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Entries in prayer request (69)

How We Help In A Crisis: Yovany's Story

Poverty-stricken environments are rarely child friendly. The risks press in on every side, from unclean water or basic sanitation, to the lack of nutritious food that weakens their overall health.

But every once in a while we hear a story so frightening, it makes our hearts stop – and what happened to Yovany is one of those stories.

Yovany lived in an area of Honduras where few adults could find gainful employment. So Yovany did what he could to help, gathering scrap metal as he came home from school so his mother could sell it for extra money.

One day he found an object that felt so heavy in his hand, he was sure it would garner the extra funds they needed each month. He didn't realize it was a grenade, and when he got home and tossed his bag on the floor, the grenade exploded, inflicting tremendous damage to his body.

Rushed to the hospital, Yovany’s family didn’t know if he would survive, let alone how they would pay the swiftly mounting medical bills.

But Yovany was registered in a One Child Matters project, whose staff rushed to the family’s side. When they sent notice of his accident to our office, we knew where we could turn – to you, and to your donations to the Children’s Crisis Fund.

The Children’s Crisis Fund allows us to respond quickly to emergencies of all shapes and sizes, from the aftermath of super typhoons like the one that recently hit the Philippines, to the aid of children like Yovany who need emergency care.

After multiple surgeries to address the wounds in his arms, legs, and abdomen, the risk of infection was great. The doctors knew Yovany’s left eye was permanently damaged, and the CCF helped get him to follow-up appointments. It also helped the project staff respond to Yovany’s emotional needs as he adjusted to his new reality.

Today, Yovany has worked through his sadness and frustration. He continues to be highly involved with the activities at his project and is doing well in school. “I thank God for giving me a second chance at life,” Yovanny shared with us recently. His mother agreed, saying that “the care you have given my child is a great example of the love God has for each one of us.”

That is the glory of the Children’s Crisis Fund – it acts as an extension of God’s love, moving in response to tremendous need, a tangible expression of His mercy and grace.

Please consider donating to the Children’s Crisis Fund this year so we can continue to help children like Yovany when their needs go beyond what sponsorship can provide. The CCF also allows us to respond to larger-scale events like the disaster in the Philippines after Super Typhoon Haiyan.

Thank you for your generous gifts – we are so grateful for your prayers and support as we meet the needs of children all over the world.

Prayers And Progress In The Philippines

The reports from the Philippines continue to challenge and encourage us.

Our staff and partners are working hard to continually evaluate the needs of the three communities we serve. Relief supplies from partners like Convoy of Hope are helping feed families – thousands of enriched rice packs, which are enough to feed a family of six, continue to be distributed.

Our projects continue to operate as strategic hubs of care and support. The church building in Daan Bantayan has one of the few working water filters thanks to the quick action of our partners and support from the Children’s Crisis Fund. Pastor Victor estimates that they are one of the few centers offering respite and relief to this community of 1600. They continue to feed more than 200 kids.

Some of the first tarps went to the church building to protect the families who seek shelter there at night. During the day, meals are distributed and families come to get clean water. Medical clinics have been held there.

The impact of Super Typhoon Haiyan on the surrounding area continues to astound relief workers. Palm trees either bent by the force or were snapped off at the top, leaving eerie trunks reaching toward the sky. Homes were completely destroyed, and families are building shelter out of whatever’s left. Revealing the desperation of these families, many are seeking shelter in the nearby graveyards; the crypts were some of the few structures still standing in the wake of the storm.

Here are the prayer requests and the praises from the staff ministering in these areas:

PRAISE: The customs office renewed the certification needed to release the container held at their port. Praise God that these much-needed supplies are making their way north to the areas hard hit by the Super Typhoon. What’s more – 4 more container ships are on their way across the ocean. Please continue praying for favor with the authorities so these supplies are not held up in any bureaucratic way.

