Thanks to Our Summer Groups of 2015!
We had absolutely wonderful groups come this year. The people were lovely, with great hearts and attitudes, and we made many new friends here at GH2K. We accomplished several great projects, and they all did a great job investing in our kids.
Our first group of the summer, Destiny (AL), came and blessed our socks off with great tools for the Trade School. This group always accomplishes so much when they're here. This year they helped us break ground for the Trade School, they built us school desks and furniture, and they trained our guys how to use a new welder.
Cloverhill (VA) has sent a group to us 7 years in a row! Through the years, they've built great relationships with our kids and staff, and we really appreciate them. This year Cloverhill focused on doing a VBS for our community. They also helped with some painting, cleaning and organizing.
In July, we hosted a great team from Parkside (MN). We enjoyed many thoughtful conversations with these friends and they accomplished so much with the number of people they brought! Their main project was doing a makeover on the first house we built. They repainted all the window bars in this house and put up new screen and window frames, among other projects.
I thought that we should retrace our steps a bit and recap the last several months. Per usual, it's been a very full and wonderful season.
In September, we had an awesome group that visited us from Emmanuel Christian Center in Minnesota. They worked really hard, but knew how to play hard too. They built an aqauponics system (to grow fish and vegetables together), helped us finish our community kitchen, and brought some fun crafts to do with the kids. We really enjoyed our time with these guys!
The holidays were a special time here. We utilized our fantastic new kitchen facilities to make the traditional Christmas fare: tamales. It was an incredible feast! And of course, the kids were pretty excited about their presents too. (Thanks to all the sponsors who sent a little something extra for their kids!)
Thanks to our donors, our Christmas Gift Catalog was a success! With the gifts given we're now purchasing 4 more dairy cows and we're able to continue teaching English and computers for our village school. Others helped us towards the purchase of our solar project and our bus.
So far this year we've prepared to homeschool our kids on-site (that's for another post) and we've installed our solar electric system. We just received the final components for the solar project and as soon as they're installed, we'll be ready to flip the on-switch. This is such a HUGE step for our long-term sustainability!
Since we started GiveHope2Kids, we have had some great volunteers walk these paths, teach classes, play with kids, and just in general get the job done. We always hope and pray that the time they spend here leaves an imprint on their worldview and changes their lives for the better. The hard part with volunteers is saying good-bye, parting ways, and not knowing when our paths will cross again.
We've just had to say good-bye again. In the month of August, we had two volunteer families head off to the next adventure. But even in seeing them leave, we are excited for their futures and what God will do through them. They are headed out with the long-term goal of launching more homes for orphaned and abandoned children!
It is humbling and exciting to see God use our imperfect selves to help plant other Children's Homes. Both of these families saw GiveHope2Kids as their training ground, so we can pass on the model of a family-style and community-focused Children's Home.
To the Johnsons and the Bakers, we want to say thank you for the time you served here. We want you to know that we are praying God's fullest blessings upon you as follow his path for your lives.
Kelvin & Monica Johnson served with us for 2 1/2 years and you can now find them in Ecuador.
Jacob & Cynthia Baker volunteered here for just over a year. Their family will soon be headed to India.
We had a very busy summer with four different groups that came to serve here at GiveHope2Kids. It was a summer of reconnecting with good friends, as all were repeat groups for us, full of familiar faces. Each and every team worked hard and were a joy to host.
To start out in June, and just 10 days after the birth of Micah, we hosted a group from Destiny in Alabama. This team helped us build wooden tables, benches, and a couch for each of the kid's homes. They also painted and moved fill dirt into our Community Kitchen. One of the most special moments from this week was watching this team teach some woodworking skills to our kids.
Then we hosted a team from Cloverhill in Virginia. They tackled organizing, painting, and more with a lot of energy. They got the very "down to earth" experience of building a mud oven for our Community Kitchen and they took time to do some leadership training for our house-parents.
We planned our bridge project around a group from Cornerstone in Virginia. They brought lots of young, eager workers who helped dig, move rocks, paint cables, and more. It was a BIG project that week and really made the difference to have so many hands.
Our last group of the summer was from Lancaster, in Northern Minnesota. They mixed a LOT of cement by hand to help us pour the floor in the Community Kitchen. This group also did some organizing projects and helped us with fun activities for our kids.
We want to say a big THANKS to everyone who came to serve at GiveHope2Kids. We enjoyed having you and appreciate the sacrifice you made to come and work.
The bridge project was completely finished this week, and just after it was done we started to get our first big rains of the year. This bridge is going to be a huge blessing! Many thanks to the Sowers family and their expertise in these projects and the youth of Cornerstone Assembly of God for making this project possible.
-- from Volunteer Leah Sutton
When I started this grand adventure May 31, 2013, I never knew how much of an impact it would have on my life. I went from not knowing about my future to being almost one hundred percent sure. I give all my thanks to God and to the wonderful opportunity I have had here at Give Hope 2 Kids.
