Media for Missions on the Road in East Africa Page 11
Hidden With Christ Ministries
The Challenge of
A woman takes a look at the wares being offered for sale at the traditional clothing market in Moshi, Tanzania
o an American woman, the words “clothes shopping” evoke an image of walking through an air conditioned mall or department store with beautiful displays and endless possibilities of colors, sizes and styles to choose from. But in Moshi, Tanzania, finding clothes for the 28 constantly growing children at our orphanage is another story altogether. In the town where Treasures of Africa is located, there are no malls or department stores. The local clothing market resembles a very humble country “flea market” where the vast majority of clothing sold is not new. If you take a walk down the open air market “aisles” of this African clothing bazaar, you will see huge burlap and canvas sacks with the words “Salvation Army,” “Goodwill” and other U.S. non-profit clothing recyclers stamped on the bags. It is a well-known fact that such organizations sell their excess donated clothing by the pound to exporters who in turn sell them to third world countries such as Tanzania. Since nothing is sorted by size at these markets, it literally takes hours to dig through the piles of clothing and attempt to find an appropriately sized item for a single child.
Shopping In Africa Imagine trying to find clothes for 28 children! Then at certain times of the year, such as just before school begins or right before Christmas, the competition to find clothing is multiplied exponentially. It becomes so difficult to find even a single pair of jeans or a dress or shoes to fit each of the different sizes of our children. And then there is the simple reality that buying gently used clothes can be alright at times, but there are certain items (such as underwear or socks) that you never want to buy if they have been previously used! Because of this difficult situation, we try to purchase clothing here in the U.S. and carry it over in our suitcases on every trip back to Tanzania. If we were able to buy “new clothes” for our children at the few shops in town that carry them, the price would be prohibitive. This is because the import tax is quite high, making the price tag on a new pair of jeans in Tanzania higher than if bought in the U.S. So in an effort to find a way for people to help the orphanage in this very practical need – we have set up a “wishlist” on www.amazon.com. On that wishlist you will find clothing and shoes for all the different sizes of our 28 children – from our infants to our teenagers, as well as a few other items like educational software we would like to have for our kids to use in our computer lab, and solar lanterns for when the electricity goes out! To view the orphanage “wishlist” – go to www.amazon.com and type in the search box: “Treasures of Africa Wishlist” – and it should come up. If you would like to purchase something on that Wishlist - you can order directly from Amazon and they will send it to our office in Tustin, California and we will carry the items over to Tanzania at the next opportunity. (Don’t forget to sign up for the Amazon Smile program mentioned on page 13 so that a percentage of your purchase will be donated to HWCM) You can also just take note of the sizes of the items needed and buy them elsewhere and ship them to the Hidden With Christ Ministries office yourself if you can find them for a better price. Either way, you can help us overcome the great challenge of CLOTHES SHOPPING IN AFRICA! Thank you! __________________________________
To ship clothes or shoes directly to the ministry office – please use the following address: Hidden With Christ Ministries 17662 Irvine Blvd. Suite 6 Tustin, CA 92780
A street vendor sells used shoes in Moshi, Tanzania
Education is the
By Warren Oberst Administrative Director Treasures of Africa Children’s Home
n a beautiful Friday morning in Tanzania we made the one and a half hour drive from Moshi to Mount Meru University on the other side of the city of Arusha. The landscape was green and lush due to recent rains and the countryside is heavily planted with traditional food staples of maize and beans. Our three young lady Secondary School graduates - Irene, Margaret and Sifa - were excited to get a tour of their future campus. Mount Meru University is situated on top of a large rolling hill with an incredible view of the African plain. We were not there for the view however, and as we reached the Registrar’s Office a big sign greeted us saying, “English is the Order of the Day.” I had to laugh as I’ve written previously about the advantages of speaking English in this country and the head start our children at Treasures of Africa have already received. The girls will be the first in their families to go to college and their futures will be very different from their peers in the villages where they were born. The University experience will open many doors for them and set them above the rest. As I write this article, it is Saturday and I am in the small town of Muheza, about a half hour west of the coastal city of Tanga where Innocent, Emanueli and Raymond attend Livingstone Boys Seminary. I met with the Headmaster and went over their first term grades. Livingstone is an academic powerhouse with expectations of excellence and our boys are rising to the challenge – studying hard and praying for wisdom and understanding. There are few Secondary Schools in Tanzania that compare to Livingstone and it’s our goal to give the children at Treasures of Africa the best education possible. A higher level education is priceless in Tanzania and they will
Order of the Weekend be more than prepared for their University studies when finished.