PRAISE: For the volunteers who continue to help the staff prepare supplies and meet the needs of the children at the projects. So far, 13 Bible College students helped assemble bags, and women who graduated from the Philippines Child Rescue Home also volunteered at the medical clinic in Daan Bantayan. Countless others are donating to the Children’s Crisis Fund, continuing to help us meet needs there!

REQUESTS: Travel to the hard-hit areas remains difficult, as the few roads remaining are clogged with supplies for distribution. We praise God that the staff’s knowledge of the area (many were born in the region) allowed the team to find alternate routes. Please pray that God continues to make a way for both our staff and for the supplies needed all over the Philippines.

Pray also for continued strength and guidance for the staff.

Pray for protection for the children who are surviving in these unsafe conditions. Some authorities are reporting that children in the affected regions are at higher risk for trafficking and exploitation as parents struggle to provide for them. Many safe places such as schools were destroyed. We praise God that two of our three project buildings still stand, and continue to serve the community.

Please continue to donate to the Children’s Crisis Fund, which is helping us respond to both the urgent needs for things like food, shelter, and water, while also evaluating the long-term needs like rebuilding the project building at Ati and other homes in the community.

Thanks as always for your prayers – as our partner Glenn, who has lived in the Philippines for years has shared, “Praise the Lord with us. God is so good. He is hearing and answering all kind of prayers.”

Massive Storm Strikes Philippines

Another massive storm is barreling down on an area where One Child Matters' projects are located, and we are requesting your prayers for the children and staff in that area.

Typhoon Haiyan is equivalent to a category 5 hurricane, with winds over 150mph and heavy rains, and is considered the strongest storm seen this year. The areas our projects serve are expecting to be hit hard.

We will post updates as we are able -- the staff have been able to report that they have preemptively sent additional food and supplies to areas that may be in greatest need. Please be patient as we wait for updates -- disasters like this often make communication difficult.

When natural disasters and personal emergencies strike the children we serve, we rely on the Children's Crisis Fund to respond. A small donation can go a long way in helping a family get back on their feet. Please consider making a donation today to help us meet the tremendous needs created by storms such as Haiyan.

Thanks as always for your prayers. In the past we have asked for prayer and seen storms turn around -- such is the power of our God, the storm-stiller. Please join us in praying for protection and provision for these children and their families.

How Children Are Affected In Disasters

A little more than two weeks ago, we asked you to pray for the children in our care in a region called Coastal Orissa in northeast India as a super cyclone came ashore, devastating this impoverished area.

Cyclone Phailin’s force as it made landfall was comparable to Hurricane Katrina – and given the fact that most people lived in fishing villages in simple structures of thatch and tin, the scale of this disaster is vast.

We’ve received an update on the damage to the communities our projects serve. If you’d like to help us respond to the urgent needs in this area, please consider making a donation to the Children’s Crisis Fund. Here are a few of the ways the children have been affected in the wake of the storm:

  • In some areas, the storm surge was between 6 and 12 feet high. Many people took shelter in our schools during the storm, yet the buildings also sustained significant damage. Many of the buildings lost their roofs or windows, and classrooms were damaged by the winds and rains.
  • Families in this region tried to make a living by fishing; the storm not only destroyed their homes, it swept their fishing boats out to sea, leaving many without means to earn an income.
  • Food is scarce and expensive – the cost of staples like onions and potatoes has risen 600 percent. Most families are living off of dal (lentils) and rice. Currently the projects are feeding the children each day (even if school is not held) but there is not enough food to feed their parents and siblings, too.
  • Thankfully, the government is trucking in clean water twice a day, but it is not enough to sustain people. In some areas, our projects had wells, but many are now filled with sand or polluted with runoff and not suitable for drinking.
  • Sanitation methods were destroyed, putting people at increased risk for illnesses – whatever water that was left has stagnated; many doctors fear an outbreak of cholera.

This is why the Children's Crisis Fund (CCF) is so important. It enables us to respond quickly to meet the urgent needs of families who may have lost everything. We can also use the CCF to help projects repair damage, allowing ministry to the children to continue during a critical time.

