Posts Tagged ‘education’

MICROLOANS and more…

Spring Break
During our recent Spring vacation our devoted teachers offered music classes to our students and gave extra help to some of the children who are having difficulties with their school work. Now we’re back from vacation and offering our usual homework classes, from Monday to Friday.

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Microloans for entrepreneurs
In case you haven’t heard, we’ve been offering a course to teach people how to start and run businesses using Biblical principles (Focus Business School) and we will be offering microloans to help some of them get their businesses going.

On Monday we met to pray for our first microloan distributions; that GOD will bless the entrepreneurs with knowledge and wisdom in what they’re planning to do. We’re praying for the borrowers to succeed in their businesses and be a testimony to GOD’s blessing in our community and that they will be able to reimburse the money to us so others can use it after them.

We were able to give our first microloan to an entrepreneur who will be raising chickens for eggs. This is a $1500 business. We are so proud for our first loan and we praise GOD for our funders who allowed GOD to use them for this. What an opportunity!

Specific Prayers

We also prayed for the things listed below.  Would you join us in prayer for them as well?

1. We pray for full success for all our students as they are working on their last semester of the school year.
2. We have four students who are having great difficulty and we pray they will catch up and be able to move up to the next level.
3. We have a few students who are being rude and disobedient and we pray for a change in their attitudes and behavior.
4. We pray for our sponsors and the funders of our programs wherever they are.
5. We pray for our staff members and personnel here in Bukavu, for good health and motivation.
6. We pray for the continued success of our education center and all its programs.

More about microloans later!

With love,

Bintu

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HOPE

Hope.  What is the definition of hope?  How do the people of Bukavu keep their hopes alive?  And how do we, as sponsors, friends, and prayer partners, give enough of ourselves to keep that hope alive?  Read below to hear directly from Bintu on the issues that the people of Bukavu and our friends at the center are facing and living day-to-day.  Know that what you give with your prayers, time, and money does make a difference.  We, as sponsors, must continue to do our part to help keep that hope alive–Sara Johnson

 

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–Our future hope is here, in the faces of our children.

 

Hope when everything you see says,

“Don’t get your hopes up!”

 

Bukavu and the entire DRC have been going through a lot of turmoil and all kinds of calamities that have brought discouragement and have gotten our hopes down for decades.  For all  this time, it’s like we have always been waiting expectantly to hear worse news than what we already hear from our home city:  Nothing clear on the horizon.  Complete darkness.

How can you risk beginning anything new in a place where there is no competent infrastructure working?  There is nothing that encourages you to build or invest for the future here.  Nothing.  That is why young people are fleeing the country.  That is why many people are not even trying.  They stay in complete numbness and without vision.

The picture of our present Bukavu is of complete darkness.  From a bad economy to corruption, from anarchic building to bad roads.  (By the way, I had already returned to Bukavu when I saw tractors, one day, purposely destroying the road in front of our center—that was about 3 years ago.  Albert, our administrator, went to talk to the tractor driver and he said they were destroying to rebuild a new road. Two governors have come and gone since that happened.  And now the road is in even worse condition than before!  It was never rebuilt.)  Many taxis and other vehicles for public transportation do not come to our streets any more.  Cars suffer much damage on this side of Bukavu so drivers don’t come here anymore.

For many things I see, it just goes from bad to worse!

The population in Bukavu seems to increase every single day as if someone were making humans and multiplying them somewhere near.  Streets are crowded with so many people that you can no longer enjoy a quiet walk in the main streets of Bukavu anymore.  In the same way, houses are growing from everywhere.  We have no idea who is building them, and no regulations are being followed at all!  Nice property is being sold to people who have no idea of the proper way to build.  Most of the time, the buyers resell to tens of people, and a piece of land intended for one house ends up with ten buildings.

Thus, the problem to continuously distribute electricity and running water to all at the same time fails because the facilities were intended for a tenth of the current population.   And despite the taxes paid for electricity and water, some households are still paying monthly.  There is no option to upgrade the facilities and no one knows why.

