Posts filed under Engage

A Week of Prayer To Combat a Season of Hunger

By: Kaitlyn Miller

Right now, millions of people in Malawi are unsure of how they will feed themselves and their families. The U.N. estimates that over 2.8 million people will go hungry this year in Malawi due to the devastating floods and drought which swept the country. 

 Hunger has many faces but one key solution; prayer!

Hunger has many faces but one key solution; prayer!

In my American bubble, when I first think of hunger I think, 'Oh, the feeling I get when I am REALLY ready to get home for dinner.' No. True hunger which Malawians are facing is gripping and painful. I have never known real hunger but sadly that is not the case for so many. Thousands of Malawians are already cutting back to one meal a day to try to extend waning resources; but sadly, hard work and being resourceful will simply not be enough. 

So, we are taking a stand. A stand against hunger... that begins on our knees.

It's time to answer the call to action and join us in the fight against hunger. We believe God's promise to provide for his children and we are standing with our Malawian friends to ask the Lord for his provision.

We are taking this next week (October 25- October 31) to set aside time to pray. Click the button below to sign up for a day to join us. We are asking you dedicate your day to seeking God's provision for our children and friends. If you are able to fast during prayer, we ask that you do so.

Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on VolunteerSpot

Just as the Bible tells us in James, The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. We have many ways we can take action in response to this time of need but none of them are as powerful and effective as seeking God's help on behalf of those we love.

As you know, prayer is not just telling God what we need; it is just as much listening and praising as it is asking. If, in your time of seeking God, you are prompted to take further action for Malawi look at our previous two blogs to learn of additional ways we are addressing the hunger situation.

Click below to see scripture prayers we are praying over Malawi and to download your own copy to use in your prayer time.

If you would like to pray for our children by name the sponsorship page is a great place to start. Click on the link below to go to our sponsorship page and see some of the hundreds of children we serve.


Posted on October 23, 2015 and filed under Engage.

Speak up! Talking With Purpose

By: Kaitlyn Miller

Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves;

ensure justice for those being crushed.

Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless,

and see that they get justice

Proverbs 31:8-9

As a woman, I often look to Proverbs 31 for direction but after leaving Malawi I got direction I did not expect; to speak up. I had an amazing time in Malawi but left with a broken heart wanting to do more but not knowing how to do that from another continent. As I was praying on the way back I found this verse.

 Goodbyes are hard. I left a portion of my heart in Malawi but God has shown me how to take action and be whole even while I am across the world. 

Goodbyes are hard. I left a portion of my heart in Malawi but God has shown me how to take action and be whole even while I am across the world. 

Right now, Malawi is facing a time of great need and hunger. Floods followed by drought have devastated the crops and the people. The U.N. estimates that 2.8 people in Malawi will be without food this season. We may be on another continent but there is something we can actively DO.

Circle of Hope has decided to take a BOLD step of faith and start serving all the children in our schools hot breakfast AND lunch during this time of hunger and need. We need your voice and your partnership to make that work. We are looking for advocates willing to answer God’s call to speak up.

We often think of advocating as something only some of us are called to do. I have heard, “That is just not my gift” and, “Someone else will say it better” too many times to count. But, I challenge you to read those words at the top again. It does not say some speak up. In this passage we are given clear, inclusive direction: speak up.

How do I advocate you ask? Let’s brainstorm together. The beautiful thing about calls to action like this, I believe, is that God has equipped us to take this action already. He has given us unique talents, passions, and opportunities to answer this call.

 Karen Roller speaking at a church about our children. Email her and get information for your presentation!

Karen Roller speaking at a church about our children. Email her and get information for your presentation!

Here are several ways to start your journey as the voice of those in need:

       ·      Share information:

Simply sharing the Facebook posts, newsletters, and basic information about Circle of Hope and our plan to address the need is step one. There are many people who are willing and able to step out with on this journey but they have to know we are going on it first.

·      Give a presentation:

Are you a member of a small group at your church? A civic organization or club? Have a group of friends you think would be interested? Share with them! We have presentations ready for you and would be happy to help you gather the needed materials and take that leap of faith to talk to others. Email us at karen@cohcommunity.org to get more information on presentations and materials to use when speaking.

·      Host a dinner:

If your gift is being the life of the party then there is a role for you in advocating! Consider hosting a dinner and inviting those you want to hear about the school lunch program in Malawi. Encourage others to come with the money they would spend on going out to dinner and instead donating that to feed lunch to children in need.

·      Take a child to lunch:

We have figured out that it takes $0.50 to take a child to lunch at the Grace Center. How fun would it be to have an adorable lunch date with one of our sweet kids? You can contact us at karen@cohcommunity.org to get a “lunch kit”. We encourage you to set up a table at work, school, church, etc. and give your friends a chance to see their sweet faces and take one of our children to lunch for the day.

·      Pray:

Speaking on behalf of the children does not stop with talking to the people around you. God tells us the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16) It is time we rise up as prayer warriors on behalf of those we care about! Click the link below to see scripture prayers we are praying over ours kids and download your copy. You can even host a prayer meeting and have others write out prayers for the children and the food shortage.

 

There are a million ways to make your voice heard on behalf of others but none will be effective if the first step is not taken. Now is the time! Do you have a specific talent you want to utilize and include Circle of Hope? Let us know! We love to embrace creativity and continue relationships with those around us!

