Mission Team 2015

20151010_131053

Earlier this month a joint mission team led by Poplar Grove, and joined by members of Steven’s Street Baptist Church and Vine Branch all of Cookeville, TN blessed me with their time, their love and compassion, their hard work, and times of Bibles study with hundreds of Rwandans in many locations.

This team was a blessing last year, and they were just as much of an encouragement and support to the people and ministry this year.

The first day, the team ministered to one of our sewing centers, visiting with current students and graduates. As these students shared their testimonies there was a repeated theme: “I had no ability and no opportunity for improving my life, but God opened up this opportunity through this sewing center of Love Alive, and now I have a chance to make a better life.”  The students blessed the team with hand-made gifts and fruits from their gardens, while the team shared Bible teachings and practical gifts. Former graduates invited us to their cooperative to demonstrate for us how they are working together and producing good work to sell in the markets.

The team spent the next 3 days in a village church, ministering both to the church and the community. The goal was to develop a friendship between the local Rwandan church and community and the guest churches. The team held daily services of Bible teaching, Bible study groups of men and women, and children’s classes as well. They visited many families in the community to read Bible passages and pray together, and saw 2 people accept Christ as personal Savior. One of the most unique things the team participated in during this 3 day-partnership of churches was “mudding” the church’s newly constructed building. This mudding process consists first of gathering large quantities of dirt, manure and rocks, mixing them thoroughly together, and coating the outside of the building in order to seal it and protect the building from erosion.  Due to gifts given through donations to Love Alive, we also presented this church with funding to add doors and windows to their facility. They were so grateful for this gift that they had the doors and windows ordered to arrive the very next day.

Before leaving this village, the mission team was able to meet a nearby church in the same community, and provide 60 Bibles to adult believers there. In this church of over 100 adults and children, only one member in addition to the pastor owned a Bible. It is a great privilege to be able to give God’s Word and encourage His people to read and get to know Him better. As I sat in this little church only half constructed of unfinished mud brick, but happy believers actively worshipping, I could not help but contemplate the dissimilarity of the average American church in priority and desire to serve and worship against all odds.

The following day, the team visited our second sewing center of 30 current students and several graduates who came to thank the team and tell of how they are now succeeding with the tools they have gained. It is often difficult to know who is gaining the greater blessing, the team in hearing the testimonies of persons assisted, or the beneficiaries we meet. That same day the team traveled to the hospital with which Love Alive works closely in providing funding to patients in need. After a brief meeting with the staff who welcomed us to openly share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the team went to each room, visiting each patient to pray with them, and bring small gifts to aid in their recovery, remind them they are loved, and that God, our Great Healer, is watching over them. The final stop of the day was visiting 100 sponsored students in this area to share a Bible lesson and play games together. The children were in awe and full of enthusiasm to see and play with the colorful parachutes, something they had never seen before.  Several of our team members were able to meet some of their sponsored students. I cannot imagine that any other experience could make more real to these children and their families the love and compassion they are receiving than meeting the sponsor who loves them enough to enter their world and give them assistance. I imagine that nothing makes the necessity of the gift given more real to the sponsor than seeing the dire needs of these children and their families, and meeting the beautiful lives they are touching and impacting daily than a face-to-face meeting.

The day before leaving, the team visited recipients of one of our most recent chicken projects, delivering more food and nutrition supplements for the chickens, and sharing Bible teachings with the group. After this, the team visited two different churches in this same village. The first church had received Bibles from Love Alive in July, and the visit was to encourage the local believers and strengthen our friendship. It was a blessing to see so many Bibles in use amongst this group. At the next church, the team was able to give Bibles to about 75 believers. Most of these recipients had never in their lives owned a Bible. With each church that is given Bibles, it is our desire to go back and share in Bible teachings and reading to encourage the daily use of God’s word.

