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JUNE 2018

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Catch up with the goings on at Operation Blessing!

FROM CLUBFOOT DIAGNOSIS TO ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES Families receive hope from Operation Blessing and MiracleFeet


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Bringing health to an entire community one cooking class at a time

Inside this this issue issue


YOU CREATED A HAPPY HOME AFTER HURRICANE HEARTACHE A Texas family’s house is restored after Harvey’s devastation



A grandmother finds hope through an Operation Blessing agriculture program


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Yitayish and her daughter were begging together on the streets of Ethiopia until you helped them break the cycle of poverty

HOW YOU ARE TRANSFORMING LIBERIAN VILLAGES New water wells bring health and hope to impoverished communities

P.O. Box 2636, Virginia Beach, VA 23450

(800) 730-2537








HAITI: Monique stands in the ruins of the Iron Market in Port-au-Prince after a devastating fire. Operation Blessing partners help vendors like her get back on their feet!



EL SALVADOR: You helped Operation Blessing staff deliver baby chicks to a family as part of a poultry farming project for Santos and his children.



GUATEMALA: A young patient gets a checkup at a special Operation Blessing dental clinic you made possible.


KENYA: A beneficiary of an Operation Blessing poultry project shows off the eggs she’s collected.


TANZANIA: Young Samsoni wears a brace on his feet to treat his clubfoot thanks to the partnership between Operation Blessing partners and MiracleFeet. Read more about treating clubfoot on page 7.


PERU: Operation Blessing’s volunteer community health workers gather with staff from OB Peru for a group photo!


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Evidaya, 16, after winning third place in her category in an open chess tournament said, “I am so happy I won a medal that I can show people at my church who always pray for me when I take off for a competition!�

See what you are making possible! Follow us on

f a ce b o o k . co m /o p e r at i o n b l e s s i n g 6

From clubfoot diagnosis to


Families receive hope from Operation Blessing partners and MiracleFeet


lubfoot is one of the world’s most common birth defects, affecting around 175,000 new babies every year. Though it’s very treatable, many parents in poverty-stricken areas lack the knowledge and resources to access the care their children need. In some cultures, clubfoot even carries a stigma that can cause affected children, and their families, to be outcasts from society. That’s why Operation Blessing is working with strategic partners around the world, like MiracleFeet, to provide treatment and education for children and families affected by clubfoot.

THE PONSETI METHOD Considered the best way to treat clubfoot for the majority of cases, the Ponseti method is the preferred treatment option for Operation Blessing and MiracleFeet. For years, the primary method of correcting clubfoot was with surgery. However, as the patients grew older they began to experience pain, weakness, and stiffness as a result of the surgery. The Ponseti method, on the other hand, uses a period of stretching and casting (usually five to seven weeks) followed by a bracing stage of several months. If needed, the Ponseti method can be paired with a minor surgery to lengthen the Achilles tendon. This gentle, efficient method of treating clubfoot has proven effective in 95 percent of cases with no complications later in life.

This month, as we recognize World Clubfoot Day, will you join us in providing help and hope for more hurting families? Continued on page 8


UGANDA Continued from page 7

I could not hold back my tears when the nurses handed me my baby and told me that he had a disability,” said Meros’ mother, Alexa, in Uganda. Upon explaining that Alexa’s child had bilateral clubfoot, the nurses also shared that the condition could be corrected. Meros is Alexa’s third child and first son. Like any mother, she just wanted him to be perfect. She couldn’t help but feel heartbroken by her son’s condition and the struggles he would face in life. The nurses quickly referred the family to a nearby hospital, but their orthopedic department lacked the needed resources to properly care for Meros. Fortunately, a chance meeting with a stranger led them to a clinic supported by Operation Blessing through our partner, MiracleFeet. Meros began his treatment at a mere 3 weeks old, and for the next five weeks his feet underwent corrective treatment through manipulation, casting, and a minor surgery to release his Achilles tendons. Alexa experienced some fear on the day of the surgery, but everything turned out well. His incisions have healed, and Meros is now in the bracing phase of his treatment. Even better, his treatment came at no charge to the family. This blessing enabled Alexa to focus on her son’s health without added financial stress. She faithfully supported Meros throughout the whole process, and found the other mothers at the clinic to


