Friday, December 19, 2014

HOPE & ABUNDANTs

Bekah and Sergey were out today delivering HOPE to those in need of a little hope right now .  One of their stops was to see a mother that we have been helping for some time.  As I sit and stare at this picture , its hard not to start crying , the photo has so much to say , take a moment and let it speak to you ! 


Another stop was to the children's treatment centre . Sergey had a bunch of fruit to bring them, and Bekah had a bunch of hand knit dolls that she new would be a hit, and a comfort  here for these kids.  





Meanwhile Jengish and Emma were around the Valley purchasing goats for the farm.  We had a couple donations for goats. one was an individual donation and the other was a group that decided rather then a little gift exchange, they would pool the money and invest in the beginning of a herd of goats.  So just like that, the farm has moved forward into the next step .. dairy goats that will be used for making goat cheese .. that means we can name them hahahaha.. 

this ones name is Abundant ... BUNT for short 

these two will be named on sunday by the  sunday school kids 




Just think, pretty soon those food bags at the top of the post may include goat cheese "from the farm"


maybe you are trying to think of some last minute gift idea's, why not food shares from the farm , or even sponsor an animal ..and the person you buy it for gets to name it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Change of plans

Can you believe, we are still getting food supplies out of the garage  Back when the team was there in the fall, they did a huge shop for us, and since that time, daily those in need have benefited from that.   Today the kids went to the garage to stock up our own cupboards .. Bekah feeds those living at the apartment as well as a multitude of others that come for a meal when they have more week then money, or just need to touch base and know that they are not alone.  Over at Jenish and Emma's they do a lot of cooking for the homeless.  Its great that along with brining base supplies to the shelter, they go a minimum of once a week and cook a nice hot meal ... with meat...   They also picked up some hand knit dolls that they will  be bringing with them to the treatment orphanage in a few hours when they go to help Sergey bring banana's .. stay tuned .  
Part of the Christmas celebrations , they will be cooking some meals at the apartment for some of the kids in the orphanage and those out of the orphanage at risk .   There are two benefits to this,  one is that they will be able to save a lot of money rather then going to a restaurant.. something we need to be very careful about this year .  The best reason is that who else would invite orphanage kids for a meal in their home... that makes it super special.  the kids just love it when they can come as well.  So they picked up the little tree we had in storage and will start decorating . 

Of course just when you start to get ahead, or a bit of organization, there is always a CHANGE OF PLANS.  Kamala came home and shared a desperate need she heard about .. A young mother who was eight months pregnant lost her baby about 10 days ago.  During the process of trying to save the baby , the mother nearly died.. she lost a lot of blood.  Being in the hospital all this time, today when she was released, there was no food left at her house, and the family had used all their money to save her.  As soon as Bekah found out about this need , she and Kamalla bagged up the food that they had just brought home, along with some vitamins, and headed over to help get this mother settled and food in their bellies.  so I guess she will have to try again tomorrow ..  I can just imagine the feeling of relief when they showed up with food and care .  just a simple actofkindness.. 
Since returning this fall, you may have noticed that I have been putting in a lot of plugs for us to perform these actsofkindness not just in Kyrgyzstan but where ever you are .  For  the last couple days I have had the chance to put my words into action.  I  have had the privilege of helping  pack and deliver Christmas food hampers in my Canadian home .  Each family received a large tote  full of food, and a big bag of toys and or clothes for the children in the home.  



It was such a blessing to have a chance to deliver some of these today .. their is an expression on a persons face that bridges the globe.  It does not mater if you are in Central Asia or Central Ontario ...  when you show love in a real and tangible way, people recognize it, and their lives are changed.  

Thank you to every one who has donated here , there , and in your home town to reach out to those otherwise hurting and or lost this Christmas season. 



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Great things happening in Tokmok

When we first met Jengish and started working with him back in 2008,  He told us that in the evenings he would go out and help the homeless.    He told us stories of such hopelessness and pain.  I decided to go out with him one evening and see first hand, so he took me to a homeless shelter in one of the parks in the capital . 


This room had no heat, the door was broken and would not open or close properly , and the windows were a piece of plastic.  The room was about 20 x 30 feet, and had mattresses on the floor. That was it.  nothing more .  There were no meals or other services provided,  nothing.  This was more of just a place that the police could bring the homeless and dump them off rather then the hospitals. 

for years Jengish has worked to help the homeless and the addicts to find a new way of life , one that is fulfilled and purposeful,   guys like Acelbeck and so many like him who came out of a shelter like the one above , today are contributing members of society and doing their part to help others .  Acelbeck is a hard worker, he has headed up most of the renovations at the farm, he has worked with Vlady at the clinic and he is preparing to plant the gardens for the food shares in the spring.  

