High School Team Day 5
June 19, 2016 Father’s Day Blog:
In the morning, we visited the market place. We were torn that we could only bring 2 of the 9 kids from Casa Hogar, Angel and Javier. These boys would be the joy to our first farmer’s market experience in Andahuaylas. They pulled our hands/guided us through the chaos of the busy Sunday market in all directions, showing us all of their favorite stands—fresh fruit, candy, shaved ice, fried treats and more. We bought them just about anything they wanted to taste because we knew this was only a treat they’d get with our team. Little kids spent their day alongside their merchant parents, helping sell goods, just innocent bystanders to the chaos. We passed by pig heads, bags of guinea pigs, boxes of chickens, dozens of different potatoes. On the same tarp as fresh vegetables were being sold, a piglet was being bottle fed, which quickly caught our attention. The stand was being kept by a mother and grandmother holding her infant granddaughter. We all smiled at one another and watched as the piglet finished it’s bottle of milk, then asking Angel to translate for us if we could get the piglet more milk, as the family only spoke Quechua, the language of the aboriginals. We gave them a few soles (Perú currency) and all wished each other a great day. That was just one of the memorable moments we take from our farmers’ market experience, and we can’t wait to go back later this week!
In the evening, we went to a “Día Especial para los Padres” service in which we got to see the kids of Casa Hogar sing a song to all of the fathers of the church. It was a very touching moment for all of us to see them, again, showing their love and appreciation for the men shaping each of their lives.
We all appreciate our fathers today and are very thankful for their presence in our lives and the love they provide. We love you dads! Happy Father’s Day! Sending you all our love and a big hug from Perú.
HFK Andahuaylas Service Team
Watch the short clip that our team is submitting for Sacramento Republic FC's recent launched Glory Glory Sacramento Fund!
Hear what our Here For Kids team members and staff have to say about our mission and involvement in the Sacramento Area, Bay Area, and in universities all across the country! And how important their grant support would be to our non-profit and our partners.
May we continue to be blessed with supporters who allow us to take more students to serve underpriveleged children and communities. And who help aid our partners in reaching and rescuing more at-risk children in Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Haiti and Peru.
Constanza, Dominican Republic
Another update from our Constanza team!
May 12th, 2016
Hello Friends and Family!
As our final week is coming to an end, we cannot all help but to feel a little sad to be leaving all of these amazing kids. Most of this week was spent at the arc and school, teaching P.E. doing construction work, and lots of time loving on the kids. There has been lots of tag, hand games, and new hair styles were all of the girls are going to come home with a little less hair (ouch).
On Tuesday we had the opportunity to visit a public school nearby to play them in a volleyball match, both the girls and the boys had the chance to play. The game was super fun, and the school treated us so well, serving us lunch, singing Justin Bieber, and have high hopes to continue the relationship formed with Kids Alive in the future.
Thursday the basketball team wants a re-match because they are not used to losing. Also on Thursday and Friday our team gets to put on OANSA, which is a program similar to AWANAS in the states.
Friday is our last day at the Arc with the kids, to celebrate we are having a softball game together, as well as a bonfire to say our final goodbyes.
As our trip is ending please pray that the Lord will continue to move in relationships that have been formed, that Kids Alive will continue to get sponsorships for the kids so more kids are able to be taken out of their difficult situations. As well as safe travels for our trip home.
It seems crazy that our time here is almost over, but the whole experience has been incredible, and we are looking forward to a couple more great days. Cannot wait to see you all. Love and miss you!
Cal Baptist Team
Constanza, Dominican Republic
May 9, 2016
Hello Friends and Family!
Team Cal Baptist wants to update everyone on our first week in Constanza, Dominican Republic! This past week has been full of new experiences. Half of the team got to go on our first barrio visit. Barrios are the poorest neighborhoods in Constanza. We got to witness firsthand the living conditions some of the children grow up in. The house had dirt floors, no plumbing, and sheets of tin for roofs. It is currently the rainy season, which is hard considering the sheets of tin are filled with holes. Oftentimes children living in homes without cement floors get parasites through their feet and can die from that condition. It was a humbling experience that we will never forget.
