The Past Two Months…

It has been over 2 months since I have posted on our blog…not sure how it can be that long already! The lack of writing isn’t because nothing has taken place, if anything, it is the opposite. So much has been going on that it has been hard to find the time to sit down and write about it all.

Shortly after my last blog post, we headed to the U.S. Over the next few months we will be spending time fundraising, talking about our mission, setting up mission trips and collecting donations to be handed out over the next year. So far, we are off to a great start!

At the end of September we had a Flea Market Sale. Several people paid for a space at our sale, and sold all kinds of things. We had yard sale items, clothing, crafts, and more! The sale was a success, and we raised a good amount of money for our mission.1371302_10200834675014039_1886777216_n[1]This October we received two donations. One community is collecting grooming items for us, and they have already gathered a good amount! We were excited to receive all the shampoos, soaps, lotions, etc. they have collected for us so far!IMG_7723We also received a large donation from a family who bought all kinds of things for us to bring back to El Salvador. The items include toys, clothing, school supplies, and more! We know all these things will be a blessing to the many people who will get them. IMG_7707

We are so thankful for all the help and support we have been given so far in the United States. Over the next few months we will be doing some more fundraisers and activities, and we are confident that we will return to El Salvador with more than we could have imagined! Thank you to all who have blessed our mission with your generosity!

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March

March has been a really great month for us here at, Hope and a Future Missions. As you know the boxes of stuff to donate have finally arrived, and we got a van donated to us, but there is more. We also had someone donate $18+ of cans and bottles to us, which was an unexpected bonus, and we finished our first fundraiser of the year, which was a huge success!

When we first talked about doing the February fundraiser, we were hoping that a lot of people would learn a little more about El Salvador, pray for us, and maybe raise $400 if we could get enough people to participate in it. Well, as it turns out, LOTS of people, “Have a Heart for El Salvador” because in this fundraiser we raised just over $700! We could not believe how great this fundraiser was! Not only did we raise hundreds more than we thought, but we figure, if we raised all that, there must have been lots of prayers being said too, and that is priceless!

We are so grateful for the congregations of West Sayville Reformed Bible Church, and Christ Community Church, for taking part in this fundraiser, as well as all the other friends who prayed for us, and supported us throughout the month!

This March is also the first handout we are doing of the New Year. We are very excited because we will have some special helpers coming all the way from New York to work with us handing out a bunch of great stuff this weekend. I have been busy organizing all those new items, and getting everything ready to give out.

In one location we will be handing out TONS of flip-flops! IMG_5992

This box is full of brand new flip-flops, and kids and adults in this location will be blessed to walk away with these shoes on their feet! I guarantee there will a few kids who will be there barefoot, so seeing these families all leave with shoes on will be very exciting!

In another location, we will be handing out some food.IMG_5996 Each family will get a tote bag that has some ramen soups, chips, and rice in them, plus a little note wishing them a Happy Easter, and a verse to remind them what Easter is truly about.IMG_6004

The kids in this area will all receive a little goody bag. Each bag has some candy, cookies, a whistle, an Easter maze with a verse on it, and a crayon to do the maze!

The last location where we are going will be getting bags of grooming items.IMG_5988

These bags have items like, razors, toothbrushes, lotion, shower gel, toothpaste, soap, and the Easter note. The bags will be one per family, so we have tried to make sure that there is a little something for everyone!

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The kids in this location will get these little goody bags. They are similar to the others, but have a mini pinball game instead of a whistle.

We are excited to be able to bring this stuff to the families this weekend. Thank you to all those who have donated the items we are handing out, or money so that we could purchase things like, food, crayons, candy and small toys to give out!

Have a Heart for El Salvador

Last year we were blessed with several successful fundraisers and we are hoping that this year will be even better! Our Mission Board has put together a special fundraiser for the month of feb. called “Have a Heart for El Salvador”. Please consider being a part of our first fundraiser of the new year. It’s easy, and you can do it wherever you are. Below is a list of facts about El Salvador, and the areas where Hope and a Future Missions, does our work. On the list there is also a small donation and a prayer that goes with each day. It’s a great way for kids and adults to learn more about life in another country. You can use your spare change to make a big change for some needy families in El Salvador. Just keep track of what donation you make each day, and at the end of feb. you can write a tax-deductible check to W.S.R.B.C. with Hope and a Future in the memo. Checks can be mailed to 111 Rollstone Ave. West Sayville, N.Y. 11796, and are due March. 3rd.