This is a traveling weekend as I’m planning to stop in Mwanga tomorrow on my way home to visit Awadhi who is boarding at the Mwanga School for the Deaf about an hour outside of Moshi. The last Sunday of every month is visiting day. If we don’t have him come to Moshi to see the Doctor (he is HIV positive) we make sure we visit him and bring any medications or additional foods he needs to continue at the school for another month. Some of our staff and children will meet me at the school to visit Awadhi and we will travel back to Moshi together. We see Awadhi on a monthly basis so that he knows he is still a part of the Treasures of Africa family. When he first went to study at Mwanga, I don’t think he understood why he had to live at the school. The first 3 times we left him there he cried. He didn’t want to stay. But the last time we brought him back to school, I think he finally understood why he needed to be there. Soon we’ll be able to communicate with him in writing and leave little to the imagination. The school has implemented a 10 year program that covers the same material that a non-deaf Primary School student would complete in 7 years. But after graduating, the students will take the same National Exam as Primary School students across the country and be able to continue their education at the Secondary level. Three of the grades take two years instead of one, just to make sure the students are prepared to move to the next level. Awadhi started on a 6 month trial basis in January but soon skipped the first year of Grade 1. He is now doing well in the second year of Grade 1. He’s a very intelligent child who is not missing out on an education due to a disability like so many others in Tanzania. For many, their disability is simply poverty. Education is a huge priority at Treasures of Africa. We want to see our kids reach their God-given potential and have the opportunity to make a difference. Whether they become a Fundi (fixer of things) or a Doctor or a Lawyer, we want to raise them up “in the way that they should go, so that when they are old they will not depart from it.” I believe this scripture (Prov. 22:6) has a twofold meaning. First and foremost we are to train them up in the way of the Lord, revering honesty and truth. But it is also our job to encourage them in the desires of their hearts and God-given talents so they will enjoy the work of their hands. So it is not merely an intellectual education we desire for them but an education that will empower them to live their lives and make decisions with integrity. Operating with integrity is not the norm in Tanzania, but we strongly emphasize this with the children and staff as a pillar for a successful life. Will you help us? Tuition and School fees are our fastest growing financial need. A gift to “The Treasures of Africa Education Fund” will give the gift that can never be taken away...An Education. ___________________________________ Donations can be made online at our website www.treasuresofafrica.org or through the mail at Treasures of Africa P.O. Box 3267 Tustin, CA 92781. Donations are tax deductible under U.S. law.
TOA Director Warren Oberst visits the school attended by TOA Primary students
Portrait of a Treasure
A Quiet Beauty
atherine is a lovely young lady with a quiet temperament. Her gentleness does not betray the tremendous amount of loss she has experienced in her 14 years of life. Her father died when she was very young and her widowed mother married a fisherman. They lived in a rural village surrounded by sugar cane plantations. Just when it seemed like her life was becoming stabilized, her mother died, leaving her alone with her stepfather. Eventually, her stepfather remarried and had two daughters, Lucy and Justina with Catherine’s new stepmother. When the baby, Justina, was just five months old, Catherine’s stepmother died as a result of AIDS. This was the third parental death that Catherine had experienced in the brief six years of her life. At that point, Catherine’s devastated stepfather took her to a local orphanage with the hope that she would be helped to attend school. He then took his infant daughter, Justina, to the government welfare authorities, because he was unable to care for her properly, having been diagnosed with HIV himself. The welfare officials placed Justina with Treasures of Africa. Only his daughter Lucy remained with
Catherine (left) with fellow students during Study Hall at Northern Highlands Secondary School in Moshi
her father because his sister lived with him and was willing to take care of the toddler while he worked. For four years, Catherine lived in a very humble orphanage that was later shut down by the government because of reported improprieties. When the health of Catherine’s stepfather began to deteriorate, it became harder and harder for him Catherine (behind the camera) became intrigued with the idea of making videos to travel to visit Catherine at the orphanage in the rural village and then to visit Justina at Treasures of Africa in Moshi. So when he asked if Catherine could be moved to Treasures of Africa to join her step-sister Justina, we were happy to help reunite the girls. We recommended that he bring his five year old daughter Lucy to TOA as well, because he was essentially homeless, staying wherever he could, and we were concerned for her welfare. The three step-sisters were happily reunited when Catherine came to live at Treasures of Africa on September 14th, 2009. For the past four and a half years, Catherine has experienced the security and consistency of love and care at Treasures