We recently sent out a newsletter with some good news about recent graduates. It is so wonderful to see these young people defy the odds and grasp the opportunities in front of them. If you didn’t receive it, you can read more about it by clicking here.
Its all because of you and people just like you, who give and link arms with people they may never met. This is true religion and we are so blessed to be a part of it.
God Bless You,
If you are within driving distance to Vancouver, Washington, we would love to have you come to our event happening on December 1st. We are calling it Gifts of Joy! Our Christmas volunteer team will have just returned from Rwanda and will provide us with an update on the work going on there. We will also have available our “virtual gift” catalog which will provide you with an opportunity to give life changing gifts in honor of someone in your life, or for yourself. Please visit our event page on Facebook (here) to find out more and to let us know you are coming.
Our annual Christmas party volunteer team is working hard in Rwanda right now. They have actually been working hard for months leading up to this trip: collecting donated supplies and gifts, keeping inventory, making plans and preparations. We are so thankful for all of their hard work which will mean hundreds of children in Rwanda will get an extra special holiday this year. Our team will host parties for all of the children in our sponsorship program, all of the children in both our boy’s and girl’s homes, and will also provide a party for the children of a separate organization that provides a home and education for former street children. In addition to all of this, they have already hosted a conference for the parents of the children in our sponsorship program, and they will also work with our college volunteers and staff as well. All this adds up to a very busy week for them, but one that is full of joy! We are so thankful to be able to provide this for the children and families that we work with, and those who are on the team always report what a gift it is to them to be a part of this.
We look forward to hearing more from the team members at our event on December 1st.
God Bless You,
If you’ve been on our social media pages (find us on Facebook or Instagram) you will see something we’re calling the Apple Cider Vinegar Challenge. The challenge we have presented is to take a straight shot of apple cider vinegar (1 or 2 tablespoons- -really, it is good for you!). Do it (on video) and donate $10 to Ten Talents International, and tag 10 friends challenging them to do the same. For some people, downing some ACV is not a big deal at all- and for others, well, some people are still trying to work up the nerve to do it all… The question has been posed, why the apple cider vinegar? This challenge was my brainstorm, so I will do my best to answer that.
Initially, it was just a random thought. I take ACV sometimes to help ward off getting sick, and when I do I involuntarily make a face and react. I thought it might be fun to challenge other people to do the same, and for them to challenge others, and so on. How does it relate to Rwanda though? When Mike and I first talked about it, we discussed how the color of ACV reminds us of muddy water in Rwanda. This muddy water is what many families have no choice but to use everyday – for cooking, bathing, cleaning, etc. But our ministry is not about clean water, its about getting children off of the streets. TTI was started because of Mike’s first hand experience seeing children living on the streets in Rwanda.
You might be surprised if you visit Rwanda to find that 10 months out of the year it is very green and lush. Some people think that Africa means being hot, dry, dusty, but that is not the case everywhere. It rains in Rwanda, and many times it rains hard. Rain will come in fast and heavy. The dirt in Rwanda is a reddish brown clay. As the downpour of rainwater runs over the dirt it produces reddish brown rivers that pour over the streets and sidewalks. People who are out will take shelter under businesses or wherever they can find a dry spot. Now imagine if you are a child spending your days out on the streets. You get soaked. Not only that, but many children have told us that when they need someplace to sleep they will use the drainage ditches that run along the side of the road. They look like this:
Except where there is a driveway there will be a slab of concrete going over the ditch to connect to the driveway, and it is in those secluded spots where the children will lay down to get some sleep. Unless its raining. Then there will be no sleeping, as the ditches become streams of muddy water.
The other connection I noticed between ACV and the children living on the streets is connected to the smell. Children living on the streets have a common drug of choice. It is liquid glue. This powerful chemical glue makes them high when they sniff it (the term for this type of substance abuse by inhaling fumes is called “huffing” in the US). The reason they do it is not just so they can be high and maybe not think so much about their current circumstances, its because when they are high they don’t feel hungry anymore. Many kids living on the streets carry around small bottles of glue under their shirts and keep inhaling it throughout the day.
