Saturday, February 14, 2015

Kelly and Madame Kelly,Joseph, Antonio, Melissa, Cindy,Cristina, Natalia, Alina and Many Other True Servants...Equipping for the Call

About three weeks ago, serving with Back2Back, we stepped off the plane in Haiti to connect, share and train adults who work with orphaned and vulnerable children in a very devastated place.  The amazing people there are no longer just names on a training list, but friends and colleagues..  We have talked with them, heard their stories prayed with them and saw their daily sacrifice.

Our training which focuses on trauma and loss began the day of the 5th anniversary of the devastating earthquake - January 12th.  Amidst such memories of devastation, we talked, we prayed, and we laughed with dedicated people who work with children in one of the most difficult places in the world. We experienced such a connection with these folks.

Yesterday, we finished three days of training with those in Romania who do the exact same work.  These incredible, sacrificial people are also now our friends and co-laborers. We know their names and many of their stories.

What we found in Haiti, in Romania and everywhere we have had the privilege to go is this:  There are amazing people who are stepping up to answer a call and a vision – a world without orphans.  A phrase coined a number of years ago in Ukraine, has become a movement across the globe.   Many who have answered the call are now moving to the most critical piece - to be equipped to do the work. 

These new friends  we know them by name. We have heard their passion and their determination to be equipped to carry out the vision of a Romania without Orphans - a national movement spreading across the country within churches.

It is our heart’s desire as we walk with the ministry of Back2Back and alongside the ministries of Orphan’sPromise, Lamb International and Livada Orphan Care in training that God will do a transformative work in all of us.  We hope that it is a work of God that enables all of us who touch the heart of a wounded child (or adult/caregiver) to truly be able to see life from the lenses of that wounded child and to know how to compassionately connect to that broken hearted child in order to walk him through the pain to a life of wholeness.

Partnerships that Spread the Message and Help to Lighten the Load

These organizations have partnered together in the creation, presentation and distribution of the three day Becoming a Trauma Competent Caregiver training series, which is now in 14 languages.

Scenes from Haiti - January 12-16

Jimmy, a Back2Back captain and Jenna, US Haiti coordinator are preparing for the group to come.

Doing a demonstration

A youngster at Imagine Missions - a home with over 100 children with so many needs!!

Jenna knows these beautiful little kiddos and they were excited to see her.

The playground at Harvest Care, a home that partners with Back2Back.

Scenes from Romania this week

Psychologists,school teachers, home directors, social workers and  adoptive parents were all part of our training group.

These young ladies work as psychologists with Livida Orphan Care in Romania.

Luminita shares with the group.  She is the director of  Kiwi Foundation.

Preparing for Nurture Groups
Making their How Does Your Engine Run Plates....preparing for alot of fun
Practicing the first lesson for Nurture groups.

More preparation...

Learning to respect personal space...

Corina is an adoptive mom and has touched the lives of hundreds of children since her teenage years. Very amazing story. 

We return on Sunday to continue our new work with Back2Back.  We are very excited as we look to the creation of follow-up strategies to the training, the further development of their 5 Point Child Development Plan and working with implementation at each of their six sites.

The journey continues ....

Thursday, December 25, 2014

New Words - New Experiences - New Life

Just a couple of days ago, Lynn and Ruby Johnston sent us an incredible video from Kyrgyzstan.  It is is posted below, but I wanted to comment on the power of what this video shows.

Children touched by the ministry of Lamb International are children who have experienced abuse, neglect, trauma and loss at a level perhaps we can never completely comprehend.  What the words did from those staggering events and the life experiences children endured  created a belief system that is fueled by damaging thoughts.  "I am unloved."  "I don't even exist."

How does one change a belief system?  A belief system is changed by new words and new experiences overtime.  That is exactly what the Lamb team on the ground in Kyrgyzstan is doing with Dayspring (home for girls) and Jeremiah House (home to teens who have aged out of the orphanages.)  The power of this video speaks for its self.

Click on the link just below the picture to see this heartwarming video.

Thank you all who have supported the ministry of Lamb International.  It is making a huge difference in the lives of children.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Lamplighter's Third Annual Adoption Conference A Great Success

Now history, the Dayton area's Lamplighter's Adoption and Orphan Care Ministry conference was a great success. It was held at the West Carrollton Church of the Nazarene on November 8 and featured both national and international speakers.  It was so exciting to see scores of adoptive and foster parents enter the building on that Saturday morning. All came with a singular passion - to care for the heart of a wounded child. Our prayer as we began the day was that those coming would find hope and encouragement. From the responses we have had, in a very large way, that happened. We are thankful for the opportunity to serve the Dayton area's foster and adoption community.