of Africa Children’s Home. As a result, she has blossomed into a quiet yet confident young lady who enjoys school and does well in her studies. She is currently attending a private English - medium Secondary School called Northern Highlands in Moshi. She enjoys math and dreams of one day becoming an accountant. A recent visit by Andy Langeland from our Media for Missions Project, captured Catherine’s imagination when he allowed her to “assist” with the videography he was doing and now she is contemplating the possibilities of becoming a filmmaker. Catherine still has lots of time to finalize her career choice but we are very happy to help expand her horizons and encourage her to dream. ______________________________________________________________________________ In the four and half years that Catherine has lived at Treasures of Africa, she has NEVER had a child sponsor. Would YOU consider stepping up to sponsor Catherine and let her know someone cares about her? She is what we call a “true orphan” as both of her birth parents are dead. You can help with her monthly expenses by becoming a child sponsor for $30, $50 or $100 per month. Or you can become her academic sponsor to cover her school expenses for $1,500 per year. Maybe as a family you can recruit your siblings to each do a partial sponsorship and together care for this beautiful young lady. Go to our website at www.treasureofafrica.org and click on the link that says MEET THE CHILDREN and scroll down to Catherine’s story, watch her video and sign up to sponsor her.
Baby Davidâ€™s Story
Infant David Joseph in the hospital a few days after being found abandoned under a tree.
hree Primary School students were headed to school one morning in Moshi, Tanzania, when they heard the faint cry of a baby. They stopped and looked around. There were no other people in the area and they wondered where the cry could be coming from. Suddenly, they spied a bundle on the ground under a tree. When they drew near, they realized that someone had abandoned an infant in the dirt. They saw that it was a tiny baby boy whose tender skin was being gnawed by ants. They did not waste time by running off to find help, instead they bravely picked up the helpless child and walked with him to the nearest hospital. They turned the child over to the first nurse they could find. The baby was a newborn, not more than a few days old, with the umbilical cord still attached. With no name and no family claiming him, he was destined to be turned over to the government Welfare authorities and placed in an orphanage. A Christian pediatrician at the hospital who is very familar with the work of Treasures of Africa, called and let us know of the new arrival. We visited the baby in the hospital nursery where he was being treated with antibiotics for the extensive ant bites on his neck and feet. We spoke with the hospital social worker and informed
For A Purpose her that Treasures of Africa was ready to accept the child upon discharge. Baby David Joseph came to live at Treasures of Africa on April 14, 2014. We had the privilege of naming him after two Biblical figures who overcame great obstacles to become men of great destiny. Young David overcame the giant Goliath as a teenager, and later became one of the greatest kings in Israel’s history. Joseph overcame the rejection of his brothers who sold him into slavery, and later rose to become the Prime Minister of Egypt. Like these great men of old, we believe our young David will also become a man of great destiny. Treasures of Africa is committed to raising him with love and calling forth the greatness in his life. Please pray for David Joseph and for the staff at TOA, as we begin this journey together. _______________________________________________________ Donations to Treasures of Africa Children’s Home enable us to continue the important work of rescuing abandoned infants and caring for orphaned children. Treasures of Africa is a project of Hidden With Christ Ministries which is a registered non-profit organization recognized by the IRS. Donations to Hidden With Christ Ministries for Treasures of Africa Children’s Home are tax deductible under U.S. law. You can donate online at www.treasureofafrica.org or send a donation to: Treasures of Africa P.O. Box 3267 Tustin, CA 92781
Baby David cozy and well cared for at Treasures of Africa Children’s Home
Notes from the Mission Field
By Christina Oberst Chaplain Treasures of Africa Children’s Home
here are times in our walk with the Lord when following Him costs us something. Though He is worth it all, our hearts feel the sacrifice deeply. In those difficult moments, it is hard to see the “much bigger picture” or the “hidden gems and treasure” God has in store for us when we are laying it all down to follow Him. The one thing our hearts know in these moments, is that we must obey the voice of the One to whom we belong. Not out of force or pressure but because of love. It is a love than goes deeper than anything we have ever known. And, though, there is a cost that our hearts feel deeply at times, we cling to Him knowing that it will all be alright as long as He is with us. Our hearts rest in hope because He is always good and He has good plans for our lives. So we walk by faith and not by what we see or by what we feel, allowing Him to provide our hearts all that we need to follow His call. It has now been over six months since our return to Africa to fulfill what the Lord has called us here to do. The dust of mixed emotions, the shuffle of transition and the cost of laying everything down again have now settled. We are now finding the “hidden gems and treasure” and seeing them through His eyes! The picture is getting “bigger” and “bigger.” Our hearts are overwhelmed by the Lord’s goodness in bringing us here. It was just what we needed! I was sitting with the Lord one morning before going into TOA to be with the kids and staff. I remember feeling the pain of being separated from my family and friends. I was feeling like things had been taken away from me. I was giving it all to Him, asking Him to help my heart. As I pressed into Him, His peace filled my heart. I was assured that I would receive what I still needed in His perfect timing. When I reached the orphanage, the children ran to meet me with much joy and love, hugs and