As always, we will contact you if your sponsored child was directly affected by Phailin or by any other disaster. Your sponsorship, combined with measures like the Children's Crisis Fund, help meet the needs of your child who otherwise may be overlooked in times of disaster.

Your prayers for the children and their families in Costal Orissa are as valuable as ever. Thank you for standing with us in prayer and support for the children!

 

Update On India And Cyclone Damage

Thank you for your prayers for the children and those who serve them in India!

We praise God that so many people were able to evacuate (more than 1 million people fled from the coastal region in the cyclone's path) and so many lives were spared given cyclone Phailin's scope and strength.

However, the storm response and clean-up are just beginning. We  have received preliminary word from our country staff about damage to some project buildings. Several families also lost their homes, especially in the coastal fishing villages.

As is the case with any natural disaster, we will notify you if your sponsored child is directly affected. We appreciate your patience as the project staff continues to check on areas damaged by the storm; most of the power lines were destroyed and train service disrupted, making communication difficult.

Please join us in praying that those whose homes were damaged can find shelter and food as they begin rebuilding efforts. Water sources may have also been contaminated by flood waters, so please pray for the health of the children and their families.

You can help us respond to natural disasters and medical emergencies by giving to the Children's Crisis Fund. And thank you, as always, for your prayers and support!

Prayer Request: "Super Cyclone" Hits India

Tropical Cyclone Phailin's path as of noon on Saturday. Image courtesy of the Pacific Disaster Center's weather unit. pdc.org/weatherTropical Cyclone Phailin made landfall near coastal Orissa (also called Odisha in some news reports), a region with several One Child Matters programs.

Our staff reports that several thousand people have been evacuated from the fishing villages along the coast, and news stories mention that as many as 500,000 people had been evacuated before the storm hit.

Tropical Cyclone Phailin is considered a severe storm, with winds well over 100mph; it is expected to dump at least 4-8 inches of rain in most areas. In strength and size, Phailin is considered comparable to Hurricane Katrina, and the area in which it made landfall is home to thousands who live in simple homes made of thatch and tin. Bangladesh is also receiving massive amounts of rain as the storm surges.

(The Medical Mercy team that was serving in India this week is departing from another region and is thus far unaffected by the storm.)

Please pray with us for the safety of the children and their families, for our staff who have families of their own, and for our projects that often become places of refuge in times like this.

You can help us respond to the crises wrought by storms such as Phailin by making a donation to our Children's Crisis Fund. Every donation helps us meet the immediate needs of families devastated by disasters and illnesses.

Thank again for your prayers, and for your partnership for the benefit of the children!

 

Prayer Request: Colorado

The Black Forest Fire is affecting the northeast side of Colorado Springs. (Photo taken June 11, by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

UPDATE (June 17, 2013):

Friends, we praise God for the progress in containing the Black Forest Fire. Although the fire has devastated the area, destroying more than 480 homes and burning nearly 15,000 acres, we have hope. At this writing it is 65% contained, and fire officials estimate it will be controlled and contained later this week.

We have seen time and again how prayers make all the difference. At the end of last week, Colorado Springs received several much-needed rain storms, giving firefighters a bit of an edge as they fought for people's homes.

Still, there were too many losses, including two deaths. We grieve with our city and friends as we look toward restoration and healing for this beautiful area of the city. Thank you for all of your prayers and support; please continue to pray for the families affected.

Our office is no longer under pre-evacuation status, and we are back at work for the children. Thank you for your patience and prayers!

 

ORIGINAL POST:

Dear friends - please pray for Colorado!

As you may know, there have already been several wildfires in Colorado this year.

On Tuesday, June 11th, a wildfire started in Black Forest on the northeast side of Colorado Springs, the city where One Child Matters is headquartered.  Due to extreme temperatures, drought, and high winds, this fire has quickly spread to more than 15,000 acres. 

More than 40,000 people have already been evacuated, and at last report more than 360 homes have been destroyed, the most in Colorado history.

