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I recently made a visit to our Childcare Worldwide office in Peru. What an amazing trip! I was blessed by the kids we serve in Lima. It was yet another great reminder of the wonderful work I get to do as president of this ministry.

MUSTARD SEED PROJECTS

Our work in Peru is unique in that we provide child sponsorship programs as well as socioeconomic opportunities for women. I was able to meet several ladies who benefit from a CCW provided sewing machine.

Childcare Worldwide Peru provides classes where women are taught how to sew clothes. The clothes they make can be sold at a profit which helps provide these women an economic benefit. The income from these micro businesses contribute toward self-sufficiency. I really enjoyed meeting these women, and seeing how proud they were that they have a skill that can bring in extra money and help their families.

In addition to the sewing program, CCW Peru conducts baking classes! The women are taught to create a variety of baked goods over a 3 month period. Once they finish the classes, they have the skills required to start a catering business or get hired as a baker somewhere in their community.

HOME SWEET HOME

A highlight of my trip was a home dedication. CCW Peru builds homes for families on the steep hills of Comas, a suburb of Lima.

When I first joined CCW, I was amazed that a home could be built in Peru for just $3,700. We’ve helped hundreds of families through the years move out of cardboard shacks and into homes with stable foundations, solid walls and electricity. I was proud to dedicate a home funded by David and Lynne Nelson of Bellingham.

The house has a couple of bedrooms and a kitchen. CCW supplies bedding and cooking utensils! The family was so grateful for the gift of this home, and we prayed that God would continue to bless them.

SPONSORSHIP WORKS! HOW? LIFE CENTERS!

Saturday’s are for Life Centers! Around the world, sponsored children gather in churches, homes, and sometimes even on rooftops to learn Bible lessons, memorize scripture, eat a meal and enjoy friendship with one another. I love seeing the joy in the kid’s faces when they come to their Life Center and praise God for all he has done for them.

During this visit, I saw the food prep for our Peru Life Centers. Volunteers arrive at our Peru office at four in the morning to cook! When I was there, it was rice with veggies and sausage, accompanied by fresh apple juice and bananas.

From the office, more volunteers transport the food to each Life Center all around the city. I was impressed by the coordination and planning it took to prepare all the food and get it to the kids!

A key part of the Life Center is Bible teaching. Our kids use our Christian Character Building curriculum to help them learn about the Bible, and learn how to gain biblical character traits to use in their daily lives. I love hearing the children recite scripture from memory.

The real stars of the show are the Life Center teachers! These volunteers do what they do because they love the kids, and they want them to know Jesus! Their enthusiasm was contagious. Whether they were leading songs or telling a Bible story they were giving 100% to the kids. I’m so grateful for them!

I just can’t say enough good things about the kids in our Life Centers. They were joyful and full of gratitude for what God’s provided through the work of CCW.

NOT FORGOTTEN

One of the most impactful moments for me on this whole trip was a conversation I had with one of the kids. A young girl told me that one of her fears is that she would be forgotten.

Hearing that, my heart went out to her! These kids live way up on the hillside in Comas – literally pushed to the margins of society. It’s easy for them to believe that no one really cares about where they live and how they battle extreme poverty every day.

Looking that young girl in the eye, I promised that as long as I am leading Childcare Worldwide, I will not forget her – or any of them! I will visit them often and more importantly, hold them up in prayer. Could you join me? You can pray for these children to have open minds to accept the Gospel of Jesus Christ. You can pray that they remain safe as they walk, sometimes miles, to get to school. You can pray that they stay healthy. You can pray that they get a great education which can help lift them from poverty.

I can’t wait to go back to Peru and see these kids again. They were the highlight of my visit.

The post FIELD NOTES FROM PERU appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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Ecclesiastes 3:1 – For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.

There is one thing we humans can always count on; it’s change. Everything changes. Sometimes change comes on quick, while other times change is painfully slow. Expectations change. There is good change and there is bad change. It’s always there. Change forever weaves throughout our lives.

This month we experienced a change here at Childcare Worldwide. After more than a decade of performing for tens of thousands of people, the Ugandan Kids Choir has concluded its final tour.