be especially helpful. She said, “[They] encouraged me a lot every week, which kept me going strong for my son.” Although little Meros didn’t like the braces at first, Alexa feels this is a small price to pay in order to, as she said, “Have an engineer in the family someday.” Whether or not Meros decides to pursue engineering, with his corrected feet, his possibilities in life are now endless and his mother’s hope has been restored! Thank you for supporting children like Meros and giving them a bright future. ◆

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Francisca receives her new water filter.

Continued on page 10


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Bringing health to an entire community one cooking class at a time


t started as the response to an emergency need — families reeling from a round of earthquakes off the Pacific coast were in need of food. Because of our faithful partners, OB Mexico established mobile kitchens to help meet the immediate needs of hurting people. And the mobile food kitchens grew into a nutrition program to help families in Union Hidalgo learn better food practices to ward off health problems like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity.



Now, Operation Blessing sponsors biweekly workshops for women in the community. Each workshop lasts for a total of four weeks and has a class size of up to 10 women. These women learn the value of nutrition and are introduced to foods and recipes to contribute are a far cry from the fried food to healthier eating for that comprised the majority of healthier living. the community’s diet before this One workshop program started! focuses entirely on the Many of the women participating composition, nutritional in these workshops run local value, and importance kitchens, thus transforming the of salads. Students are challenged to create their community from the inside out with better cooking and eating best salads as part of a balanced diet. The results practices. Thanks to you, OBI partners, these small changes can have a big impact on the health of the men, women, and children of Union Hidalgo. ◆



A Texas family’s house is restored after Harvey’s devastation



You created a





ight-year-old Gabe lived in a two-bedroom house in Texas with his mother and two older sisters, Payton and Penelapie. He lives with autism, but had a safe

environment with his family in their little home until Hurricane Harvey barreled through their community. Floodwaters rushed into the humble house, as the unprecedented storm dumped heavy rains on the entire region. Since the swirling waters made it impossible to evacuate on foot or by car, a boat rescued Gabe's family. But as they floated away from their home, they didn’t know how they would recover. Peggy is a single mother to her three children and does the best she can to provide for them. But when the hurricane hit, she had no insurance, and lacked the resources they needed to rebuild. Their local church took up an offering to purchase a portable building, similar to a shed, for the family to live in. It became the place they called home — and they were so grateful for it — but it wasn’t a permanent solution. Continued on page 14


Continued from page 13

Once the schools reopened, Gabe and his sisters would sleep in the portable

Volunteers helped gut the

building behind their house, using the

building and hang new sheetrock.

remnants of their home for the shower

They finished the repairs and added

and restroom. Mold grew everywhere,

furniture and even décor to the home

but there was nothing they could do.

without Gabe or his family having

Peggy cried out to God for help, and as she did, someone nominated her for the Project 40 Program

any idea just how much work they were doing. When they were invited to return

— a special partnership between

to their home, Gabe stood with

Operation Blessing and Cathedral

his mother and sisters, excited and

Church. Without giving Peggy and

surprised. He held his mother’s hand

her children too many details, OBI

as people they had never met waved

offered to help. Little did the family

balloons and signs welcoming them

know just how much work Operation

home. Perfect strangers had come

Blessing partners and others would

to help them in their time of need,

put into their house! Gabe’s family

leaving Peggy and her family with

had been selected for an Extreme

tears in their eyes.

Blessing — a special project where


home for a family in need.

They walked together through the

Operation Blessing and partners

joyful crowd and opened the door

completely restore and refurnish a

to their home to see what work had

been completed. “It doesn’t even look

the first time ever, he had his own bed.

like our house,” Peggy exclaimed.

