Archive for the ‘Missionaries’ Category

I remember sitting in church as a kid in the early 90s, listening to a missionary discuss their life in Africa while flipping through a slide reel of pictures. I don’t remember anything they said, just the feeling of fear and dread that God wanted to punish me enough that one day I would have to go to Africa. That night and for years to follow, I begged God to never make me go to Africa. I’d do anything else.

Then in the spring of 2014, I felt the wind blow in a different direction. The Miles had sold all their stuff and moved to Nigeria six months prior. I felt my curiosity suddenly outweighing my fear. It now seemed as if maybe God had a gift waiting for me rather than a punishment. I wanted to visit friends. But I also felt a new and unfamiliar tug. An exciting invitation. A “just you wait and see…”

Since that first trip with Stephen in 2014, I’ve traveled back to Nigeria 3 more times, with another trip scheduled for later this year. I am now eager for each next chance to go to Africa.

When C.A.R.E. Africa first began, Patrice asked if I would attempt to sell some jewelry participants had made. Having no experience in sales, marketing, promotion, or distribution, I said, “Sure!” We bought a tent and tables. Stephen’s sister used sharpies to draw a poster board sign, and we began vending at farmer’s markets in Louisville, KY.

C.A.R.E. grew into a full-blown ministry in Nigeria with many facets, including a seamstress training program that creates numerous products including clothing, handbags, jewelry, and aprons. Our garage transformed into an “Amazon Fulfillment Center,” stocked with shelves of sorted boxes of products, market display items (many built by Patrice’s stepdad), and shipping supplies.

Miraculously those early days of stumbling through the unknowns have grown into a vibrant display, a band of faithful volunteers, return-shoppers at markets, a requested presence in missions conferences, an Etsy store, and $20k in sales for 2021.

I found my passion and purpose in that vendor booth. I could not sell just anything. But I have the incredible luck to showcase vibrant products which tell a beautiful story that I believe in with my whole heart. And I love the human element of a market: crowds of unique characters with personalities as varied as the fabric prints. It helps open my heart to the patchwork of people required to build a solid community.

As if my life managing product sales wasn’t charmed enough, in 2021 I was offered employment with C.A.R.E. as the Sponsorship Coordinator. I am having so much fun getting to know the kids and sponsors more. It is an honor to facilitate communication and relationship internationally! Sponsors are partnering with C.A.R.E. to educate, disciple, and nurture more than 70 kids in Nigeria. I update sponsors on life in Egbe including new pictures, report cards, home life, plans for college, and achievements. I also relay communication from sponsors back to Egbe staff and students.

Other facets of this role include advocating for sponsorship and monitoring financial transactions. After an end-of-year audit, we verified that 99% of child sponsorship donor dollars go directly to care and supplies for the children and their families!! Around every turn, I continue to find the efficacy and integrity of this organization are top tier.

What a thrill ride I’m on. I’d like to go back to tell little Diana she doesn’t need to be afraid; there’s so much to look forward to.

ADVOCATE * INVEST * EMPOWER * SERVE

When I found myself back in Canada after our time in Egbe Nigeria had ended, I found myself feeling a bit lost. 

My husband and I had ministered overseas for over 20 years. Those had been years filled with great blessings, and a few challenges. One of the greatest blessings for me was my involvement at C.A.R.E. Africa and Foundations Academy in Egbe. Each week I would find myself wrapping arms around both the kids and the staff. I loved walking into each classroom and coming alongside the educators that were so dedicated to their profession. I counted it a privilege to be called ‘Mommy Cindy’ and many were adopted as ‘my kids’. 

During my time at Egbe, I was introduced to Patrice Miles and Emma Salako. Patrice and Emma had a God-given dream for C.A.R.E. Africa. I watched and prayed during the early years as the Centre progressed and the desire for a school was birthed. I was thrilled when asked if I could teach/mentor at the School.

Knowing the staff and children by name became very important to me. It was so much fun going to Market and hearing my name called and kids would come running to the White Mommy with no fear.  

Late 2019 we found ourselves flying back across the ocean to Canada to settle back with our family, kids and grandchildren, but a part of my heart was left In Egbe.  

How I would miss this very special place! 

A few months after landing in the Great White North, I found myself asking ‘What Would You Have Me to Do?’ during my times with Jesus. C.A.R.E. Africa was still tugging at my heart. I kept praying…

    God does know the desire of our heart. 

Soon after praying, I received word from Patrice asking if I would consider doing Bi-Monthly calls with staff members with Foundations Academy Staff. I jumped right on this…Yes! 

It has been close to 2 years now, every other Thursday morning (providing we have good network) I have the PRIVILEGE of talking to a different staff member over WhatsApp.

We laugh, sing, cry, share struggles of being an educator in Nigeria and pray! Lately we have begun doing video chats, the calls always end with joyful tears as I get to see my fellow colleagues in Egbe. What joy. 

