City of Hope Newsletter-January 2018
Happy New Year!
What an exciting time to be alive and to be a part of bringing transformation in the lives of young people. Every time I’m at City of Hope (COH), I’m so encouraged to see our kids learning, growing and thriving. They are amazing children who don’t let their past difficulties hold them back.
We had our annual conference in December. Our theme was “Leadership Challenges in the 21st Century: Is There Hope?” Meetings were held in the mornings and evenings, with sports tournaments in the afternoons. We had several guest musicians and speakers, including one from Canada. Topics included: “Leadership - A First Priority”, and “The Acid Test of a Leader” (based on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego). This year, since we started the conference before school was out, all of our students attended. We praise God for the excellent teaching, music and times of prayer, and for the students and adults who made commitments to Christ as a result of this conference.
In addition to the main meetings, other conference activities included:
- A one-day leadership seminar for pastors: The pastors were thankful for the time to hear from our guest, discuss God’s Word, and fellowship together.
- Drama: Students and teachers performed a dramatic story they had written which continued from day to day with the hero ending up working at COH.
- Eating: Lunch was served daily.
- Running: We had an 11K run on the last day. The younger kids ran a shorter distance. Running on the road brought a lot of community attention which we followed up with an outdoor crusade on the field. This was a great way to reach out to the community and several people made commitments to Christ. Congratulations to our students Veronica, Chausiku, and Agnes for taking the first three places in the women’s division. (Our boys did not place as there was more male participation from the community).
- Volleyball and soccer tournaments: The games were played to raise awareness on combating substance abuse. Teams from neighboring villages participated. The final tournaments were Saturday afternoon, after which we had a meeting and gave awards.
Since the theme was combating substance abuse, Bob Barnes (our long-term missionary) gave a testimony of how God delivered him from substance abuse when he was saved at the age of 19. I shared how God created us to have dominion over the plants and animals and to use them for good purpose but when we are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, we are allowing a plant to have dominion over us. Hudson shared also about the problems with FGM, encouraging people to take a stand against it before next year when the ceremonies will begin again. He reiterated what the District Medical Officer’s representative had said last year, that it is holding women back because educated men no longer want a wife who has been cut as they know the problems that it brings. Educated women who have gone through FGM, cannot marry unless they marry someone who is uneducated. This was an important message that took courage to share with the larger community represented for the tournament awards.
During our last day of tournaments, the District Medical office sent out a blood mobile to collect for the blood bank. They first taught about the importance and then people gave. The goal for the entire district was 100 units and we were proud to have collected 30 units just at our event! Hudson set an example for everyone by being the first to donate.
Daniel came to COH just over a year ago. He has no father and was in a school that is best described in this BBC article: www.bbc.com/news/business-41388080
When he arrived, he knew very little English but now he speaks well and is at the top of his class. He thanks God for answering his prayers for a good school (Destiny Primary School) and enabling him to succeed. Daniel wants to be a pastor; in fact, he is already a pastor as he shares God's word with the other children. We know Daniel has a bright future ahead of him.
In December, we slaughtered a cow and had a feast to celebrate the closing of school with students and parents. We awarded the children for their performance and listened to the band and to various speeches.
Christmas and New Year's Day were also times of celebration, including a bonfire and an outdoor dance party.
The students show off their new uniforms and sports outfits.
Hurrah! Hurrah! Hurrah!
Thanks to your giving, we have met our matching grant and are now able to build the staff housing for our secondary school teachers. We are also completing our technology lab with 50 computers. It will be complete before the end of January. This is so exciting and encouraging for our students and teachers. Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/TeamworkCityofHope) to see photos of the finished project later this month.
As we move on in 2018, my prayer for you is that God will . . . â€œenable you to live a life worthy of His callâ€. May He give you the power to accomplish all the good things your faith prompts you to do. II Thessalonians 1:11 NLT
May God Bless You in 2018,
Executive Director and Co-founder