Thursday, October 30, 2008

An Angel Paid My School Fees!

Dear Family and Friends, 30 October, 2008
Finally! Everyone is enrolled in school, school uniforms are all made, school supplies have been bought and we can all step back and take a big sigh of relief.
The director of our school and our teachers picked out fabric for uniforms at our primary school this year. The children are thrilled and this past week, they started wearing their new uniforms. From the youngest to the oldest, everyone was wearing big smiles.
Through a very generous contribution from a friend, we were able to send an additional 23 children to school this year. Some of these children and their parents had come to our gate earlier asking for help and we had to send them away because our school funds were finished. Some of these children were on Social Action’s list of most needy cases but Social Action also had no funds left for school fees.
But, one very special boy named Florent went home and told his mother that an angel had visited his school and had paid his school fees! Florent lives in a village about 5 kilometers from Yako. His father has died and he is the youngest of 5 children. Florent is so determined to go to school that he walks to school barefoot each morning. Because his home is so far away from school, he does not go home for lunch but stays at school without eating, waiting for classes to resume for the afternoon session from 3 to 5:30.
Last year, Florent’s mother did all that she could but was only able to pay for about half of Florent’s school fees. The director of the school should have sent Florent away but because Florent is so diligent in school, the director allowed him to finish the school year. This year, the director should not have allowed Florent to start school because of his unpaid debt, yet out of the kindness of his heart, he allowed Florent to enter the 3rd grade.
Our Social Worker, Adiara, was at Florent’s school paying the school fees of another child that we knew was in need. While there, the director told her about Florent’s difficult home situation and his desire to study. After paying all of the school fees, Adiara had just a small amount of money left. And, after she calculated it, she found that she had just enough to pay Florent’s debt from last year and to pay for this year’s school fees.
Two days later, Florent and his mother came by the orphanage to thank us for paying his school fees. I noticed that Florent’s mother was wearing a small cross on a chain so I asked her if she was a Christian. She said that she was and that they walked the 5 kilometers each Sunday to attend the Catholic church here in Yako. The mother then continued to tell us that Florent had come home from school saying that an angel had stopped at his school that day and paid his school fees.
Florent is small for his age and Adiara told me that he was wearing the same ragged shirt and torn pants that he had been wearing 2 days before at school. He was also barefoot. So, we dug into some clothes that we had in storage and found a pair of shoes, 3 shirts and 3 pair of shorts that fit Florent perfectly.
We are now looking for a mother living close to Florent’s school who would be willing for Florent to eat lunch with her children each day and then return for the afternoon session. We have not found this woman yet but if you consider that the Lord sent an angel to pay this little boy’s school fees, He certainly has already prepared the heart of some mother to give little Florent his lunch.
Please continue to pray for Herman and a place for him in the blind school. We have run into a snag that is discouraging but not too difficult for our loving Jesus to solve.
Herman has a place in the first grade class but the school has not been able to find a foster family near the school to care for Herman throughout the year. Tomorrow I will be calling the woman responsible for finding foster homes for children like Herman to see if she has found a family for him. If she has not, Herman will have to wait until next year to start school. If she has, we will quickly get Herman ready and settled in Ouaga for classes to start on Monday, November 3rd.
Thank you so much for your prayers and for your generous tangible support. Our children are thriving! And, Jesus is King!
Love and blessings to you!
Ruth. . . . Mom. . . . Grandma

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hope Springs Eternal for a Deep Well--

A forage is a deep, drilled well. Last year an association called Friends in Action drilled in 2 different locations in our courtyard trying to get clean, pure water for the orphanage and school. In both of these drillings, they found water but it was very dirty water, full of sand and silt. We were discouraged. Friends in Action were discouraged.
This is a picture of the first of our drilling efforts last year.

There is water on our property but it is deep. The equipment that FIA has only has the capability of drilling 60 to 70 meters and the water is resting at 80 to 90 meters.

This past week I received a call from an organization called ODE here in Burkina. They are a Christian relief and development association which do water projects, agricultural projects, schools, clinics, etc. We have submitted a request for a forage with them in 2004 and our request had just worked its way to the top of their request list.

I went in and talked with ODE this past week to see what kind of drilling equipment they have and whether they would be able to drill to the depth that we need to find good water. And, THEY DO have this very powerful drill! We talked about the composition of the land here in Yako and they said that they have drilled several wells in our region and that they are aware of the problems that we have recently encountered.

ODE will be coming to Yako soon to do an initial study of our land to determine where they will drill. Then they will make a schedule of their work for the upcoming dry season and will give us a date that they will come to drill for us.

I must admit to you that I had lost hope of having a well on the property. We are connected to city water but our water bills run between $200 and $300 per month. And, that is only for drinking, bathing and washing clothes. With a well, we will be able to garden during the dry season and have plenty of water for our animals.