God does know the desire of our heart. 

When we returned to Canada, I had no idea how I could still be involved on a consistent basis with C.A.R.E. and Foundations Academy Egbe. 

God knew my desire and He answered.

There is Black Friday, Cyber Monday and #Giving Tuesday!

#GivingTuesday was created in 2012 as a simple idea: a day that encourages people to do good. Over the past nine years, this idea has grown into a global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

#GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity around the world.

#GivingTuesday is on November 30, 2021

#Giving Tuesday does not collect fees to participate in the annual event. All fundraising activities and the funds raised on #GivingTuesday are directed by each participating nonprofit organization and processed by the giving platform of their choice. All money raised on #GivingTuesday goes immediately to the nonprofit or community organization that solicited the funds.

#GivingTuesday does not require registration. All organizations, 501c3 or otherwise, are welcome and encouraged to participate in #GivingTuesday.

How can you participate in #GivingTuesday?

There are hundreds of ways to participate in GivingTuesday. Whether you give your voice, goods, your time, or your money, being generous is a way to fight for the causes you care about and help people in need.

Here are some ideas you might consider:

  • Share kindness with your neighbors.
  • Volunteer virtually or share your talents
  • Give your voice to a cause that matters to you
  • Show gratitude to healthcare workers, service providers, and other essential workers who are making sure we still have the services we rely on, even at risk to their own health.
  • Discover a local fundraiser, community drive or coordinated event to join others in your area or with your same interests in giving back — they need your help. Search for opportunities here
  • Give to your favorite cause or a fundraiser to help those in need. (C.A.R.E. Africa!! See our #GivingTuesday blog to give at C.A.R.E. Africa School Project. )
  • Talk about giving and generosity using the hashtag #GivingTuesday

#GivingTuesday is only 2 weeks away!

There is Black Friday , Cyber Monday and #GivingTuesday!

Unleash generosity and build a school in Egbe, Nigeria for vulnerable children this year for #GivingTuesday

10.5 million children in Nigeria are not in school per Unicef statistics. This is the highest population of out of school children in the world.

Help us build a school in Egbe, Nigeria so our 78 vulnerable children can go to school in a safe and secure environment. We currently rent a space and have outgrown it. 152 children attend our school and 78 of these children are on scholarships. We want each child to receive a quality education and in order to do that, we feel the child to teacher ratio needs to be low. We pride ourselves in the fact that our teacher to child ratio is 15 pupils per class. This means we cannot take as many children as we would like and so we have a waiting list of children begging to get an education. With the new school we will have more classrooms and can take more children. Educate a child, Educate a Nation!

Help us educate a child by donating to Phase 1 of our building project. We have the land we just need the buildings. The total building project cost is $250,000 of which Phase 1 is $25,000. This will allow us to start clearing the land, building the wall and digging the footers. Donate any amount to help us educate more children in Egbe, Nigeria! Click EDUCATE to donate!

I think I have (DID),  Dissociative identity disorder previously known as multiple personality disorder.  I find that I am one person in the U.S. and an all together different person when I land in Nigeria. 

In the U.S. I am confident, in control, busy and efficient. I rarely experience drama or trials that cannot be readily fixed. The car starts like it is supposed to, phones and internet are dependable, if I am injured I can call an ambulance, hospitals and doctors have what they need to fix me, grocery stores are everywhere with plenty of food, a flip of a switch gives me instant electricity and the temperature in my home can be adjusted to my liking – everything in the U.S. works pretty well. I really don’t need anyone or anything and depend primarily on – Patrice!

I have grown to love my American life and for the most part it is very comfortable. Regular date nights with my husband, fun holidays with my family, purposeful activities with my children, a close church community and constant electricity and AC! It’s secure and safe. I wake happy to see the day but lay my head down at night wondering if my life was used in any way to show Christ’s love to someone.

When it’s time for my quarterly visit to Nigeria I start to get anxious. No control, no efficiency, no AC, no dependable electricity, phones or internet. I start to think about all the comforts I will be giving up. The long, uncomfortable 30+hours of travel , insecurity on the roads, the heat…..oh the heat! I think about my husband and kids I will leave behind and the burden on them to manage the household duties. I think about the cultural adjustments, don’t stare people in the eye when talking to them, wear dresses and skirts, cover your head when praying or in church, don’t interrupt someone who is talking (even if they talk for an hour), eat your meat last, use your right hand, greet every person you pass, don’t show fear, and remember you are a women. All this anxiousness actually makes my right eye start twitching weeks before I travel.

The funny thing is the moment I touch ground in Nigeria my second personality comes forward like a pre-programmed robot. Where did this Patrice come from, she was so anxious just a few minutes ago?