Nothing of what I have described for you so far should be a part of a child’s life. Children should be in a home where they can feel safe, loved, and cared for. They should be able to go to school and not have to work or beg to help provide for the basic needs of their family. I realize that we cannot change the whole world. We cannot make this problem simply go away, but for some children we can. We can change their world. We can offer them a safe place to sleep and adults who will love them and care for them. For those who have families, we can provide school fees, school supplies, medical care, and a daily nourishing meal so they can learn, stay off the streets, and have a better future.
This is what the #ACVChallenge is all about. Its about trying to get the word out to more people so that we can do more and help more children and families. Its about changing stories and bringing hope. Please help us spread the word.
Thank you & God bless you,
We could see them working hard and always smiling, because they are having so much fun. They continued having parties and sharing with many more young people in Rwanda. They had the party for all of the children in our At Risk program and their families (over a hundred children plus their parents!) They were entertained and blessed by singing and dancing put on by the children and parents also! Their agenda also included a trip to a center run by Rwanda Orphans Project (now known as Imizi Children’s Center) where they shared testimony, encouragement, soda and sambosa (handheld meat pies). They also visited a home for children from the now closed Noel Orphanage (a place we used to visit with our teams). Time was also made to be spent with our Rwandan staff and a little bit of down-time in between! We are so proud of the team, how hard they worked and all they were able to accomplish. Isn’t a mystery how you can leave a place with a full heart, even though you know you’re leaving a piece of your heart there? This is what happens to everyone who visits Rwanda with us. We would love for you to experience this with us next year.
We are so thankful that all our teammates arrived on time along with all their luggage (so much luggage- we are thankful for all the donations)! They are part way into their trip already, here are some highlights so far:
Day 1: The team hosted a party for Home of Innocence and Home of Purpose. We have some very talented students who honored our team with dances, songs and a poem. The party also included games and giving them their backpacks, shoes, clothes and good food!
Day 2: Church service in the morning and then time spent with the girls at the Home of Purpose. The girls all shared how they were doing in school, and we are so proud of them. The day also included gifts and a craft project of sponsor thank you notes.
Day 3: We hosted a conference for the parents of the children in the At Risk program. Mike, Jordan and Kelly spoke about the purpose of Ten Talents, what they can and cannot do for the kids and their family. Kelly gave a great talk on parenting, tips on supporting their children and encouraging them to tell and show their children love. Larry and I gave a sponsors prospective on what it means to us hearing from and about our children. We had a Q&A at the end and many parents spoke.
Our team member adds: My thought after that continues to be WE NEED MORE SPONSORS!!! My heart aches and I wish I could afford to help them all. At the Q&A it was clear there are many more who want the opportunity to go to school but we currently have a waiting list for children to be added to the program…today it got longer. Mike and his team have done a wonderful thing here but they can’t do it without the support of others.
Thank you for continuing to pray for our team, those in Rwanda, and for more sponsors. Our students have also asked we pray for them this week as everyone who is in grade 6, 9, or 12 has to take national exams which will determine where they continue their schooling (score well, you attend good schools, score poorly, not so much…)
God bless you!
We are busy preparing for our annual mission trip to Rwanda over the Thanksgiving holiday. As you may know, during this time we put on Christmas parties for all the students and volunteers in our TTI sponsorship programs. This is an exciting celebration that all the students, staff, and mission trip participants really look forward to each year. In addition to a nice meal, games, and fellowship, each student receives a brand new backpack filled with a set of new clothes, shoes, school supplies, hygiene items and correspondence from their sponsors.
We have generous donors that have covered the cost of the Christmas parties, as well as some extra backpacks for the unsponsored students in the program. We’d like to extend the opportunity for you, as a sponsor, to supply your sponsored student(s) with a backpack for the next school year. The kids love receiving something special from their sponsor.