Our offices are located directly west of these fires, in an area that is currently being evacuated as this devastating wildfire continues to move and grow.  As a result, we have evacuated and closed our offices to allow our staff to be with their families and make necessary preparations.
 
While we ask for your prayers for protection and peace for those displaced (including some of our staff members) we also want to assure you that ministry to the children we serve will not be affected in any way.
 
We praise God that our organization can operate remotely thanks to the contingency planning of our executive leadership team and the tireless efforts of our staff.  Our office is just a building – the ministry goes on, and we are steadfast in our efforts to bring hope, truth, life, love, and mercy to the children we serve all over the world.
 
We covet your prayers as we transition into our contingency work systems over the next couple of days.  Please be patient with us during this time, as some of our administrative support services will be disrupted temporarily. Here’s how we’re praying for the situation – please join us!

  • Pray for rain, cooler temperatures, and calm winds.
  • Pray for the safety and strength of the first responders as they fight this unpredictable fire.
  • Pray for those who have been displaced and may have lost their homes.
  • Pray for the One Child Matters family.
  • Pray that God will be glorified and accomplish His purposes in the midst of this tragedy.

We are so grateful for your continued friendship and support of the ministry of One Child Matters.  We are strengthened by your commitment and by the faithfulness of our Father, who is greater than any fire.

Prayer Request: Storm Strikes Philippines

This is Typhoon Bopha's project path as of December 4, 2012. Please keep the Philippines in your prayers! (Image courtesy of the Pacific Disaster Center's Global Hazard Atlas at weather.pdc.org.) A massive typhoon churned through the Philippines, and our country staff is asking for your prayers.

UPDATE: Our projects received rain but sustained no real damage; most of the storm's force was well south of them. However, they ask for your continued prayers:

"Please pray for these people who lost their loved ones during the typhoon. It will be hard for them to celebrate this special season because of their present situation. There are some who are still missing due to landslides. Thank you so much for your concern."

Typhoon Bopha made landfall early Tuesday morning just south of the island where most of our projects are located. Although spared a direct hit, they are experienced heavy rains.

When it first made landfall, Typhoon Bopha was considered a "super typhoon" with Category 5 strength (roughly the size and power of Hurricane Katrina). Thankfully it has since weakened to a Category 2 storm. Most families in this region of the Philippines live in the most basic of homes with tin roofs and wood slat walls. It’s estimated that more than 50,000 have fled seeking shelter from the rains and mudslides that are common in the mountainous areas of the Philippines.

We’d appreciate your prayers for the safety of the children and their families as this storm passes. To help us respond to crises like typhoons (and smaller yet equally devastating incidents such as medical emergencies) One Child Matters relies on the Children’s Crisis Fund. Your donations enable us to move quickly in times of need. If you’d like to help, visit www.onechildmatters.org/ccf to make a donation online.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support. We will provide updates as we are able.

Medical Mercy in Swaziland

On a day where we as Americans stop and recognize what we have and what we want in this country, it may be fitting to read an update from Dr. Beyda and the Medical Mercy team currently serving the children in our projects in Swaziland. Please keep them in prayer!

Day 1
We went to the very first project ever opened and where we had built out medical clinic over 5 years ago. 307 patients were seen after a late start. A few very sick children: one who was sent to a hospital, one child who was severely neurologically devastated from birth, and one who need her foot amputated due to progressive gangrene. All that in addition to 5 hours of lectures to the Health Care Workers, nutritional assessments, dental hygiene, VBS, spiritual counseling, pharmacy, all patients entered into our database using bar codes, reading glasses for the elderly and more.

The team didn't blink an eye. For now, everyone here sends hello to their loved ones. We were promised a working internet server tomorrow. We'll see. Tomorrow is another day, another test of our endurance and a test of faith.

Day 2
A place far from the main city finds a small project with 150 children. A somewhat slow day leaves us moving through the patient load easily without stress and able to spend time with our patients.

The children are anxious for attention, going from one of us to another, looking for and receiving hugs. We look to their faces as they sing, seeing happiness despite the lack of comforts as we know them. I wonder if we should look at ourselves once in awhile and see if we truly need all that we have.