In 2006, we brought the first group of choir kids to the United States. They performed at Childcare Worldwide’s 25th anniversary celebration, and then spent a few weeks also performing at churches around the Pacific Northwest. We learned a lot hosting that first tour, but the biggest lesson was how much everyone loved them. The children brought joy with them everywhere they went. Since then, tours have been bringing smiles to people’s faces in every corner of the country. They performed at churches, in parks, at museums – even at Disneyland!

More importantly, they became an integral part of our sponsorship program, demonstrating to hundreds of people the difference that one caring individual can make in the life of a needy child. Thanks to their efforts, 8,999 children found sponsors to help them complete their education and achieve their dreams. What a blessing!

While we would love to continue to bring talented Ugandan kids on tour, it has become increasingly difficult for us to bring the group to the US. Obtaining travel visas are more costly and complex than ever before. There have been many times in the past when we were concerned that we wouldn’t be able to get permission for the kids to enter the country, and a few occasions when we had to cancel performances as a result of visa delays. With each new tour, we spent hours praying that the needed documentation would “go through” without delays or added costs.

Over the past couple of years, we also found it increasingly difficult to secure performance bookings for the choir. Many churches have changed their policies and practices for outside groups who wish to speak or perform during Sunday services. Many churches have also begun setting service plans in place many months – or even years – in advance, limiting dates available for choir performances. And without performances, the Ugandan Kids Choir cannot fulfill its purpose.

Through the years, God has been so faithful to the Ugandan Kids Choir, and we praise Him for that! We are also so grateful for the enthusiasm, the energy, and the passion the choir kids dedicated to hundreds of performances all over the United States. They have been amazing ambassadors, and have proven again and again that child sponsorship works! More importantly, they have been effective witnesses for Christ. It warms my heart to know that so many people were positively impacted by the joy in the songs sung by the Ugandan Kids Choir. They blessed so many!

So, while this change wasn’t the kind we had hoped for, we are choosing to reflect on it as a time of celebration for all 18 of the Ugandan Kids Choir groups that have performed on behalf of Childcare Worldwide through the years. Over the coming months, we will be highlighting choir kids of the past through photos and updates on where they are now. We will let them share how God blessed them through their experience as a choir tour member. More importantly, we will praise Him for his provision, his love and care for this wonderful part of the Childcare Worldwide ministry. To HIM be the glory, forever and ever, Amen.

The post Change appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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Chamali’s story is a miracle. It’s also an amazing testament to the strength of her amazing mother, and the difference that a caring sponsor like you, can make in a child’s life.

Chamali lives in Sri Lanka with her mom Indu and her younger sister Bhagiya.

Her mother was married off at just 16 years old. After the hurried wedding, Indu found out that her new husband made illegal moonshine, and that her own father had sold her in exchange for a lifetime supply of the liquor. She also found out that she was expected to care for three children from a previous marriage, and that her husband was extremely abusive.

Soon, Chamali was born, and Bhagiya after that. For many Sri Lankan girls, this would be a sad story of cyclical violence and abuse. The same horrors that Indu endured would trap her daughters as well. But this is a miracle story!

After two years living with her abusive husband, Indu was abruptly kicked out of the house along with her two daughters, to make room for a new wife. With nowhere to turn for help, Indu got on a bus headed for the big city of Columbo. Little did she know, she was on her way to a divine appointment.

When she got to Colombo, Indu gathered up her babies and got off the bus…but she had nowhere to go. She settled onto the ground in despair. She was fighting back tears, when a kind old man walked over and offered help. Indu was terrified of him. She refused his offer, convinced this was just another scheme to trap her and her daughters in more abuse. But he kept offering, so finally she agreed to go with him. He took her to a place called Community Concern – our partners in Sri Lanka.

After hearing Indu’s story, the staff at Community Concern immediately took steps to ensure both she and her babies were safe. They invited her to stay at a home for women recovering from abuse, and they even found a sponsor for Chamali!

Best of all, they introduced the whole family to Jesus! Indu gave her life to Jesus, finally finding the love and acceptance she’d been searching for her whole life. And now, she’s raising her daughters in the faith.

Chamali has been sponsored since she was just three years old, and today she’s in high school.

Thanks to the support of her sponsor like you, Chamali is on track to graduate high school with flying-colors. She just took the entrance exams for the local university. She’s waiting for her results, but she’s hopeful she will receive one of the coveted full-ride scholarships!