Last year many of you rallied behind Acelbek when he was hit by a car , broken collarbone, fractured skull, he was suddenly homeless and out of work.. he was of no value to anyone, and was close to death.   We posted his need on the blog and with in 20 minutes Jengish was bringing him to the hospital with cash in hand .. it does not always work like that but this day it did. 


One year later and Acelbek is giving back .. and is part of our team . 




  Things have come a long way since those days when we first met Jengish.  That is not to say that the situations still exist.   there was a group of videographers that fallowed Jengish around a couple years ago and these short videos capture some of what they saw .  still very disturbing.   this is a two part video posted below ..


video


video

In light of what I know, maybe that is why we are so excited about the work of the Mayors office in Tokmok.  They recognise that guys like Acelbek should not be written off use of their circumstances, but that they do have value.  The Tokmok shelter is such a great way to show a little dignity.  We have committed to help provide meals at the shelter this winter.  As I look at the photos below in comparison to what I have seen above, I am just so blessed to be a small part of this.   



This happens because people like you support people like Jengish and Emma .    


Just in case it did not sink in, this is the alternative .   


There are cities around the world that could take a lesson from the city of Tokmok ... seriously !

on another happy note 

A portion of the Christmas pie challenge money goes to provide shipping expenses for Vitamins for the orphanages and those in need in Kyrgyzstan.
Along with those collected by many of you , this batch of smarty pants Vitamins has made the first leg of the journey to a home in Ohio where it will be packed and sent with a team coming over in Feb. I remember asking an orphanage director if she noticed a difference when she gave them to the kids .. She said " Yes , they have stopped licking the white wash off the sides of the buildings now " It was not the answer I was expecting , but it sure shows how much they are needed .... Thank you to every one who works so hard and donates to make this possible 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Fighters of the Invisible Front

We have a fairly serious need right now , actually it has been going on for a while , but has reached a point that we need to address one way or another very soon.  Let me share the burden that I carey ..

We work by coming behind an amazing team of people that are charged with the care of so many , and they do it with grace and mercy, freely giving all that they have for those in need.  They are currently active in twelve  different orphanages, two seniors homes , two homes for the disabled, three shelters, half a dozen schools,  three hospitals, consultation and  medical aid, administration of micro loans,  working with the blind and deaf , working with the Homeless , the adicts, providing counseling care and support for at risk youth  and the list goes on.

We provide them with a very small monthly support to help with their out of pocket expenses, and find sponsors for larger projects.  They all  work other jobs as well, so that they can continue to support those that they are called to work with.

This budget to help them comes out of our general funds.  For the last few months we have operated at a deficit and have used up the small buffer that we have. The deficit has been two fold , partially because of the completion of a couple monthly commitments from supporters, and another big factor has been the declining Canadian dollar which is killing us on transfer rates.   We have a short fall of about $600 a month.   As we were leaving a few weeks ago, I had to share with everyone that we have to make some changes in the new year, and reduce our level of support  if we don't have a Christmas Miracle.    We need to find some some way to increase the monthly sponsorships to the general fund .

I have learned not to worry about the individual projects, if and when the designated sponsorship comes in, then we can move forward, but I have felt it so important to have a guaranteed monthly operating expenses for our front line Hero's. Please I need your help ..  please consider setting, even a small monthly donation to the general fund before the end of the year.  Along with covering emergencies, bank fee's and admin so that 100% of designated funds are able to go where needed ,  Those funds keep our friends out there doing what they do best .

Here are some of those that are on the front line daily doing their actofkindness for those around them  ( not all are shown here, some have asked to remain anonymous, but are equally important )
Last years Christmas party with some of the front line workers , ( event sponsored by Possibilities International )   It just amazes me what this group of people has been able to accomplish working quietly behind the scenes.... they have been referred to as the "fighters of the invisible front " .. you see to many the hurting helpless and lost are just that INVISIBLE, but not to this group.  

Emma and Jengish feeding the homeless, they also work with at risk youth and recovering alcoholics
as well they run the farm which will provide fresh produce to other programs .  
Kamalla works as a teacher , at a homework club at the orphanage, she manages many cases we support, confirming that funds are paid directly to the Dr's or hospitals , as well she cooks and translates for teams  .. 