All is well. The team is cohesive and working in unison, the purpose evident.

Country Prayer Requests

Each week, we set aside time as a staff to pray through prayer requests we’ve received from you and our partners overseas. It is so important to support those who work directly with your sponsored child.

Here are some of the requests we've been praying for this week and into the next:

ETHIOPIA: The cost of living in Ethiopia continues to rise, putting strain on the parents of children registered in our programs as well as project staff. Our Ethiopian staff has such a huge heart for the children, but they are burdened by their own needs as well. Please pray with us for provision and that our staff can find favor at home, in the marketplace, and in their communities to help them make the most of their resources.

Also, a mission trip with radio listeners from The House FM in Oklahoma and WCLN in North Carolina will leave for Ethiopia on September 13. They will help build a restroom and shower facility at one of the projects to address pressing public sanitation and health issues. They’re also going to do Vacation Bible School with the kids. It’s going to be a powerful trip, please pray with us that God will do much in them and through them.

KENYA: A Women’s Circle of Caring team is also leaving on September 13th for their final trip to the Emarti Maasai people. They have many projects and programs for the children and their mothers. A special message will be given – please pray for open ears and hearts.

CAMBODIA: A serious and mysterious illness is striking children in Cambodia; several children have died but the cause of this sickness has yet to be determined. We praise God that none of the children in our programs have fallen ill, but we must continue to pray protection over them and for the staff as they stay vigilant. Please also pray that the government and health care workers can find the cause of this to address it before more children are sickened or lost to this disease. 

HAITI: Our staff asks for prayers for the parents to stay involved in the development of their children. As parents come to understand the benefit and value of the program, the children attend more consistently.

ZIMBABWE: So many communities need help. Please pray for discernment for the country staff and that God continues to raise up sponsors who can help them minister in powerful ways.

HONDURAS: Gangs are very active in several of the communities we serve. Please pray for the safety of our staff and that children in our programs find sanctuary at the centers. Siblings and parents can also use prayer that they stay out of reach of the gangs and provide positive, stable role models for the kids.

Thank you, as always, for joining us in prayer for the sake of the kids.

 

Praying For Haiti, Wells, Partners

Photo of Isaac's path on Saturday, August 25. Courtesy of NOAA.Many of us are watching the news as Tropical Storm strengthens into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico. We are thankful to report that aside from heavy rains, our programs in Haiti are okay.

Please pray with us as a team from LifeWater International is in Haiti to evaluate water sources and determine the best places for possible water wells. Please pray that any flooding recedes quickly so the assessments can move forward.

We are also praying for our many friends and ministry partners in Louisiana and Mississippi.

We have seen how our God can still storms and even turn them around. We are standing with you in prayer!

 

Staff In Need Of Urgent Prayer

Please pray for our ministry partners and friends, Charlotte and Mitch Hildebrant, who oversee our child development centers in Swaziland.

We rarely request prayer for individual staff members, but this is an exceptional case. Our dear friends and partners in ministry, Mitch and Charlotte Hildebrant, need your prayers.

Mitch and Charlotte are the directors for Children’s Cup – Africa, our partner in Swaziland, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. (Before that, they worked with One Child Matters and Bethesda Christian Broadcasting!)

UPDATE: Mitch has had a second abdominal surgery and is recovering well. Praise the Lord, he has not needed another chest tube. We are praying for cotinued healing. More updates in the prayer requests below.

In the middle of March, Mitch went to the hospital in Swaziland with appendicitis. During the appendectomy, the surgeon discovered a (thankfully benign) tumor in his intestines. Since then, however, Mitch has had serious complications, including pneumonia, dehydration, and several severe infections. (You can read more about that here.)

He was eventually transferring to a hospital in South Africa with better medical resources, but doctors are still struggling to address these pressing health issues, and they face several more weeks of treatment and recovery.

