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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Let's build some houses


Happy Spring everyone! Here in Oregon, Spring seemed to start early, and we are enjoying every moment. Thank you all for the continued support to our ministries. Even as we are now living stateside, we were able to double our scholarship fund this year. We now have 6 students in college Six of whom would not be there if it weren't for all of us pooling our resources to help the underprivileged on the other side of the world. 
The school year has officially begun. (there they study from February to November). Now I can focus on two beautiful ladies who could use a new house. Pictured above is Elvira Rode. She went completely blind about 10 years ago, and then her husband died 4 years ago. She does have four adult children, non whom are working yet (neither was she able to send them to high school), but one did make it and now is studying civil construction. 
Rode is the treasurer of the blind association. Which means that she keeps up with the few dollars that they might have to use if they have events or if a member is sick and in need. Rode roasts peanuts and sells them in front of her house everyday, and has grown a small business with the help of her daughters, that go to the bread shop in the early morning to buy a basket of bread and also sells to the neighbors.
 For the past 5 year,s Rode has been buying one cinder block at a time to build herself a new house. Her dream would be to rebuild the adobe house you see behind her with good solid bricks. (cinder blocks) And in a perfect world the opposite side, which faces the "road" would have a store front where she can continue to build up her business. Below is a picture of her bathroom, which is not connected to her house, but this is very common in her neighborhood.

 For about $5,000.00 we can higher Angolan workers, buy locally made materials and rebuild her house and add the store front. I think we should do this. If anyone wants to contribute the smallest amount, Elvira Rode and I would be very appreciative. Just go to our new website; sorichlyblessed.org and you will be led to a donation page at Helping Hands Ministries. That money will go straight to this building project.

Next is a story that I am totally invested in. This little guy has become John and my godson. His mother ran away from his father while she was pregnant with him. She said that he hit her frequently. He also has two older siblings and now a baby sister. (Another father, who is not interested in having children, therefore out of the picture) Adele, the mother, has asked John and me to take her son, because like many poor people in the developing world, giving away the child to a rich family is easier, and a more secure future for her child. Well, I think before John and I take any of her kids (which I really do want to take that boy!), we need to help her face this discouraging life and help her gain some security. Let's help this mamma gain some self respect by being a home owner, and give her a secure future knowing that she will have a house to give to her children some day. Pictured below is Adele and her little guy and baby, in the house that they rent for $20 a month. which is adobe, therefore growing weaker with every rainfall. and only two small rooms with no water or electricity, or toilet, I actually don't know where there toilet they use is, hopefully the land owner who lives next door, has one.



 Pictured below is our little friend spending the weekend with us when we lived in Angola. I miss him so much. His mother is supported by a Welfare/WIC type program, were she is given milk powder, corn flour, sugar, and diapers weekly, enough to feed her and her kids and enough to sell, to have a little money. The government has also given her land, in which we would like to start building on soon.
I do think his mother has her flaws, like all of us. And I want more than anything to just adopt this little guy, but I think the Lord would have him stay in the loving home of his mother. So I'm looking for anyone that wants to come alongside and build this house, using Angolan workers and locally made supplies. Again, this project will also take about $5,000, start to finish.

My convictions to help these ladies, as always, stem from what I know of teachings by Jesus Christ. Matthew 25:40   And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’
And then I am also motivated by the words of Paul to the Corinthian church. "You will be blessed in every way and you will be able to keep on being generous. Then many people will thank you when we deliver your gift." --2 Corinthians 9:11

So whether you give to these ladies, or give to others in need. I truly believe that you should give.

If you are interested in giving to these housing projects, just go to our new website:

sorichlyblessed.org

Thank you so much for reading,
With Love From Portland,
Lori

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

What now?

