October 2017: Serving Those Called To Care For Children

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV

Click here to download a printable full-color PDF of this newsletter.This newsletter highlights:

Partnerships with those called to care for children - Your financial and prayer support have a lasting impact on God's kingdom. (Learn how)

  • In Kenya - Bright Angels Christian Academy (BACA)
  • In Haiti - Mission Evangelique du Nord d'Haiti (MENH)

Support for Library Development

For Praise & Prayer - We have provided a short list of the most pressing concerns to guide your prayers for our overseas partners and EWI, Thank you for your faithful support.

 

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Partnerships With Those Called To Care For Children

Your financial and prayer support have a lasting impact in God's Kingdom.

There are nearly as many stories as there are children in the various homes run by our partner ministries. However, in all cases either parents or relatives have found that they are no longer able to care for their children. Often the caretaker has been a single parent or grandparent who does not earn enough to provide food, clothing, or schooling for the child. Some in our homes have been orphaned as a result of accidents, illness or forces of nature. Unless rescued, these children are forced to work to help support themselves. Many end up on the streets and resort to crime, begging or prostitution. In some cases a village elder or village pastor notices the need and brings the child to the home. Sometimes a desperate parent or relative brings them because they have heard that their child will be fed, clothed, sent to school and cared for in a loving environment.

Why are these homes important? Being clothed and fed is critical, but perhaps even more important is the fact that 99% of the children raised in these homes complete their education, many going on to colleges and universities thus breaking out of the cycle of poverty and contributing to society. A significant number of the pastors and evangelists serving in the surrounding communities are products of one of these homes. Others now serve as Bible women, nurses, youth workers, and educators. Even while they are still children the changes evident in their lives have a positive influence on the families and communities from which they’ve come and their witness has resulted in many coming to know the Lord.

Testimony of a Children's Home Graduate

The family of Yesu R. was part of a group classified by the Indian government as a backward class represented by poor unskilled agricultural laborers or makers and sellers of bangles. When his father fell from a tree and was killed, Yesu was only eight. His mother was not well and did not work so they were without food or care. A pastor visiting the village learned of their plight and offered to take Yesu to the home. Yesu tells of coming to the home and learning to read the Bible, to pray, and to sing praises to God. He committed his life to the Lord by age twelve. When Yesu left the home after completion of 10th class, he went to live with and assist the pastor that had rescued him. After some time he took a certificate course in evangelism and, with the help of the home president, started his own ministry. Yesu has planted two churches that serve mainly the fisherman community but he reports that some high caste people have also become believers. East West InterKnit provides a small stipend to the mission that oversees Yesu’s ministry. He is married and has three children who are “growing in the fear of the Lord.”

East West Interknit partners not only with ministries that operate children’s homes but also with those who run Christian elementary and secondary schools, vocational training centers, and other child development centers. These are represented by our Haitian and Kenyan partnerships, programs run by many of the Bible schools and seminaries, and two of our Indian partnerships that not only house children but also offer vocational training programs for children and youth in the community.

Caring for Children in Kenya

Bright Angels Christian Academy (BACA)

Schools, which had been closed during the election in Kenya, recently reopened when relative calm was restored following post-election turmoil. The children of Bright Angels Christian Academy (BACA) returned along with their teachers and two new teachers “fresh from college.” Two of BACA’s regular teachers are currently enrolled in teacher education programs aided by East West InterKnit. A number of other BACA teachers have been trained ‘in house’ so are not recognized by the Ministry of Education. But Julian added that “these teachers have shown their worth and training by helping the children reach their goals.” (Bright Angels Christian Academy has been required to change its official name to Los Angels Bright Academy as of October 5, 2017.)

This has been an extremely challenging year for Julian and for those she is serving. Drought, an infestation of army worms, and even untimely rain, ruined most of the local crops. This meant that the families had little or no work and no income. Most could not pay even minimal school fees so many children dropped out. The price of foodstuff more than doubled and at last report continues to rise yet Julian is responsible for feeding more than 40 children. At the same time, the Ministry of Education keeps pressing them to make improvements on campus.

We had reported on some of the terrible abuse inflicted on some of the children by parents who, in their desperation, forced girls into prostitution or other crimes in order to feed their families. In response, Julian sees the need to open a boarding facility for the most disadvantaged and endangered. She would also like to provide training for families to address some of the issues of abuse that have arisen. We want to continue to encourage them for the sake of the children and their families.

Julian closed her latest note by saying that she aspires to reach as many as possible for the Lord, and desires to see these children grow up knowing, loving, and living for the Lord. She also noted that due to lingering unrest in the country, traveling from the city to the village has become extremely dangerous. Please pray for her and for peace in Kenya.An additional challenge facing the seminary is the requirement that all accredited schools must be mentored by government chartered institutions. The seminary must pay an annual fee of US $2,000 to maintain this connection and their accreditation.

 

Our goal this month:

Sufficient financial supplement to ensure food for the children and to make a contribution toward doors and windows on one of the classrooms which is pictured to the right. This would meet one of the current requirements of the Ministry of Education.