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Thanks for your support!

Feb 1:
Fact: Some people in ES do not have enough food to feed their families.
Donation:  If you have never had to worry where your next meal was coming from give 50 cents.
Prayer: Pray for these parents as they struggle to feed their families, and for those going to bed hungry.

Feb 2:
Fact: Schooling available in ES, but it is not uncommon for students to have to share books and supplies.
Donation: If you have/had your own text books in school give 50 cents.
Prayer: Pray that these children will have a good education despite the circumstances.

Feb 3:
Fact: Jobs are not plentiful in ES, and wages are low.  The average pay for a day’s work is only $7.
Donation: If you have a job give $1.
Prayer: Ask God to supply jobs for those seeking them.

Feb 4:
Fact: Emergency medical care is not readily available.  Ambulances are few, and unreliable.  As a result, many people have a more serious outcome to their injuries, or even die.
Donation: If you or anyone in your family has been in an ambulance or been to the ER give 75 cents.
Prayer: Pray for those people, and families whose lives have been affected because of unreliable medical care.

Feb 5:
Fact: Many children have never received a gift on their birthday or Christmas, because their family is too poor to buy them.
Donation: If you received a gift on your last birthday give 50 cents.
Prayer: Thank God that Hope and a Future Missions, was able to give out small gift bags to children at Christmas, including an activity book of the Christmas story.

Feb 6:
Fact: ES is overrun with gangs and crime.  It is normal to see armed guards outside of stores, restaurants etc.
Donation: Give 50 cents if your grocery store does NOT have an armed guard.
Prayer: Pray for the safety of the people in ES.

Feb 7:
Fact: Christians in ES anxiously worship the Lord in HOT, LONG church services, which are usually over 2 hours long.
Donation: Give $1 if your church has a/c to keep you comfortable in hot weather.
Prayer: Pray that these Christian’s faith will continue to grow as the serve the Lord in ES.

Feb 8:
Fact: Churches in ES do not have Bibles for the people to use, and some people cannot afford to buy their own.
Donation: Give 25 cents for every Bible in your home.
Prayer: Pray that Hope and a Future Missions will be able to continue to Bibles to those who cannot afford them.

Feb 9:
Fact: Some people in ES have had very little education and as a result struggle with reading and writing.
Donation: If you can read and write give 50 cents.
Prayer: Pray that these people will be able to learn to read and write better, so they will not have to struggle with so many things in life that require these skills.

Feb 10:
Fact: Some areas of ES are extremely poor. In these areas, most people live in shacks with dirt floors and leaky roofs.
Donation:  If you were kept dry in your home during the last rain give 50 cents.
Prayer: Ask God to supply the needs of these people, as they struggle to survive.

Feb 11:
Fact: There are homes so poorly constructed that their walls are made of plastic garbage bags, or scraps of tin. Some of these poorly constructed homes are in areas that get mudslides and flooding during storms.  These people live in fear of their homes being washed away.
Donation: If you have NEVER had to worry about losing your home in a storm give $1.
Prayer: Pray that God would spare these people’s homes and their lives during the stormy season.

Feb 12:
Fact: There are few, if any, adult homes in ES. Those with special needs due to their age, must rely on their families to care for them. This is a huge responsible for people who have no special training.
Donation:  If you know anyone that is a resident of an adult home give 50 cents.
Prayer: Pray for patience for those families caring for elderly family members.

Feb 13:
Fact: There are few, if any, schools and programs for children with handicaps in ES.
Donation: Give 75 cents if you know a child with special needs.
Prayer: Ask the Lord to bless the lives of these children, that they will not be seen as a burden, but a blessing to those around them.

Feb 14:
Fact: It is not unusual for crowds to get rowdy during handouts of food or clothes. The people are so afraid there will be none left for them, that it can become a dangerous situation.
Donation: If you have clothes in your closet give 50 cents.
Prayer: Pray for the safety of the people in these situations and for those giving out the food and clothes. 