Before leaving on their final day in Rwanda, the team was able to visit some of my favorite children, a group of children living in the worst conditions I have ever seen in this country. Love Alive began sponsoring these children after they repeatedly would find me in the streets as they begged for food. They quickly claimed themselves as my best friends, invited me to their home and became some of our first sponsored students. As there was nowhere else to meet or play, the team played soccer and taught a Bible lesson in the midst of heaps of trash and ditches filled with sewer. These children were so excited to have visitors come and see them and play with them. While their living standards are lacking, I could see the effort they had put into making themselves and their homes ready for special guests.

As soon as I see any of the men, women, children and churches visited by this team, their first question to me is and will continue to be, “How are our friends? When will they return to see us? Please tell them we love them and miss them. We are waiting for them to return.”

Mission teams have a way of impacting lives, building friendships and encouraging local communities and believers in a way that no other thing can accomplish.

I thank each member of this team for their love, compassion, their time, efforts, vacation days given and exhaustion from long flights and travel that is not always smooth in this continent. I also thank each church that was involved and supported its members in this journey.

God bless you.

Allow me to take this opportunity to assure you that you have a standing invitation to come to Rwanda and join us in the ministries and see God working. Whether you would like to come as a church mission team, as a family, group of friends, or an individual, you are welcome. Please feel free to contact me via our contact page and let me know what you might be interested in. We can work together to craft a trip according to your desires for ministry and international experience.

Needs here that can be addressed through short-term trips include:

Bible teaching to pastors, church leaders, teachers and lay-persons.

Children’s ministries through sports, play, Bible Clubs, Vacation Bible Schools, Sunday School Trainings to church leaders, and teaching children in schools.

Encouraging and supporting local trade, and increasing creativity and ingenuity. If you have a passion, a talent, an art form that you can teach, it may be very valuable to come and teach that.

Ministering to individuals in hospitals, prisons, and homes, sharing encouragement, prayers and friendship.

Baby Love

20151015_161914

She is

Abandoned. Helpless. Orphaned. Unknown. Unnamed.

And yet, she is

A Miracle. A Fighter. Survivor. Gift of God. Precious. Dearly Loved. Divinely created for a special purpose.

She is Baby Love.

Our relationship with our local hospital through which we have established our program to provide medical care to those who would otherwise be without treatment has become a lovely working relationship with fellow-Christian hospital administrators who readily communicate with us. I have learned of their sacrifices and their great care, often trying to find funding amongst themselves to care for patients otherwise left untreated. They are grateful for our funding, and I am ever so grateful for their care and compassion, and the integrity with which we can work together.

A few weeks ago, as I was just about to end my day and go to sleep, I received a phone call from Christine, who is in charge of social needs within the hospital. “Laura, we have an abandoned baby. She was born at 26 weeks gestation, weighing only 900 grams (1 lb. 15.7 oz.). Her mother has fled, leaving the baby behind. Can you accept responsibility for this baby’s care and medical needs?”

I got up and dressed, stopped by a store to buy baby formula and diapers on my way, and immediately went to see this lovely baby. So tiny and frail in her incubator, the diapers I bought her, though the smallest size available sag down to her knees and cover her chest.

Now at one month old, she weighs a full Kilo (2.2 pounds). She needs no oxygen, she has been taken off all IVs and is only tube fed 24 ML every 3 hours (6 oz. per day).

I go daily to hold her, rock her, and sing to her, wanting her to have nurturing and care. I’m impressed with the nursing staff and their ability to care for her and other preemies with such little advanced medical technology available. I marvel that she is still alive. She has no mother pouring love into her, no reason to be clinging to life, and yet she does.

The hospital tells me, she will be released when she has reached 2 Kilos (4.4 pounds) or doubles her current weight.  For now, Love Alive is her provider. As she has no name, I’ve taken to calling her Baby Love.

I don’t know her mother’s circumstances or what led to her decision to leave her baby behind. I do know that I want this dear baby girl to grow up knowing she is loved beyond measure, that she has a purpose, that God kept her alive for a reason.

