Archive for the ‘Nigeria’ Category

Life is a Lesson

Posted: March 30, 2022 by salako86 in C.A.R.E. Africa, Nigeria, Orphans, Outreach, People of Egbe, Prayer

By: Emma Salako

I count this life to be a lesson, that everything we achieve comes only by the grace of God and not hard work. Whatever one has, it’s for the benefit of the world, given by God to impact the lives of others. God is not selfish that he blesses us, but blesses us to also bless others, to make them feel the true love that comes from him alone. Pride is a disease that if one is not careful will destroy life, but true humility brings joy and fulfillment to the soul.

No matter how brilliant, educated, and sharp we are. That doesn’t make us complete what makes us complete is that God has chosen us as his hands and feet, and our heart of love towards humanity. We’ll be the change that the world deserves and show compassion to those who don’t have the privilege to be who they desire to become. This life is very short and no one knows when it’s all going to be over, but while there’s still breath in us we need to make use of every opportunity we got to make sure that we conquer the fear of this world. A little hand of Love and Care may be the only thing to save a life.

If only we understood what love means and how important it is to show, we would have the true meaning of life, and its impacts on people who do not have a good chance to win. Remember that none of us just became successful overnight, it was over time with love from those we never could have imagined that helped us. An act of care and love goes a long way in transforming someone’s life from worse to better. Let love speak!

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

Millions of Nigerian students are disappointed every year because they cannot attend university.  Not because they didn’t study hard enough for entrance exams, but because there isn’t enough room for all of them and it’s not affordable for most. 

74% of Nigerians that apply for higher education will be denied. Only 1 out of 4 will have the opportunity to go. WHY?

The US has over 5,000 higher education institutions to service a population of roughly 319 million.  Compare that to Nigeria who has around 150 universities to service a population of 180 million people, 62% of them 24 or younger.  There is simply not enough universities  in Nigeria to accommodate the growing student population. 

If a student is accepted, the school fees can range from $1,000 to $6,000 per year, for federal, state, or private university.  For a country with an approximate minimum wage of $57 a month (about $2 a day) it is clearly impossible for most families to to send their children to university.  

We are fortunate to have six students in higher institutions in Nigeria and one in the United States.  These children are blessed to have sponsors who invest in their lives. We work very hard to obtain admittance for our children. For those who are able to gain admission we rely on our sponsors for tuition fees. A higher education gives them the opportunity to break free from the cycle of poverty. God’s kingdom is growing, and generations will be transformed because when you educate a child, you educate a nation. 

Please consider giving to our scholarship fund to enable more children to continue their education at https://give.icareafrica.org/careafrica/scholarship

We need more prayer warriors to join our team!

We are so blessed with 201 prayer partners. Many have journeyed with us since 2013 and many are brand new. We believe in the power of prayer and would love for you to join us too. Click this link to join our prayer team, http://eepurl.com/DZf_D

We send out prayer requests and praises two times a month and just ask that you pray alongside us and the other 201 prayer partners. You will be blessed by getting to see God’s hand at work in our ministry. We also welcome prayer requests from you. We pray for our donors regularly and would love to add any prayer requests you have to the list. You can see one of our prayer boards hanging at C.A.R.E. Africa, in Egbe.

Ephesians 6:18 “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”

Click this link to join our prayer team, http://eepurl.com/DZf_D.

Team Meetings

Posted: January 13, 2022 by Patrice Miles in C.A.R.E. Africa, Coaching, Egbe Nigeria, Miles In Missions, Nigeria, Patrice Miles

Team meetings at C.A.R.E. Africa are the core of our ministry. Weekly we have leadership meetings, staff meetings, caregiver meeting, prayer meetings and fellowship meetings. Some are on zoom, some are in Nigeria, some are in Louisville, KY.

You might be thinking, meetings, meetings, meetings….. sounds exhausting! When does anyone get anything done around there? With a consistent simple agenda our weekly team meetings restore confidence, clarity and camaraderie at C.A.R.E. Africa in one hour. Ok, maybe we go over the one hour every now and then! HAHA!

Since coming back to the U.S. in May of 2019, I have been working with nonprofits and small business to help them bring clarity and confidence to their vision. I have been helping others by using what I was taught through coaching in my real estate career and in my nonprofit. Why recreate the wheel when there are so many who have done it and got the t-shirt? Why live in chaos if you don’t have to?

God has given us all a vision for our lives and I love getting to help others grab that vision and make it a reality through systems, processes, budgets, profitability, vision, mission and care values.

If you are a nonprofit or small business owner anywhere in the world and are wanting someone to talk to, to bounce ideas off of or ask questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I am an open book! I know God has blessed me so I can bless others. Email me at patrice@icareafrica.org anytime.

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