Do you have a sponsor child? Choose a child and start your journey! 

Posted on October 14, 2015 and filed under Engage.

The Whisper of a Whistle

Written By: Karen Roller

My grandson, Simon hears the whisper of the train whistle long before it reaches the crossing.  “Papa, train, bye, bye!” which translated means, ‘Grandpa, hurry up, let’s go see the train!”

And every day, Papa takes him to see the train. He carries him close to talk with the engineer. He holds him when the whistle blows up close and Simon shakes with excitement and fear!  He walks with him on the side tracks, jumping from tie to tie.

I often don’t hear the train whistle. It’s not that my hearing is bad, but I’m not listening. I don’t really care about the train, but Simon does care. He loves the train so much that he is always listening for it.

I want to listen for God like Simon listens for the train. I know he is speaking, but too often I don’t care to listen. I want him to hold me in his embrace while he whispers his plan. I want him to take me up close to what he is doing, trembling with excitement and awe. I want him to grasp my hand and help me jump to the next; leading me in the direction he wants me to go; I just need to take the step of listening.

 Simon and the train; how great to have such passion and joy. Lord, make us like children!

Simon and the train; how great to have such passion and joy. Lord, make us like children!

We know that God has a plan for the Grace Center and the ministry there. He has told us (during those times we have listened), that he will fulfill all the plans that he has shown us: plans for the church roof to be done, the school to be built, the healing of hurting and broken people to take place – through prayer and through the hospital. Sometimes I get impatient, just like Simon screaming, “Hurry up, Grandpa, let’s get a move on here!” I want things to be finished here and now!

Meanwhile, God is saying, “Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, I will give you rest.” “Take up my yoke, for it is easy and light.”

WHAT? Didn’t God get the memo that things are not finished here at the Grace Center?

He did; and he has a plan for how that is going to happen.

So what I am supposed to do in the meantime?

Pray.

Listen.

Join me.

Will you pray this week?

1.     Food- so that we can extend our school day to a full day instead of half a day. We are planning in the next few weeks to move to a full day of school for the children. This is so important for our kids for two reasons – A) they need more learning time B) this has been a devastating year for the crops and many families are already struggling to feed their children more than one meal a day. For this reason, we want to provide two hot meals a day at our school but we need the resources to purchase more food. Thank you for helping us ask Father for our daily bread.

2.     Secondary Students- We have 38 students in Secondary School this year. They face temptations and challenges that most of them are not equipped to deal with. The influence of western culture is tearing them apart from their cultural roots. Temptations of sex are dragging them into the pit of teen pregnancy and HIV/AIDS. Party atmospheres at some of the schools are leading our kids into situations that keep them from studying and doing well in school. Please join us in praying for God’s protection over our children. Click here for a list of our secondary school students so you can pray for them by name.

3.     Leadership and Planning-  On Friday, Karen meets with a team from Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. This team is preparing to design our school! They will be working on designing our new Early Childhood Development Center (including birth through preschool programs), our new playground, the new dining hall, and 5th to 8th grade classrooms. We’ve completed the building of our 1st to 4th grade classrooms! Check out this video from the summer!

 

Posted on September 23, 2015 and filed under Engage.

The Path To Relationship

By: Kaitlyn Miller

Lives matter. Relationships matter.

The first time I went to Malawi I was eager to get to work. I saw so many needs and felt I could find ways to ‘fix it’.  Thankfully; I was surrounded by loving Malawians who wanted me to understand their way of life and culture. They set me on the path to relationship.

I went to Malawi to face a problem I was very passionate about, food insecurity. I desperately wanted (and still do) to see food available to all the world and people with knowledge and resources to never go hungry. I wanted to go full-steam ahead with my research to help as best I could and as fast as I could. I am so thankful they embraced my passion but taught me a new way to harness it. You see there are no faceless problems in this world. Each direction we are called to serve has a face behind it. Jesus called us to love first and foremost and my Malawian friends gently taught me what that looks like, relationship.

A priority of Malawian culture is to value those around you. Step one of EVERY conversation is a greeting. People ask each other how they are, but it is far from the American ‘Hey, how are you?’ with a quick smile and no pause for response. Malawians genuinely tell each other how they are and then take action.  I once witnessed a lady respond, “Oh, I am not well; my shoulder hurts,” and the woman who had asked how she was immediately stopped and prayed with her. What intentional living and loving!

Our Heavenly Father is very intentional with us. He sent his Son into the world so that we could be restored to real relationship with him. We were not left as orphans just as our children in Malawi are not left alone to face their trials.

Finally, we want to grow in relationship with you just as our Malawian friends have taught us to do. Don’t let your passion go unharnessed; tell us your strengths and get plugged in! We want you to know our kids, staff, and other supporters along with their stories so that you can become a part of the conversation. We want you to join us in praying for our friends, projects, joys, and needs. Do you have prayer needs? We want to pray with you for the things on your heart. Join our email list, sign up as a sponsor, or send us a question when you have one. Join in the conversation on Facebook and Instagram. Let’s take engagement to the next step! We value you as member of the Circle of Hope family; let’s grow together!

Posted on September 12, 2015 and filed under Engage.