Feb 15:
Fact: These poorly constructed homes we mentioned a few days ago, can single people out as targets for being robbed.
Donation: If you feel safe in your home and in your neighborhood give $1.
Prayer: Ask God for His protection for the people who seem to be easy targets for robbery.  Pray that they would be kept safe from harm and danger.

Feb 16:
Fact: Some homes in ES do not have indoor plumbing.  These conditions can sometimes lead to disease.
Donation: Give 50 cents for each bathroom in your home.
Prayer: Pray that these people would be kept healthy despite some undesirable conditions.

Feb 17:
Fact: Many people in ES do not drive, or cannot afford a car, and are forced to find other means of transportation, which can sometimes be dangerous.
Donation: If you have a car or truck to get you around give $1.
Prayer:  Ask God to continue helping these people to find ways to safely get where they need to be, that those who are blessed with their own transportation would be willing to help those without.

Feb 18:
Fact: It is not uncommon for people to have only gone to school for 2 or 3 years.  Even today some children are not able to go to school for long, because they must help support their family.
Donation: If you are in school give 50 cents, if you have a HS diploma give 75 cents, if you have a college diploma give $1, any degree beyond college give $2.
Prayer: Pray that the children in ES today, can continue their education so they can further themselves, and be able to get better jobs to care for their families in the future.

Feb 19:
Fact: Several areas in ES do not have water that is safe to drink. The people there must get their water from other areas or buy it.
Donation: If you can drink water from your faucet give 50 cents.
Prayer: Pray that safe drinking water will be readily available to those that need it.

Feb 20:
Fact: Even in the doctor’s offices and hospitals there are often unsanitary conditions.
Donation: If your doctor’s office is clean give 25 cents.
Prayer: Pray that the people going to the doctor in ES would not come out with other issues due to the sometimes unsanitary conditions.

Feb 21:
Fact: Several children in ES have hand me down clothes or used clothes.
Donation: If you have any clothes that were bought new give 50 cents, if you have any clothes that are hand me downs give 25 cents.
Prayer: Thank the Lord that these children are happy to receive used clothes, as many of them only have one or two outfits to wear.

Feb 22:
Fact: Most children in ES do not have access to electronic games like Wii, Xbox 360, Gameboy, DS, computers etc.
Donation: For each of the 5 games listed in the fact that you have, give 50 cents.
Prayer: Ask the Lord to make you mindful of how much you take for granted, and how much you have been blessed.

Feb 23:
Fact: It is rare for most families in ES to be able to go out to eat to a restaurant. They just cannot afford to do it.
Donation: If you have gone out to eat during the month of February give $1.
Prayer: Pray for contentment for the people of ES. There is so much that we take for granted that they live without.

Feb 24:
Fact: Children in ES have very few toys.
Donation: If you have more toys in your house than you can play with in a day give 50 cents.
Prayer: Ask God to help the children of ES to find ways to have fun with the little they have.

Feb 25:
Fact: Dengue fever is a virus carried by infected mosquitos. It is a serious virus that many people become infected with.  It can be treated if caught early, but many who get the illness do not get proper treatment and become very sick and can even die.
Donation: If you don’t have to worry about your mosquito bites killing you give 75 cents.
Prayer: Pray for people whose living conditions put them at high risk for this virus, those living near the water are at a greater risk.  Pray also that those infected can get the proper medical care quickly.

Feb 26:
Fact: There are still many people, especially in rural areas, without electricity.
Donation: For each load of wash you did today give 25 cents, if you watched TV give 50 cents, if you used a computer give 75 cents.  If you did 2 out of the 3 give $1 more.
Prayer: Pray for the people living without electricity every day, as this makes their daily chores more difficult.

Feb 27:
Fact: So many families in ES have a family member in the United States trying to make a better life. Many times it is the father, working in the US to make money for his family.  Some have children that they have never seen.
Donation: If your family has never had one member apart from the rest for more than a week give 50 cents, if you have NEVER EVER been apart give $1.
Prayer: Pray for the families of ES that have family members apart from them trying to make a better life for their family. This is such a hard way to live.