I’m confident yet the confidence comes from the Lord – not from Patrice!  Every step I take I am praying God goes before me. “Go before me and allow the customs officers to let me through without extortion. Go before me and allow my driver to be alert and careful among the unregulated drivers on the roads. Go before me and allow all the security, army and police check points to go smoothly. Go before me and remove any evil people with intentions of kidnapping or robbery. Go before me and keep malaria, ecoli, typhoid, COVID, and any other sickness away. Go before me and help me adjust to the 6 hour time difference so I can be alert and ready to encourage my staff. Go before me and give me the words and activities necessary to benefit the voiceless and exhausted. Go before me and make every appointment a divine appointment that will help your kingdom grow. Go before me and allow me to get back home to my family and recover quickly from jet lag”.

While in Nigeria, I rely on the Lord each day and every step! I know I cannot do it without Him and He shows up every trip and prepares the way. Oh the pages I could fill of the divine appointments in Nigeria and seeing God so beautifully in them.

So this second personality in Nigeria is confident too, but not in Patrice!  It’s confidence in the Lord!  I am busy but in His work and activities, I am efficient, not with time or schedules, but with relationships. I must rely on Him because I have no control and no clue what is going to happen next. 

My question always is this – how can I take Patrice in Nigeria back to the U.S. with me? 

How can I rely on the Lord in the U.S. like I do in Nigeria? 

How can I know and see Him orchestrating and protecting every single minute of my life in the U.S. as I do in Nigeria? 

God uses each trip to mold me a little more into the woman He wants me to be.  Until then I continue to wait for the day I see Him face to face and hear Him say “Well done my good and faithful servant” or as they say in Egbe, Nigeria “You really tried!

Check our my latest trip to Nigeria. I was so blessed to be able to spend time with my staff encouraging them through leadership training. We re-visited our vision, mission and core values while evaluating our programs and processes. We analyzed our office culture and came up with ways to show Christ’s love better in the lives of those he has entrusted us with. We celebrated our children and continued to work towards progress on our building project for the school. God continues to give us all the strength to be his hands and feet in Egbe, Nigeria.

P.S. My birthday fundraiser for Pastor Alabi was fully funded!! Thank you everyone for helping make my birthday wish come true!

Today is my Birthday! Only $1,540 more needed to make my birthday wish come true! Help Pastor Alabi’s family move into his new home! https://donorsee.com/project/11672

Pastor Alabi is married with children and he is the project manager for the Spring Of Life Counseling Center. He works with over 300 patients with infectious diseases through support group meetings, home visitations, outreach and counseling on drug adherence and trauma care. He has been trying to build a home for his family for over 10 years. In Nigeria it is almost impossible to get a mortgage for a home. Every step must be paid for in cash. Pastor Alabi has been trying to divert funds to the building of his home but at the rate he is going it will be another 10 years before he is able to move in. Would you please consider making a difference in this family’s life by helping purchase windows, doors, cement work and a bore hole so they can move into their new home.

Help us invest into Pastor Alabi like he invests into so many every day! https://donorsee.com/project/11672

One week from today is my Birthday and I only have one wish! Move one of my favorite Nigerians, Pastor Alabi, into his new home! https://donorsee.com/project/11672

Pastor Alabi is married with children and he is the project manager for the Spring Of Life Counseling Center. He works with over 300 patients with infectious diseases through support group meetings, home visitations, outreach and counseling on drug adherence and trauma care. He has been trying to build a home for his family for over 10 years. In Nigeria it is almost impossible to get a mortgage for a home. Every step must be paid for in cash. Pastor Alabi has been trying to divert funds to the building of his home but at the rate he is going it will be another 10 years before he is able to move in. Would you please consider making a difference in this family’s life by helping purchase windows, doors, cement work and a bore hole so they can move into their new home.

Help us invest into Pastor Alabi like he invests into so many every day! https://donorsee.com/project/11672

From Canada to the U.S. to Egbe…..here a some beautiful pictures to illustrate what has been going on at C.A.R.E. Africa! Enjoy!

At C.A.R.E. Africa we try to reach out to the community monthly to support other ministries to encourage them. We recently visited a ministry in Jos, Nigeria and fell in love with the work they are doing. Meet Bibi, a teacher that was tired of seeing the children in Jebu sitting around with nothing to do. They had no money for school fees so she brought the school to them. The children come everyday now to learn to read and write but have to sit outside in the hot sun. Recently there has been attacks on their village and the need for a shelter is even more important.

Bibi needs a building for these children and has been raising funds all by herself. Help her buy the block, wood and roofing materials needed to finish her building for the children of Jebu Miango in Nigeria. Any amount will help towards the $500 needed. You can donate at https://donorsee.com/project/10366

Check out the progress of their library an educational center along with information on the recent attacks on their village at https://www.facebook.com/kangyangg1.