We had a hectic January. On December 31 we went to town to do some final preparations for a movie night for the Umumbe church. While we were driving our 2003 VW Jetta, it started making a lot of noise and wasn’t starting properly. We decided to head straight to the VW garage to have it checked. About a mile from there, the engine died and would not restart so we had to be towed to VW. After several days they told us the engine was finished and presented us with a quote for parts and labor that was about double the value of the car. They said they would try to find a used engine, but they are rare. We decided to offer it for sale – as is – and had a few queries and finally a concrete offer. We decided to accept the offer and say “good-bye” to a car we had enjoyed for many years. The buyer collected it from VW on the 30th of January and on the 7th of February we met him and he was driving it. He had managed to find an engine and he and a friend installed it!
Meantime we were car-shopping. All of our children drive Toyotas and encouraged us to follow suit. We approached the local dealer (where John used to work) and it didn’t take us long to find a new (to us) car. They had a 2018 Toyota Corolla Quest that was demo model which would meet our needs. We were able to take possession of it on February 7.
We did go to the Umzumbe church on New Years’ Eve and showed a movie to a very small crowd. We had a movie that was aimed at adults and the people who came were mostly children. We had made popcorn so the children loved that. We will choose a children’s movie next time!! The evening ended with a time of prayer and we were home shortly after midnight.
Schools reopened on January 9. Since Dawn is a teacher she had to be at school a couple of days early so we had her girls (Chayah and Seanna) for two days. Dina’s daughter, Erin, also hadn’t started school so we decided to have her join us so we had a lot of fun with the three of them. They stayed overnight one night!
We have been attending the Umzumbe church since we got back. We were very disappointed the first couple of times as so few people were there, but it seems it was just because it was December and many people were away with family. The past few weeks the attendance has been between 20 and 30. Interestingly, many of those who come are children from the community whose parents do not come. One of the ladies teaches a short Sunday School lesson for them. Pray with us that the children continue to come and that they make commitments to the Lord!
I am sure most of you know that my step-Mom, who was my Mom for over 50 years, passed away on February 1st. We knew the time was very near and had debated whether I should return to the US for the funeral. In the end, in consultation with my sister and step-sister, I decided not to go. As you know the weather in Minnesota has been brutal and even some of the near-by family were not able to be at the funeral so I am sure my decision was right. One of my step-nephews was able to have the entire service videoed and I received it the day after the funeral. I am so thankful for the times I had been able to visit Mom over the past two years when we were in the US. She was a joyful, lovely lady!
The day care center has reopened and we are struggling with teachers this year. Our main teacher from last year has enrolled in a training program for teachers so isn’t able to be there every day. The other teachers have no formal training. Also the parents are sending younger children who need more full-time care so we may have to hire more care-givers for them. Michael and Malu, who assists us with the day care center, will meet with the parents and make some decisions.
Just a short story of what Goers are doing around the world. The following is from the team leader of a Goer who is serving in Central Asia on a farm project:
"Abraham has been a tremendous gift on the farm project related to our Bible Training Center. All of our students work alongside Abraham on a daily basis. One major highlight came on Abraham's birthday. His birthday fell during a time that we had 40 Iranians from our church planting network inside their country for exegetical training. On birthdays it is customary for Iranian people to give a blessing to the person whose birthday is being celebrated. One and after stood up and gave testimony to Abraham being a man of few words and more a man of action. He has been an absolute dream for our team. Since Abraham has arrived we have baptized 41 Iranians and almost all of these men Abraham has touched in some way or anther. It has been great to watch him flourish."
Some things you can definitely be praying about are:
- Praise God for stories like these and many others from around the world!
- Pray for GoCorps mobilizers who are back on the road, visiting colleges
- Praise God, the Nelsons found a car!
I would love to hear how you are doing and to hear about ways that I can be lifting you up in prayer.
Mike & Jackie Nelson
Olivia, Eden, & Brielle
Valley Christian Church,
I want to write to tell you thank you for the offering that you send me every month.
As the minister of the Ontañon Church of Christ, I would like to report a growth in all areas. We now have 3 new classrooms (adult, youth & children). The adults grew the most by having 4 the first week & then three weeks later they had 15.
We have outreach to the community by a food pantry and a new Christian book club. Our needy neighbors were so happy to receive fresh fruits & vegetables. The book club will meet on Mondays. (one in the morning and the other in the evening). The first book is about Christian Ethics.
Again thank you.
José Manuel Gonzalez
Emanuel Mexico Mission
Dear Friends of HopeKids,
In 2018, your support provided 504 events to 1,409 families - many days, multiple events were taking place! More importantly, you provided a safe community for families to meet others who understand the toll that medical bills and hospital visits can have on families who have a child with a life-threatening medical condition. A two-hour event can have a lasting impact when you meet new friends who become family.
"I can’t explain the feeling we had being surrounded by parents who 'get it.' It was wonderful being somewhere we don’t feel out of place. Each and every person understood Sawyer and what it’s like to live in our shoes. It’s wonderful to be able to exhange information and ideas with families, as well. We had a wonderful time and feel so blessed to have found HopeKids to help us feel included in an oftentimes excluded life." - Francie, Sawyer’s mom
Your generous support creates a safe and suppportive community that brings hope to the hearts of families, just like Sawyer's. Thank you for believing in and advancing the mission of HopeKids!
Brian Anderson, Executive Director