At the same time, technology is growing so widely.  Canal + (a TV channel provider) is gaining new subscribers every day.  Some people do not have a house to shelter in but have a Dish on top of their “pretend” roof.  Families gather around a screen showing nice houses while sitting on the floor—but they don’t care—they are just trying to survive!

Almost every teenager has a smart phone with lots of virtual friends to chat with.  They spend their money on megabytes provided by phone companies, but most of them do not have food on their table more than once a day.  They have begun copying dressing styles and other behaviors that they see on shows and in the media.  But they still walk on the muddy roads!  And they cannot tell their parents to build their houses like the ones they see on tv shows.  It is like they can’t see ahead, to a better way, a better future!

To all of this, you add a few more things like trash in the streets (there is no garbage service), bad traffic orchestrated by crazy untrained drivers that have no idea of a traffic code.  Add unemployment and insecurity….and the list keeps going!

And yet, still in this same city, you meet people who are trying to emerge, to do well, to meet life’s goals, to pursue ambitions, to start businesses, to improve what they already have….and those who are seeking for any opportunity that comes their way.  These are the individuals we like to serve.

Pastor Emmanuel Lubala came up with a very interesting topic for the year 2018:  “HOPE” ( How can you paint such a dark picture and still talk about HOPE?)

It drew my attention, especially because of Future Hope Africa and our mission, and, also because of his preferred Bible verse during the two-week seminar:  Jeremiah 29:11.  His plans for our future are great, no matter what our present situation looks like.

In such a desolated place, where there is so much value crisis, the word, hope, is becoming so meaningless.  “Hopefully,” we say.  “Hope is alive,” we also say.  But how much of that do we believe?

When you have hope, you fight! You do not cowardly run away from the battlefield. When David went to fight against Goliath, when he saw Goliath running towards him, he also ran to meet/fight him.  1 Samuel 17:48

We should not run away from our fights. We should confront them.

 

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–Education, teaching our children for the hope of their future.

I took this information for me and for our non-profit, Future Hope Africa in Bukavu.  I and my colleagues from FHA cannot just leave the DRC and go to be fake refugees somewhere in a Western country.  We cannot just sell all that we have, including family and friends and our community’s chance at wellness, to go for a better life in Europe or in America.  We cannot just think of ourselves while a whole community is going through turmoil.  No, we can’t.  That would just be the most selfish way to live, thinking of our own comfort and not others.  Some may feel okay with that, but we just don’t.

I have to fight! Congolese people have to fight.  People from Bukavu have to fight.  We all have to fight!  Our enemy is not a person. No—No! Our enemy is a situation, a state of malaise, a culture of depression.  It is a number of things put together against our development, against our peace, against our security, against our happiness.

We cannot be afraid to take risks while we have the Almighty one on our side.
FHA will take risks to bring change!!

–Bintu

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–Planting, watering.  Looking to the future. 

Pray for FHA and Bintu  to continue, looking towards leadership that will lead them into a future for their city and their people with hope in their hearts and minds.  Let them not grow weary in the race that they are running, let them not grow weary in doing what is good and right for the people of Bukavu and Congo. Pray for them, pray for their leaders, pray for their country.–Sara Johnson

Connecting Continents, Student to Student

Bracing for winter storms, my husband has diligently been filling empty containers with water “just in case.” In North America and Europe we don’t often consider the day-to-day struggles others have to obtain clean water for cooking, cleaning, and drinking.

A group of students in the Netherlands rose to the challenge of investigating global clean water issues and connected with some of Future Hope Africa’s students in the Congo to ask questions about DRC students lives and issues they face. The video below offers you and me a glimpse of their investigation.

Do you know some students or a class that would like to connect with our students in Bukavu? Let us know.

Meanwhile, several empty water containers were found in my son’s room where he used Dad’s emergency supply to refill his fish tank. 

–Kristin

 


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LINK: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cUWAYG7YElY&feature=youtu.be

 


Email us at: futurehopeafrica@gmail.com    Visit our website at: futurehopeafrica.org


Bintu in a cowboy hat?