I don’t know what the next step of her journey will be; I only know I am grateful to be a tiny piece of her nurturing and care.

#PrayersforBabyLove

SEAM Program Sponsor a Woman Through Vocational Training, Impact her Life Forever

Imagine life without the hope of ever being able to send all of your children to school (or even to send more than 1 per year to school), to live in a place with electricity or running water (even clean water), to sleep in a bed with a mattress rather than on a mat on dirt floor, to ever learn a skill or trade or even have a steady job (rather than making $1 per day working in fields.) Women are living this way every day in the rural villages of Rwanda.  Many have been abandoned by their husbands and left to feed and care for their children alone.  In many cases, they are also caring for other children in the village that have no one else.
Meet a few of these women: Marie: Widowed with 2 children, third grade education Fabiola:  Single, 20 years old, 5 siblings, sixth grade education Jeannette: Mother of 4 children, abandoned by her husband, sixth grade education Joyce: Married, two children, husband seeks day-to-day work, she has a first grade education.  Gloriosa: Mother of 5 children, husband has difficulty finding work due to handicap. She has a third grade education Sephora: One child, no husband, no parents, no siblings, no support systems.  She has fifth grade education Florence: Married, mother of three, disabled from a severe accident, third grade education Clementine:  Walked 2 hours to school each morning and 2 hours back home each evening for the opportunity to learn to sew!

I have become involved in a Christian ministry named Love Alive International that is changing the lives of many of these women.  My friend, Laura Yockey, has moved to Rwanda and has many projects and ministry opportunities to show the love of Jesus to the people she encounters in Rwanda.  One of my favorite ministries is the SEAM (Sewing Education and Mentoring) program which teaches women to sew.
The SEAM mission is to establish sewing centers and schools to teach women how to sew, to supply the tools to improve their skills, to provide support and a “safe place” to talk with other women going through the same hardships, to help them develop a sense of pride at their accomplishments and to show them the love of Jesus!
How it works: Selection:  Each woman applies for the class and is personally interviewed.  The requirements and expectations are explained and she must agree to attend class and do her best for 1 full year.  If, after
1 year, she has completed all the work and has shown the proficient skill set, she will graduate and be given a Sewing Business Starter Kit so she can start generating income for her family immediately.
Kit includes: Sewing Machine (Cost $125- includes machine, transport and assembly by technician) Fabric   (Cost $25 – to allow her to sew sample/display items showing her capabilities) Tool kit  (Cost $50 – includes scissors, sewing box, iron, buttons, thread, pins, elastic,       oil for machine, measuring tape, needles and chalk) TOTAL COST  $200
Funding for Kit: Sponsorships are provided for each woman in the sewing class by people like you and me.
To date, the SEAM project has hosted 2 graduations (Dec. 2014 and July 2015) with 25 graduates, and we are expecting approximately 35 graduates in December 2015!
Here are some pictures of women in the class as well as a group of graduates and their Sewing Kit.  One woman is modeling clothes she made as well as a bag for her sponsor.

I have sponsored several of these women from previous graduations, and each of them has expressed such gratitude for the love, support and confidence that a sponsor provides.  They know that you believe they can be successful.
Their notes of thanks to the sponsors showed such joy — here are samples from a few notes:
“I am so thankful from my heart for the good things you have done for us, for caring about us and taking care of us.  We truly thank you for what we have achieved through you.  We wanted to achieve
but we were unable to do it without you.  Truly God knows all! I have so many things in my heart I wish to share with you. “
“We have finished the class and are thrilled beyond words to express.  We invite you to come visit us and see our work and skills.”
“I will continue striving to better my knowledge and skills.”
“Your assistance will greatly help me and my family.  I will use my new skill to advance and improve my life.  You have helped me achieve much.”
We are in need of sponsors for the December 2015 graduation and I am inviting you to be part of this wonderful ministry with me.  I can promise you that every dollar you send (all 100 cents of that dollar) will go toward the ministry.
We have so very much and these women have so little – not because they are not willing to learn and work hard, but simply because they have not had the opportunity in the place where they were born.  If you are able to help give another woman a chance at a life that she has only been able to dream about before now, please consider sponsoring a woman.  You can sponsor on-line at http://www.lovealiveinternational.com (note: SEAM sponsor in comments) or mail a check for $200 to Love Alive International, 2410 Burgess School Rd., Cookeville, TN  38506 and reference SEAM sponsor on the MEMO line.
You can read more about Love Alive and other projects that Laura is managing on the Love Alive International website.  If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Love Alive via the “Contact Us” link on the website.
God is working through Love Alive in many ways in Rwanda, and I am so excited that He led me to this ministry!
With excitement!
Teresa

