Tag : food ministry
One of the orphanages that Children’s HopeChest is trying to support is Fontamara, which is located in Port-au-Prince. This is an urban orphanage with very little funding or support. Frankly, the conditions at Fontamara are rough. When my team first visited Fontamara, it seemed the kids did not know what to think of us. On the last day of our trip, I realized we had not taken photos of each person in the orphanage, and we rushed there to get information on and photos of each person.
These photos are of Charles Paul, and he’s 10 years old. He lives in the Fontamara Orphanage with almost 40 other kids. The orphanage struggles to provide two meals per day to the children, as well as provide basic education. The top floor of the orphanage needs to be finished so the kids’ bedrooms won’t be so cramped, and their bath facilities need a major upgrade.
I was surprised during our second visit to Fontamara how the kids opened up and were so warm and friendly. The kids obviously live in tough conditions, and it took them a little while to relax around us. Once that happened, our time in Fontamara was some of the sweetest of the entire mission trip.
This girl attends the school in the rural village of Fond Blanc, Haiti. I love the expression in her eyes. I kept seeing kids with an orange tint in their hair like this girl, and I asked what was going on. I was told that orange colored hair is one of the signs of malnutrition. Many families and orphans struggle to have regular meals, and many of the meals they do have lack essential nutrients. Children’s HopeChest is looking for churches and other groups to sponsor the school kids in Fond Blanc and other orphans and at-risk kids in Haiti. Sponsorship can change the entire course of a child’s life.
This is my hero, Giusepe Teruel. He started serving a few meals to people who live on the street in Guatemala City over 20 years ago. For eight months he worked alone serving sandwiches to destitute families living on the street and sharing the Gospel with them. Others slowly began to serve with Giusepe, and they began serving hundreds of sandwiches and soup. Giusepe developed relationships with the street people, and he continued to share Jesus with the families.
There are many, many families living on the street, and Giusepe asked whether the kids go to school. He discovered that almost none of the street kids attend school because their families cannot afford the school fees and uniforms. So what did this poor man do with no funding or resources? He felt God wanted him to start a school for the street kids. Now the school has over 300 street kids that attend. I was there for a morning session. Over 120 kids piled out of a school bus (which was designed for about 40 kids) and bolted through the doors of the school. In the afternoon, over 130 older kids attend the school.
Giusepe discovered that most of the kids were not getting anything to eat before they came to school, so he and his staff started serving a full hot breakfast to all of the young students. He and his staff also had to obtain school clothing for the street kids because their families simply have no money.
In talking with Giusepe, you quickly realize how this happy, energetic man truly loves and relies upon God. His faith seems to be unshakable. I watched in amazement as Giusepe moved through the crowds with such care and love. I thought this must have been the way Jesus walked on the earth. He knew every one of the hundreds of street people and every one of the kids at the school. Giusepe knew each one’s story and struggles, and his friendship with each one was authentic.
Giusepe during one of the stops of his street ministry where he and his staff serve food to the poor, sing praise songs and preach the word.
A local Guatemalan church has a youth group that goes out nightly with Giusepe during the street ministry. These young people are the “real deal” – they truly love the Lord, and they live out their faith.
Morning prayer before the breakfast at the school for street kids.
Giusepe explaining his ministries to my mission team. I was stunned to discover that none of the kids in the school have sponsors and that Giusepe has to piece together sporadic support from various sources to keep the ministries going. When I asked him how he does it, Giusepe simply replied, “The Lord supplies.”
Children’s HopeChest is currently searching for a church or community in America to come alongside Giusepe and his school. All of the kids desperately need sponsors, and there are many urgent needs. Some church or community will get the wonderful opportunity to write a new story for the street children of Guatemala City.
I came away from Guatemala truly amazed by Giusepe and the work the Lord is doing through him.
This is Julie Wilson, the Director of Mercy’s Gate. She oversees the work of the staff and volunteers and, frankly, does a wonderful job. Mercy’s Gate main location is located within Rocky Mountain Calvary Church, which is near the intersection of Austin Bluffs and Academy Boulevard in Colorado Springs. You can reach Mercy’s Gate at 719.277.7470, and it’s website is located at http://www.mercysgatecs.org/. Mercy’s Gate provides the following services:
Food Pantry. Mercy’s Gate provides families with a four day emergency supply of food up to three times each year.
USDA Commodities Program. In partnership with The Emergency Food Asistance Program, Mercy’s Gate helps supplement the diets of low income families by providing a monthly food package.
Financial Assistance. Financial help is provided through rental, utility, prescription assistance, medical co-pays, and transportation.
Faith Community Nurse. A registered nurse is available to assess health care needs, provide prescription assistance, and to link our clients with community resources.
Legal Advice. An attorney is available every Thursday morning at Mercy’s Gate to assist with legal advice.
Financial Counseling. Mercy’s Gate has volunteer counselors available throughout the week to provide budgeting help.
Tax Preparation. During tax season, Mercy’s Gate provides free tax return preparation for low income households through our VITA Tax Program.
Seasonal Programs. Annual Comminity Health Fair and Back to School Program (August), Thanksgiving Baskets (November), Home for the Holiday Christmas Program (December).
Heart Training. Mercy’s Gate ministers to the whole person, spirit, soul, and body, through teaching, training, and prayer.
The food pantry at Mercy’s Gate.
Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? – James 2:15-16.
I have just started a new project for Mercy’s Gate in Colorado Springs. This is the Julie Wilson, the Director of Mercy’s Gate, and I will be helping the ministry with its photography needs in the next few weeks. More to come…
Managua, Nicaragua. We were taken to the huge city dump in Managua, and I was surprised to see so many people living and working in the dump. I noticed this make-shift home, and we got out to meet the people. This is Jacqueline and her baby. She is remarkably cordial and welcoming. We discovered that there is a Christian mission on the edge of the dump that prepares two meals of rice and beans each day for the people who live in the area.
The locals call the people who live in the dump Los Paupérrimo, or the very poor. The average person living in Managua is very poor by American standards, but the people living in the dump have far less. They seem to spend hours each day sorting through the trash trying to find things that have some value.
It’s hard to see people living in squalor. Thank the Lord for those Christians that operate the food ministry on the edge of the dump so the people at least get two meals each day.