Penny Power projects (2013)

LAURA, Ecuador (VMM)
Meet Laura. She is a young 14 year old girl with dreams, goals and visions for her future. She has a wonderful smile and likes to laugh. She loves to play soccer and watch movies. She is very artistic and enjoys drawing and listening in music. But behind her smile is a very sad story. Unfortunately, Laura was born in country where there has been violence and war for many years. Growing up in her home country of Colombia, Laura’s parents tried to protect her from the violence and war so that she could enjoy a normal childhood. For many years, Laura lived a happy life. She went to school, got good grades and had lots of friends. But all of this changed one very sad day when Laura’s father didn’t come home from work.

Laura’s mother became worried and began to call all of their friends to see if they knew where Laura’s father was. After calling the police station, Laura and her mother learned of the tragic news; Laura’s father had been killed in the violence of the war. Tears rolled down Laura’s cheeks as she realized that she would never see her father again.

Since that day, Laura’s life has never been the same. Her mother decided to move the family to another country called Ecuador to get away from the war. Laura had to leave all of her friends behind. She’s tried to make new friends in Ecuador, but it’s been really hard. She tries to get good grades in school too, but sometimes she can’t concentrate in class because she misses her father too much. At the Mennonite church, we try to help Laura and do fun activities so that she can be happy. Little by little, Laura is getting used to her new life, but she’ll never get back all the things that the war took away from her. Please pray for Laura.

MILA, Indonesia (VMM)
Bintara childrenInstead of fresh mown grass, garbage. Instead of a toy, a discarded water bottle, or a broken flip flop. Instead of a familiar street with neatly lined houses, one-room cement block homes that have sprung up almost overnight…because there is no other place to call home. Many residents were displaced when their previous homes were demolished by those who had the power to say: “You are not wanted here.”

This is Bintara, a slum of displaced people on the outskirts of Jakarta, and home to Grace and Yugo Prasetyo. The children who find their toys amidst the trash are the children that they love, and invite into their lives. As they gain trust in this Muslim community, they are able to come face to face with the many struggles of their neighbors. One such struggle is with the high rate of TB infection.
Grace writes about 6 year old Mila. “Mila’s little 33-pound body is battling Tuberculosis and typhoid fever. She had been coming to our classes each morning eager to sing with the other children, and give us high-fives. However, she kept getting skinnier, and she was always covered in a cold sweat. We’d have to give her a rag to put under her feet or the floor would get wet. Her mom started talking to us about Mila staying up all night coughing. The coughing, and then a fever, continued for weeks. We finally decided Mila had to be taken to a doctor. Her family has no government ID, so they are not eligible for the free health care offered by the government. They barely survive off her father’s bicycle-taxi work.” Grace and Yugo have begun to help Mila get treatment. With the favor that they already have in the community, can they find ways to help others be tested and treated?

REFUGEES, Thailand (VMM)
A short 3.5 hour flight away, in Bangkok, other VMMissions workers are forging a relationship with a small Catholic-run refugee center which serves refugees and asylum seekers from trouble spots near and far, from Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Congo, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, and Vietnam. Though fleeing suffering and persecution, what they find in Bangkok is often a fearful dead-end street. Many have to face a bleak future as “illegal aliens,” without the right to work, without access to services, and without legal recourse if they are detained by police. In the cutthroat urban environment, they are vulnerable. The refugee center is committed to providing social, health and educational services for these refugees and asylum seekers. We envision a long-term connection with the center and the clustered communities whom they serve. What would God like to do in these places? Can God use us?

OLA and OMAR, Jordan (MCC)
Ola and Omar familyIn a three-room apartment in Zarqa, Jordan, a television broadcasts nonstop, black and white video footage of the fighting in Syria — a link to the country Ola and Omar are waiting to see again. The newly married couple left Homs, Syria, in January 2012, fleeing to Jordan only 20 days after moving into a house that Omar, a pastry chef, had worked hard to finish for Ola, who was pregnant with their first child.
 Since then, Ola gave birth to a daughter, and the family moved into an office building converted into apartments for refugees. They share the space with Omar’s brother, his wife and two children, Ibrahim and Walid. Ibrahim lost most of his hearing to the sound of a bomb in Syria.

Since arriving in Jordan the families learned that their homes were completely destroyed and have no where to return. Caritas Jordan provided the families with MCC comforters and relief kits, they also sought medical attention for Ibrahim.

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