Guest Blog by Teresa Cooper20151012_110942

February 2015 Update.

_SAM0261

Dear Family, Friends and Partners of Love Alive,

Psalm 145:3 Great is the LORD and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.

I cannot believe three months have passed by since I last updated you. Before I plunge into the news and updates, let me just praise our Heavenly Father who is working here and blessing this ministry. Next I wish to thank each and every one of you for your prayers and your taking part in this ministry. In the month of December we had several individuals and churches that sent gifts above and beyond the usual in order to bless recipients here with education, vocational training, Bibles and sustainable projects. I thank you so much for your involvement, because you are very much a part of the ministry allowing God to work through you.

December was a busy ministry month in which we were able to hold two children’s Bible schools in rural village churches. At each Bible school about 200 children each day came to learn about Jesus Christ’s love for them and salvation through Him. We also held another Sunday school training with teachers and pastors from 10 churches coming together to learn how to effectively teach God’s Word to the children in their congregations and neighborhoods.  As Christmas approached, we had the joy of blessing hundreds of children in hospitals and Sunday schools with Christmas gifts. Incredibly, though each gift bag has toys and candy, families are often exceedingly thankful for the personal care items such as soap.  With each gift, we share the message of Jesus Christ being the first Christmas gift. This year, I had the joy of taking 2 young boys, formerly “street kids,” now our students with me to deliver gifts. It was a special joy to watch them tell others about Jesus’ love for them as they shared gifts.

January began first with relocating and then enrolling new students for each of our sewing centers. Last year, our first sewing center began to help a few ladies learn a skill. This year we have 65 women in our sewing centers. Many of these women never had the opportunity to complete elementary school, and are only able to find unskilled labor mostly in plowing and harvesting fields. For working in the fields an entire day, they are given only $1, yes One Dollar, for an entire day’s work.  The greater part of the expansion this year includes the addition of many mothers of our own sponsored students. These women requested to learn a skill to be able to better support themselves and their children. Many of these women have no other assistance or support.

Our sponsored students began a new year of school on January 26, 2015. This year, by God’s grace and with your benevolence, we have 285 children we are already sponsoring. If you sponsor a child, please pray for your student, that they will have the nutrition they need each day, peace in their homes, understanding of their materials, and a desire to know and follow Christ.

January also was the beginning of a new chicken project wherein we were able to give 160 chickens divided up among 20 families. Each of these families was ecstatic at the prospect of raising chickens for nutrition and income-generation for their families. In short, each chicken, purchased for about $5 has the capability of reproducing $50 worth of eggs. In deep villages where many families do not earn even a dollar per day, this is a big boost to their welfare. It is such a joy to be able to tell them that this gift comes to them because of Christians, and in this case children, who want to share Christ’s love with them.  As we gave the chickens, a village leader addressed the recipients stating, “Truly, this is a gift of God for people in America to think not only of Africans, and not only even of Rwanda, but to find our village hidden out here and bless us. Only God could lead them here.”

Finally, as we continue to distribute Bibles, this year we are making an effort to bless entire church congregations with Bibles for each member. The goal is to be able to be able to give Bibles to one church each month. I believe that great spiritual growth can come when people are able to read and study God’s Word. A special thanks to those of you who regularly give specifically for the distribution of Bibles.

