The Blog

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“The AfriPacks”

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Children are a precious gift from the Lord.  Echoes of Mercy began by supporting just two orphaned children and are now helping approximately 200. EOM is a non profit Christian organization in Kenya founded in 2008 by Moses Omondi. Following Christian values, they work with excellence and integrity teaching dignity and servant leadership. Their goal is to alleviate suffering among widows, orphans, and needy children and their families in rural Kenya. In 2010 they established a Christian School that operates in a recently completed modern facility. It is staffed with caring qualified teachers. Children come from miles around to looking for a helping hand, a meal, and hope for the future. Many are without parents because of the AIDS virus that lurks in the villages. For most the simple meal they receive at the school will be the only food they will have for days.  EOM currently assists the children through a feeding program and education. But they have a greater vision. They want to impact lives and express mercy. They want to empower the suffering towards a better future. The staff of EOM wish to provide not only physical needs but also offer spiritual needs as well. They want to sponsor orphans at all levels of education, improve health and diet, educate them about AIDS and prevent the use of illicit substances among the children. And, someday they desire to build a medical clinic to treat the people of the village. Currently they have to travel many miles on

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From Dreams to Reality…by Jan

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Dreams do become realities. Last year their dream was to have a kitchen with a table large enough for the family of seven to all eat at one time. This year Zhenya’s dream was to have cabinets, stove and refrigerator in that kitchen. The Lord has blessed us to help with both of these dreams. Each day as another cabinet goes into place or a door is hung there is such joy on every face. One by one the children check out the work. Each joking about how they might use the cabinet. Papa thinks it would make a nice storage for his hunting supplies but Mama says ‘NO”.  This is her kitchen dream. Each day she sits and watches the work, helping when necessary, and mentally stocks the cabinets. They have had the refrigerator in the living room, the stove in another small room and the sink in a hallway. Now they will all be in the same room. Imagine the joy of having such luxury. The children enjoy climbing the ladder of fetching supplies from time to time. The little ones call “Janice” as they peek around a corner just to let me know they are still there. They are quick to offer a helping hand to sweep the floors, especially since Dale gifted a few rubles to his helpers. Working together in their home has taken our relationship to a new level. Pastor’s use of English has increased since last year as well as our limited Russian.

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The Bracelets by Jan

Monday, May 30th, 2011

The little piece of rope with beads seemed like a simple gift but it was so much more. The story behind it is of great importance. We have known Bruce Becker for many years. He often talks excitedly about the eye glass clinics and how effective they are for evangelism. Recently we had the opportunity to share in this ministry and experience it first hand and he was right. After the recent Roma conference Bruce and staff set up the simple clinic in a tent first then moved on to the churches of the villages. People lined up to get free eyeglasses. But they also got another gift, the bracelet. Bruce handed me a large bag filled with the colorful bracelets and a package of cards in Russian to explain. My task was to share them with the people. I quickly recruited Robie to be my assistant. He is a very energetic leader in the church and he loves the Lord. I shared the message card with him and the Pastor and explained that as the people came for glasses we would give each person a bracelet, tell them the story and pray with them. One by one the people came. As we placed the bracelet on their wrist we explained. The Black bead represents the sin in our lives. It is black and holds us in darkness. The Red heart bead. This is a symbol of the love of Jesus Christ. He loved us so much He was willing

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Recipe or Receipt?? by Dale

Monday, May 30th, 2011

  Ok thanks to prayer and a very very loving wife.  I am feeling 100% better tonight so I thought a little update would be in order. Although the sickness sidelined me a few days Yuri and I still were able to collect some of the needed things for the projects at hand. Like sheet metal and metal tubing for a new fence at Samuel House and the sheet and angle to go with it. It is now in our possession as I write this but my poor brain was tested this last week and…..lets just say it was not the best it could have been. Yuri came early one morning with plans to pick-up the aforementioned sheet metal which had already been paid for. He also really liked the Chili soup I was able to put together before I got too sick and asked for the recipe. I was able to change the English measures to Metric and printed the page folding the paper and putting it in my pocket. Jan gave me the proof of purchase papers to go pick up the beautiful pre-finished metal for the fence and we were off on a mission. We quickly arrived at the factory where our metal was waiting. I reached into my pocket and handed Yuri the receipt for without that you cannot get your order completed here. Yuri said “I will be back soon”. Well I think that’s what he said (it was in Russian). Five minutes later he

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“Jan’s Cans” for Orphans

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

“Jan’s Cans” is a catchy phrase started by Debbie Ostema for her Sunday School class in 1998. She wanted them to learn about and be connected with missions. By collecting returnable bottles and cans the children helped other children across the world. Little did she know, her idea would become a church wide project that would continue for years. Michigan’s bottle refund law makes it possible for funds to be raised to help orphans. Each refundable bottle or can collected through “Jan’s Cans” adds ten cents to the fund. Over the years these funds have helped to meet needs such as food, clothing, and medicine in the orphanages. In Russia children usually finish their high school at about age 16. At that time some of the orphan children are able to attend college but many go into the world to fend for themselves. “Jan’s Cans” have made it possible to offer help to these children as they transcend from orphan life to independent living.  As we offer them practical help we also offer them spiritual encouragement through the love of Christ Jesus. Debbie and family moved but the youth group took on the project. Currently the missions committee continues the work. Last year someone designed a beautiful garbage can complete with Russian drawings to receive “Jan’s Cans”. It sits in the lobby at the Charlevoix United Methodist Church. During Venetian it sits near the church’s famous foot long hotdog booth. This is an example of a simple project that can

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Return to Ukraine

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Plans to return to Ukraine are now in process. In 2008 Dale helped Pastor Brugosh, Jason, and the men at the Radvanka church install a new gate for their fence. At that time a new friendship was formed. In May 2011 the church will be holding a  conference. They have invited us to return to be part of the preparation and participation in this event.  Lord willing we will be there along with a few other American team members. There is much work to be done that requires Dale’s skills. Janice will help with organization and be one of those speaking to the ladies. The conference is being hosted by the Radvanka Church of the Living God and Michigan Bridge Ministries. It will be held May 5-8. There will be great fellowship, lively worship, anointed teaching, and powerful prayer. There are building repairs to be done before the conference. Pray for favor and provision to complete the tasks. Our plans are to be stay in Ukraine for up to 3 weeks then we will proceed to Russia as planned. Look for more updates to come as God unfolds His plan.