I am reminded and encouraged by Isaiah 35 which says that in the joy of the redeemed 'The burning sand will become a pool and the thirsty ground bubbling springs'. We live on the edge of the Sahel and we know burning sand and dry, thirsty ground, but, the Lord is going to give us streams in the desert.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Back to School - Oct. 08

7 October, 2008

Dear Friends,
Greetings from Burkina Faso!

It is ‘back to school’ time once again! This time comes every year and every year we try our best to prepare in advance but try as we may, we still end up in a crazy rush to get everything and everyone ready in time. School started on October 1st this year. At the orphanage we have 27 children in school; 1 at university, 20 in secondary school, and 6 children in primary school. In the sponsorship program there are 41 children in secondary school and 74 in primary school. In addition, through the special contributions of a few friends, we will be sending 25 more very needy children to school this year. All of these children need their school fees paid, school supplies bought, and school uniforms made.
The Sheltering Wings Primary School will hold five classes this year, first, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth grades. Since we only have a 3-classroom school, the fourth and sixth grade classes will be held outside under a temporary shelter. Our teachers are busily preparing their classrooms and are excited about the new school year. Many of the children in the Sheltering Wings School have failed and have been rejected from the public school system. These children have received a ‘second chance’ to continue their education at our school. We believe that every child has a right to receive an education and in providing the right environment, every child can learn.

New Orphanage Children
I would like to introduce some new children to the orphanage to you. “Back to school’ time brings one or more new children to our door needing a place while they continue their studies. And, this year is no exception.
Alexi – 11 years old, orphan of mother and father, fifth grade
Abraham – 12 years old, orphan of father, sixth grade
Barkwendi – 13 years old, orphan of father, seventh grade
Adjertou – 15 years old, orphan of mother and father, first year in technical school to learn to be a tailor
We also have also recently received 5 new babies: Esaii, newborn; Estelle, 14 months; Salif, 3 months; and twin girls, Fatimata and Mariam, 3 months old. Each of these little ones have come with their own stories of tragedy even at their young ages.
Estelle has been placed with us by Social Action. She is 14 months old and her mother is just 15 years old. In desperation, the mother is abandoning Estelle because she cannot care for her or provide for her. The mother is an orphan of both mother and father. Because of the shame of her pregnancy, she has been kicked out of the extended family courtyard and has been living on the street. Depending on the final decisions made by Social Action, we will care for Estelle and possibly place her on the list for adoption. At the same time, we are looking for a family or school who will help Estelle’s mother to stabilize and get her life back on the right track.

Here are photos of Alexi, Barkwendi, and Estelle.

Sponsorship Program
September was the quarterly food distribution for the Sponsorship Program. We are in the process of dividing the children into smaller groups which meet in 5 of our local churches. A weekly meeting is held in each church where volunteers teach the children Bible stories, sing songs with them and interact with them. With this new organization, we see the children each week and can more closely follow their progress in school, talk to them about problems at home or at school, and have a weekly opportunity for evangelism.

Many of our sponsored children live 10 or more kilometers outside of Yako so this new system brings the distribution closer to their homes. Each of our participating churches held their own distribution this month. Most of sponsored children attend primary and secondary schools near their homes. Because of this seeing that every child is enrolled in school and paying school fees is a major challenge. But, our lists are taking shape and in the next one to two weeks, all of the children’s school fees will be paid. These are photos from one of the distribution sites.

Clinic News
Our clinic is slowly taking shape and is now in use by our nurses. There were very valuable medical supplies and equipment stored in our container which have now been moved into the clinic. Things that we still lack are beds and some tables and chairs.
Because of our lack of beds and supplies we are not yet ready to hospitalize a child but we are able to treat all of our children and 2 mornings a week, the clinic is open to children in the community. If a child needs to be hospitalized we refer them to the local hospital or to Dr. Zala’s clinic in Ouayaghuia.

Herman is the little 7 year old that we found in a remote village and who is blind. We have been assured that Herman has a place in first grade this year but still there are a few obstacles to overcome. The school is searching for a family for Herman to live with during the school year and has not yet been able to find one. This family must live near the school and there must be someone to take Herman to school each morning and then return to take him home at night. School will start for Herman on November 1st. Please pray along with us that the Lord will provide the perfect family to care for Herman while he is in school. Herman is the little one sitting between his mother and his father.

Thank you so much for your consistent and loving support of our projects and our children both through your prayers and your financial support. I wake up every morning amazed at the kindness and abundant provision of our Heavenly Father and it is through faithful friends like you that the Lord meets our needs. I rejoice in Him and thank Him daily for your part in what the Lord is doing in the lives of our children here in Burkina.
Love and blessings to you!
Ruth Cox

Prayer requests:
· Please pray for the funds to build another 3 classrooms for our school.
· Please pray for the Holy Spirit to permeate the classrooms of our primary school and for children to invite Jesus into their hearts.
· Please pray for baby Estelle and for a safe environment for her mother.
· Please pray for a foster family that lives close to the school to care for Herman during the school year.
· Pray for the health and safety of our children and our workers.