Once again I thank each and every one of you for the part you have in this ministry.

God bless you richly!

For His Glory,

Laura Yockey

Ephesians 6:23-24 Peace be to the brothers, and love with faith, from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.

Wrapping up 2014

Wrapping up 2014

Dear Friends & Family,

SAM_8505

I have just returned from 4 days in a rural village a few hours from here where we saw several visitors come to Salvation during the Sunday morning service. Monday through Wednesday, we held a Children’s Bible school. While the church normally has about 60 children in attendance we saw 200 each day for Bible school. Our emphasis was on Jesus, His miracles, His love for us, and His great Salvation.

Last month I was thrilled and blessed to have our first mission team come to visit. The team made up of members of Poplar Grove Baptist Church and one member of Stevens Street Baptist Church, both in Cookeville, TN participated in a full week of ministry outreach from children’s programs in local schools and churches to encouraging believers in the church and in their homes. Upon visiting a rural church and learning that only 5 of the 60 adult members owned a Bible, the team provided Bibles for this church. The team was certainly a blessing wherever they went, and I am so grateful for their visit. If any individuals or teams are interested in visiting here, I will do all I can to arrange accommodations and help you plan a great trip.

After being in the US for several weeks, I was glad to see that both of our sewing centers were continuing on well. Our first sewing center will have its graduation in December, and a new class of women will begin in January. We have already had more than 20 women apply to be part of our next center. Many of those applying are parents of our sponsored students who realize if they had a skill they would have the ability to provide for their own families. We will also expand our second sewing center in January with an additional class added there.

Many of you may have seen my recent post referring to a young boy I had met in a hospital who was suffering terribly, but unable to receive treatment due to lack of funding. As he has the social healthcare here, the cost for his treatment was $1.65. As a result of meeting and helping this young boy, I was able to meet with doctors and other staff at this local hospital where we have begun a fund where people who are unable to receive medical treatment will be treated through this fund. The hospital was very grateful for our help, and I am grateful that we are able to be the help to alleviate suffering for many.

I wish to give a special word of gratitude for all who have contributed money for Bibles. We have been able to give almost 200 Bibles to individuals requesting them just in the past several weeks. A couple weeks ago, I had stopped in a store to make a purchase. As I went to pay, a worker in the store saw a Bible in my bag and requested it. When I gave it to her, she began shrieking with delight, causing a second worker to request a Bible. These two young girls fell on their knees, arms lifted heavenward, praising God, and then called to their friend to come see that they had Bibles. The friend requested and took the third and final Bible I had with me that day. I continue to see these girls frequently, and they remain thrilled with their Bibles. Thank you. Next week, I will be able to give Bibles to each adult member of a second church congregation where only a handful have Bibles of their own. Imagine the church growth that can come as a result of each member having a Bible to learn and study God for himself.

As a new month approaches, I continue to meet daily with persons desiring sponsorship or vocational training. In the month of December we have scheduled another Vacation Bible School, and a Sunday school training of various churches, graduation of our first Sewing Center, and Christmas projects for children.

Each time I write an update, I am reminded of the wonderful things God is doing here, and I am grateful to be a small part of this work. That said, in the past 2 months, I can tell you that Satan has been fighting on many levels working to defeat me, and the ongoing ministry. I appreciate your prayers for the power of the Holy Spirit here and that we would see God work in marvelous ways. 

May God bless each of you as you remain faithful to Him. Enjoy this season of Christmas.

With gratitude,

Laura Yockey

When They Grow Up…….

When They Grow Up.......