Gems In Africa smiles. My heart was filled to overflowing! Then I heard the Lord speak tenderly to my heart a promise from Isaiah 54 that He had given me many years before.
“Sing, O barren woman, you who never bore a child; burst into song, shout for joy, you who were never in labor; because more are the children of the desolate woman…”
Then I heard His voice again. He said, “Christina, I did not take anything away from you in bringing you here. Instead, I have added to you. I am fulfilling My promise to you!” Suddenly, I had a revelation that God in His goodness had brought me here to fulfill a deep desire of my heart, to be a mother to many children. He said, “I have added to your life 28 children.” I thought to myself, “I have been given 28 more children who look to me as Mom.” I have not been the same since that day. I had known this to be true in my head, but now I know it to be true in my heart. Though, at times I still miss family and friends, I do not feel loss anymore, they are in my heart. I now feel overwhelmed with His blessings and His goodness beyond expression. As I watch my husband, Warren, I can’t help but think that God has been training him and preparing him his whole life for this time and this purpose. It is truly a joy to see the many years of training he has received from working in the “business world”, now being used for God’s kingdom and His purposes. Spiritually, he has stepped into his destiny of being a “father to many,” a promise he has heard the Lord speak to his heart for many years. He loves the children and they love him. I want to encourage you that there are “hidden gems and treasures” in your midst especially when there is sacrifice. Sacrificial obedience makes beautiful soil for God to plant in and to grow some of His greatest treasures in our lives. You may not recognize it until the “dust” begins to settle. But if you hang on to Him, you will see it. You will discover some of His most precious gems and treasures in this life and later in the life to come. My heart continues to be captured by His love through the children He has given me here at Treasures of Africa Children’s Home. There is something so wonderful that happens when I hear the word, “Mama.” God is filling needs and desires in our hearts as well as in the hearts of the children here at TOA. There is a great purpose for us and for the children in being here together and God is fulfilling it. My heart is full and I am at home in Him. I am at home in Africa. He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. (Psalm 113:9) ___________________________ Our missionaries at Treasures of Africa Children’s Home still need monthly financial support to cover their modest stipend and medical insurance. If you would like to be supporters of “the hands that bless the children” please send a gift to TREASURES OF AFRICA and designate MISSIONARY SUPPORT in the memo line. You can also donate online at: w w w. t r e a s u r e s o f a f r i c a . o r g
Christina Oberst surrounded by some of the Treasures of Africa children
On the Road in East Africa Media For Missions Report by Andy Langeland
Media for Missions Project Hidden With Christ Ministries
My last trip to Tanzania was over 8 years ago, in February 2006, just a few short months after I had taken a sudden and unexplained interest in photography. By God’s grace, my photos weren’t horrible, and my mother (HWCM Director - Rita Langeland) used many of them for years on end to illustrate this or that need in newsletters and on the web. Fast forward several years of full time missionary service in Ukraine and constantly needing photo/video output – when a huge earthquake devastated Port-au-Prince, Haiti in January 2010. Our missionary partner in Ukraine, Tom Benz, recruited me to join him in a scouting trip to the quake zone to see what could be done for the thousands of newly orphaned children there. My job was singular in focus for once in my missionary career – documenting everything and everyone we encountered on photo and video. In the midst of the incredible sorrow and tragedy we encountered there, I for one, thoroughly enjoyed my task and the assignment piqued my interest in visually communicating the need of missionaries and the peoples they served. Ever since my last visit to Tanzania in 2006, the desperate need for improved media for the Treasures of Africa Children’s Home was always in front of me. My mom has always been relentlessly consistent in her online updates and print newsletters, but the available photos and lack of video content always called my name. I have often edited (i.e. resurrected) photos she needed for the newsletters and I have given her a photography pep-talk before many of her trips and her own efforts have been rewarded with better photos. Of course, photography is almost never any missionary’s passion or top priority, how could it be? So after years of desiring to help TOA with the media content every organization needs in order to get their message out – our transition out of Ukraine finally enabled me the opportunity to travel to Tanzania. The trip was smooth and easy as far as East Africa is concerned. I shot photo and video clips from morning until night, recording both the goings-on at TOA as well as the daily life of the local people in the