Our heart aches for our friends, because we know their hearts long to be on the field ministering to the kids in Swaziland.

We also know we have some serious prayer warriors in the Mission of Mercy family (after all, the last time we asked for prayer, God stalled a major cyclone and sent it away from southern Africa)!

Please join us in praying for Mitch and Charlotte. Here are a few specifics:

  • Please pray against a second intestinal leak, which could lead to major infections and another surgery. Also pray that Mitch’s wound from the first surgery would heal supernaturally fast.
    UPDATE: There was a second leak and a second surgery the 3rd week in May. Thankfully Mitch has responded well and it looks like his intestines are functioning. We are praying this will be the last major surgery and he can move on to healing from here!
  • Please pray for minimal pain during dressing changes, that his oxygen levels will be high and his blood pressure low. Please pray against the multiple infections, especially those which have settled in his lungs.
    UPDATE: This is still an accurate request. Keep praying against infection!
  • Please pray against the anxiety this situation naturally produces in Mitch and Char, and in their families who are so far from them during this scary time. Please pray for peace and solid rest for Mitch and Charlotte. Please also pray for the Children’s Cup staff who continue to serve the children in One Child Matters projects.
    UPDATE: Mitch's mother is now in South Africa with Mitch and Char, praise God. Please continue praying against anxiety, which is affecting Mitch's breathing. Please continue to lift up the Children's Cup staff as they are short-handed and still trying to serve the children faithfully.

Friends, we are grateful for your partnership in prayer and for the children. We trust that the Lord, who made healing a major focus of His ministry on earth, will continue to provide for Mitch and Charlotte.

How We're Praying This Week

So much is happening all over the world -- here's how you can join us in prayer for our projects and the areas we serve.

PRAISE: Confounding all storm path projects, Tropical Cyclone Irina HAS TURNED AND HEADED OUT TO SEA! We had asked for prayer late last week as initially Irina looked to hit our projects in Swaziland and Mozambique.

To our amazement and, frankly, God’s glory, the storm is no longer a major threat. This is fantastic news because it is harvest season in this region, and the heavy wind and rains from this type of storm could devastate a much-needed maize harvest.

Current forecasts show that Irina is weakening as it spins over the colder waters of the south Indian Ocean. We are praying that Irina continues to weaken and stays far, far away from our children and projects in southern Africa.

TRIP PRAYER: A women’s mission trip to Cambodia leaves on Thursday, March 8. This diverse team of 40 women will serve Mission of Mercy’s Mechrey Floating School as well as the projects in the Siem Reap area. We are praying for safe travels, and that all of their supplies arrive safely in country!

PROVISION PRAYER: We’re also praying for our projects in Lebanon, as more and more refugees flee the violence in Syria. One of our projects is especially close to the Syrian border, but many of our programs serve the refugee population in other areas of Lebanon.

As the influx of exiles grows, so too does the strain on infrastructure, increasing the chances that refugees will face discrimination from established families already struggling to get by. In addition to praying for a quick resolution to the violence in Syria, we are praying that the fleeing families are finding sanctuary, and that those receiving them are able to provide help to them.  

UPDATE: Cyclone Turns Toward Ocean, Prayers Still Needed

Image courtesy of the Pacific Disaster Center's Global Hazard Atlas. For updated storm pictures, click on the image to be taken to their website. March 4 UPDATE: Your prayers are working! Tropical Cyclone Irina has shifted course and is not following the path initially projected.

As our friends and staff in Swaziland shared, "a strange phenomenon has the cyclone circling in the ocean. 'Strange phenomenon'... LOL... yeah, we know His name!"

Please keep praying with us. The new projections still pose some risk for our project in Xai-Xai, Mozambique, especially, which already suffered major damage from previous storms in January. The areas our projects serve are marked with white dots in the image above.

Please continue to cover them in prayer, that Irina continues to turn and does not hit Xai-Xai or other areas in Swaziland or Mozambique.