Feb 28:
Fact:  There are several communities that have come to rely on the work of Hope and a Future Missions, for food, clothing, activities for their children, and even gifts for their children at Christmas.
Donation: If you are grateful to have been a part of this fundraiser and to have had the chance to learn more about ES and pray for the people there give $1.
Prayer: Pray that God will raise up people who desire to go to ES on mission trips and help Hope and a Future Missions, with their work there. Please continue to remember Hope and a Future Missions, in your prayers over the year to come.

The Best Parts of 2012

2012 was quite a busy year for Hope and a Future Missions. We started this blog. We did 8 successful fundraisers. We became an outreach of our home church, West Sayville Reformed Bible Church. We hosted 3 mission trips. The list goes on, but if I had to choose what the best moments were, it would be some of the things we have had an opportunily to do to help people in our community.

I could fill this blog post with hundreds of pictures of great moments from the past year. I could go on and on writing about all the special people we have had the pleasure of working with, but instead, I will share just a few of my favorite things we have been able to be a part of this year.

I loved being able to work in the community where we own some land. The people are so friendly, and the kids especially have a special place in my heart. They LOVED playing soccer with us, and our mission team in July. Seeing how happy we could make these kids, just by spending a little time with them, was amazing.

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Another great part of this year, was being able to go back in August with another group, and do VBS with these kids. They loved watching our skits, hearing the Bible verses, making the crafts, and singing the songs we taught them. It was such a great blessing to see these little ones singing praises, and getting excited to learn about Jesus!

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These kids are so happy when they see our truck coming. They literally jump in the back of the truck to try to see what we have planned this time! I love that these kids are so excited to see us, and that they know, no matter what we bring, or do in the neighborhood, it is something that will make them smile!

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One of the other things that I have really enjoyed over the past year have been handing things out to families that are in real need. We have been able to bring food, clothing, grooming items, and the Gospel to hundreds of people over the past year. Though these long lines can be a little over-whelming at times, (things could get really ugly if we run out of food!) it’s also exciting, because it means we will be able to help so many people!

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Being able to bring food to people who don’t know where there next meal is coming from, or putting shoes on the feet of a child who has none is an incredible feeling. We are so thankful for all those who have donated to our mission, or supported us through fundraisers, offerings, etc. Without your support, we would not be able to put smiles on faces like these…

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There are so many people who have helped us over the past year, in various ways. Many have donating clothes, or stuffed animals, that have been a huge help to us. One of my favorite donations we have received was all the pillowcase dresses that were made for us to hand out, by some dear sisters in Christ. They have spent countless hours making these adorable dresses, and thanks to them we have given over 80 little girls, new dresses!

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To everyone who has liked our facebook page, liked a status, or commented on our blog, thank you. Thanks to anyone who has said a prayer for our mission, or a prayer for the families we are helping. They really do need prayer, and we are thankful that we have some amazing prayer warriors, constantly lifting them and us in prayer.

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I also want to thank all those who came down here on mission trips this year. It’s not an easy things to do, and we are so grateful for every single one of you! Without your help we wouldn’t have been able to do many of these activities, or see things like Clato standing in front his completed house, that YOU built for him…

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…or sunday school children smiling as they hear the story of salvation, and sing songs!

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We also want to thank all our volunteers here, once again. All of the things we have done over the past year have been with the help of Esther and/or Angel.

Without Esther’s help we wouldn’t have been able to do things like pray with a shut-in who was hurting, or share the gospel with dozens of children in a public elementary school!

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Without Angel’s help, it would be difficult to keep rowdy crowds under control, or bring so many people things like food, or Christmas presents!

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We are so thankful for all the great moments we have had in 2012, and for all the special people who have made them possible. We may be the ones here, but Hope and a Future Missions wouldn’t exist without people who are willing to donate time, money, clothing, etc. to us. We certainly could not have done all these things without the mission teams who came to help us or our hard-working volunteers! So thankyou. Even if all you have done is read this blog, and said a prayer, thankyou! Prayer is the number one thing we need to succeed!

So what is the number one best moment we have had in 2012? It’s hard to say really, because there have been so many wonderful things that have happened. If I had to choose, though, I’d say that my favorite part of 2012, was just being able to bring some smiles to people who don’t seem to have many reasons to smile. To be able to bring food or clothing to them is a great thing, but to bring hope for their future…the hope we have in Christ, is indescribable. I pray that we have given these people lots to smile about. Not just with the physical things we have brought them, but that they may have been blessed by the spiritual food we have brought them too!

