Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Giving Tree

I want to thank the Lord and praise Him for all the wonderful friends who share the burden of the work here in Burkina Faso. Through the years you have been faithful to fulfill the mandate to send us here, to hold us before the Lord in prayer, and to sustain us in our personal as well as project needs.

This evening I am particularly rejoicing over what God has done in and through the St Agnes Church and their school, St Agnes Academy in Massachusetts. Through the initiative of a very dear friend, Sister Linda Wilk, the school and the church held ‘a Giving Tree’ fund raiser and in less than two weeks raised over $8,000 for our school and orphanage. This is truly a gift that will keep on giving and giving as we sow into the hearts and lives of our children here in Burkina.

I met Sister Linda many years ago when she came to Burkina with a team from Operation Christmas Child. She has become a faithful personal friend to me and a faithful supporter of Sheltering Wings.

And finally, the Lord is allowing her to return to Burkina this summer and she is bringing two of her friends along with her. Hmmmmm, I am smiling in thanksgiving for what the Lord has done and in anticipation of seeing my friend again!

A New Home for our Weavers

In the past, the ladies in our weaving and soap making projects have done their work in a multi-functional area that we called the technical center.  But, this year when we decided to add one more class to our primary school, and considering that we only have a 3 classroom building, we pushed the weaving and soap making ladies literally out into the cold. 

For 4 months they worked without complaining in a temporary area out in the middle of the courtyard.  It was far from ideal but they continued to work with the promise that we would find a more permanent ‘home’ for them.   

Thanks to a generous contribution from a friend, we were able to build a new permanent work area for them, complete with electricity, where they can work protected from the sun and wind, and away from the distractions of our busy courtyard.

Now, more than ever, we will have beautiful hand-woven products for your shopping and gift-giving pleasure!  Please contact Brenda Dantico at the Sheltering Wings office (314-635-6316) if you would like to order place mats for your table, soap, or bookmarks.

Construction in progress--

Noomie, our seamstress at work!

The St Louis Blues and Burkina! What is the Connection?

At first glance one may not make this connection but the real connection is St Louis Blues fans, Tim Hunn and Stephanie Holmen, and their recent visit to Yako.  While getting to know our children, Tim and Stephanie randomly saw some of them wearing St Louis Blues and Cardinals shirts that other visitors had brought in for our children. 

Tim is a fire-fighter and Stephanie is a nurse but they both took leave of their jobs and the comfort of their homes and came to Yako  to work in the orphanage.  Tim helped to build a new work area for our weavers and our soap making projects and served as ‘handyman’ in many other much needed areas of the orphanage.  Stephanie exercised her nursing skills on several occasions as she worked with our local nurses and cared for our babies.

Thanks so much for coming to visit, Tim and Stephanie. . . . and tell the St Louis Blues that the Yako Orphanage says ‘hi’!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Sponsorship Gift Distribution

Whew! Everyone is tired this evening but it is such a ‘good’ feeling of tired. Today we held one of 2 distributions for sponsored children who were the recipients of ‘special gifts’ sent by their sponsors.

The children all came with a parent or care-taker. Some of them even arrived as much as an hour and a half early! We were ready so we took advantage of the extra time and started working with the children as soon as they arrived.

Each child colored a ‘thank you’ picture for his sponsor, got his or her picture taken to send to the sponsor, and then left with their little pile of gifts which sometimes included a new bicycle, a sac of grain, and/or a goat or two.

Lots of smiles and lots of happy families. . . and for me, a heart full of thankfulness for the wonderful sponsors who pour their love out on our children in these tangible ways.

Grandmothers and Care-takers

Getting ready for pictures.

Getting measured for new uniforms

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Do you remember Lisa?

Lisa Otterpohl spent one year here with us at the orphanage in 2009-2010. She left in July, 2010 and started her university work that Fall with a major in Social Work.

This past month, Lisa has returned to Yako for a visit. She slipped right back into African life and it has been a great joy to have this time with her.

Among many other things, Lisa spent her time caring for the babies, playing with the older children, and holding art classes for our primary school children.

Thanks for remembering us, Lisa, and thanks for returning to visit.

This is Lisa interacting with some village children.

All Glory to God!

Recently, during a random visit to a village, a pastor asked whether we could look at a young boy who had injured his leg. I expected to see one of the huge ulcers which occur when a wound has not been properly cared for and infection has set in.

But, this time was much more serious. The 16 year old boy had been in a moto accident. His leg was broken and the family used only traditional medicine to treat the break and the wounds.

Now a year and a half later, there was serious infection in the leg, his foot was swollen 2 or 3 times its normal size, the bones were still broken and he was walking with crutches.

We called Dr Zala in Ouayaghuia and made arrangements to take Moise and his father to see the doctor on the following Friday.

Upon arriving at the hospital and having x-rays made, we learned that the leg was broken in two places and that his body was actually generating new bone to replace the now dead bone.

But, the most amazing part of our day was that we learned that there was a team of surgeons and bone specialists arriving that very week-end and we were able to put Moise’s name on the list to see the specialists.

This past week, Moise had surgery and we learned this evening that he is doing well. We do not know many details about the procedure but we do know that the surgeons were able to save his leg.

God’s ways are mysterious and His timing is perfect!!! We thank God for playing this small part in getting Moise where he needed to be in order to see the specialists that God brought all the way to Burkina.