Muldraugh Baptist Church visited Hope For Tomorrow at the beginning of this month and brought with them a spirit of faith that was evident through their work all week long. During the week, not only did the group involve children in evangelical and spiritual activities, but they also worked on multiple projects including building a shelf and cabinet unit for our living room, painting several rooms in the new house, and doing VBS activities with the kids every afternoon.
We are so incredibly thankful to have hosted such an amazing group of individuals. The work that they did will remain a part of this home for a very long time. Each time the children open the doors of the new cabinets, or play with the puppets from the puppet show, or sing songs from their new Children’s Bible Songs CDs, we will all be reminded of the great time we spent with Muldraugh. See pictures of their trip and projects here.
We recently had the pleasure of welcoming a great group of students from the University of Kentucky to Hope for Tomorrow Children’s home. They came down with our co-founder, Jennifer, to spend a busy 10 days with our kids. During their time, their main focus was on our preschool students. Each of the UK students paired up with one of the preschoolers and observed them throughout the week. They also performed evaluations on the students of Hope Preschool to gauge where each student is performing. At the end of the week, the UK students met with the caregiver of each of the kids and informed them of the areas in which their child excels, the areas where their child needs assistance, and a few goals for their child. The UK students also worked with our preschool teacher, Delmy, to organize the Hope Preschool classroom.
After their mornings working in the preschool, the group spent time playing with the kids doing tons of fun activities. From going to the pool to playing parachute, there was never a dull moment. One of the favorite memories was the 4th of July party. Although a day early, we brought everyone together at the new property for pizza and fireworks. The kids’ eyes lit up as they watched the fireworks show and played with sparklers. They were still talking about the party days afterwards! Go here to see pictures of our fantastic week with the group from UK.
June 16th our first team of the summer arrived from First Christian Bowling Green Church in Bowling Green, Kentucky. While they had planned to begin construction work on the new property, we ran into a small road-block when we didn’t get our building permit in time. Consequently, we shifted our efforts to focus on construction at our caregiver Blanca’s house. Everyone had good spirits, despite the change in plans.
In the week they were here, the team worked hard on the construction site and spent time at the children’s home doing activities with the kids. They began their week of construction with the intentions of fixing Blanca’s roof. However, as the week progressed, they all agreed they wanted to see the project finished as soon as possible. Since they couldn’t stay another month to finish it themselves, the team generously came together to donate the funds to allow a construction group to continue working to put up the walls and finish the house. Blanca was extremely excited to receive the news that her house would be finished sooner than expected!
Along with their construction projects, the team also invested their time in our kids here at the children’s home. Their first day at the home they gave each of the kids a cross to paint and watched their creativity bloom. Every day they colored, had tickle wars, danced around, and had a blast with the kids. We loved having this team to kick off our summer here at Hope for Tomorrow! Check out pictures from their trip here.
Although neither of us would call ourselves master chefs, we decided to put our cooking skills to the test in the challenge of a lifetime: feeding the Hope for Tomorrow family. Blanca does it flawlessly every day; however, we found a path with a few more bumps in the road still turns out okay as well.
It started on Friday with a rainy trip to the super market with Edwin and Miguel. We ran around Wal-Mart, translating the recipe, comparing prices, and simply trying to find the items we needed. The trip was full of laughs, as we were all happy to spend time together working to accomplish step one of our cooking escapade.
Sunday our skills were truly put the test. After church and a walk with the kids, we decided to assist Blanca in making lunch to practice for the big dinner. She shared a few tricks that helped dramatically when we began our preparations for dinner later that afternoon. We started by letting each of the kids pour out the bags of noodles we would use for our Pasta Bake. Then, Lidia and Amelia joined us to cook the meat, boil the noodles, and assemble our casseroles. We lost a few noodles along the way to hungry, curious kids but most of them made it safely into the dish.
Once the casseroles were prepared, the girls loaded them carefully into the oven. Then Bethany and the girls made a mad dash to the super market for bread while Katherine and Edwin stayed behind to set the table and wash dishes. Excitement arose as the aroma of cheesy pasta filled the house. The casseroles were done just in the knick of time and served to a hungry, eager family. The smiles, “yums”, and begging for seconds proved our dinner was a success! We showered Blanca with gratitude for the challenge she faces every day of not just one meal but three fantastic meals. We truly are blessed!
-Katherine and Bethany
My name is Katherine Clark and I am a short term volunteer here at Hope For Tomorrow. I wanted to share a memorable experience from my trip in hopes of inspiring potential ideas for future volunteers!
I have been a member of the Clark County YMCA of Southern Indiana for more than eight years. I have worked throughout this particular branch for nearly five years, spending the majority of my time in the Kids’ Adventure Room. In the KAR, my job consists of playing with and caring for the children while their parents exercise.
