Dear Family and Friends,
What an interesting part of the world we live in! We have had "Arab Spring" occurring in many of our neighboring countries, with leaders being toppled in Tunisia and Egypt and ongoing riots in Syria, Yemen, Morocco, Bahrain, and several other countries. And now we have seen video of the death of Moammar Qaddafi which we hardly believe would be allowed to be shown on television. The former Sudan has split into two countries--South Sudan and Al-Jumhuriyya as-Sudan (Republic of Sudan, or better known as North Sudan). There is a severe drought and famine here in Ethiopia and neighboring Somalia putting millions of peoples' lives in danger. Palestine lobbied the United Nations for inclusion as an independent state. Al-Shabaab, resembling al-Qaida in Somalia, is threatening suicide bombings in Kenya if Kenya doesn't pull out its troops from Somalia.
And on and on it goes--never a dull news day around here. We just wish and pray that it were good news rather than such depressing news.
Completion of Construction of Ziway Pre-School
For news closer to home, we have discussed in the past two newsletters the completion of the construction of the Nursery School/Kindergarten in Adami Tulu and the completion of Samuel's Home. This month we want to document the completion the third of our major construction projects of 2011. This is the Nursery School/Kindergarten in Ziway complete with feeding program for its 160 students, modern latrine, playground equipment, etc. Please see the attached pictures.
- Students at their new tables in their new classroom.
- Flagpole ceremony (Bible reading, Bible verse memorization, prayer, national anthem) before school. The picture is taken through the new playground equipment with the new school building on the left and the feeding center on the right.
- Some students receiving their lunches. The modern kitchen can be seen through the serving window.
The completion of this school now gives us three campuses with over 600 students to feed and educate. Trying to keep these schools functioning smoothly, with the registration of students, hiring of the teachers, dealing with personnel and maintenance issues, maintaining food and inventory supplies on a daily basis, the governmental bureaucracy, etc. keeps us out of other kinds of trouble. :-)
You may recall the story of Beza, our fifth grade student who became pregnant last school year and recently delivered a baby boy. Peggy spent a lot of time with Beza, taking her to her doctor appointments, making sure she had good medical care, helping her through the difficult situation, and encouraging her not to have an abortion. Her mother has AIDS and is very sick. By the way, and this is somewhat humorous, Beza said she was going to name her baby in honor of Peggy. During the pregnancy Peggy wondered what that name would be. When she delivered Peggy found that Beza named her baby Obama! Really!!
Samuel's Home continues to be a blessing to the community and a very rewarding experience for us. This month again we received three more children, giving us a total of seven. We now have five boys and two girls. Gulad, another four-year-old boy came and joined our three other 4-year-old boys--Isak, Abaye, and Bruk. Then Natnael (Nathaniel), a 13-year-old, arrived giving us an older "son." He already was one of our sixth grade students, but was living with his grandmother who was too feeble to care for him. Following that, 7-year-old El-Shaddai finally got a sister, 5-year-old Misa. As usual there are still more children in the pipeline. We expect to receive 3 1/2 year old twin girls next week, but the paperwork and interviews are not yet finalized for them.
Our maximum capacity is 12, so we are quickly approaching that number. We continue to be extremely pleased with our houseparents and the caretakers.
One thing regarding the kids we receive in Samuel's that we don't fully grasp is the following scenario: When we meet the parent or caregiver who is legally giving up their child to us, before we part we always ask them the following direct question (using the male gender for simplicity). "This is the last time you will see _______. From now on we will raise him as our own son. He will go to church; he will be raised in a loving Christian family, he will have plenty of good food to eat, he will have medical care, and he will go to a Christian school. We pray he will grow up to be a great scientist or engineer or doctor or airline pilot for Ethiopia. However, you will not be able to make contact with him. His father and mother are now Kasim and Megertu. Are you prepared to agree to that?"
It always amazes us that anyone can answer "yes" to that difficult question. But that shows the desperate situation many of these children are in. Sometimes there are hugs and kisses and tears when they say good-bye for the last time. Sometimes there is simply a squeeze of the hand and they walk away from each other for good.
There is a picture of our growing family below: In the back is Natnael. In front L to R are our four 4-year-old boys (Isak, Abaye, Bruk, Gulad), then El-Shaddai, and Misa.
Samuel's Home Child Sponsorship
We have had some inquiries about sponsoring Samuel's Home kids. So we have decided to give sponsorship a try, as it is somewhat expensive to provide 24/7 complete nurturing and care for these children. If you would like to sponsor one of our kids, please contact us. If you have a preference which child you would like to sponsor, please let us know and we will work it out if that child is still available.
I am reminded that it has been a long time since I shamelessly promoted my book. If you or someone you know is on the fence regarding their call to missions (or if you just want a good book to read), you can order your copies (a good Christmas gift!) directly from Misgana Ministries or from Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble or if you Google it, you can even find other used copies (although it is hard for me to imagine how anyone could part with their book. :-) ).
Automatically Recurring Contributions
Although we usually don't discuss financial matters in these newsletters, over the past several months some of you have asked about setting up automatically recurring donations to Misgana Ministries. After some diligent research and perseverance by our office manager and web master, we now have that capability available on our website.
Speaking of the Misgana Ministries website, it has been completely revamped with a new look and lots of new pictures and information. Please check it out also. It is, however, still a work in progress, as we continue to update our projects and stories. Although I really don't understand fully the significance, you can also "Like" our site on Facebook when you visit. Maybe we will win a prize?!
God's blessings to you,
Gary and Peggy
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