The orphanage welcomed us to a birthday party held at the orphanage and their first annual talent show. Birthday parties are held to celebrate the children’s birthdays only once every six months. They each received heart-felt affirmations from their house parents and just one gift each. They were all so appreciative that it brought them to tears. The children performed dances and songs, Jordan Heading from our team sang while playing his ukulele, and our entire team taught the children an American dance.
This trip has provided us with opportunities to connect with the community through sports. Last week, the boys played a basketball game against the Men’s Adult team for Constanza serving them their first loss against an American team (they are quite good, but on that day we were better) and a soccer game against the other Kids Alive location in Jarabacoa about 1 hour away. In pouring rain and swimming-pool-like conditions, the two teams tied. We have also spent a few of our afternoons at the Arc playing soccer games against the kids both from the Arc and local kids who live outside of the Arc.
Yesterday we all went on a hike to a waterfall! The long ride there allowed us to see more of the beautiful landscape. It was pouring hard rain and the water was freezing but we still had such a memorable time! Even though the conditions were somewhat miserable, at the end of the day no one said they wished we hadn’t gone. We also attended church service in Spanish at a nearby church. It was so touching to see the children praise and worship God the way that they did.
We’ve been working on building relationships within the orphanage and it’s been rewarding to see that the kids recognize us and know us on a first name basis! We’re so excited to continue to pour love into the kids throughout this week.
As the end of the trip draws near, please continue to pray for our team!
Team Cal Baptist.
P.S. Our Spanish is getting much better too! Adios!
Constanza, Dominican Republic
May 5th, 2016
Hello Friends and Family!
Greetings from Constanza, Dominican Republic! Team Cal Baptist just wanted to let everyone know that we made it safely and have already witnessed God’s amazing work!
Our first full day was this past Monday, and we got started bright and early right away! We are staying at the Here For Kids home, which is very close to the school and the orphanage, also known as the Arc. Fred, who works for Here For Kids, picks us up in the 15 passenger van and we head on over to the Arc around 9:00am. Our group splits up and we each head to our different jobs for the day. Some of us have been doing construction and helping build more classrooms for the Arc. The rest of us have been helping teach the Physical Education classes and English classes. We take turns each day, so everyone has been able to help with construction and teach.
Our favorite part of the day, however, is when we get to play with the kids at recess. It has been such an eye opener for us to see how far a little love and attention can go! These kids come from very difficult situations, yet they are filled with such joy. The team feels like we have already learned more from them than they have from us!
It also has been interesting because the kids speak barely any English. Some of us know more Spanish than others, so it has been awesome yet challenging trying to figure out how to communicate with the kids and teachers.
We are looking forward to finishing out our first week at the school and continuing building relationships with the kids and the faculty at the Arc. On Sunday, we are planning on visiting the waterfalls and learning more about the Dominican Republic!
Thank you so much for all of your support and prayers! We are already witnessing so much of God’s amazing work, and we know this is only the beginning!
Team Cal Baptist
Aqui Para Niños Quarterly Newsletter & Note From Our Director
We are excited to share with you our first ever issue of Here For Kids News "Informe Aqui Para Niños"(attached below). God has been good to our ministry and we would like to shine some light on that. We hope that each issue of our Quarterly Newsletter brings joy to you! We will be including information about our returning/departing/upcoming teams, fundraisers, testimonies, prayer requests and more.
A Note from HFK Director, Stephanie, to everyone who served this HereForKids 2015-2016 year:
"I would like to thank each and every one of you, for your heart to serve. It was a pleasure meeting many of the teams. Meeting all of you makes the office work more enjoyable--can't blame me for wanting to spend more of my time in the field. It has been a huge blessing to be a part of HFK, a growing and changing ministry who has given me great memories, lessons, love, joy, hope and friends. I wish I could hear from each of you about what your trip meant. I ask that you try to put into words your experience and share them with us, your family and friends, and even strangers at coffee shops because there's incredible heart that transcends when you share such experience(s).
I leave you with this, may you remember that the same full heart you left your service trip with is the same one you wake with each and every day.
Hope that you each continue to serve wherever He may call you.
A letter of gratitude to our president Randy Farris:
"I just wanted to start off by saying thank you for this amazing opportunity of course. It was a life changing trip that I will never forget. Thank you for sharing your awesome story with us too. Hopefully one day I can share mine with you.