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New cowboy hat. San Antonio, Texas

My visit with Bintu:

What a blessing it was to finally, after so many years—at least 10—to have my sweet sister, Bintu, travel all the way to Texas to visit with David and me.  We so enjoyed her

Bintu-restaurant

At Mi Tierra in San Antonio’s Market Square

stay here and were glad to offer her respite after her flurry of travel and presentations.  My favorite part of her visit was our taking her downtown to the Alamo in San Antonio, along with taking her to the top of the Tower of the Americas so that she could see the entire city and surrounding areas.  We ate an afternoon snack there in the revolving restaurant, which was a comedy in and of itself with David present.  On the Riverwalk, we ate Texas Barbecue and  bought her a Cowboy hat which she took with her back to Congo (I can’t wait to see pictures of her in Congo with her hat!).

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Tower of the Americas San Antonio, Texas

One of the things we discussed was quilting and how we could put together packets to send to Congo for the children to learn to quilt.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have time this trip to get any of the kits made.  I hope to get a few made with instructions, learn SKYPE, and see if we can’t have some online classes.

I think her favorite part of the visit was just relaxing and taking as many showers as she wanted.  I didn’t think it would be so hard to let her go, but it was.  I am so glad we got to visit and just love up on one another as sisters do.  My hope is that she will be able to return again on her next visit for more rest and relaxation.

Sara Johnson
Boerne, Texas

 

 

 

Above left: Making a presentation about FHA in Boerne, Texas.

Top right: Visiting with Rachel and Madeline in Boerne, Texas (did I really teach them French 10 years ago?).

Bottom right: Texas barbecue on the Riverwalk in San Antonio, Texas

We couldn’t do this without you…

A message from the

Future Hope Africa Board of Directors:

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On Christmas day, we are invited to join the shepherds and angels in their celebration (Luke 2:8–20) and the Wise Men in their worship (Matthew 2:1–12). Our Father calls us to unite with that “great multitude that noone could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages” who are “standing before the throne and before the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9). With the saints of the ages and the angels of all eternity, we offer our praise to our Incarnate Lord.

 

The FHA Board of Directors sends Christmas Greetings to all our partners in Africa, Europe and the United States. We thank you for your support throughout this year to educate and mentor children, youth and families in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). You have been faithful in prayer and monetary support, allowing FHA to continue its vital mission in Bukavu. Besides the daily education projects that help many children, we had another successful Vacation Bible School last summer, and FHA has embraced an entrepreneurial training program that is already gaining results with budding entrepreneurs.

 

Not the least of 2017’s accomplishments was Bintu’s three month speaking tour in the United States. We humbly thank all our volunteers who made this trip a huge success, and to all the new friends of FHA Bintu made in seven states. Her visits to America and Europe are vital to expanding FHA’s support network. As one partner expressed, “Africa is pretty far from our minds and hearts, so having a face to the place is something totally new.” We hope to increase these (now) biennial visits in the near-future, if financially viable.

 

Above all, FHA’s educational mission provides HOPE and JOY to those in need in Bukavu. Your partnership is a great gift this Christmas. We echo the words of the Apostle Paul to his dear friends at Philippi when he wrote: “I thank my God in all my remembrance of you” because of their “partnership in the Gospel” (Philippians 1:3, 5 ESV).

May God Bless you all in 2018!


 

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From the staff at Future Hope Africa in Bukavu, we want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support and prayers for a successful 2017. We look forward to sharing more of our success stories in 2018 with your support for helping us touch the lives of more children and families in Bukavu along with teaching adults the Christian values and ethics of entrepreneurship in business life.

Please visit our website for more info about Future Hope Africa: futurehopeafrica.org

Help FHA while you shop…

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Did you know you can help Future Hope Africa just by shopping online through Amazon Smile?

Let’s face it, most of us shop online these days and it’s super easy to help FHA when you shop through Amazon Smile, at no additional cost to you.

AmazonSmile is a website operated by Amazon with the same products, prices, and shopping features as Amazon.com. The difference is that when you shop on AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice.