Before this year I have never been involved in missions. I have always had a heart for mission work, but have never listened. This year has made me realize how much I want and need to be involved in mission work. When I get home I plan on becoming more involved in missions with my church. I am really looking forward to this.
Give Hope 2 Kids is my family. I have multiple moms, dads, brothers, and sisters. I have witnessed some amazing parenting from all of our wonderful house parents. They all have so much love and patience for all of the children here. One of the things that I really love is how the kids call their house parents mom and dad. They have made a huge impact in their lives.
I have also had the privilege of being friends with some fantastic young men and women. It makes me so happy to see the young teenagers and adults take on leadership roles in the church. I love attending church and seeing them praise God with song, speech, instruments, and dance. I know that God has huge plans for all of them.
This year I have been able to work with two little boys in particular who have special needs. They have made tremendous progress and continue surprising us with their new abilities. Even though I was teaching them, they were the ones that changed my life. I always knew that I wanted to work with special needs children. These two little boys have made me realize that I want to go back to school to earn my masters in special education and start a non-profit preschool for special needs children. The idea of the center is to prepare the special needs preschooler for kindergarten. This is a very big dream, but I know this is God’s plan for me. I thank God every day for what he has done and what he will do. Big dreams are possible.
This brings me to my last paragraph. It’s taken me a while to write this because I know I will be leaving soon. It’s hard to believe that I will going home April 6th. I have had several people ask me if I am ready to leave. The answer is always no and yes. No, I’m not ready to leave everybody and my work here. Yes, I’m ready to turn a page in my life. Honduras has been one of the best chapters in my life and it will never end. I may be going away now, but I will always come back. My heart will always be in Honduras and with Give Hope 2 Kids.
The ministry of Give Hope 2 Kids couldn't function without great volunteers. We've been blessed through the years with awesome volunteers, people who have come and helped us love kids and do excellent ministry work. This season, we have our largest volunteer force to date. We're doing more than ever before with education for our community and it's all thanks to these great people.
Kelvin & Monica Johnson, with their daughter Kelly, have served with us for over a year and a half now and have made a big difference in our ministry. They have tackled a wide range of projects while they've been here, from hosting groups, to working on construction projects, to throwing parties for our kids. They currently lead in the planning of the Friday Night Youth Group and the community classes we teach. The Johnsons plan to stick around GH2K for at least another year or two and we're certainly grateful for the role they've played in our lives and ministry.
Recently, another family moved down to work with us: Jacob & Cynthia Baker, and their girls, Maddie & Myra. All four of them have jumped in here with hearts to serve. They expect to be with us for a couple of years and we're looking forward to spending that time with them. Their family is involved in a wide variety of activities, from collecting eggs (the girls big job), to co-leading the preschool class, to administrative work, to leading the volunteer "church."
Leah is an awesome gal who is part-way through her year volunteering for GH2K. She is our resident librarian, who organizes the Library and much of the Library Program and classes. The spark she's added to the Library is huge! Leah also co-teaches the preschool class. We really appreciate her great attitude and willing heart.
In July, Kaitlen came and started her year of volunteering here. Kaitlen is assisting with teaching English, preschool classes, and is using her passion for soccer to spend time with kids here. She has a great heart for the kids and we really enjoy that about her.
And here's an updated photo of the our family. We're Jason & Sarah Furrow, the directors of GH2K, and our kids are Josiah & Eliana.
We want to express our gratitude to the teams that came during the summer and fall of this year. We are blessed to be connected with these churches, as well as the groups who represented and came to work alongside our Give Hope 2 Kids team. We accomplished a lot with their help. Thanks to everyone who came and worked!
Here's a brief synopsis of the projects that we worked on with teams:
Cloverhill came in June as our first large team for the year. They helped us organize our Library and Kid's Home storage, mixed cement for our new Office, and interacted with kids from our Home and our village through our community activities. We always enjoy working with the awesome young people that come from Cloverhill.
Faith sent a hard-core construction team. These guys worked so hard and flew through the project list we prepared for them. They put a roof on our Office and on a carport and helped make our Activity Center area better with sidewalks and bleachers, among other things!
It is with great sadness that we’re saying goodbye to two volunteers that have made a huge difference in the work of Give Hope 2 Kids.
Ever since we started Give Hope 2 Kids, we've had endless projects to do without the human resources to get them all done. Recently though, we've been really excited to watch a great team of people gathering around us. We feel that we're able to accomplish so much more now.
We've yet to introduce our house-parents to everyone on the blog, so we want to take this opportunity to have you all "meet" Wilfredo & Sinndya and their two kids, José (6 yrs) and Dana (1 1/2 yrs). They've adapted really well to life in the country with us and have done a great job accepting kids into their family and life.
Kelvin is a great dad and handyman and loves to work on agricultural projects. Monica has been an excellent mom for the house they're in and has helped with organizing and running our Youth Night, Library Program, and English classes. We are blessed to have them as good parental figures on the property. Kelly is practicing sitting up on her own and is Josiah's little buddy.
We're really grateful for all these awesome people working with us and helping to make Give Hope 2 Kids a success!