His name hung above the headboard

“Wow!” Inside, their mold-infested,

in white letters, and as he scrambled

dilapidated house had been completely

onto the bed, he hugged the Mario toy

restored! They were home again. “Thank

that was waiting for him.

you, Jesus,” Peggy breathed a prayer in relief as she hugged young Gabe. “‘Faith will see us through’,” she read

“This house was a wreck. I cannot believe you turned it into something so beautiful!” Peggy said after the

from a new wall hanging in their home,

tour, wiping away tears. “Thank y’all,

“and that’s exactly what has happened.”

and God bless y’all.”

“I love it!” Gabe said. He jumped onto the new couch with a grin. The family toured the house one

When asked his favorite part of their new home, Gabe quickly answered, “My bed!”

room at a time, taking it all in with

Thank you, OBI partners. You

exclamations of gratitude and happy

made it possible for Operation Blessing

tears. Gabe’s sisters have bunk beds in

— alongside long-time partner The

their room, but he didn’t know what

Home Depot and grants from The

to expect in the room he shares with

Rebuild Texas Fund, Cleveland Indians

his mother.

Charities, MLB, and Jay & Hannah

When he opened the door, he started shouting with excitement. For

Bruce — to welcome Gabe and his family home. ◆









erta is a devoted grandmother who cares for her three grandchildren, Emely, 11, Julissa, 6, and Cristian, 6. She works hard to provide for them, but putting food on

the table has been a desperate struggle. “Our situation has always been very difficult,” she said. “Having to feed three mouths is not easy. On several occasions we have gone to bed with empty stomachs, because with the $3 that I sometimes earn from washing clothes, I cannot afford to buy what is necessary for food.” Washing clothes for a living seemed to be Berta’s only option. “I would like to have a stable job,” she lamented. “But because of my age they do not give me any opportunities.” Berta felt stuck. Willing to work and desperate to provide for her grandchildren, she didn’t know where to turn. She even considered growing her own crops to feed the children and sell at the market, but lacked the space to successfully plant anything. Things became so bad that at times she had to choose between paying bills and buying food. “I remember once my grandchildren told me they were hungry,” she recalled. Continued on page 18 17

Continued from page 17

“From what little [money I had made] I had to decide between feeding my grandchildren and paying the bills for water and electricity.” In the department of Ahuachapan, where Berta lives, Operation Blessing started an agriculture project building community greenhouses. As soon as Berta found out, she was intrigued and approached OBI staff to ask if she could be a part of the program. After seeing her determination and learning the details of her situation, Operation Blessing staff welcomed her into the project. It wasn’t long before Berta was


attending training sessions, and soon she began to see a return on her time and hard work. “This greenhouse will benefit us a lot,” she exclaimed with enthusiasm. “First of all, we are going to have our own crops and harvests, and the most important thing is we will not have to buy things. The idea is to eat the products and sell them to get a little income.” The difference is dramatic. The ability to grow her own crops in the Operation Blessing greenhouse you helped provide has brought food security to this grandmother and the children in her care. “Before, I was not able to feed my grandchildren,” Berta said. “Now, when they are hungry, I can tell them to eat a little tomato, roasted chili, or even to go to the store to buy beans!” Berta thanked Operation Blessing partners saying, “I feel very happy and grateful to God because Operation Blessing is an institution that offers opportunities to people. With these greenhouses they have not only given me opportunity but also the people of my community. They have brought hope to us all.” ◆



A legacy of begging broken



itayish’s story is one of repeated tragedy, culminating in three generations of women all begging together on the streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. It all began when Yitayish, then a young girl, became blinded in