Along with attending University, Bekah carries a massive load especially when we are out of country. Her main area of work is to administer and keep up with the nearly 50 kids that we have on scholarships.  She helps with their school, living and medical needs .. She is also on the other end of the line as I send direction and finances while in Canada.  She helps to administer funds and send back reports. She works as a translator for us and helps with many traveling as well.  Now that Emma is no longer living at the apartment, she is also responsible for those who call the apartment home at any given time.
In this photo she and Kamala are delivering baby formula to the hospital for a new baby that was abandoned, an example of the type of thing that she is ready for at a moments notice .. day or night .   
Julie oversees medical help,Vitamin program and sponsorships  as well as logs all group activities and maintains a photo log,  My roll is to come behind our front line workers, supporting and encouraging them, mainly by sharing their work in order to find sponsors that will help them to be able to continue. 
Acel looks after those in the city needing supports as well as works as a translator for us .  She also comes to Tokmok regularly to provide culturally sensitive counseling , and is the mother roll to so many, especially when we are not there .  She and her family also work closely with the Blind and deaf societies . 

Sergey is the go to man with the orphanages , he has worked supporting them for many years and has developed an incredible relationship with them.   He also maintains a cass log of kids that he supports so that they do not end up in the orphanages. He is a good friend and a great support to every one on the team.  Anya is a great councilor and a strong advocate for anyone that she works with .  As well she runs a dance program for children from the City.  They have performed internationally,  and have been a real strength and support for so many. 

Larisa is a registered social worker, and is an incredible support to so many , Families at need, Families living in and around the dump, the mens home, and recently the families who lost their homes in the fire this spring.  She is a front line, first responder.. if there is a need , Larisa is there .. she also is the one that first brought us to the seniors home and many other people in need. Larisa's mother is in this picture because she works so hard behind the scenes making it possible for Larisa to do many of the things that she does .    

Tanya is Larisa's daughter, but should not be defined as that , she is a beautiful soft gentle lady that not only supports the work of her mother , but also carries a great burden herself.   Tanya teaches at the mens home, as well as at a new centre she runs in the same building where the dorm have been built for the fire families.  From this centre she works with and supports 40 to 50 kids on a regular basis, teaching as well as advocating for there needs . but most of all she is a friend to them, not many people go out of their way to be friends with the families from the dump, but she does.. 

Olga works diligently with government and disabled . She runs a school to provide teaching for children with learning disabilities. Olga is also the director of Society of Cornelius in Kyrgyzstan and is my go to person when dealing with any government issues such as Visa's, registrations and documents for those we are helping.  Olga also pays the utilities and other expenses for our apartments, and those that we suport. 
Anguilla and Aiperie are just so special to us.  Humble quiet, hard workers.  They make mattresses, blankets and winter coats for us , but more importantly they provide an emergency safe house for so many.  Aigula is a mother to the least of these, and is always ready to help with anything we ask of her.  

Vlady is one of the most incredible men I know , when we need anything done, Vlady is the man , renovations , welding , new construction, catering in the mountains, overseeing micro loans , lock smith  and mentor to so many kids .. just an amazing man, so it is fitting that he have such an amazing wife.  Dr Tatyana is a local heart specialist .  In Kyrgyzstan they do not have GP's and it is up to people to manage their own health care.  Many times the diagnosis that they receive may not be the best or most up to date.. we have a policy that EVERY medical issue we face with our team and those we are going to help MUST go to Dr Tatyana first for consultation if we are going to help them .. That way we know that people are getting the best possible care.  At a moments notice Dr Tatyana will come to any situation and meet us and provide care.  This fall it really hit home when Bekah developed a rash and allergies to something unknown , when things turned bad and she started have troubles breathing, Tatyana was there in minutes and and remained vigilant for several days doctoring her through.  It was not until Bekah was better that we were able to get her into the American Clinic in the city .. The report was that every thing was done perfect.   Dr Tatyana has helped so many that we have come to her with , but we sure have a deeper appreciation when the life she very well could have saved this time was our own daughter.  As a parent living 7000 miles away from our family and friends for half the year, we feel blessed beyond measure knowing that Dr Tatya is on the job. 


Please consider a monthly sponsorship to support this team of dedicated friends
 " fighting the invisible front "

Jan 1st we will make some changes , lets believe that those changes will be for the better! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Update from the Baby Hospital


The waiting room is complete.   Thank you again to Vlady and every one who has had a part in this project.   What started as one small room for parents and children has morphed into  a full blown free standing clinic.    We agreed to the expansion with the understanding that we would work on it in stages .  #1 the original commitment of a waiting room , #2 an exam room and stage three will be a procedure room and a sterilizing room along with public washrooms .    