 

Caring for Children in Haiti

The Holistic Ministry of Mission Evangelique du Nord d'Haiti (MENH)

Beginning with classes for just a few children in 1970, MENH now oversees twelve primary schools, four secondary schools and a vocational school reaching approximately 4,000 children served by a total of 240 teachers. The Plaine du Nord campus, supported in part by East West InterKnit, serves over 1,000 of these children and employs about sixty teachers. Many of these earn less than $90 per month. Only about 5% of the children are able to pay tuition, leaving 95% who must depend on financial aid through the mission in order to attend.

Three boys in uniform

The Plaine du Nord schools excel in many ways. Their students consistently score well on state exams. They have been able to field sports teams and music groups. Some graduates have become civic leaders and others are involved in ministry. The influence of Christ-centered education has had an impact not only on the children but also on their families and the community. The percentage of believers in Plaine du Nord has grown from almost zero in 1970 to 30% or more of the population today.

The mission currently oversees the work of twenty-one churches. In a recent communication, Pastor Thony reported that over 7,700 individuals have been baptized, that at least two of the churches have more than 800 members and are growing. There has always been an emphasis on programs for children and youth including Sunday schools, worship service participation, formation of music groups, and involvement in outreach activities.

Pastors and lay leaders from all twenty-one churches are planning to attend the annual Pastors’ Conference in Plaine du Nord November 16-18. The mission will house and feed all attendees during their stay. Pray for the preparation and for the resources to help cover the expenses. Pray also for those who will teach during the conference. The photo on the left below is from the 2014 conference.

The MENH clinic in Plaine du Nord [pictured on the above right], launched with the help of EWI in 2002, has achieved a measure of self-sufficiency. They are able to serve about 700 people each month as outpatients and they have added a few beds to allow for treating more serious patients. However, they have not been able to raise sufficient funds to replace some essential equipment, stolen by a former worker. Their priority needs are for a microscope, an autoclave for sterilizing equipment, a centrifuge, a nebulizer and other miscellaneous pieces of equipment, all of which can be purchased in Haiti at lower cost than in the United States. EWI would like to participate with them in replacing the essentials.

Support for Library Development: Book Report

We continue to receive many new requests for books at schools that are training national missionaries, pastors and other Christian workers. We make every effort to determine the authenticity and theological position of those we choose to support. Those for whom there is little evidence we turn down. We focus on those in least evangelized nations characterized by poverty that are producing evangelists, church planters, missionaries, and educators. Twenty two of the thirty-two schools receiving books from East West InterKnit are located in five countries listed among the top thirty where Christians are persecuted for their faith. They need your gently used books to help them prepare for ministries in hard places. Your financial help is also needed to cover the costs of shipping the books. We have many boxes ready for shipping at an average cost of $36 a box.

Featured Seminary:

Gilgal Theological Seminary (GTS) is located in the beautiful tropical forest area of extreme southwest India, near Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala. GTS is a mission-minded institution, emphasizing evangelism to the lost and poor. This seminary seeks to impart a thorough knowledge of the Bible and aid students in spiritual formation, thereby preparing students for church ministries and worldwide missions. They offer practical experience in rural evangelism and church planting to their students.

The school offers the Diploma in Theology, Bachelor of Theology, Master of Divinity, Master of Theology in Mission and Religion Philosophy, and Doctor of Philosophy in Mission and Religion Philosophy. Today Gilgal has forty students from ten different Indian states representing many cultures and languages.

GTS asked EWI for help getting books for its library. After learning more about the school’s purpose and leadership, we began shipping books to them in February 2016. The Vice-president asks us to pray for these students as most come from non-Christian background. Graduates are likely to face opposition and even persecution when they go out to serve. India ranks 15th among the countries where Christians are persecuted.

For Praise & Prayer

  • Jehovah Shammah Children’s Home has had to use funds meant for food and ordinary expenses of the home to repair toilets and other facilities on the property.
  • There will be another contested election in Kenya on 26 October. Students are being sent home for their protection. Julian will avoid travel during this period.
  • Praise God for the Bethel Mission medical clinic held for those who cannot afford other medical care.
  • Thank you to those who donated toward the Good News Theological Seminary (GNTS) scholarship fund. Pray for the intake of students that continues now that they have scholarship funds to dispense.
  • Pray for the planning and preparation for the GNTS fund-raising dinner to be held in Accra in December.
  • Praise God for healing of injuries that Jennifer Opoku, GNTS campus registrar, sustained when hit by a car in early August. She was able to return to work on Monday, 2nd of October.
  • There will be a graduation ceremony for GNTS Certificate students on 11 November.
  • Pray for Lidia, a GNTS student, who has learned that her hip replacement surgery has had to be postponed.
  • Pray for the family of Prof. James Anquanda, first education director of Good News seminary, who passed away unexpectedly earlier this month. He was scheduled to be the featured speaker at a GNTS public lecture in November. The lecture will be rescheduled for some time after the first of the year.