Chamali’s mom never got to finish school, which left her vulnerable and limited in her options. But thanks to her sponsor, Chamali will never be so trapped!

All it takes is one person, like you, to bring hope and a future to a child in need in Sri Lanka – and around the world!

The post The Miracle of Sponsorship appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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After 8 months of traveling around the United States with the Ugandan Kids Choir, 13-year-old Irene is back home in Uganda. We caught up with her at her school a few weeks after she got home, to see how she’s adjusting to her old life.

Irene was so happy to be back home. Her favorite part was seeing her family, especially her mom, her grandma, and her little 7-year-old brother. Amusingly, her little sister didn’t make her list of favorite people to see: sibling rivalries are the same the world over!

Irene was also thrilled to eat all her favorite Ugandan foods again. She’s been eating all the chapatti (a type of fry bread) and posho (cornmeal porridge) she can get her hands on.

Overall, it’s been a great homecoming! But there are things about tour that she misses. She learned to swim and play basketball in the States, and loved both. But those aren’t common sports in Uganda, and she hasn’t had the opportunity to practice either since coming home. She also told us she misses performing. She had so much fun singing and dancing on stage – what 13-year-old wouldn’t love being a star for a day?

Most of all, she misses her tour family. Some of the children from her tour are in school with her, so she gets to see them daily, which is wonderful. But others live far away, and she misses them, and of course her tour leader “aunties.” After being crammed together on a bus for 8 months, it’s strange to not be able to run up for a hug whenever she wants.

One of the things we were most anxious to hear from Irene, is how she is doing in school. Our tour staff work very hard to ensure each child keeps up with their studies while they’re on the road. We don’t want them to be behind when they go back to school. Irene definitely wasn’t behind – she was actually ahead! “We were ahead of other kids in science, English, and social studies,” she said. “It’s only math where we were at the same level.”

Irene grew a lot on tour. She got so tall, she needed all new clothes along the way. But more importantly, she grew in her faith. Here’s what she says:

“I learnt more about God and His love. I was showed much love by the families we stayed with and this increased my commitment to God. I learned from the Bible that we should not be worried. I used to be worried so much because we used to walk a very long distance to school and sometimes rain would get us along the way. But now my mind is settled and I am no longer worried.”

It’s exciting to see her faith grow so much because Irene wants to be a pastor when she grows up!

We’re so proud of Irene! She’s learned so much in the past year, and we can’t wait to see what she accomplishes next!

The post Irene’s Life After Tour appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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This April, the Childcare Worldwide family is embarking on a prayer journey. For 30 days, we’ll be praying for God’s blessing and provision for the hungry children and families we serve around the world. To start us off, Charles, our Director in Uganda is here to share about his own experience with hunger and what it looks like for families today. For more content like this, and to add your voice to 30 Days of Prayer, sign up here.

42 years ago, I was born and raised in Buganda, Uganda, a region which was known predominantly as an agricultural region: a food basket and economic power house for Uganda. We would enjoy at least three meals a day, a heavy breakfast at 10am after gardening, lunch at 2pm and dinner at 8pm. Food was always in surplus to accommodate even visitors.

During our primary school times, our mothers would preserve some of the food which we would carry to school for our breakfast and lunch. This was typical of every household because homes produced more than enough food. Almost every household had fruits like mangoes, jackfruits, lemons, passion fruits, and sugarcanes. Our grandmother used to give us green vegetables that would help children to grow.

All these crops were grown naturally without fertilizers and pesticides. Seasons were definite: we were experiencing two rainy seasons from March to June, and August to November. Even without meteorological information, households knew when to prepare land, and when to plant.

My first experience of hunger came in 1995 when central Uganda experienced a long drought. Matooke crops failed, potatoes were infected by weevils, and beans failed due to lack of rain. We started buying cassava which was also bitter. Because food was coming from the pocket (purchased instead of grown), we first reduced from three to two meals, and eventually resorted to one meal a day, which we would take at 6pm. During this time, it was hard to get food to carry to school. Sometimes we would study on empty stomachs and wait ‘till 6pm to have a family meal at home.