Needless to say, the YMCA holds a special place in my heart. When Y members and staff heard of my plans to volunteer with Hope For Tomorrow, they were eager to help and support my efforts in any way they could. Numerous members and staff alike participated in the Mark’s Feed Store Fundraiser I initiated for Hope For Tomorrow. My YMCA family also offered countless prayers, positive thoughts, and good vibes directed to my new family at Hope For Tomorrow.
At the YMCA, I also spend a lot of time working in their preschool program. I was so excited when they invited me to talk about Hope For Tomorrow and to teach the kids a short Spanish lesson. The Y preschoolers colored beautiful pictures for me to bring to the children of Hope For Tomorrow. Each of them wrote the phrase: “Que Dios le te bendiga” which translates to “God bless you” on the top of their cards.
When I presented the children from Hope For Tomorrow with the pictures drawn by the YMCA preschoolers, they were bursting with joy and excitement. Rosa was especially pleased, as she brought every picture to her school the next day in order to show her teachers and friends the beautiful drawings she had received.
The children from Hope For Tomorrow immediately wished to return the favor by coloring pictures for the Y preschoolers. The kids and I had a blast drawing pictures and decorating their cards with stickers galore! I cannot wait to present the YMCA preschoolers with the cards that the children at Hope For Tomorrow have made for them in return.
This easy activity proved to serve as a bridge to combine two very important parts of my life. I am blessed to have the opportunity to serve here as I continue to grow and develop spiritually.
This month we had the pleasure of welcoming back our co-founder, Brenda, with a group from her church, Good Shepherd, in Lexington, Kentucky. Their group came down and spent a week bonding with our kids as well as fixing up our home. Their group made our home even more beautiful by enhancing every wall with a new coat of paint. After they were done painting in the mornings, they led VBS with the kids in the afternoons. The kids had all kinds of songs, bible stories, crafts, and games to look forward to when they arrived home from school every day. Along with their group came a doctor who blessed our kids with medical check-ups.
The biggest project the group took on was the construction of a study room for the older kids. This room is such a crucial space to have in our home, as it gives our older children a place of their own. Not only is this study room a place where they can study and focus on their school work, away from the chaos of the smaller children, but also it is also a private, quiet place for them to relax and listen to music, play games, practice piano, etc. They finally have a place where they can sit back and be teenagers, away from the running, playing children. The group painted the walls, put together furniture, put up blinds and cork-board, and constructed desk areas for the children in the study room.We are so thankful for all the hard work their group did improving our home and building bonds with our children.
Hi, I’m Bethany and I’m the new volunteer here at Hope for Tomorrow Children’s Home. I am 17-years-old and just finished high school in December. I left my home in Kansas to come volunteer here for 6 months. About two years ago, I felt God call me to take a semester off of school and seek Him. So, I decided to graduate early from high school and take my spring semester to do whatever it was He was calling me to. I spent a lot of time prayerfully considering what exactly I should do. I made up my mind many times, felt called to many different things, and prayed many prayers that seemed to go unanswered before I got a clear calling: Hope for Tomorrow Children’s Home. I was 6 months away from graduating and was preparing to apply for an internship at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City, when my mother met Jennifer, one of the founders. With my love for children and desire to be an early childhood teacher, it seemed like the perfect opportunity. I spent even more time in prayer, knowing committing to this would be crazy and difficult. I had never left the country before and was about to agree to go to this unknown place for 6 months. But, God gave me peace and filled me with joy and love for the kids even before and got here.
The moment I arrived here in Guatemala, I knew it was a place I could call home. Although there have been a few bumps along the way, I’m getting used to it here. It’s far from my home in Kansas (literally) but it’s my home for now.
Everyday I come to the children’s home at around 8 in the morning and go home at around 7 at night. I eat lunch and dinner here with the kids, which reminds me (although it is very different) of family dinners back home. After dinner, one of the moms walks me to my dorm, so I don’t have to walk alone. The kids started school on Wednesday, which means only the little ones are here in the morning for preschool. I will be teaching an English class to the preschool kids Monday-Thursday for 30 minutes and helping the teacher out with anything she needs during the rest of the day. Then when the older kids come home, I will help them with their homework, etc. I’m really excited but also really nervous. I’ve never had so much responsibility before. But, I know that it’s not me leading these children, it’s God through me. I know that He is the head of this operation and he is going to inspire and encourage me and I’ll pass that along to the kids.
The kids have welcomed me with open arms. Their hugs and kisses are the things that keep me going. It is so awesome to see all the love they have to give. Not just to me, but to each other, the moms, and most importantly God. There is so much love in this home and it’s so extremely obvious to tell. My favorite part of the day is praying with the kids before a meal. Each kid waits until all the food is brought out, then they all hold hands and one of them says the prayer. Although I can’t understand most of it, I do hear them praying and thanking God for each of their mothers and praying for the sick and the homeless. Their prayers aren’t just “Thank you God for this food” but they’re real and genuine. And from the heart of a child. I already know God has so much in store for me and these kids for next six months and I’m so excited to see all the amazing things He’ll do.