The original March 2 Path and Request:

Tropical Cyclone Irina as of March 2. Image courtesy of the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System/UN/EC. Our friends and staff in Mozambique and Swaziland are coveting your prayers as Tropical Cyclone Irina heads their way. Expected to make landfall in the next 24 hours, Tropical Cyclone Irina is gaining strength; the Mozambican cities of Xai-Xai and Maputo, where Mission of Mercy has two projects, are in its path.

The storm is also projected to hit Swaziland, and many in the area are already fearing damage on the scale of a 1984 storm that devastated the region. As the maize (corn) harvest is approaching, the expected flooding and wind damage could have disastrous effects on the nation's food supply.

Please join us in praying that Cyclone Irina changes its course. These two nations are still recovering from the havoc wrecked by two massive storms in January. We are standing with the children, their families, and the staff that serves them in prayer. Please pray with us!

We will keep you posted as we learn more information. As always, if your sponsored child is directly affected, we will contact you as soon as possible. If you would like to help us anticipate the needs in these two countries, please consider a donation to the Children's Crisis Fund.

Philippines Earthquake: Children OK

As you may have heard in news reports, a large 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck the central Philippines. The epicenter was on Negros Island, to the southwest of Cebu Island, where many Mission of Mercy programs are located.

Our staff reports that the earthquake was “so strong. Everyone went out of the building to an open space. But everyone is alright.” Thankfully, a social worker was present and was able to provide counseling to children who were frightened by the event.

A dental team is also in the Philippines providing dental care to children in our projects. They experienced the trembler and several aftershocks. They will travel to another city tomorrow and ask for prayers for good weather, as much of the travel between islands involves ferry boats.

Prayer Requests: Of Books And Teeth

We have two very different mission teams leaving this weekend.

THE PHILIPPINES

A dental team is traveling to the Philippines to provide much-needed cleanings, exams, and other services to our projects there. This may be the first time some of our children have seen an actual dentist. Please pray for a spirit of trust to form between the team and the community, and for an absence of fear for the little ones getting their first cleaning!

THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

On Sunday, a very special team of elementary and middle-school aged kids (and their parents and grandparents) are leaving for the DR. In response to the need in one of the communities we serve, the team raised funds to build a library.

The project expects to use the space to help children (like the sweet little girl pictured above) study and help their parents learn to read and gain new skills. We are quite excited to share more about their trip with you when they return. In the meantime, please pray for their travel and the work ahead!

Same Country: New Prayer Request

Cyclone Funso's projected path as of 5pm January 24th may avoid areas our programs serve. Image courtesy of the Pacific Disaster Center's Global Hazard Atlas.

UPDATE: Cyclone Funso's path is taking it out to sea. Praise God with us that our friends in Mozambique and Swaziland were spared more storms.

When it rains, it pours. And that’s definitely happening in Mozambique and Swaziland. Less than a week after Tropical Storm Dando made landfall and ruined both church buildings and homes in the communities we serve, now Cyclone Funso is threatening.

Today it strengthened to a Category 4 storm with winds over 130 mph. Thankfully, it seems to be drifting along the Mozambique Channel and has not veered inland.

We are praying Cyclone Funso continues on its projected path and skirts past Mozambique and Swaziland. Still, bands of intense storms are raking across southern Africa. Even Bulawayo, Zimbabwe is getting large amounts of rain. (You can see the general location of our projects in the white dots on the image above.)

As the ground is already saturated from Tropical Storm Dando, the aftereffects of Funso can still cause major damage. Please join us in praying for the safety of the children and staff in Mozambique, Swaziland, and Zimbabwe, especially those who may be staying under damaged roofs.

The weather reports show another round of storms brewing behind Cyclone Funso -- please pray with us that those storms also miss these beleagured countries. But if they don't, we pray that God will be making a way for those in the storm's path to find shelter and hope. And may His church continue to move to meet the needs of our brothers and sisters around the world.

You can help Mission of Mercy respond to crises like cyclones and floods with a donation to the Children’s Crisis Fund. In the past, funds have been used to rebuild homes, provide medical treatment, and allow the staff to meet the most pressing needs in a community. Thank you for your continued support of our friends and the children they serve!