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What’s Going On

Can’t believe it has been a whole month since I have written anything! I think that’s a record! It’s not because nothing has been going on, in fact, it’s the just the opposite. There have been so many exciting things happening, that it has been hard to find time to write!

The first great thing is how blessed we were in all of our fundraising. When we were planning the fundraisers we’d do in America, I tried to estimate how much we could make at each event. I had hopes that we would raise about $1,500. Well, we took in over double that, making $4000, between fundraisers and donations! This was in less than 3 months! We were thrilled about all the money we raised, because we knew that it meant we would be able to help lots of people. There were other reasons it was so exciting, too. Taking in so much money, in such a short amount of time, really showed us how many people want to support us in what we are starting in El Salvador. It was great to see how many people, even strangers, wanted to help us out! Of corse we could never have raised this money without the help of our church family in West Sayville, or the prayers and support of so many of our brothers and sisters in Christ. It was also great for us to raise so much more than we planned on, because it made it clear that this is what God wants us to do. Before I went to New York, I prayed that God would bless our fundraising, and basically said, “If this is what you want us to do Lord, I know you will bless our efforts!” Well, He blessed us so far above and beyond what we expected, that we feel very strongly, that we are doing what God has planned for us.

The past weeks since I have returned to El Salvador have been busy. This summer we have 2 groups coming for mission trips. One in July, and one in August. We are looking forward to both, because we have so many exciting things planned. Most people don’t realize how much actually goes into these mission trips, aside from actually serving the people here. There are so many things to plan ahead as far as meals, transportation, scheduling, etc. I’m not trying to complain though, I like planning it all out. I love to cook and figure out all the meals. I also love trying to figure out the schedule, though it can be stressful trying to figure everything in!

The first group is coming in 4 days, so we have been really busy doing all the preparations for the group. A couple of days from now, we will welcome the group of 12 who will be staying with us for 10 days. Some members of this group were here last summer, and some have never been to El Salvador. The big projects this group is working on will be painting at a church, and cleaning up some land.

In August, the group that is coming is much smaller, only 4 girls. They might be a small group, but we still have plenty of things planned to do. Our main focus with this group will be leading a VBS program at a nearby church who has never had one. We are looking forward to working with kids and getting them excited to learn about Jesus!

There has been lots going on for Hope and a Future Missions during the past month, and lots more to come! Please keep the mission teams in your prayers as the travel and work with us over the next few weeks. I look forward to writing and sharing about the trips in the days to come!

Hope and a Future Banquet

Last night, we had our final fundraiser before I head home in a few weeks. It was a banquet of traditional foods from El Salvador. We had dishes that included: chicken, rice, stew, and pico de gallo. Most people didn’t know what kinds of food to expect, but enjoyed everything.

After dinner, I had an opportunity to share a little bit about the work we have been doing, and are planning to do with our mission. Since I have been in the States, so many people (many from my church here) have been so generous donating their time, baked goods, clothes, and money to help us, help the needy in El Salvador. I wanted to have this banquet so that I could share with them, what it’s like where we live, and who the clothes and money will be helping. We played a little “True and False” game which gave everyone a chance to learn some facts about El Salvador, and win some t-shirts. Then I shared a slide show which had pictures of the work we have been doing, and some of the people we have been able to help. We finished off the evening with some traditional cakes, including “Tres Leches” which seemed to be quite a hit! God blessed us with so many successful fundraisers over the past few months, and this one was no different. We are so excited to get to work next month, serving the people in our community!

31 Gifts Party

A couple of weeks ago we did a 31 Gifts fundraiser. It was a great fundraiser, because it really required no preparations, other than inviting friends. The 31 Gifts sales-woman came and set up all her bags and totes, and we had a fun time looking over everything! 20% of the sales for the show, were donated to our mission, which was wonderful. Hope and a Future Missions raised $140 at this fundraiser! Not bad for a fun night with friends looking at bags! After several busy, time-consuming fundraisers, this was just the laid-back, easy, fundraiser I needed!