One thing I wanted to share with you about this trip was what happened to me. As you heard I went into this trip with not high expectations. I thought I was just going to play soccer with some orphans and if anything, maybe one of the guys would like me more just because I was athletic. However, I had this amazing connection with this little girl there at Juniper Tree. She is brand new to the program, so I don't know if you had the chance to meet her yet. Her name is Maria and just the most beautiful little girl.
It all started on Devotion night. After dinner before the devotion started I went outside to play with the kids for a short period of time. Maria was laying on the ground. Possibly pretending to be hurt or just playing a game. I walked over lightly singing the song by Santana, Maria haha. She looked up at me and was slightly crying, so I picked her up and then she just wanted more and more until I made her promise I would only pick her up one more time. After that she held my hand for about 20minutes straight as we played soccer on the concrete and walked into the house for devotion. She let go of my hand then and was gathering everything she wanted together. I didn't think too much of it and walked around looking for a free seat. A couple of the other older girls, Britney and Jasmin wanted me to sit next to them on the couch, so I took a seat there. Only 5 minutes later Maria came over to me sat on my lap and gave me a old testament in English. We clapped and sang together for a good amount of time. After about 20-30mins she went back to her mother of her house. Whether she wanted to or her mother called her over. I'm not certain. After devotion I had a very interesting and profound talk with Martin. One of the house fathers there. Deigo kindly translated for both of us, and he asked me a deep question. "Do you feel a calling? I see the way you play and work with the kids". It brought a lot of joy to my heart, but also slightly confused me. The next day was our free day at the beach with the kids. I started off just digging in the sand for 20mintues or so letting everyone do their own thing. After 20-30mins of that. Maria came up to me and I could tell she wanted to play. I asked her in spanish, "Tu quieres nadar conmigo?". She said yes and grabbed my hand. for 2-3 hours, maybe more I held her hand and played with her in the waves, on the beach, etc. There was one instance when I let her go for about 2 seconds and a big wave came and knocked us both over. When I got up I saw her and she was about to start crying. Everyone else from my group that was next to us was trying to cheer her up real quick, but I just picked her up and instantly she stopped crying and had the biggest smile on her face. I would continue to pick her up whenever she wanted and we would walk out into the waves as long as she said, "Va', and stop as soon as she said "No mas". There was even one instance when I left her for about 2 minutes because she was talking to her house mom and I went in the water to rinse myself off. When I looked back. Maria was practically yelling for me and reaching her arm out to be grabbed, and as soon as I came in close enough where she wasn't afraid to walk out she came running to me. It felt as if I have been one of the first positive male influences in her life and I was finally giving her the love she deserves, but at the same time she was giving me so much love back. We both never wanted to leave each others side at that beach. Later we went back to the house and william was going to give a presentation with the Kendamas. Maria came and found me, called me her "Gran amigo" and grabbed my hand again so I would sit with her. After William gave out kendamas to all the kids, they struggled a little and so did Maria, but she caught the ball one time and what made it so special to me, even though I slightly missed it by talking to someone else was that she looked up at me first and wanted me to see her get it and she wanted me to know first. I could see the joy in her face when I looked at her (story the font changed, and it wont go back lol). I told her I was going to go play soccer and she said ok. After that it was time to leave. I asked her for a photo together and she picked out the spot she wanted. I was completely fine at the time. I knew we had to leave an everything, but when I said goodbye to Maria, it happened...I picked her up as I hugged her and I don't know what she said since she said it in Spanish really quick, but she was super excited and smiled with a big laugh and then I just lost it. I started to cry. I couldn't hold it in no matter how hard I tried. I was going to miss her with all my heart. I went days feeling this joy and sadness throughout Cusco and even now back in the US.
I wanted to tell you this story because it means so much to me. Since it was so unexpected it became so much more powerful. With saying all this I want to sponsor Maria now and was hoping you could give me the info to do this, and I also want to write to her so she knows I'm still thinking of her. I know I want to go back there and see Maria and the other kids. Peru was such an amazing and spiritual place in general and for me. I hope I can go back there next year.
Thank you so much for allowing me to experience another form of love in another country