Here’s how you get started:

  1. Visit https://smile.amazon.com.
  2. Log in to your Amazon account.
  3. Once you’re prompted to choose your which charity to support, type “Future Hope Africa” into the search bar as shown here: Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 3.41.42 PM
  4. Then click the “Search” button.
  5. Click the “Select”  button next to Future Hope Africa, Inc of Princeton KY from the list as shown here: Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 3.41.57 PM
  6. You’ll see the following on your screen once you’re done:Screen Shot 2017-11-16 at 3.42.48 PM.png
  7. Now, whenever you order from Amazon just make sure you start at  https://smile.amazon.com and a percentage of each purchase you make will be donated to FHA.

It’s that easy. And the more people who shop through Amazon Smile for FHA, the more of an impact it will make. It all adds up.

Please share this post with others and help our Amazon Smile donations grow.

Losing God’s Money

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Losing money always feels bad to me. So you might think losing God’s money would feel worse. Here’s what happened.

Back before Future Hope Africa had a bank account in the US or one in DR Congo that we could transfer money to, the only option we had was Western Union. I would go to the grocery store in Maryland straight to the Customer Service desk as my kids wandered frozen foods within sight. I filled out paperwork, produced ID, signed a register, double checked spellings and sent funds. Normally a smooth process.

One time, though, way back in 2012 I was traveling with my family when it was time to send money to Bukavu. Instead of sending money from the usual grocery store I sent money from my parents’ hometown grocery in Kentucky. Only one person was trained for this task, and that store didn’t have as much paperwork. No big deal, I thought–till the money went missing.

Back in Maryland I got the news from our education center in Bukavu. The money wasn’t on the system in DRC (Democratic Republic of Congo). After lots of hold time on several phone calls I was told I would have to take it up with the office of origin. After many months we were finally back in Kentucky, and the only thing to be done locally was to check the confirmation number. They did and said I’d have to speak with Western Union directly. I tried that again but got no where.

Was God’s money lost? Would the students in Congo never benefit from these funds gone astray?

This was God’s money, not mine. I focused on that and wasn’t as upset after a little while. It’s not like God didn’t know what happened. He knew exactly where that $1000 was. I did my part; gave back to him with open hands. Also, I did what I could to rectify the problem, and then I was forced to leave the rest to him. God was in control then just as he is now.

Fast forward to 2015.We had moved away from Maryland to Holland. After our USPS forwarding order expired, I received a letter. A class action suit was under way against Western Union. It seems lots of people had lost money on transfers about the same time I did. Login online to participate if you wanted to join the suit. I signed up and waited…and waited.

After a while, I figured the settlement wasn’t coming. Or they took out lawyers’ fees and nothing was left. Either way, it was still God’s grand.

In January, the board of Future Hope Africa had our first meeting of 2017. It was time to discuss increasing the monthly amount we send to Bukavu. We’d been sending what we could to pay our staff at the education center. It was a modest amount, but we were beginning to lose good teachers because they couldn’t quite support their families on the amount we were sending. After much prayer (and researching fair wages in Congo) we decided to step out on faith and raise the staff pay. Knowing we needed more monthly donors to sustain the salaries, we got to work on that. But by the end of February we looked at the budget and could see future deficits. We still can, but in the meantime we are praying. We are directly soliciting in places where we are legally allowed to do so. We remind ourselves that the education project is God’s project. From beginning to end, He is our provider. From board to Bintu, from 501(c)(3) status to setting up bank accounts, everything moves or happens by God’s hand.

We do our part. Then we wait upon the Lord.

And sometimes He reminds us how sovereign He is by meeting our needs today with funds that went astray 5 years ago. The truth is we serve an awesome God. A couple of weeks ago I was sorting through the mail and noticed an envelope with a return address I did not recognize. When I opened it, do you know what was inside?  The $1000 plus the $65 transfer fee. Money that could not have come at a better time. God’s timing is best. God’s mysterious ways are unfathomable. God’s almighty authority is over every part of the world, including money transfers.

– Kristin

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