An Update from Margie, April 2015
Dear praying friends,
You may wonder, how does your money enable the Gospel to be preached?
Since our students are primarily from non Christian homes and caution has to be used in presenting the Gospel, we use "hooks" like donations to help the families who are the "working poor" to be able to meet the demands of life.
We hear reports of women being beaten for asking their husbands for money for clothes, or shoes or anything not provided through government funding. What are those items? anything that is non food i.e. laundry soap, dish soap, diapers, wipes, deodorant, feminine pads, shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes. We also have had the children tell us that "mommy only does laundry during the school year" (cost of the laundry machines and soap) and "the teacher told me that if I don't come to school with clean clothes, I will be sent home" (Congolese refugee 5 year old).
I am so grateful for your help because through the 4 years at St. Cloud, we have been able to build relationships with the families, show the love of Jesus to the kids, teach them His Word so that they can receive Him and KNOW the unconditional love of God. One Bhutanese/Nepali refugee became a believer after she repeatedly asked me "does God really love everyone?" I repeatedly said "yes".
Not only do we speak about His love, but we tangibly meet needs. For the school year, we try to give (as the budget allows) a new uniform, sport shoes, back pack filled with school supplies, etc. But every weekend, we give out clothing and shoes to students in need. It is our desire that (with God's help) no child will go out and be bullied.
Every weekend with the play time and Bible study, we feed the children snacks and sometimes pizza and fresh vegetables and fruit. Why? I think mom and dad are working 12 hours per day, 6 or 7 days per week to pay bills and the children are hungry on Saturday morning because they do not go to school for free meals.
We watched one weekend as a small Congolese boy, barely able to reach the counter top, put an ice cream behind his back and backed out of the apartment. We now give him a back pack filled with cereal, and snacks so that he can have some food and we have also clothed him because he was so dirty.
What will $5 buy? - one large pizza
What will $10 buy? - fresh fruit and vegetables
$20 - one school uniform (khaki pants and collared shirt)
$25 - one back pack filled with school supplies
$50 - one back pack and school supplies and one pair of sport shoes.
$5 - will buy soap (laundry and dish)
$5 - one bag given out each week or bi weekly- one roll of paper towels, two rolls of toilet paper
$10 - pkg of diapers, wipes
$20 - shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes and feminine pads
$500- monthly expenses for gas for ministry van, insurance for the van, storage locker.
$700 - one month's rent so that a family is not evicted. (so far we have helped two families)
Last year, with the help of those who give, and the help of a local church, we were able to help about 50 students start school with their head held high.
We were also able to feed between 30-40 children for two Easter productions with the help of those who give and a local church. The children heard the true message of Easter. As Dr. David Jeremiah preached this morning, the REAL Gospel is not the cross, it is the tomb. If Jesus did not rise, we have no hope. Because Jesus did rise, our faith becomes relationship which sets us apart from religion.
One Ethiopian father told me that his Easter was this past weekend. I asked him how it was celebrated and he said, "we fast for two months prior to our Orthodox Easter (like a Daniel fast) and then on Friday before Easter, we do a complete fast until Sunday morning (not even drinking water if possible)". I apologized for no Easter eggs and bunny this year. He said we never heard of those things until we came to American. Hmm? Could we celebrate Easter differently here? How to break out of our "culture?" This same father thanked me for bringing all of the kids together to play. (this has not been easy, but we persevere).
My hearts desire is that more "grandmas and grandpas" would open donation rooms in apartments where the families are struggling and love the children with His love and look for those to "clothe and feed". I think Jesus would be there with them. He loved the children to come to Him. When the kids or adults are shopping, we have had many opportunities to train in proper manners, tell of God's love, or whatever the Holy Spirit leads us to do. It is simply amazing and such a blessing. Of course, they have structured classes as well,. What is needed is people who are visibly seen every day and will be there when they need to go to the hospital or need help with a food stamp applications.
Thank you for taking time to read all of this.
"Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and will be repaid in full" Proverbs 19:17