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.

Dear My Sponsor...I love you, too!

Sponsor Letter CHALLENGE! Take a picture of your letter when it arrives in the mail. Post it to your favorite social media using #cohcommunity!

Sponsor Letter CHALLENGE! Take a picture of your letter when it arrives in the mail. Post it to your favorite social media using #cohcommunity!

One of the most exciting parts of sponsoring is getting a letter from your child. At first the letters are scribbles, but each year as they grow older, the letters become more complex and fun. Then the day arrives when you receive a letter with legible writing! 

Have you ever wondered how we gather all that information on your sponsor child? Here's a little picture tour of how the process goes.

First, we interview your child!

  • What do you like to play?
  • What do you like to study in school?
  • What do you want to be when you grow up?

Then we take a picture for you! SMILE!

While the children wait to see the doctor, they write their letters to you.

Our doctors and nurses check every child over carefully. Check-ups sometimes bring tears, but we want our kids to be healthy!

After all the info is gathered, the check-ups are done, and the letters are written, we bring all the cards and letters back here to our US office. We enter the info in the database, translate the letters and send them to you!

When your letter arrives in the mail, don't forget to post a selfie with it to your favorite social media using #cohcommunity! 

You haven't started sponsoring yet? Now is the perfect time to begin! Here are a bunch of children who still need sponsors:


Patricia's Home Girls Say YES to Jesus!

Written by: Kayla Stine 

Sydney with girls from Patricia's Home

Sydney with girls from Patricia's Home

Prior to going to Malawi, myself and two other team members had prepared to lead a Bible study with the girls at Patricia’s Home.  We had prayed about this and were excited for the opportunity to share our faith with these girls we love so dearly.  Once we got to Malawi it felt like obstacle after obstacle was preventing us from getting started.  Whether it was other projects getting in the way, not having a translator, and so on, it just kept getting pushed back.  

But one beautiful Thursday afternoon, we were finally able to start our Bible study.  

The Bible study began with the 13 Patricia’s Home girls, 4 of us American girls, and Clara, our Malawian translator sitting in a circle on the floor in one of the preschool classrooms.  It was quite hot in the room with very little breeze, and there was a lot of noise from the Grace Center flooding the room. Some of the younger ones were trying to come in, laughing hysterically knowing they were interrupting.  I moved so I could sit in front of the door to help keep some of the distractions out, but inside I was becoming worried that this wasn’t going to go as planned. 

Kayla with Gladys from Patricia's Home

Kayla with Gladys from Patricia's Home

The girls began by singing Malawian praise and worship songs.  It was so beautiful; I didn’t want it to end.  When they were finished singing, we opened up our time together by asking if any of the girls had a favorite Bible story or verse they wanted to share with us.  Right off the bat one of the girls, Gladys, told us one of her favorite verses.  She then asked us to explain another verse to her, a verse that led us right into the gospel message.  We taught the girls about the good news of the gospel and of Jesus’ love for them.  We taught them that Jesus died on the cross to pay the price for their sins. And we taught them that if they confess with their mouth and believe in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, they will be saved. 

These girls live in a Christian orphanage.  They have heard the gospel message before and I assumed many of them already had a personal relationship with Christ.  So at the end of our first Bible study I asked if anyone who had not yet accepted Christ into her life wanted to receive him today. I did not expect every single girl to raise her hand.  We even had Clara ask a second time to make sure it was translated right.  Every single girl made the decision to accept Christ.  And there was no hesitation.  They raised their hands in unison, there was no looking around to see who else was raising their hand, each girl made that decision on her own. 

We were blown away.

We then prayed with the girls and they all together accepted Christ into their lives.  There were tears, hugs, laughter, and celebration.  Trying to put it into words will never do it justice, but knowing 13 girls get to have a personal relationship with Jesus AND get to spend eternity with Him is such a miracle.  

Mickenzie with some of the girls from Patricia's Home

Mickenzie with some of the girls from Patricia's Home

While praying with each of the girls the presence of the Holy Spirit was so evident in the room. I could personally see the genuine desire and hunger on each of the girls’ faces. They wanted to know Christ personally.
— Mickenzie Brownlow

In the days following their decision, we noticed a change in the girls.  They were seeking Him, they were asking questions, they were reading their Bibles… they showed a true desire to know Him more.  Their attitudes and the way they treated one another was different. One of the girls, Karolini, confessed the next day that she had stolen a pencil at school the day before. After giving her heart to Jesus, she was convicted of her sin and returned the pencil to her classmate.

Other team members continued the Bible studies with the girls after I left and I am so thankful there were team members willing to pour into these girl’s lives like that.  I am so excited to see how God is going to use these girls to bring Him glory.  Having the opportunity to pray with 13 girls whom I love deeply as they made the decision to accept Christ was hands down the best part of my summer. 

As we followed up with them the next day they were already sharing of testimonies and breakthroughs that they had experienced within the last 24 hours. They wanted to change and become all that God has created them to be, and it all happened with 13 hungry hearts and souls, seeking love that can only be fulfilled through Christ.
— Mickenzie Brownlow

Engaging in God's Work in Malawi from Home - Becky's Story

My name is Becky Weavill. I am a mother of four and I live in Maryland with my husband Dave, and my youngest two children. Recently I have been searching and asking the Lord to use me and my gifts.  I am a Dietitian at a Veterans home. I love all things food, from teaching about nutrition, planning menus for my patients, and blessing others with the food I prepare. I am often cooking for people at church and bringing food in to work to show love to those around me. 

My daughter Jackie first travelled to Malawi two years ago. She came home and shared many stories of the children and Grace Center staff members. I was incredibly moved by the work that God is doing there but I had no idea how I could help. How can God possibly use me to make a difference? I am not like my daughter, I can’t go to Malawi… but I want to be involved.  

It is now two years later and I have found my piece! This summer Jackie texted me from Africa asking about the price of spoons. She explained how the 700 plus children at the school had only 30 spoons. The children were passing around the spoons to share and were even eating food with their fingers. My heart broke for those precious children.                                                                                        This was something I could help with!

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Staff: (left to right) Lauren Wathen, RDN LDN; Mary Dixon, Director of Nutrition Services; Sarah Crook, Assistant Director of Nutrition Services; Becky Weavill, RDN, LDN, Chief Clinical Dietitian  

Charlotte Hall Veterans Home Staff: (left to right) Lauren Wathen, RDN LDN; Mary Dixon, Director of Nutrition Services; Sarah Crook, Assistant Director of Nutrition Services; Becky Weavill, RDN, LDN, Chief Clinical Dietitian  

In working in a dietary department I was able to order spoons in bulk at a discounted rate. When Jackie came home from Malawi I had 100 sets of silverware waiting for her. I was able to use my gifting to make a difference in Malawi.

Like all mothers, I love to talk about my children. I was sharing about my daughter and her recent trip to Malawi at work. We talked about the children in the orphan program, the school children and my donation of silverware. The dietary manager was so moved by the stories I shared that she donated 500 more spoons to Circle of Hope! 

What is my piece to the puzzle? I am able to engage in the work God is doing in Malawi from home by simply making sure the children don't have to eat with their hands. 

puzzel qwe.jpg

What piece of the puzzle is in your hands? 


Posted on October 15, 2014 and filed under Engage.