Thursday, May 24, 2018

Finding Ways to Help

Greetings to you all.  Very sorry for the silence over the past couple of weeks.  I'm sure you all know how busy life gets at times.  I (Jenny) was busy in Canada with family things.  And the HOH was busy with school, then a holiday from school, the arrival of the boat from Miami and many useful and needed items, and now back to school again!  One special moment was that our boys who are away at University were able to come home for the weekend.  What a wonderful time everyone had reconnecting and just being family.
 Here's a group of them going on a picnic together.

A quick update on Oliana:  she had a pretty good week last week.  She started to get some strength back.  She was able to move around and participate in a few activities, she was even able to attend our Sunday church service.  But yesterday she took another down turn and is back in bed.  She's unable to keep food down and is back on IVs.  We continue to pray for strength and healing for her and comfort and strength for those giving her care.  As you can imagine, the constant up and downs gets discouraging for everyone -- especially for Oliana.  Thank you for your continued prayers for her.

Bringing hope in all it's wonderful forms to the children and youth who come through our doors is what the House of Hope is all about.  Over the years, many people have partnered with us to help us do just that. These past few months though we've been so blessed by 2 young ladies who found 2 very unique ways to raise funds to help us in this endeavor.  I wanted to share their stories with you...

Emma Rodriguez -- Miami, FL

You might remember hearing her name before.  Emma has spent time at the HOH over the past 4 summers.  She is currently a pre-med student at Dartmouth, a study she chose to go into after her involvement with one of our little boys who needs a lot of medical care.  So, one has to wonder, just what is a 2nd year university student going to do to raise funds to help the HOH?  
Why IronMan Texas, of course!
Yes, in the midst of all those bobbing heads out there in the water, you'll find one Emma Rodriguez. 
 After much training and disicipline, this amazing young lady swam for 2.5 miles,
 biked for 112 miles 
and then ran for 26.2 miles.  And she did it all in 14.5 hours!

Why would someone subject themselves to such a feat?  For Emma it was to raise funds to help the HOH.  We are so proud of what she accomplished and so grateful for her kind heart and spirit that loves our kids so much and desires to help us bring them hope in any way that she can.  And she's not finished -- she's already gearing up for her next IronMan in 2019.

Elizabeth Curtis -- White Cloud, MI
Elizabeth comes from a long line of HOH partners.  Her church has supported the HOH since its beginning in 1956.  Her grandmother spent many years rolling bandages and shipping them to us.  Many thousands of children were blessed by her giving over the years.
In spite of facing some very difficult medical needs herself, Elizabeth decided to find her way to help the HOH.  Hot Chocolate was her way.  Elizabeth made hot chocolate and sold it to her school mates.  The proceeds from her endeavors were given to us to help us bring hope to the children in our care.  I was blessed to get to spend a bit of time with Elizabeth on my recent trip to the Michigan.  She is an incredibly kind and caring young lady who thinks of others in need even though she herself is struggling with needs of her own.  We appreciate very much the work Elizabeth put into this and her kind heart that gave to us so we can bring hope to the kids in our care.  
While these are by no means the only 2 who have found unique ways to help us out over the years we just wanted to share some recent ones with you. Over the years others have come up with various ways to help us out:
  • Several young people have done clothing and supply drives at their schools for special needs that we have.  
  • Others have taken up special offerings in VBS or Sunday School programs.  
  • One church has a "Slipper Sunday" where everyone gets to come in slippers and donates to help us buy shoes for our kids.  
  • Another church has a special "Children's Offering" every Sunday where their kids collect and bring change each Sunday to give towards food purchases for our kids.  
There are so many ways to help out and we are grateful for all who do.  If this inspires you to come up with an idea of how to help us raise the funds we need to bring this hope, please let us know!

Together, we bring hope.  And if you question whether it's working, just take a look at this face,
it says it all...
Thank you for your part!

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Too Cute for Words

Many thanks for all your prayers for Oliana and the HOH and for your words of encouragement.  She continues to hang in there.  She is not getting any worse, but also not much improvement either.  At least she is conscious and able to talk.  But her blood sugar continues to spike and she is too weak to even sit up.  We appreciate your continued prayer, support and encouragement.

As an encouragement to you we wanted to share this picture of our 5 babies
They are all doing so well and we are so thankful for the chance to give them love and care for them.

I (Jenny) am back from my trip through the mid-west of the USA.  I am so thankful for my friends who lent me their car so I could have such an incredible time visiting many of our friends and supporters.  Thank you too for your prayers for my safety as I was traveling around. Here are some tidbits about my trip:
  • I drove a total of 68 hours over the past 3 week.
  • I stayed in 7 different homes who so kindly opened their doors to me and showered me with hospitality.
  • I was able to speak in 4 different churches and share all that God is doing at the HOH and in the lives of our crazy big family.  
  • I started my trip by driving into a big snowstorm in Minnesota 
  • I had to cancel one trip to see some partners in Northern Wisconsin because we were snowed in!
  • Driving in and around Chicago is just nuts!
  • Saw the last bits of snow in Western Michigan -- even watched a snowman melt before my eyes!
  • Tasted the best apple cider at the Yates Cider Mill in Michigan.
  • Saw the greenest fields and grass in Indiana.
  • Got my car loaded and bursting at the seems with new hand-made clothes for the kids in Indiana.
  • Was blessed with help packing and shipping said clothes in Illinois.
  • Drove through severe weather (thunderstorms and hail warnings) through Illinois. 
  • Saw the beautiful sun on my way back through Minnesota and North Dakota.
  • Arrived back in Manitoba to weather in the 80's!
  • All along my route I connected with people who encouraged me so much and it was a blessing to meet with and spend time with each one of you. 
We were reminded again of what an incredible team of partners we have in this special ministry.  I was also able to make some new contacts on this trip and we'd ask you to pray that some of those contacts might be the start of some new financial partnerships to help us with the needs of the HOH.  

While on my trip I highlighted 3 specific needs with some prayer bookmarks.  I'll share them with you all as well so you can be in prayer for the provision of these needs.  One was for a monthly need, one a yearly need and the last one is an immediate one-time need.  I'll share them one at a time over the next few blogs.  Here is the immediate one-time need (it is front & back of a bookmark):
Thank you for the many ways you are part of our lives, ministry and family.  We hope you all have a wonderful week.  We will let you know on any changes as far as Oliana is concerned.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Update on Oliana

Thank you so much to everyone who prayed for Oliana.  Sometime in the middle of the night she regained consciousness and started to talk.  This was not something we expected to happen given that she wasn't conscious or responsive in any way for most of the day yesterday.  Her blood sugar is still on a roller coaster and the doctors are trying to get it under control again.  We appreciate your prayers and would ask you to continue to pray for Oliana as well as everyone at the HOH giving her care.

Saturday, May 05, 2018

Prayer Needed

This is just a quick note to ask for prayer for Oliana.  She has been going through a rough time physically for the past little while, but today she took a definite negative turn.  She is now completely unresponsive and the doctors have told us there is little else they can do and it seems unlikely she will make it through this time.  We would ask you to please pray for Oliana.  Pray for Linda, the doctors and everyone involved in giving her care.  Pray for her family as well as they have been fighting for her health since she was a little girl.  Pray for God to bring peace during these difficult moments.  Pray that the medical staff would have wisdom in knowing how to care for her.  She is a young lady with a very strong faith in Jesus and for that we are thankful.  She has been part of our family for 16 years now.  It is difficult on everyone.  The HOH has stopped all activity this afternoon and is holding a prayer time for her.  We'd appreciate it if you had a moment to do the same.  Thank you.