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Joy In Sierra Leone

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Joy In Sierra Leone

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joy-in-sierra I arrived in Sierra Leone with some expectations since some friends had gone a couple of years before, but nothing can prepare you for what you see when you arrive. The kids and staff were all outside waiting for us and singing “Welcome … we love you in Jesus’ name”. They had spelled out “Welcome” in white painted rocks in front of their humble home. It’s an emotional first glimpse into the lives of these orphans. This is not my first orphanage experience. I arrived at an orphanage in Fuling China in July of 2005 to hold babies and give the nannies a much needed break, and I returned in March of 2006 to pick up a 9 year old boy who we adopted. God sometimes has plans that are different than ours.

This trip to Sierra Leone pulled at my heart strings just as much, only these children have the blessing of growing up with Pastor Rogers, the orphanage director, as their surrogate father. I was drawn to the spiritual maturity of the children and spent a great deal of time getting to know them and listening to their stories. Several teenage girls took me aside and asked me to be their mum. My teenage daughter was on the trip with me so my heart just broke for these girls. As much as they are loved and cared for in this home, they know that life will be very difficult for them as they grow older.

Something that made a lasting impact on me is an experience we had with all of the teenage girls and Mrs. Rogers. We gathered in a circle and asked questions of one another. One question that was posed to them was to tell us something they like about themselves and then something they like about the person next to them. They really felt uncomfortable talking about themselves, but loved saying nice things about their “sisters”. In Sierra Leone, they don’t have electronics and stuff to fill their lives with. So they take the time to pray and worship and read. They are poor financially but rich in spiritual values. I so want to be like them in that way!!! I vowed to change my ways when I returned home but our culture sucks you in like a vacuum. Some of the girls made bracelets for me and I have them on my dresser to remind me to live a rich spiritual life, like they do.

When I heard a team was returning in January, I had to write letters to my “kids” and let them know how much I love them. I received so many letter back as they expressed their appreciation for Americans and how we help them. They appreciate the water well they have and the pigs and their home and they know many people sacrificed so they could have these essentials. Giving towards this project makes a very broad positive impact.

I look forward to my return next year along with my daughter who went last year and another daughter who wants to meet all these wonderful children. Pastor Rogers, his staff, and New Hope Initiative are changing a corner of the world one orphan at a time and needs the support of people like us. Will you consider being a part of that change?

By Joy Nobilini

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Christmas Magic

You can bring incredible joy this holiday season to some of the poorest children in the world as you participate in our New Hope Initiative Christmas Project. We are hosting numerous Christmas parties in homes across America to raise funds for the children that New Hope Initiative sponsors in Africa and Asia. All of these funds (100%) will go towards Christmas presents for the children and projects that will directly impact their lives. These parties are informal, fun, and a great way for you to share your passion for New Hope Initiative with your friends and family. Check out our website to see if there is a party scheduled in your community. If there are none in your area, you can host a party!

We have a package available that will allow you to host a party. It is simple, easy, and is a great way to make a difference in the lives of the children New Hope Initiative sponsors. If you are interested in learning more about hosting, please email Beth Snyder. Make this a very special Christmas for some very special children.

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Lost or Found?

For those of us who are fortunate enough to live in the relative prosperity of the developed world we are generally accustomed to having things go well for us in life. We have a minimum set of expectations that include having comfortable shelter, adequate clothing, and enough food to satisfy our desires. In fact our expectations have steadily risen beyond the basic necessities of life to include the expectation that we can and will enjoy many of the prosperous extras of our culture. We have a strong entitlement attitude that is a part of our emotional makeup. Our expectations have risen to the point that when occasionally things do not go our way it is very easy for us to quickly become critical and negative. I am afraid we have developed, far to frequently, into a generation of whiners. However, for the people that New Hope Initiative ministers to, those living in the developing world, their expectations are often a great deal more basic than ours. They expect life to be hard. They are never shocked when difficult times arise. They intensely enjoy times of blessings, but they have no expectation that these good times will continue. I witnessed a great illustration of this attitude when we came across a young man in Kibera this summer who only had one shoe. Looking from the cultural perspective of a 21st century American we immediately formed an opinion of the situation and asked him how he had lost his other shoe. I will never forget the straightforward, yet incredibly insightful answer of this young man. "I didn't lose a shoe...I found one."

We should all learn a lesson from the simple wisdom of this young man. Life is sweeter, life is more intensely enjoyed, life is considerably more blessed when we set aside our expectations, when we shelve the entitlement philosophy of our generation and begin to be appreciative of every joy, every blessing, and every found shoe in life. This week why don't you try to focus on the things you have found, instead of the things you have lost! A shoe found is a lot more enjoyable than a shoe that has been lost.

By Sandy Baird - Director of New Hope Initiative

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