John has officially been working in the U.S. now for 6 months. Many have asked about our transition, and how it has been for us. My answer always tends to wonder, because it's hard to put our feelings into words that others can understand. We were only away for three years, so that doesn't quite make us third culture people. (which is a culture of people that don't really fit into their home culture anymore, yet also never really fit into their new culture.) We are definitely Americans, but that being said. I would like to share my latest journal entry with you. I'm not trying to speak directly to anybody at this point except myself and where I feel the Lord leading me.
Read at your own risk:
In the third year of living in Angola. I realized that all of us living in the wealthy part of Benguela must truly believe that we are better than those living on the other poorer side. How else could we walk through their poverty with our purses full and zipped tight? When I decide to spend and easy $150 on groceries for my family and then give $4 to a man crippled from childhood Polio, not even $4, more like $2. I really must think that I deserve to eat better than him and his family.
Giving a measly $30 a week to the Blind Association so each person can take home 4 peices of bread, while eat at least 2 a day. I guess I value myself more.
Then I realized that I was among a few wealthy people who chose to spend time with the financially less fortunate. And I know why. . . because it's hard.
I'm inevitably faced with the worldly question, "What then?" So am I supposed to give all I have away, then we are all just poor in the end, What then?
I don't hear that question from God, or the Bible. I think it's a worldly question. Instead of asking the question, or dealing with the thought, "Am I better?" We choose to seperate ourselves.
Over hear it is easy to separate ourselves. Over there (I can only speak about Angola) even in the middle of such poverty; those who have find a way to lessen the interactions with poverty. To shut the doors and turn on the T.V.; to dine in walled in restaurants, to vacation in places where we can forget their illnesses and hunger and illiteracy. (I'm the guilty one here)
I hate these question because when I give, it will never be enough unless it hurts. And since I chose to marry and have kids, my giving might not only hurt me, but my family as well. (I'm using the word hurt in a very broad way, what I mean is that maybe there isn't enough money to always buy new clothes, or do all the sports that we want or have a huge house; nobody is truly hurting here!)
I think these questions only bother me because I was hoping to believe that God wants us all to  financially prosper and live healthy, long lives. I think that is one of the biggest lies in the  world wide church today. Is it bad to think that maybe God doesn't care if we get sick as long as we draw near to Him? Maybe He doesn't care if we own a home or a car or new clothes. Maybe those in poverty are actually more blessed because they have to depend on God.
Maybe our home owning, new car driving, new clothes wearing selves are the ones who are furthest from being able to depend on God.

My opinions are provoked by these scriptures:
Luke 6:20-21, "The Jesus turned to the disciples and said, "God blesses you who are poor, for the Kingdom of God is yours. God blesses you who are hungry now, for you will be satisfied. God blesses you who weep now, for in due time you will laugh."
Luke 12: 15-21
This is the story Jesus told about the man that saved and saved his whole life, and right when we was to retire and enjoy it all he died and Jesus called him a fool. Yikes
Luke 18:24-25
Jesus said,"How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom of God! In fact, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God."
Luke 18:27 (Jesus, thank you for this hope!) "What is impossible for people, is possible for God"

Anyway, these are the thing I think about. Many of us don't think of ourselves as rich, but if you were able to choose what you had for breakfast today, you are rich. I pray that God will continue to keep me uneasy about living too comfortably. He is my King and I want to live that way.

Thanks for reading,
Lori

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Student Hopefuls

What a year we have had moving our family from Angola, to America. Now I'll be writing you all from Portland, Oregon, but a part of my heart stayed in Angola. Like we've stated before, a huge problem with the developing world is lack of education. Now that Angola is going on 11 years of peace, the schools are growing more reliable and available. It is John and my great passion to assist young people in getting through college.  Even though we cannot live there right now, doesn't mean we cannot help. And it doesn't mean you cannot help! We met many underprivileged, responsible young people that will not go to college unless we or someone else decides to give. John and I have personally committed to getting three students through four years of college. Perhaps that was ambitious, but I think the Lord will provide for us to continue taking students. The school year, in Angola, starts in January. So here are 9 students that are asking for our help. Each one wants to start college in January. If  you are interested you may contact me to support an individual student and see him or her through one year, or even all four years! Or you can just give to our scholarship fund and we will help as many as possible. 
Another wonderful feature of this scholarship fund is that we can communicate with our students. You may send e-mails that I will translate and pass on to them and visa-avers. We are very excited about the possibilities, yet a little nervous that we will be needing to choose certain student and not others. Anyway, that is in God's hands and we can only do out part. Thank you for reading and considering the following students. 
At the end you can read how to give!
(Note: High School in Angola is similar to Europe, in how they must specialize in high school, so when they say they completed a basic coarse in something, it would be like graduating from High School with that focused education)


OUR LIST OF CANDIDATES FOR DOMESTIC AND FOREIGN EXCHANGE FOR 2015
 
1- José Domingos Pinto Catumbela
Age: 29 years old, single, born on 17 December 1985 He lives in Benguela, Angola, he was separated from his parents when he was one year old because his disabled father, living in rural Angola, can barley support him and his wife (who also works in the fields). So they decided to send their baby to live with family in the city, hoping that they can give him an education and more opportunity. Like many families that receive relatives children, they can only really get their own children through high school and hopefully college. So at this point, Jose, is dreaming of becoming a nurse. He has shown great resilience by getting through high school. We think he is a good candidate and will take his studies seriously. He understands how to overcome against the odds.  He had already completed a basic coarse in Biological and Physical Sciences and is hoping for help with tuition for the local nursing school.  