surrounding area. We took updated photos and video clips of the children and staff for the website as well as biographical type video clips of the new babies recently taken in at TOA as well as several of the older kids to share their moving stories in a more in-depth manner. All in all, we came away with enough photos to allow for a year’s worth of high quality daily posts for social media as well as for the newsletters and updates. One of the top priorities of the trip was putting together a substantive video for fundraising for the orphanage (which I am currently knee-deep in editing) that will be premiered at this month’s Treasures of Africa fundraiser Gala event in Florida. Of greatest excitement to me, was the literal instant success in raising support as a direct result of my photographic work. The very first morning on the ground, I took a photo of the head TOA cook holding up some of the orphanage’s worn out large cooking pots that needed replacing, and within hours of taking the photo it was posted on the TOA Facebook page. Within moments of posting that photo and the orphanage’s need - the sum of $800 was donated online and new pots were ordered. Then a week after returning home I posted a short video that I created about the newest baby – David – who was taken in to TOA after being rescued from certain death, abandoned under a tree. The response for his monthly sponsorship was nearly instant! I am very excited to see the ongoing success for raising funds and getting the amazing work of TOA in front of new and current supporters from the various media we continue to release. As most leaders in any Christian ministry can tell you, it is “lonely at the top.” By the nature of the leadership role, living as a foreigner and always investing in others, it can be an extremely difficult for missionaries to ever find opportunity to share their own frustrations, seek advice or even receive encouragement from someone in an empathetic position. While living in Ukraine, one thing Jaimee and I always looked forward to was when our missionary partners, Tom & Larissa Benz of Bridges of Faith, would arrive in town. We would pretty much be standing on their doorstep the moment their taxi dropped them off, ready to unload the past months’ worth of thoughts and happenings. In my experience, having some outside encouragement and freedom to let one’s guard down for even a short time, can instantly change a missionary’s outlook, effectiveness and longevity. With all that said, I was excited about the opportunity I had while on the ground in Moshi to offer some encouragement and outside input to the newly appointed TOA Directors Warren and Christina Oberst. They have contributed tremendously in streamlining the daily operations at TOA in their first six months on the ground and I was very impressed with how smooth things were running. The amount of personal effort they put into the kids, the staff and the logistical side of things from morning til night each day was amazing. My greatest plea with them was to “play for the long haul” and do whatever is needed to enable their bodies to last as long as their “hearts.” Though my years as a missionary in Ukraine will never provide a direct analog for East African life, certain aspects and struggles of long term missionaries are similar across the board. The time I was able to spend running errands into town with Warren or around the kitchen table in the evenings with Christina, provided some great quality time where they could freely share their thoughts and I could offer some observations as a detached, yet experienced missionary outsider. I look forward to being more intentional in my encouragement to missionaries in my future Media for Missions travels. __________________________________ The next Media for Missions project scheduled was to assist with a missionary work in the West African nation of Liberia in late May. But due to the recent Ebola outbreak in an area one hour’s drive from the intended destination, the trip has been postponed. Please pray for the people of Liberia, that the Ebola plague will be completely abated. To support the work of Media for Missions - please make your donation to Hidden With Christ Ministries and mark the memo as “Media for Missions” project. Donations can be made online at: www.hiddenwithchrist.com Andy Langeland taking video of school kids in Tanzania
SIX Simple Ways YOU Can Help Treasures of Africa Orphanage Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish I had a million dollars to give to Treasures of Africa to help build the new Children’s Village!”? But since you don’t, you have thought you couldn’t be of much assistance? Well, you don’t need a million dollars to be of great assistance. Here are a few simple ideas that could have a big impact. Do you shop on www.amazon.com? They have just instituted a wonderful charitable giving program called Amazon Smile where they will donate .5% of your eligible purchases to the charity of your choice. If you go to www.smile. amazon.com you can choose Hidden With Christ Ministries as the charitable organization that you want Amazon to donate to when you shop. So idea #1 is: 1.