Having a separate building will help the organization of the hospital, keeping the halls clear of people, and allowing the staff to do their jobs with out the constant stream of traffic.  The other big benefit of a separate clinic, is that illnesses can be kept better isolated, and people can be admitted as needed and as beds become available .  This will really cut down on any cross contamination. 
But I think the greatest benefit is to the emotional well being of the patients .. 

 Facing health issues with your kids, as any of us who have kids know,  Is a stressful and emotional time.  That situation is compounded when you feel like you are being neglected or ignored. Like you have to fight to be heard.  The new waiting area is warm and inviting.. It says to a waiting mom "We care about you , and we want to help you."  No more standing in the rain and snow.



Through this door is the future exam room.  We framed it at the same time as we built the waiting room.   the floor is in , the first stage of the walls is done, and the windows are in .  This part of the clinic is $1000 away from completion and just waiting for a sponsor and it will be open as well .  If any one is interested or you know a group that would be interested in this project please let me know.  either the Exam room at $1000 or maybe your group would be interested in working toward construction of the final stages in the spring.  The foundation and side walls are already started , so to finish we will be looking to raise $6000.  

 As you can see, this clinic is not just practical, but built to high standards using quality materials.   Anyone could be proud to have their donation dollars attached to this project. It really is a cut above. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

here and there

So when in Kyrgyzstan, as much as busy as we are and as much stuff as we get into, There are always people around that make it there business to make sure that I don't have to do a lot of physical work.... they want to help, and if they even see me with a bag in my hand they will run and get it .. I think it is a cultural thing, because I am old you know.  So now that I am home and have to do a little work, I sure miss my crew.. boy am I sore.  We found a used two year old water heater, someone was switching to gas so we got a great deal.  the tricky part was getting it down into our basement and hooked up.   Thank you Jeff for giving me a hand with this . 
Then yesterday we brought in the fire wood .  Bekah and Benjamin are already grumbling, they saw how small it is split this year and remembered about how big the pieces were when it was THEM who had to carry it ..hahha   

bringing in the water heater . It will be nice to have hot water,  recognising the excitement
we saw with those we helped with hot water last month in Kyrgyzstan  

stopping to chat with Bekah 

Its a nice feeling to have this on the porch ready to burn, feeling a bit of the relief that I saw with so many when we delivered coal over the last couple months .

and here comes the snow 
 Back in Kyrgyzstan the kids have been busy . Kamala continues to teach at the orphanage 5 days a week, and now has begun giving Russian lessons Via Skype.  She is doing so well and is such a great teacher.  Bekah has just finished a couple weeks of translating and being a travel aid for friends visiting .  Yesterday Christmas money started arriving from Possibilities International.  Once again they are doing great things in Kyrgyzstan , wait till you see .  To get things started, every one that lost there home in the spring fire will be getting a new Aigulla blanket for Christmas this year. among other things , so Bekah was quick to get the funds to Aigulla so they can start sewing right away.  As well PI has blessed Jengish with winter tires.  I can't express how happy he is about that.  With no snow removal or sault or sand, driving can get dangerous.  There is so much to do and to loose days because of snow when there are people in need is a difficult thing, but now with his new tires, they are able to keep working .
Kamalla translating for the team this fall as they delivered coal

Delivering money to make blankets for Christmas 

The new tires are on .. Jengish is happy 
 The clinic is almost finished, and its time to move the furniture into the waiting room .  I will do a post about this later today .
Loading up the benches to take to the clinic 
 As we shared earlier, Emma is starting to paint again.. If you are interested in having a portrait of custom painting done,  Follow this link to read more   Today she picked up the canvas in the city so she is ready to start.

Out at the farm, two of our giant bunnies  have given birth . I wish I was there to give them all a hug ,  I will just have to settle with a photo or two 



we think there are about 22 new babies .. its hard to tell, they won't stand still long enough , not to mention where does one start and the other finish ..hahaha see if you can count plus there is one more off Camera

The last few posts I have been encouraging you all to step out of your comfort zones and do your own actofkindness .. then tell me about it .

When we started to go to Central Asia , we had a friend here in Canada who was feeling challenged to reach out to those in need .. Not a comfortable step, but one that she new she needed to make.   yesterday she writes

Many years ago I slowly attempted to overcome my fear of approaching and giving to people who are on the street, in a bad way or are in need of kindness and love, Now I am immersed in giving to those who have been abandoned, abused and sick. These people are my second family and I help in any way I can to make their time with me a good experience.

Send us your stories of how a simple actofkindness has effected your life .  sunmasterjohn@aol.com