 Institute of Benguela Polytechnic budgeted at $ 3,750 for the first year.

2- Jovette Carlos Miguel Neto,
Age: 20 years old, single, born on 25 March 1994 
Jovette is one of 7 children, his mother died and his father can no longer work and receives a small stipend from the government to support Jovette and the 3 remaining siblings that live at home.  Jovette finished high school with a focus on nursing, his dream is to continue his studies in higher education in either medicine or physical therapy. He hopes to help people.  But being unemployed,and unable to come up with the mean of paying he has written us pursuing assistance for education. The school he would like to attend is $ 3,750 for the first year of his 4 years. 
                                              


3- Hercílio Domingos Cadivonga
(Notice we have three Cadivonga Children) 
Age: 25 years, Single, born on May 5, 1989, in Benguela, Angola. Currently u
nemployed. Concluded the regular high shcool education in the Informatics Institute in Benguela in 2009.  Hercilio is one of 8 living biological children of our wonderful pastor, who has a soft spot for abandoned children and young people, so they actually as of today have and  are rasing 19 children in their home. Only 4 of which are married and living in their own homes now. Imagine what it takes to simply feed a household like that!  Hercilio hopes to pursue a degree in computer engineering here in Angola and is budgeted at $ 3,750 for the first year of a four year degree. 

4- LUCIA NGINGA KANGOLONDO CAVACO,
Age: 25 years old, married and has a 1-year-old daughter, her husband works as a police officer, and both of her parents have died. She currently stays at home with her daughter. In high school she specialized in physical-biological sciences and took a basic nursing course. She has always dreamed of going on for higher education, but for lack of finances it is not possible to do so, I wish to study nutrition at the Institue of Superior Education in Benguela, whose course is budgeted at 3.750USD for the first year of a four year degree.





5- Marcia Elizalete Manecas Cadivonga, (second Cadivonga!)

Age: 20 years old, single, born 17 of June 1994, Parents: Pastor Domingos Bernardo Cadivonga and Joan Belinha Paulino Manecas Cadivonga, born in Benguela, Angola, unemployed. Finished high school in 2014, in the course of technical computing in Benguela. Marcia hopes to pursue a higher education in computer engineering in Angola whose value is $ 3,750 Again she is a daughter of the Pastor with 8 children and nineteen dependants! I admire her father, because with 8 children, he could probably take good care of them and maybe send the boys to college, but as he and his wife continue to take in children off the streets or from deceased relatives or deceased church members, their financial situation has become very tight. What an amazing and faithful family that continue to live as Jesus called us to live and care for the orphans.    


 6-  Silveira Mitange,
Age: 34 years, Married and unemployed, serving the Lord's work as an evangelist. (traveling around Angola to teach at the churches) He has always wished that he could go to college and pursure a higher education in psychology, and can not. He is asking for support to study Psychology in Angola. His school also is asking for $3,750 USD for the first year of a four year education.




7- Manuel Armando Cadivonga
(the last Cadivonga on our list this year)
Age: 22 years old, single, born on January 29, 1992, He is unemployed. Finished high school in 2012 in the course of legal economics in the College Henrique de Benguela. Manuel would like to continue to continue his tudies outside the country, to study architecture.
It is budgeted at $3,750 USD for the first year.  His lack of financial conditions made school not possible, again because his parents who pastor a church are not only caring for their 8 children but another 11 kids as well.




8-Eremita Madalena Amélio Epuca,
Age: 18 years old, unmarried, was born on April 4, 1996; She is unemployed. Graduated from high school with a focus in teaching in 2014. Ermita's parents do not have the financial capacity to continue her training. Her greatest longing is to have a Masters degree in Christian Theology in Angola. Valued at $ 3,750 for the first year. 

If you have any questions, you may comment on the bottom and I'll get back to you, or e-mail me directly at loribclements@gmail.com

If you would like to support our USA to Angola Scholarship Program or maybe a specific student, this is how you can:
Go to INMED.us
Then go to Support INMED then to Support an INMED Participant 
 You will then choose to give on-line or by mail, at this point it is crutial to make the space labled:
Gift on Behalf of. . .(then you will mark either USA to Angola Scholarship Fund, or the name of your student/ Angola
for example: Manuel Armando Cadivonga/Angola

A huge thank you to INMED for continuing to handle the money for our cause, that way each donor can still receive a giving receipt for tax purposes. At this point John and I are not equipped to give receipts. 
In light of being totally transparent, INMED will need to take 5% of all donations as a policy for the organization to continue in ministries, which John and I will make up for the difference that the students need as well as the wiring fees. Again Thank you so much for your participation! I trust that the Lord will bless our efforts.