By now you well know, I have this special place in my heart for children in the streets, well, all kids, but especially the little scruffy ragamuffins with no place they call home or little interest in being at the home they have.
I look at these little ones… mostly boys, and I think about their futures. If they continue on the path they are on, they’ll surely end up uneducated, extremely poor, living extremely difficult lives to survive, or ending up in lives of crime.
Then I see hope. I see what their lives can be with some intervention. With someone to love and guide them. Someone to teach them how to live well, to tell them about a God who loves them and has a purpose for their lives and a way He wants them to live. Someone to educate them and counsel them, to make sure they are fed and clothed.
That is where my dear friend Pastor Deo and I share a vision. Several years ago, Deo saw some young boys fighting over a banana. He stopped and talked with them telling them not to fight, but also provided some little food for them. The next day they showed up at his house for more food. The next day they returned….. with friends.
Through that experience, Deo began a children’s ministry of a feeding program where children are fed emotionally, physically and spiritually. To this day, 3 days per week, about 90 children come for Bible teaching, counseling, a good meal, and sometimes educational help.
I have enjoyed visiting Deo’s ministry several times. He is a great example of someone ministering to the whole person.
Eventually these kids grow up. And then what? Where do they go? Where do they turn. When they reach 18-20, they are ready to branch out in the world, but if they have only basic education, no one to help them connect with further education, a decent job or a place to go. Where will they turn.
The bleak truth is many will turn to whatever means they can find to survive or get through another day. If you were a young guy with little to no family, lack of purpose or direction, where might you turn? For many boys here it is drugs and alcohol. I still have yet to figure it out, but both in US and here, I have found that despite how poor a person is, they are always able to obtain drugs and alcohol. Both of these slowly kill a person, if not physically, mentally and emotionally. As a young girl, where do you turn when you just want to be loved, when you just want somewhere to feel wanted, to be at home? For many girls here, without skill or ability to attend university or find a job, they turn to sleeping with whatever boy may take them home for the night. It’s one way to find a meal and a place for the night.
One alternative is skill training. If a young person can be provided with a skill to afford them a career or means of business, they have an opportunity to choose a different life.
Love Alive International partnered with Association for Children’s Assistance to form a Salon School for 10 youths. Here they will have hands-on training every day for 6 months with their own tutor. We have provided them with all equipment, a location for learning and a professional to teach them.
Many of these students had to drop out of school in early elementary school. A few were able to scrape by to get through secondary school, but found no jobs available to them and no means to go to college. Each of them is excited for an opportunity to learn a skill that is needed in any community. Two of our students are refugees from Tanzania (Rwandan citizens who fled to Tanzania years ago, and are now being forced out of Tanzania by that government). I loved that each of the students expressed a desire to be able to provide for themselves and help their families. None of them wants this education solely for their own improvement. They look at those around them and see how they can help them as well. One of the girls, a refugee transplanted from Tanzania, said, “I don’t need to depend on others. I need to have the skills to support myself, my parents and our family.” I appreciate that motivation. One student said, “I can’t wait to learn these skills and then share with my friends so they too can do hair styling.” She is not trying to keep this blessing to herself. She wants others to learn as well so that they too can profit. Another student said, “My parents have helped me so much, now it is time that I can help them in return.”
When given an opportunity. Many will choose a better life. This salon school provided through Love Alive is one way we can offer people that choice. These students have been studying for almost two months now. They are learning and practicing and enjoying. A new career for them is just around the corner. You’ve shown them a bit of God’s love, and it is making a difference.
When they grow up, the future doesn’t have to be hopeless. In fact, the future can be bright with a bit of opportunity.

So, what exactly is Love Alive?

So, what exactly is Love Alive?