one eye after an accident while making a basket. Because of this, she dropped out of school. Years later, her mother also began to suffer from an eye issue. Yitayish took her mother to Addis Ababa for treatment, but the operation actually ended up costing her mother the little sight she had. Fearful that other villagers would consider her blindness a curse and look down on them, Yitayish and her mother remained in the city. Each day, Yitayish would take her mother to a place near a church where she could beg. For a time, Yitayish was able to earn a living as a day laborer by doing laundry and helping at construction sites. Then tragedy struck yet again when Yitayish was raped at her job. She found herself pregnant and unable to go back to work. Initially, her mother supported them both with her begging. When Yitayish's baby girl, Mahlet, entered the world, these three generations of hurting women all begged together on the streets. This continued for a year and a half. Their lives finally began to turn around when Yitayish learned about local Operation Blessing partner, Embracing Hope Ethiopia (EHE). With help from OBI partners like you, Embracing Hope supports the poorest of the poor, particularly looking out for mothers and vulnerable children. With a goal of preserving families, they economically empower mothers through training and grants, while providing quality, holistic care for the children. EHE’s intervention, with support from Operation Blessing's faithful partners, completely transformed their lives. When Yitayish first arrived at


Yitayish and her daughter were begging together on the streets of Ethiopia until you helped them break the cycle of poverty Embracing Hope, her clothes were filthy and she seemed depressed. Immediately, EHE offered intensive counseling, food, clothing, a clean mattress, linens, hygiene items, and medical care. This support filled Yitayish with hope and encouragement. Meanwhile, Mahlet no longer spent her days in the hot sun on the dangerous streets. Instead, she was nurtured through Embracing Hope’s day care center in a safe, cheerful, and fun learning environment. Over time, Yitayish received training that helped her understand she truly has the power to change her own life. She has gone back to work washing clothes and cleaning, but this time she is earning a good income, enough to support her mother and daughter. She was even able to help her brother start a small business, and she has been saving for the future. Most importantly, her dignity has been restored, and she’s gained a new confidence. Today, Mahlet is a thriving, healthy first grader. Thanks to Operation Blessing partners and EHE, this family that was once begging on the Continued on page 22

streets has much hope for the future. â—† 21



Liberian villages


magine the life of a villager in remote Africa: living in a mud hut, working

the fields each day, growing crops like

rice and cassava. There’s no easy access to education or health care. One must travel long and dangerous distances, or simply manage

With new water wells, you are bringing health and hope to impoverished communities


without such necessities. But perhaps most troubling, these villagers live daily without access to safe water. For many people in the Kakata region of Liberia, the scenario above is all too real. In some cases, villagers survive on water from a swampy hole or a dirty creek. In other villages, the residents walk as far as 45 minutes during


the dry season to fetch water from

With your support, Operation

the nearest source — water that is

Blessing went to work digging brand

still dangerous to drink. Waterborne

new wells in five small villages in the

diseases like cholera are sadly a part

Kakata region. The new wells you

of everyday life. Yet in many ways

made possible will provide safe, easy

these primarily Christian villagers

to access water for over 2,000 people

are just like the rest of us. They work

in Noko’s Town, Sao’s Town, Smith’s

hard to provide for their families and

Town, Tumu’s Town, and Wallah’s Town.

pray for a better life. Oman, a 72-year-old man from

A mother of three named Susan from Wallah’s Town said, “Our

Noko’s Town, had this to say: “Since

struggle of walking twenty minutes

this village came to existence, safe

to fetch water that will do harm to

drinking water has been a problem

us and our children is over…. We are

and our utmost important need. Our

grateful for this new water source

neighboring villages laugh at us during

which now brings abundant relief….

the dry season for going to their unsafe

Thank God, thanks to the donors,

creek to fetch water…. We were often

and thanks to you, Operation

sick, our young children and elderly ones

Blessing International.’’ ◆

too, with diarrhea or stomach ailments.”



The world’s poorest children are about to face the hottest and deadliest time of the year. Rush critical aid to those who need it the most.

P.O. Box 2636, Virginia Beach, VA 23450 Copyright © 2018 by Operation Blessing International

(800) 730-2537

You Created a Happy Home After Heartache – Blessings Magazine – June 2018  

A Texas family's house is restored after Harvey's devastation. Blessings is a monthly publication of Operation Blessing International, shari...

You Created a Happy Home After Heartache – Blessings Magazine – June 2018  

A Texas family's house is restored after Harvey's devastation. Blessings is a monthly publication of Operation Blessing International, shari...