From Portland With Love,
Lori 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

The Future of Angola

We only have one more month left in Angola. Our time here is coming to an emotional end, with exciting adventures to come. We will miss the beautiful relationships that we've made, and the amazing tropical climate with it's luxuriously underpopulated beaches. We will miss being used by God in such a tangible way. 


  We are excited about our new adventure ahead in Portland, Oregon. If you are wondering how missionaries just decide to go back to America and enter the rush of the working world with all of it's taxes and insurances, luncheons and golfing. We are wondering the same thing. What will it be like? I know this will sound arrogant, but here, we are important people that get things done when no one else can. We have means of changing lives, that others do not. We have the education that people here only hear about. (all of this by the Grace of God, not by our own powers)  In the U.S., we will blend in, and be regular Janes and Joes. Being a "light" to the world will be a little more challenging in some ways. I do fear settling back into the norms of life, with all of it's commercialism and keeping up with the Jones. You, my readers, know exactly what I'm talking about.
But one important thing that I've learned here is that being a missionary is not defined by having churches support you financially , or by being in another country in the name of Jesus. Being a missionary is depending on God for all your needs, for emotional stability, for the love and means to reach out to other people and love them like God Himself. Being a missionary means waking up in the morning and dedicating that day to the Lord, every encounter, every moment with our family, every frustrating endeavor. We will remain "missionaries" in Portland and encourage you to also be a missionary where you are. Go out and love somebody in the name of Jesus. It may be cheesy, but is that not what we are here for???
Here are some pictures from our latest cataract surgery outreach in Angola.

Cautery with Fire
Teaching Angolans
Making lasting friends




As we leave, we want to continue to help develop Angolan leaders. One major issue that we see with the developing world is a lack of education.  We know so many good young people with no means of higher education. In order to help them receive an education we have decided to start a scholarship fund. The Committee that will help choose our students has now been established. And our project leader is also the pastor of our local church. This year we have already sent three students to University. 

First is Paulo, he is enrolled in nursing school, and off to a good start. He is a regular member in our church, but when we met him, he was always just in the corner and kept to himself. We found out that his father has nearly nothing. Absolutely no means to send him to school, not to mention his 7 brothers and sisters! So ever since he was chosen for the scholarship, he seems so much more confident and outgoing. He is so proud that he has a promising future.
Next is Levi, one of our pastors 9 kids. He also had given up an an education for financial reasons, at least for the next few years. We chose him because he already had a clear vision of what he wants with his life. He would like to work in the oil industry, a promising field here in Angola.

Our final student for the year is Maria, I know her because her father is in our blind association. He was sharing one day about his stresses in life and that his wonderful daughter will not get to study because he has no means to pay for school. When I met her, I saw a capable young woman with a passion for psychology and a desire to study in the field. She started studying in February thanks to the scholarship fund.
All of our students are expected to keep good grades and will continue to receive the scholarship for 4 years, as that is how long the courses will take.

Philip is a student applying for the scholarship in the coming year. He suffered polio as a young child. Soon after his father left him and his mother and then his mother died. He has been "adopted" by the church leadership. Him and anther young man live on the church property. Because of the church leaders he is in school right now and nicely clothed and taken care of, but next year he would like to go to University. John and I have personally committed to get him through school. He works the sound board at our church and is always very respectful and faithful.
Lastly, I'll tell you about Cumi, a faithful leader in our church. He loves practicing his English with us, and is hoping to go to College next year. We have letters coming in now from students applying for the Scholarship. Exciting and intimidating. John and I will at least be able to have one student a year on our own. But if any of you out there are interested in joining us we will be putting 95 percent of the givings straight to the students and the other 5 will go to the Angolan leader of the project for his time and dedication to this scholarship. I will be posting pictures of hopeful recipients, so those giving can either choose a specific student to help, or just give to the whole scholarship.
One last important note, We are actually collecting old laptops for these students. If any of you have working laptops sitting around your house gathering dust, please make a point of getting it to Nebraska in the next two weeks. John will be able to take them back for these students. Amazingly enough, computers are a must in higher education, because books and resources are limited, the professors give out reading assignments on pin-drives. We have given two laptops and hope to collect many more! If you are at all interested, just e-mail and I will send you the address where we will be able to pick it up as John will be returning to Angola as he ties up loose ends with the hospital for the month of June.
Thanks again for reading, I hope you have been challenged.
With Love From Angola,
Lori
loribclements@gmail.com