Praise: Children OK In Mozambique

Fernando, a Mission of Mercy sponsored child, was inside his home when it collapsed but escaped without major injury.Friends, we are so thankful to tell you that the children and staff at our Xai-Xai program were not injured in Tropical Storm Dando.

We do know, however, that many of the children's homes were severely damaged. Many homes in Xai-Xai are built of reeds and thatch and could not withstand the wind and rain.

The lightweight nature of the materials was also a bit of a blessing for children like Fernando pictured at left, who was inside his home when it collapsed. Thankfully he escaped with little more than a few scratches.

As you can see, much needs to be done to help rebuild the Xai-Xai community. You can help by making a donation to the Children's Crisis Fund, which is available for children whose homes were destroyed. As we reported earlier, we are also raising funds to repair the roof of the Xai-Xai project's building (which also acts a church).

We appreciate your prayers and support for the residents of Xai-Xai. These difficult times also provide an opportunity for the love of Christ to become tangible for those who have so little. Thank you for all you do.  

Tropical Storm Hits Mozambique

Weather as of 1pm MST, January 17. Image Courtesy of TerraMetrics via Weather Underground.We are asking for your urgent prayers for the children we serve in Mozambique, as they recover from the effects Tropical Storm Dando.

With forceful winds and heavy rain, Dando wreaked havoc in Mozambique, and in Xai-Xai (pronounced shy-shy) in particular. Today we received reports that the roof of the building that served as the project and church was ripped off.

The staff in Mozambique are in the process of checking on the children registered in our programs. As always, please know that if your sponsored child was directly affected, we will contact you personally; however, given the general state of things this may take some time.

If you would like to make a donation to help Xai-Xai rebuild, or to help the children and their families repair homes that were damaged, please consider making a gift to the Children’s Crisis Fund. Mission of Mercy relies on the CCF to respond and rebuild in situations like these.

Thankfully, Tropical Storm Dando has slowly lost intensity after making landfall, but is still dumping rain in Mozambique and Swaziland. Please pray for the children whose homes may have been damaged. May the Lord be their protection and keep them dry. And may His church rise up beyond the building itself and continue to serve this community.

For Haiti, A New Day

  As the team walked through the community, they were immediately smitten with the beautiful children with their deep eyes and yet horrified by their living conditions. One team member wrote,

 "…what we saw should never be. No one should have to live in the filth that we saw. No child should have to play in the garbage. But then again, the children we saw had smiles on their faces as they played barefoot in piles of garbage. Maybe they know something about life that I don't know. I'd sure like to find out."

The children they saw. Children like the young boy, standing in what most would consider a dump, in his ironic and immaculate “Preserve the Future” shirt.

Because of the two-year anniversary of the massive earthquake in Haiti, today is a day of reflection in Haiti. It is a day of mourning, of remembrance. For others, it is a day of examination – have we helped? Have we made a difference for this country?

It is far too easy to get lost in analysis. So instead of focusing on our own efforts and their impact, we want to focus on the children. Like the young boy who paused during his day to let some visitors take his photograph.

Or these children with the beatific smiles as they are first enrolled in a Mission of Mercy program.
Or those who pray and sing to God before class, or those who eagerly make their way to school.
Much can be written of Haiti, of its continued status as “the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere,” a phrase that Haitian-born journalist Joel Dreyfuss considers a cage of words – “a box, a metaphorical prison” – that lends little to true understanding other than emphasizing the numerous tragedies and challenges it faces.

Instead, we will continue our work with the children of Haiti. We will continue to pray for dignity, for creative solutions to issues and continued growth in our partnering faith communities. We will pray for these children to find their identity as a child of God and not as a resident of a nation with a reputation.

And we will pray that we can have God’s eyes and ears and heart for this country. And we will claim the promise of our faith – we are new creations, the old has passed away, behold, new has come – for the children of Haiti, today and every day.