If you are able to help in this way, please note that backpacks should be of good to excellent quality and NEW due to where and how they will be used. Please include one new outfit and pair of shoes, one new pair of black socks, one new package of underwear, and a new toothbrush/toothpaste. Backpacks and items must be mailed to the TTI office (address below) by November 8th, 2017. If you need sizing information on your sponsored student, please email Erica at [email protected].
You may also donate $45 in lieu of sending a backpack and our team will purchase the items in Rwanda. Write “2017 Christmas Party backpack” on the memo line of checks or paypal donations.
Even if you are unable to provide a backpack for your sponsored student, we want to encourage you to write a special note to them this holiday season. They really love hearing from you! You can email your letters to Erica at [email protected] or mail them to PO Box 873685, Vancouver, WA 98687. Just remember the deadline of November 8th!
Thank you for your continued support. We appreciate your commitment to the children of Rwanda!
God Bless You!
Our Christmas Party team is on the ground in Rwanda! It’s been a bit of an adventure for some of them (founder Mike & daughter Kelly who got stuck in Amsterdam) but they’ve made it & hit the ground running! Please pray for God to go before them & bless their activities this week & enable them to accomplish all HE desires! Here are some updates from a couple team members (please read, especially if you are a sponsor!)
From a Texas team member & return visitor to Rwanda: We arrived in Rwanda last night although our luggage did not. It should be here tonight along with Mike and Kelly McColm. They shut the airplane doors right before Mike and Kelly got to the gate for the flight to Kigali and our luggage missed the flight as our flight to Amsterdam was over two hours late. We actually thought we had missed our flight but I saw a sign that said the gate was closing and we all four ran the length of the gate and made the flight with time to spare.
We visited the Home of Purpose and the Home of Innocence today and the kids were all so excited to see us. It was so good to see all of them and get to talk with them and their caretakers. They sang and danced for us and we had so much fun we all joined in the dancing.
It was such a blessing to see Flamine, Jane, Frank, Alex and all of the kids. They have all grown up so much over the past seven years and they all looked so good. Thanks so much to their sponsors and the caretakers in Rwanda, they do such an outstanding job.
It was also exciting to meet Maggie and Emily, our two new mission trip members. Maggie went to Rwanda last year and had visited HOP and HOI before.
The parties for the HOP and HOI are tomorrow so we have a lot of work tonight and tomorrow morning. We should be picking up about 17 pieces of luggage at the airport along with Mike and Kelly.
From a Portland team member and return visitor to Rwanda: It’s been an amazing day. We went to Ten Talents Home of Purpose and Home of Innocence. There is such an overwhelming feeling of love seeing these beautiful people again. Their gift of thanks by singing and dancing made me smile, clap and yes, we got up and danced too. Sponsors out there, you make a difference and we saw it first hand. They were so proud to tell us of their advancements in school, how happy they are and that TTI has made a difference in their lives. It’s a beautiful day!
We are busy preparing to send our annual mission team to Rwanda over Thanksgiving week. As many of you know, during this time we put on Christmas parties for all the children and young adults in our various sponsorship programs.
This is an exciting celebration that all the students, and adults, really look forward to each year. In addition to a nice meal, games, and fellowship, each student receives a brand new backpack filled with a set of new clothes, shoes, school supplies, and any other goodies their sponsors send.
Our consistent backpack donor was unable to supply Ten Talents with new backpacks this year. So we are reaching out to see if you might be interested in purchasing a backpack for a student(s). We need at least 100 back packs with about 9 small back packs (ages 7 – 10), 26 medium back packs (ages 11 – 14) and about 65 large back packs (ages 15+). Back packs should be of good to excellent quality and NEW due to where and how they will be used.
If you are interested in helping out in this way, you can mail the new backpacks to the Ten Talents address below.
We also want to encourage all sponsors to write a special letter/note to your sponsored student this holiday season. They really love hearing from you!
Please let us know if you have any questions.
God Bless You!
Ten Talents International
PO Box 873685
Vancouver, WA 98687