Those glorious days of abundance never returned. Due to population growth, urbanization of agricultural regions, over cultivation of land, and frequent attacks by pests, plus changes in seasons where rains are no longer predictable, many families are food insecure today. There are so many schoolchildren who go without food throughout the day, due to the absence of food at home. On average today, only 4 out of every 10 households have year-round access to sufficient food for the family needs. The rest are food insecure. When they are able to get food, they eat a single type and sometimes one meal a day. This is worse with the urban poor households whose income cannot afford two meals or a balanced diet.

I request our partners and the rest of the world to pray with us that God may restore our land to have rain in the due season, have an abundant harvest, and keep our land free from pestilence!

The majority of Ugandans depend on subsistence agriculture for food and income with the first season beginning in March. Right now, we are focused on weeding and cultivating our plants. We are looking to nature to provide good weather. We have confidence that, just as God did it with Isaac in Genesis 26:12, when he planted in the land of famine, but was blessed by God to have a hundred fold harvest, God will do it again. Pray that He will save the many households, which are struggling to get food, and especially pray for school children who study on empty stomachs which affects their learning and health.

Childcare Worldwide is grateful to partner with generous people all over the world to build a better life for kids in need. If you’re interested in helping feed hungry kids like the ones Charles serves in Uganda, click here.

The post Relying on the Land appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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Bill, President of Childcare Worldwide, returned from his first visit to India, Sri Lanka and Thailand last week. We wanted to share some highlights from his trip to Asia!

India

What a blessing it has been to be in Chennai, India to visit our Childcare Worldwide programs! It has been so wonderful to meet our CCW leaders and witness the ministry being provided to the children.

It was a privilege to meet a woman who has been serving needy children in India for over 55 years! Dr. Colleen Redit is the founder of Christian Missions Charitable Trust. While visiting, I heard so many stories of how God has provided for this ministry through the years. From feeding and caring for extremely poor kids, to building hundreds of small houses after the 2004 Tsunami, Colleen could point every time to the moment the Lord provided the funds and people to bring much needed aid. What an inspiration, and I can only hope that I am able to serve as many years as Dr. Redit.

Later in the day I attended a Medical Camp. I was blown away by how wonderful it was to be able to provide the support to put on this camp. There were so many women and children who we served. There were 4 doctors at the camp who have donated their time to provide health care for this community.

After an examination and picking up their meds and before they left the tent, they met with area pastors for counseling and prayer. CCW would love to help provide these medical camps every month. With your help, I know we can do it!

On Sunday we attended church and visited Life Centers. The kids were so great! They sang songs and recited Bible verses from memory. One very important thing struck me – many of these kids come from Hindu families, who typically are not excited at all about their kids hearing the gospel and being taught biblical principals. In recent years, it has become more difficult to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ openly, and as a result, our Life Center work is constrained by this. Still, our leaders do a great job and find just the right ways to teach the kids that Jesus loves them, and they can find forgiveness through faith alone.

I was really touched by the smiles and joy in the faces of these kids. Even though they can’t regularly attend a Christian church, at this Life Center they hear about how they can have a personal relationship with Jesus. I am so happy to be able to represent a ministry that provides this life giving message.

Sri Lanka

CCW has had a partnership with Community Concern Sri Lanka for over two decades, so it was great to meet the founders and staff of this amazing ministry. I was so impressed by their work. They serve many locations on the island.

During our visit they shared inspirational stories of their ministry work, including their efforts to help local residents after the great Tsunami of 2004. So many people lost their homes, which were nothing more than shacks built on the sand along the coast. In fact, I met many people who were displaced by that disaster, and their stories, while terrifying, all ended with praise to God who brought help through the support of Community Concern. I’m very proud to partner with this great group of servants.

Later that afternoon I got to do something I like very much – visit with kids! I had a fun time talking to them while they were having lunch. It’s so great knowing that children from struggling families can get good nutritious food each day.

After lunch I met and listened to very inspiring stories from teenagers who have been sponsored by CCW for many years. First thing I noticed was how grateful they were. Through sponsorship, they’ve come to know Jesus. They’ve received food and clean water. They have gained valuable skills through education paid for by sponsorship dollars. Now they have hope. They have an amazing future in front of them. I was emotionally moved by these great young people!

