Providing for Children—Here, and at the Dump (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog – Friday, June 20, 2014

smile-the same language

Providing for Children—Here, and at the Dump (Feature Friday!)

Difficult. Heart-wrenching. Makes me want to cry, or shout, or get downright angry.

I’m talking about watching videos of children at the dump near Trujillo, Peru. These children are parts of families of the poorest of the poor. There are many, many people of reduced circumstances in Central and South America, but these good folks who live at or near the dump are even more poor than most. And, the vast majority of children in these disadvantaged families are born into an impossible situation. Extreme poverty. Little hope. Lack of any kind of opportunity.

Until IncaLink came to give a helping hand. Lessen the devastating effect of extreme poverty.

Rich Brown, one of the founders of IncaLink, gave some background for a worthwhile ministry to the children in the dump. This good work was conceived, instituted and developed wholly by indigenous people in Peru. Pastitos de Fe is what came through their thinking, dreaming, design efforts, and prayer. When representatives of IncaLink spoke with their co-workers at the dump, their co-workers “brought out a whole marketing plan they had already prepared and said, ‘We’ve got to get these children out of the dump.’”

Rich continues, “So we started the plan, and we started to see what God had in store.” First, IncaLink started a daycare center, where over one hundred children are cared for. And soon, they reevaluated. Some of these kids did not even have parents. Or, their parents were in jail, or their families just couldn’t take care of them. The indigenous workers wanted an orphanage, a children’s home where these children could live. So, IncaLink Peru bought the property, raised funds, and assisted in the building of the buildings. Despite considerable obstacles, they persevered. And, now, the children’s home is a reality. Several dozen children are happily enrolled now!

This ministry opportunity came to mind today, especially since the preschool at my work had the end of the year graduation this afternoon. The children worked so hard! The teachers and staff did a wonderful job, and everything that the children did, said, and sang was truly heartfelt and earnest. I saw how blessed the children and families are with this excellent preschool and kindergarten. In the suburbs of Chicago, we are truly blessed with abundance from God. Even those families who don’t have much, here in the Chicago area? Still, I suggest that even the most disadvantaged family here consider themselves blessed by God. Because we are.

The families of the preschoolers and kindergarten of Kids Academy have many basic necessities the children in Trujillo can only dream about. The dreams of both groups of children are very similar, but now the children of the dump have a chance. A leg up. A terrific opportunity. And, abundant blessings from God. Praise God!

(For further information, check out this video! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDgyWjjULQ0&list=PL67F8C2BC59CCE665 )

@chaplaineliza

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Helping, Serving—in the Short Term (Feature Friday!)

A Year of Being Kind blog –Friday, June 13, 2014

helping-the-poor-and-needy

Helping, Serving—in the Short Term (Feature Friday!)

I have a confession to make. I have never been on a short term mission trip. Not out of the country. Not in the United States (and there are plenty of places to minister here!).

But, I am fascinated by the short term mission experiences talked about by my new friend in South America, Rich Brown. The mission he helped found, IncaLink, has a tremendous outreach and ministry for groups from North America. Yes, IncaLink runs several kinds of mission outreaches in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. A primary way of ministry is touching the lives of youth in a number of ways—through youth job training and schooling, training youth in leadership skills, and bringing young people to South America in internship roles with IncaLink.

A companion ministry in IncaLink is very much linked with the work with youth: short term mission. When I hear short term mission, one thing that immediately leaps to my mind is groups of youth from various churches in North America, gearing up to go to some faraway place over spring break, or during summer vacation. IncaLink’s response? Yes! Certainly, that’s a part of their short term team mission and ministry! But that’s not all. Not by a long shot!

Any kind of team, of any description, can come to IncaLink and be sent out on a worthwhile ministry to one of IncaLink’s sites. (How awesome is that?) Not only youth groups, but teams of college young people, teams of men, or of women, groups of senior citizens, and other groups of just about any description are welcomed and put to good use. Doing service. Being kind. Seizing the opportunity that God offers to enter into relationship with God’s people.

When I spoke with Rich through Skype some days ago (I still think that technology is SO cool!), Rich told me that small group ministry is so important to IncaLink. Not only are they fully committed to providing God-inspired short term experiences, but a portion of the money that is paid to the mission helps fund further ministry. A portion of the money each short term team member pays into IncaLink is sent directly to the other ministries and outreaches that IncaLink provides for so many youth, children, women and men. I could tell how excited Rich was, as he told me about this “financial engine” that provides for so many wonderful things to be done in many locations.

Rich wanted to add that he would very much like young people—in college, in their twenties—to consider short term mission experiences. Internships, too. Longer than a week, he means! “Come and see,” he says. Come and see what worthwhile ministry is going on at the dump in Peru. Or the orphanage in Ecuador. Or women’s prison ministry, or ministry to seniors, or to special needs youth.

Come and see. Come for the love of God. Stay for the love of God’s people.

@chaplaineliza

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