exhausted at the end of the day - we were not much company with each other at the end of the day.

Tomorrow - back to the sewing room - lots to do there - Mom is eager to get going and the kids really want to make clothing.  They first need to learn the basics and it will be sheet and pillow case time for our ministry partners - Larisa and Tanya - to give to the disabled home - isolation unit.  Yes, we are finally on a roll.

THANK YOU VLADY - THIS IS AN AWESOME ROOM - JUST AWESOME.

THANK YOU SPONSORS YOU MADE THIS HAPPEN!




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

GRACE AND MERCY ABOUND

GRACE AND MERCY
ARE 
WITHIN YOUR REACH

We are ever so aware of the Grace and Mercy of our Heavenly Father and we see it everyday here in this land of wonder.  Among the pain and suffering you see the hope and the blessings that make your heart jump for joy and gratitude.  One reminder is this flowing water pipe at the mountain rehabilitation center.



The water of this pipe - so fresh and so abundant.  When Vadim and Natasha returned from Africa to their home where they are raising 17 little children - they bowed down and cried at the flow of such a treasure.  Before Africa, they thought they had things a little rough - and when they returned all they saw were the treasures around them.  Their story is amazing.  

They gathered enough funds to go to the USA for the purpose of fund-raising.   They needed funds for their program.  However, the application for USA visa's were denied.  What to do?

They shared their story with Gennadiy from Ukraine - a person they had been corresponding with via email, etc.  Gennadiy is instrumental in Ukraine Without Orphans program and was preparing to head to Africa to launch interest and vision there - he invited Natasha and Vadim to join him and use their funds for helping him in Africa.  (Take money to raise money or use money to help?)  They went to Africa and were forever changed.  Upon their return, the floodgates opened for resources for them.  They see clearly that by serving God's Grace and Mercy was poured out on them.

Working with them will be a treasure for us as well - as we learn from one another and grow together to bring Kyrgyzstan to embrace the idea of Kyrgyzstan Without Orphans.


Today with Hymonot and family....

Loving the time with this precious family.

Just a perfect day for Ruby and Samuel to be playing in a bowl of water.

And Hymonot served us the most amazing Ethiopian lunch along with one of the
best cups of coffee we have ever had...pure Ethiopian coffee made the Ethiopian way!
AWESOME

Yet, the best part of the visit is the story.  Hymonot and his family of five children have lived in a studio apartment for years - always dreaming of bigger space some day.  Several months ago our dear friend and wife Denara were dreaming and praying - praying and dreaming.  When his church called him in for a meeting.  They needed to tell him something.  Seems the church inherited a house and the board of elders decided unanimously that Hymonot and his family should be living there - Grace and Mercy abounds.  

A yard for a garden, four rooms, on a street that has a dead end and they are the last house....quiet, peaceful and oh so wonderful for our dear friends.

Today's updates.....

  • Lynn conducted part one of a two part training at the local church..."Helping Relationships"
  • Jenia (our 21 year old Jeremiah youth) - had tests at the hospital for his heart condition  which is "a leaky valve" - came to see Dr. Tatiana and got new meds, a recommendation for his activity.  
  • Ruslan - the burns are being attended to each day and they are still hoping they will not have to do the skin graphs.  We continue to provide the medications for him.  Thank you sponsor!
  • Galya - her burns are improving - each day they are seeing progress.  We continue to provide the medications for her as well.  Thank you sponsor.

Windows and door went in today at the Jeremiah Steps Apartment - thank you sponsor!
Windows out!

Door off!

The mess begins.

Kitchen window out!

Main room window going in!

Door going on!
Lights purchased - five lights.  Kitchen, Bathroom, Main Room and Hall.
That's all the rooms there are in this Studio Apartment!
Window in!

Window in!

Guess this needs a little work too!
We have been waiting for a long time for this apartment - and we have been blessed to see the results.  More about this as time goes on.  

NOW, we need to complete the renovations to be able to use this.  We need about $4,800 total to finish the job.  New kitchen, new bathroom and furnishings for the main room.   The wall paper is great and we won't be replacing that - need to do the floors, get appliances, bathroom items and furniture.  

You can be part of Jeremiah Project too!  Join our team - consider donating for the project.  We will post specifics tomorrow.



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