Still, these people need our prayers. Buddhism is the predominant religion in Sri Lanka. There are temples and idols everywhere. I even saw them in some of the homes I visited. While I was so happy to know that their children were meeting Jesus through CCW programs, the temptation to adhere to alternate religions practiced by their ancestors is very strong. Please pray that the power of the Holy Spirit will fill these homes!

Thailand

I feel like I got on so many airplanes during this trip. I boarded yet another plane to travel to Khon Kaen, Thailand where CCW partners with a school there. It was a pleasure seeing the kids and observing a time of praise and worship. Although I couldn’t understand the language, I could feel the love and adoration for Jesus in that classroom.

Once again, I got to visit with young people who have spent many years in sponsorship. Their accomplishments were so impressive. This one young man taught himself the English language and to play guitar by watching YouTube videos! Now he plays that guitar in the worship team at his church. While we were visiting, he must have thanked me two dozen times! He wouldn’t be where he is today if it wasn’t for generous sponsors who have given him so much opportunity!

While I was meeting with this young man, his friend walked up. He’s also a sponsored kid. He couldn’t speak English, but his friend translated for me. This young man comes from a family of unbelievers who pressure him every day to follow the Buddha. They ridicule him often. He said he has been threatened many times with banishment. I could see the hurt in his eyes, yet, he stands today for Jesus! His friend calls him every Sunday and takes him to church. He looked at me and said he can’t wait to meet his Lord and Savior someday. I was overcome with emotion by this guy. Such a strong commitment to Christ. Such an example for us all!

I really loved visiting these kids in Thailand. They didn’t want me to forget to thank their sponsors in the USA for helping them. I could see the genuineness in them, and I promised I would tell many people about my visit.

I can’t wait to visit Sri Lanka and Thailand again so I can follow up with the children in CCW programs in these countries to see how they are being blessed by the graciousness of our sponsors. More importantly, Jesus is being proclaimed in these places. Hallelujah!

Childcare Worldwide is grateful to partner with generous people all over the world to build a better life for kids in need. If you’re interested in tangibly improving the lives of kids around the world, click here.

The post Field Notes from Asia appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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Our newest Ugandan Kids Choir is finally here! To introduce them to you, here’s our Tour Leader, Amanda Halle, sharing about their experiences so far:

 

If you look up the word “courageous” in the dictionary, you might find a photo of these ten, smiling faces looking back at you. This is our Ugandan Kids Choir and they are the ten bravest people I know!

The kids and Ugandan staff members arrived very tired, but safely, late March 2nd. Despite the late hour and below freezing temperatures, their smiles were as bright and warm as the sun! We kicked off our tour by relaxing and re-adjusting at Canyonview Ministries Camp in Silverton, Oregon. Equipped with warm hats, jackets, and gloves, the kids have enjoyed the new weather and even got to play in the snow for the very first time! Despite the chilly temperature, they weren’t afraid to throw some snowballs around at each other, and at me!

Canyonview Ministries Camp is home to over 50 horses and while we weren’t sure if the kids would be comfortable seeing these large animals up close, they quickly proved us wrong! The Canyonview staff was kind enough to give us a tour, and the choir loved getting to pet and talk to the horses. They especially loved playing with the long hair of the horses’ tails!

The children have continued to show their adventurousness every day by trying new and sometimes-surprising food. While foods like pasta, cold-cut meats, and dairy products will take some getting used to, we can tell you one thing for sure: these kids love ketchup! They’ve been putting it on practically everything.

The courage and growth each child has shown in less than a week of leaving their home country is truly amazing. Even at their young age, they are facing every new experience with a grateful and joyful spirit, and I can tell you that spirit is contagious! We look forward to sharing smiles, laughter, and lots of music and dance with you these next eight months!

—–

The Ugandan Kids Choir travels all over the United States bringing a message of hope, and sharing the power of God’s love through traditional song and dance. To support them on their journey, find a performance near you!

The post Meet the Courageous Choir! appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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Have you ever wondered what your sponsored child eats in an average day? What does dinner look like for the families we serve? Today, you can experience it for yourself! Join us on a culinary adventure, as we share recipes with you from around the globe!