Here are some highlights of the day:

Keynoter: Beth Guckenberger, co-executive director of Back2Back ministries sharing with just moms

Just for Dads - David Little, adoptive father from Minnesota and missionary with The Navigators

Workshop Presenters

Paula Gates from Pathway Caring for Children in Canton, Ohio

Raymond Lloyd - Ohio Child Welfare Trainer and Expert and Springfield Pastor

Betsy Smalley - International Expert and Author in the field of Child Welfare

Deb Amend - adoptive mom and special education specialist and author

Daron and Heidi Holland - adoptive parents and Empowered to Connect Trainers

Jen Hauk and Carrie Combs - adult adopted persons sharing their story of reunion as Rob McNally facilitates

Chris Combs, adoptive father and director of Cincinnati's Coalition of Care

David and Jayne Schooler - Pastor and International Trainer/Author

A conference like this could not happen without the many volunteers who helped. We didn't get pictures of all of them so here are just a couple of our group of over 20 from various area churches.                                               
                                                                  THANK YOU

APRIL 17-18  Sensory Smart Weekend - registration opens the first week in January
OCTOBER 24, 2015 - next year's conference

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Busy and Meaningful Days

"Thank you for coming. You have changed our belief system through new experiences and new words."   A young man in our training session slipped up to David as the session ended last week and quietly said these words to him.  It is always good to get feedback indicating what has been shared has been helpful. 

Meeting many new people from different cultures is one of the greatest joys we experience in working overseas. The last ten days have been filled with new faces and new experiences.  We finished our 2nd three day training series today, which was the pre-conference focus for the Romania without Orphans national event.  

With Josh Wientge with us, we have the opportunity to get some awesome pictures and videos.  Josh captured some thoughts from some of our participants from Building Trauma Competent Healing Caregivers.  All of the participants, either foster or adoptive parents or workers, carry heavy loads as they live with or with work children from very difficult early beginnings.


Thank you for sharing this journey with us.....we are so grateful that God has opened these doors for us for this time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

HIghlights of First Day in Romania

Many sights, sounds and feelings greeted our first day in Romania.  We are learning so much about Livada Orphan Care - an organization that has been a pioneer  in caring for orphan and high risk children for over ten years. The breadth of their work here is amazing.

Before the training day began, we visited emergency home - Big Blue orphanage, where children are taken who are in need of emergency protective  care. It was a good reminder for us why we are here as begin our time with social workers, foster and adoptive parents, therapists, and volunteers. We are privileged to be sharing with over 100 folks from Mures County in Romania.

A big highlight for us this trip is having Josh Wientge with us.  We are so enjoying our conversations with him.  He is here to create videos and photo memories of what we are doing in this capacity building initiative.

Here is a highlight of our first day from Josh's perspective.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Would You Consider Coming? What Happened When We Said Yes

Seventeen months ago, during a pause in our presentation at CAFO conference in Nashville, (Christian Alliance for Orphans), a gentleman slipped to the front of the room, handed David his card and said quietly, "would you consider coming to Romania?"  That was Livada director, Bruce Thomas. Now all these many months later, David and I, along with Josh Wientge from Lebanon, will be heading tomorrow to Romania for 12 days of training. We will be meeting many new people who share our vision for hope and healing for children devastated by trauma and loss. This is another awesome partnership as our connections continue to grow.   Orphans Promise is providing the funding for our travel there and two of their OP staff will be joining us as well.  It takes the efforts of many to continue the work to which God is calling so many.

One of the many highlights of the trip will be participating in the first ROMANIA WITHOUT ORPHANS conference at the end of October.We see this as an incredible privilege and take our time there very seriously.

While we are in Romania, other LAMb team members, Lynn and Ruby are in Botswana, after finishing a week in South Africa.  Our dear friends, John and Julie Wright and their daughters continue their hard work in Kyrgyzstan.

We are excited that Josh is joining us.  With Josh along, we will have great video and pictures from the experiences there and it will be meaningful to see how this experience impacts a young man whose heart has been turned to the needs of vulnerable children.

 We do appreciate your prayers as we go....our journey continues

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Days In Poland: A Time of Reconnecting

One of the joys of continuing our work in countries where we have been before is reconnecting with friends we have made.  Our fourth trip to Poland enabled us to do just that.  We had the privilege of once again staying in the foster family home of the Wojtasinska family. They have been foster parents for 19 years to over 30 children. Many of those children (now young adults) remain in contact with the family.

These youngsters will grow up in the same foster home and be a permanent part of this family.  Standing next to David is Anya, 21 year old daughter of the foster parents. This is the only life she knows and is an amazing big sister to these kids.

Edyta and Jarek are key leaders in the national foster parent coalition and have been instrumental in changes that are happening in Poland.
After spending time in this foster home, David and I traveled to Warsaw for 4 days of training.  The group that assembled are key trainers that we have worked with before. The trainers that are a part of the Polish foster parent coalition are currently training the 3 day trauma series that we shared with them last year all over Poland. We were so excited to hear that.   This trip, we followed up on what we did before and added training on teens and trauma and how to conduct TBRI Nurture groups.  One of our commitments is to follow through with how the training is going and implementation of the principles we shared.

There was a lot of laughter amidst so much learning.  

Here is a short video of our time with our friends and colleagues - all who share the vision of helping wounded children heal. Like so many of us, they also dream of their country to become a Poland without Orphans.