I thought it might be time to explain.
I’ve received checks written to Love the Life, Love is Life & Love of Life. We received tax documents addressed to Love Alice (surely to goodness it was a typo).
Most recently a man commented to me. I like that you emphasize Love Alive. It is better for people to love while they are alive. Dead people cannot love. Had he not been fully serious, it may have been mistaken for stale humor.
That’s when I realized maybe this name makes sense only to me. While our website explains clearly the meaning of the name, let’s be honest. Who has time for that?
When I first began envisioning starting a non-profit, I thought of so many names. Most were already taken. So much for originality. I tried putting together numbers of Bible references. They had no ring. I tried taking words from inspiration, Bible verses, even meaningful words from the local language. Either they didn’t make sense, were impossible to pronounce, or again, were already taken.
As I thought about what I really wanted as the foundational purpose for this ministry, I knew I wanted it to be a way to make Christ’s love known to others. I’ve seen enough “love” that shakes its head in pity, then changes the channel, or clicks the browser to a happier story. We have experienced too much “love” that says, “Oh, I just wish there was something I could do,” with our hands contentedly stuffed into our own pockets as we return to our own personal matters.
I wanted to people to have a way to demonstrate love in a way that would show that the love of Christ is real, it touches lives, it changes the way we live.
Hence after weeding through various groups and songs already taken by similar thoughts, I arrived at Love Alive.
And wouldn’t you know Love Alive is a song by a group called Heart. It is a rock band in Ohio; it is a marriage and family program in New York. After that I quit looking at the thousands of matches on Google. Now, if you Google Love Alive International you will find a small faith-based non-profit working in Rwanda to demonstrate Christ’s love.

Here’s the latest in Rwanda

Dear Friends of Love Alive,

It has been another blessed and busy month full of activity and new programs coming to fruition. I am reminded of Proverbs 16:9 wherein we read that we humans may make our plans and agendas, but it is God who will direct our ways. I am so thankful for a God who plans our every step. Admittedly, when I came to Rwanda, I had various ideas and plans, but very little concrete direction on how they would be carried out. I trusted that if I took the first step of coming, God would continue to guide. He has done so faithfully.

If you only knew how small my own ambitions and expectations were of what could be accomplished in the first year, you may understand how I stand in awe of God’s ways, and how He is allowing Love Alive to be used to minister to so many.

I really just hoped that in the midst of evangelistic endeavors we may be able to help a few people, maybe send a few children to school, maybe help with a need here or there.

To date we have 150 students in school this year. Twenty-five of these are vocational students, in a one-year program learning skills to support themselves and their families upon completion.

In February, we partnered with a local ministry and a local church to begin two new projects, neither of which I had anticipated, but believe God directed so that others may be blessed. The first project is a Salon school for vulnerable youths, whether orphaned, refugees recently relocated from Tanzania, or due to immense poverty having had to discontinue school in their early years, these 10 students were specifically chosen within their community for training. We are using the location of a local ministry, who hired the teacher and organized for the project, while Love Alive is covering all costs for these students. In talking with each of these students, I was impressed at their commitment to find a way to support themselves and also their families, not to be dependent, and to give their future children a stable upbringing.

Also in February we partnered with a local church to provide a Sewing Center for women who are widowed, suffering with Aids, have no family to help support them, and may have several children needing their support. This is the church to which we donated the 6 sewing machines last year. We have now entered a one-year agreement with them to provide building, teacher salary, materials, and more machines, so that each of these women will, within one year, learn the skills she needs to be able to earn a small income to help support her family. Again, God directed this. I was happy simply to give the machines a year ago, but now we are providing the skills necessary for these women. The sewing center is adjacent to my office, so I am frequently able to talk with these women, who often express their gratitude to God and to you for this blessing.

Also, in this last month, I have begun 2 Bible clubs targeting our sponsored students. I desire that more than basic education, they will understand the love of Christ and the salvation He offers, and that they will learn how to live a life pleasing to God. On Fridays, I go into the city to meet with 7 of our children and we have our Bible story time. On Saturdays 45 children come to my home each week and we have songs and coloring pages, Bible verses and Bible stories and snack. A third Bible club may be right around the corner, as many of the neighborhood children are also wanting to come, but more than 50 children in my living room at one time, is a bit …well, difficult!

I’m thankful for these opportunities to plant seeds in these lives.

March is looking full of potential and I look forward to keeping you updated on all that is happening here.

God bless you all abundantly,

Laura Yockey

P.s.  The registration is still a work in progress, I have renewed my temporary visa in the mean-time. God has that all in His hands too!