Go to www.smile.amazon.com and specify Hidden With Christ Ministries as your charity to donate to and you can help orphans while you shop!
We live in a media savvy age - where the “social media” such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are followed or watched even more than television. (If you have no idea what we are talking about - you can skip this section and concentrate on idea #1 and tell your friends! (But make sure you pass the next 5 ideas on to your teenagers - as they could help a lot!) Treasures of Africa has a very active Facebook page. We post photos and stories regularly and we need help in getting our “posts” seen by the maximum number of people. The way Facebook “allows” a post to be seen by more people is directly based on how many people respond to a specific post. So if lots of people clicked “like” and then “shared” our posts every day, our material and stories from the orphanage would be seen by more and more people. This is a form of advertisement that is worth more than money could buy. So if you are a FACEBOOK user you can be a great help to Treasures of Africa by doing the following: 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.
Go to the Treasures of Africa Children’s Home Facebook page and click “LIKE” on the page itself. “SHARE” the Treasures of Africa page with all of your Facebook friends and invite them to “LIKE” the page also (we are currently aiming for 2500 “likes” because it will give us more visibility on Facebook). Every time you are on Facebook, go to the TOA page and click “LIKE” on all the newest posts. Click “SHARE” on all our videos and photos that are posted and send them to all your friends on Facebook. Do you have a twitter account? Then idea #6 is for you: Sign up to follow RITA LANGELAND on Twitter and then “re-tweet” her posts about Treasures of Africa. Now that was simple...wasn’t it?
Congratulations to Nurse Jodie!
Jodie Schooley weds Robert Polk on March 15, 2014
The Hidden With Christ Ministries family enjoyed a great celebration on March 15, 2014 when two of its members wed. Former Treasures of Africa missionary nurse Jodie Schooley married former HWCM Operations Manager Robert Polk in a beautiful ceremony in San Dimas, California. Both laughter and tears abounded during the touching wedding ceremony which was officiated by Pastor David Langeland. The happy couple honeymooned in Big Bear, California and will reside in Orange County. We wish them great happiness and the richest of Godâ€™s blessings in this new season of life together. Page 14
Hidden With Christ Ministries P.O. Box 3267 Tustin, CA 92781
www.hiddenwithchrist.com - www.treasuresofafrica.org - www.myeverydaybible.com
Exciting New Book Release! Hidden With Christ Ministries is excited to announce the release of Marcia Vogl’s new book “The Path Forward.” This book offers practical Biblical counsel to help people move out of old habits and ruts in order to move forward in their lives. This book addresses the issues of: • How to be truly free from heart wounds • How to be released from poor choices from your past • How your relationships with others can flourish • How to find true fulfillment and satisfaction The Path Forward can be purchased online through Amazon.com or from Google books. Hardback and paperback copies can also be ordered from Barnes & Noble or your local bookstore. ______________________________________ The author is a seasoned minister with many years of experience in Inner Healing and is an anointed teacher. She is the founder of Bethany Projects and is a highly valued colleague of Hidden With Christ Ministries.