MATOOKE – UGANDA

To start things off, here’s an appetizer for you from Uganda. Matooke (pronounced muh-TOE-kay) is the staple food in Uganda. It’s made from a type of starchy banana that is similar to a plantain. “Matooke” can mean either the dish or the bananas it’s made from. This is a dish that’s hard to recreate in America, but we’ll give it a try! You’re unlikely to find matooke in your local grocery store, but many international markets carry plantains, which work well as a substitute.

Traditionally, matooke is wrapped in banana leaves to steam, but you can use your regular stove top steamer instead. Most of our kids eat matooke plain, but you can dress it up with beans, peanut butter, onions, or tomato sauce: a recipe for an optional sauce is included below. Matooke is a favorite with the Ugandan Kids Choir and one of the foods they miss most when they’re on tour in the United States.

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 unripe matooke or plantains (make sure they’re green!)
  • 2-3 banana leaves (optional)

Optional Sauce

  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Directions:

  1. Peel the matooke and wrap it in the banana leaves or add it to your steamer. Steam for 1 hour or until soft.
  2. Mash the matooke through the banana leaves or with a potato masher. Rewrap and continue steaming until matooke is very soft.
  3. In a small sauce pan, mix the sauce ingredients together and bring to a boil. Continue stirring until peanut butter is fully dissolved and onions are softened. Pour over matooke to serve.
CHAPATI – KENYA

Next, make a tasty side dish from Kenya. Chapati is a type of flat bread that you can find anywhere in Kenya and East Africa. They also eat chapati in India (the dish originated there), but the Kenyan version is flakier and crispier on the outside because it’s fried in oil.

This recipe is very similar to the Chapati we sometimes serve as part of our school lunch program in Kenya. Best of all it’s delicious and easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup white flour
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • ¾ – 1 cup of warm water
  • Salt to taste.

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, and oil together. Adding a little water at a time, knead for 10 minutes until you have a stiff, smooth dough. Cover and let stand for 30 minutes to 2 hours.
  2. Knead the dough again, then divide it into egg-sized balls. Dust each ball with flour, and roll them out into thin circles.
  3. Heat a lightly greased skillet over medium heat. Add the first chapati and cook until lightly browned, about 1 minute. Flip and brown the other side. Press the sides of the chapatti with a spoon until it puffs. Remove and wrap in foil to keep it warm. Repeat for the rest of the chapati, adding oil to the skillet as needed.
GRILLOT – HAITI

Our final course is from Haiti.

Grillot (or griot) is a hearty dish to feed a crowd. Many of our kids in Haiti might see this at family gatherings or big parties. For them, it’s a “special occasion” sort of treat that they look forward to. With its unique creole spices, we think it’s something you’ll look forward to also.

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs pork shoulder, cubed
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green or red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2-3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 oranges
  • 3 limes
  • ¼ cup oil

Directions

  1. Mix all the ingredients except the oil together in a large bowl. Refrigerate and marinate for 4 to 24 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 375°. Place pork mixture in a large roasting pan and cover tightly. Roast for 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until the meat is tender. Remove it from the oven, drain the excess liquid into a saucepan, and set it aside. Add the oil to the pan, stir, and then return it to the oven for another 20-30 minutes.
  3. While the meat is frying, boil the reserved liquid until it thickens. When the pork is done, mix it with the thickened sauce and serve hot.

We hope you enjoyed this brief taste of life as our kids around the globe experience it. Have you tried any of these recipes? How’d they turn out? Share your results in the comments below!

Childcare Worldwide is grateful to partner with generous people all over the world to build a better life for kids in need. If you’re interested in helping advance this mission, click here.

The post Taste the World appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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Bill returned from his first visit to Africa last week, and is heading to India shortly. But before the next trip we wanted to share some highlights from his time in Uganda!

I’m in Uganda! Uganda is really growing on me! It’s so much different than Kenya. It’s really green everywhere, with leafy trees and dense jungle. The country really is beautiful, and its people are very welcoming.

I packed a lot into my time in Uganda. First, we visited St. Luke’s Life Center in Entebbe. There, we met children who were learning a lesson about forgiveness. Their teacher Gloria was awesome, and I could tell the kids loved her. They recited verses, sang songs, and performed a skit of the story of the Prodigal Son. It was wonderful. I loved these kids. You could tell they really had a heart for the Lord. They were so appreciative, and happy. They loved this Life Center and the people who teach them there.

