While in the United States we are preparing for final exams and the ending of the current school year, in Myanmar they are doing the exact opposite. The new school year starts in the beginning of June. Since the beginning of March, the children at Charity Children’s Home have been on their “summer” break; enjoying much-needed time off during the hottest months of the year (well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit).
During this time, the staff tries to keep the kids busy with various activities. For example, every year in April, while the country celebrates its Water Festival, the staff holds a four-day camp for the kids. They plan songs, activities, crafts, games, and, of course, lessons about the love of God and salvation. The kids look forward to it, have a lot of fun, and draw closer to Jesus.
The summer break is also a time of transition at the home. The school system is arranged in a way that it is extremely difficult for children to transfer between schools during the school year. Because of this, unless it is an extreme situation, this is the only time of the year that children transition in and out of the children’s home. Each year, a number of children leave due to various reasons — usually they have grown up and out, or their family’s financial situation has improved so that the family can now care for them. As these young people leave, a new group of children comes in, and the team asks for prayer for wisdom to know which children have the greatest need to come to the home.
This year, there is also a transition in staff. Two female caregivers recently left and the team is looking for replacements. We are joining them in prayer to find two women who love God and will love the kids. The girls need two solid, nurturing, and giving role models to follow after. This is also the time of purchasing new school supplies. Each child needs school uniforms, shoes, a book bag, an umbrella, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc. Multiply this by approximately 240 children/youth and you have a huge undertaking (and expense). It takes days of coordinating to purchase all of the items, organize them, and distribute them to the children. The blessing of it is that the children are then excited to start the new school year. Please pray for the full funding needed to provide these things. It is an expense above and beyond normal education expenses.
I want to finish with a testimony we have heard from the team. When we first started to support them in sponsorship in late 2008, they were only able to provide one hot meal per day to the children, using the lowest quality of rice. Because of the love and care provided through our child sponsors, the children now receive three hot meals per day, using the second best quality of rice — and we still need many more sponsors. The team has said that it has also made their grades in school improve because the children are better nourished, not hungry, and not ashamed of what they take for their lunch at school.
Thank you sponsors!
~ Tina Tomes