After we left the Life Center, we delivered a Critical Care Pak to a humble family. The mother, who is just 25 years old, has 5 children whom she raises by herself. She works in a rock quarry, but her income is not enough to pay for food for her children. Most of her pay goes toward the rent for a very small room with a dirt floor. CCW is providing her food so she can feed her kids and save any extra money for other needs.

When we travelled back to the CCW office I got to meet two young men who were former members of the Ugandan Kids Choir. They are now all grown up. Jackson Pereketya was in one of our early choirs and has done really well in his studies.  He is currently studying Medicine under a government scholarship. Semmuju Fulugensio is in trade school studying Hotel Management.  In the mean time he bakes and decorates cakes. I really enjoyed meeting and talking with these two guys.

They love CCW, and are so appreciative of the help they have received from their sponsors through the years.

Next we travelled to the Ssese Islands – Bugala Island to be exact. We traveled to the Lake Victoria Education Centre, better known as Sandi’s Village, a compound of classroom buildings and dormitories built by CCW. After a tour of the site, we were entertained by the children with songs and Bible verses from memory. Then we met the teachers and talked to them about their day-to-day routines. It was great learning about how they became teachers and how much they enjoyed their calling. I could tell they really loved their jobs and the kids.

I have thoroughly enjoyed my first visit to Africa. The people are amazing, and our work is so inspiring. It is a privilege to lead this great ministry. I give all the thanks to the Lord for his provision, and for the work of Dr. Max and Marlies Lange. It was their efforts started over 38 years ago that has brought so much hope and opportunity to the people of Kenya and Uganda. It is humbling to assume the role of president from Dr. Max, and to be responsible for taking CCW into the future. I expect to be back to Africa many, many times in the years to come.

The post Field Notes from Uganda appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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Meet Stessy!

Meet Stessy. This precious four-year-old lives in Haiti. Her home is literally a tent.

And it’s not even a nice tent… their “tent” is actually a combination of tarps and sheets propped up on sticks. There’s a bed at the back, a small pile of dishes in the corner, a wooden table and a small stove set carefully in the open space on the ground in the middle. And that’s it. Can you imagine?

At night Stessy’s mom, Widelène, takes a piece of corrugated metal and props it over the tent’s “door.” She has a small chain she uses to lock this piece of metal to the wooden stakes. That’s all the security she can give Stessy and her sister.

This is the only life little Stessy has ever known.

Even harder to wrap your head around than where she lives is what she eats each day.

On good days, they have one meal. Usually it’s just some bread and a little coffee to wash it down. The caffeine gives Stessy a little energy, but no real nutrition. On bad days they have nothing.

This is where Stessy and her family live.

You see, Stessy’s father abandoned them a few years ago leaving Stessy, her older sister and her mom all on their own. Her mom got pregnant with her older sister when she was just 17 so she didn’t have a chance to finish school. She does laundry for people whenever she can to earn a little money. At most, she makes about $13. In a month.

“This life we’re living,” Stessy’s mom says, “is not what I dreamed for me and my family.”

And yet, Stessy’s mom does what all moms do – she does her best to make each day as good as she can for her family. “Every day I am trying to make my tent a comfortable living space for me and my children” she says.

Little Stessy and her family are the reason our feeding programs are so important!

Stessy and her family share a moment of laughter.

Thanks to gifts like yours, we were able to provide Stessy and her family with a Critical Care Pak. She couldn’t believe all the food we’d brought. There was a bag of rice almost as big as her, another bag full of beans, a big jug of oil, and even some canned fish!

There was a feast in their little tent that night, bigger than any Stessy could remember!

But a Critical Care Pak is so much more than just meals, and money saved. For Stessy and her family, that gift meant hope.

Giving thanks for this gift of food, Stessy’s mom said, “food is our big challenge, but God always protects me and helps me in any situation,” adding hopefully, “we hope that God will provide more happy memories for my family.”

With full bellies, their world looked so much brighter. And each of them started to believe that the brighter future they dream of is possible.

Childcare Worldwide is grateful to partner with generous people all over the world to build a better life for kids in need. If you’re interested in feeding hungry children like Stessy, click here.

The post Meet Stessy appeared first on Childcare Worldwide.

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