Saturday, April 30, 2011

TRAINING EXCELLENCE









They came from all over this beautiful country. They came by plane, train, car and marshuka. They are the top selected workers in the field of child welfare. They came to this three day Training the Trainer at the invitation of the Minister of Labour and Child Protection.

The excitement and enthusiasm filled the room as the future program was outlined for them. Among this group will be the future trainers for Caseworker Core - A competency based standardized program designed to bring best practice to the field of child welfare.

Our next challenge is to schedule the series. This group is 'ready to roll'. What a privilege it is to work with such a group of dedicated, bright and committed individuals. Committed and ready to bring change, based on best practice outlined in the Field Guide for Child Welfare - witten by Judith Rycus and Ronald Hughes from the Institute for Human Services - to a country that is committed to making a difference for children.

Stay tuned for future news as this system engages in best practice to ensure permanency and well being for children. Perhaps one day, in our foreseeable future, we will all witness a Kyrgyzstan Without Orphans.

Friday, April 29, 2011

UNDERSTANDING FOR HOPE




Hope Clinic here in Tokmok had a very special guest today. Dr. Jordan Greenbaum gave a lecture there this afternoon for a number of doctors and nurses. The focus of the lecture was on the effects of trauma on brain development. For the staff to be able to better understand what's often happening in the lives of many children that come to the clinic was truly a blessing.
Even though many of the medical words were hard to get your tongue around, the slides and straight forward explanation captured the attention of the participants.
What started as more of a formal lecture, ended with lots of questions and discussions. it's hard to estimate the value of such a presentation: the seeds that were planted today, the questions that will continue to be asked and the subsequent positive impact on children and families.
Thank you Dr. Jordan. Your heart to serve is only surpassed by your actions in doing so.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

DISABLED CHILDREN - A REMINDER TO GIVE THEM A CHANCE

TODAY WAS AN AWESOME DAY - as we went first thing this morning to an exhibition sponsored by the Association of NGOS for Promotion of Rights and Interests of Children in the Kyrgyz Republic. The exhibition has many booths of different NGOs who are here in Kyrgyzstan. During the exhibition, there was a show of different orphanages with children singing, dancing and showing their talents. One such act was from a home where disabled children live - they did a BREAK DANCE. It stopped the crowd. See the video here to once again be reminded of how we must give everyone a chance to learn, grow and develop in ways that sometimes seems impossible. After the exhibition we met up with more LAMb team members - John, Julie and Emma and went then on to Swetlie Put - the orphanage in Bishkek. Our visiting team was going there to gather data to prepare for the conference we are doing with them on May 6th. While there we visited the children in the craft and arts room - they were having a great time making items - See the video of them! Our team bought slippers and gave the children lots of praise for their beautiful work. Next and last stop was Red River orphanage - the children were having a yard day - they each were assigned a zone and were "beautifying" the flower beds, yard and garden. They looked happy and pleased to show us their work and again another chance to encourage them and give them lots of praise for their beautiful gardens. Again our visiting team met with staff to discuss the conference we are conducting. Peggy and Dr. Jordan are hard at work - putting together a great conference to help all the different staff who are working with children in the orphanages - stay tuned for the report of the conference later next week.
video
video

Monday, April 25, 2011

WHEN HELPING REALLY HELPS






THE ISKRA HOME FOR DISABLED MEN IS RAPIDLY CHANGING and we are seeing so many great and wonderful things surface. Today, we were there with our team, spending about three hours there just visiting and making plans for more improvements in the future. We had our team, Dr. Jordan, Peggy and Chris spend time talking to them men and finding out their hopes and dreams for the future with respect to what they might like to do.

Only a few short months ago - these men would not have been able to think past the daily bread to hoping for something they might actually be able to receive. But over the many months we have been going to the home - changes have proven something to these men....LAMb teams return over and over again - bringing new and wonderful changes to the home.

Today we took out over 150 feet of beautiful velvet material for the men to make pillows, throws and other beautiful items. Our Dr. Jordan got the men to discuss the different things they need and would like to have - simple things and of course some major things too. We asked them to put together a list for us to pick up on Friday. But here are some of the things they asked for:
1. Fix up the two rooms for the men to have a special place to paint, draw and create. They need tables and chairs - as the rooms are completely empty.
2. Drawing books, pencils
3. Many different colors of threads
4. Shoe repair items
5. Lots of double edge razors
6. Soap, shampoo, hand lotion
7. Laundry soap
8. Toothpaste
9. Toothbrushes
10. Coloring books
11. A new sewing machine - the one they have breaks down all the time
12. Bars for the windows on the first floor sewing room - it has been broken into and things stolen
13. Locks on the doors of the room to keep theft down
14. Paint by number
15. Pencil by number
16. Beads of all kinds

This is the short list.... but they have an old volleyball area. There are still posts there and the ground is way overgrown and full of rubble. They could use a net, balls and lots of SAND and they could play! Just think - being able to be outside and PLAY! What a blessing this would be for them - AND everyone of these items takes very little money. A sewing maching for about $250; the sand for about $300; bars on the windows for about $300; locks for the doors for about $100. So much could be done for so little. This is when helping really helps!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

NEW TEAM NEW DREAMS


OUR NEW TEAM IS HERE; Dr. Jordan, Peggy, Chris. We have lots to do and lots to accomplish in the time they are here. The clock is ticking away fast and time is limited for all of us here in Kyrygzstan.

Last night we had a "meet and greet" at our apartment so the LAMb team could meet the visiting team - it was wonderful to hear the different ideas and excitment that was generated around the room. And the "fateful" question was asked by the visiting team - when do you all go HOME and are you excited to return? HOME? Here? There? Excited? Hmmmmmm. You can imagine the silence in the room as all the LAMb team members were thinking the same thing.

Home is here and we are excited to be HERE. The love of our work, be it here or in Ukraine is overwhelming. We love these countries - love the people and love the time we can be here.

The struggles exist - the pain comes and goes, but the dream remains forever in our hearts..to help, serve and make a small difference for the one in front of us.

We hope and pray for a WORLD WITHOUT ORPHANS. IS THAT TOO MUCH TO HOPE AND PRAY FOR?

AS THIS DAY IS CLOSING


Another day, another week, month, year. Yes another Easter. I took the attached picture a while ago, but it reminds me that wherever we are, wherever we go, whatever we do, that "old wooden cross" remains the only bridge where we can safely cross. If you check out the Wright's blog (see the link on the right side down the page) you see plenty of examples of "the cup of cold water". If you visit the Schooler's blog (also listed) you see more examples of 'feeding the hungry'.
Following the stories and realizing the commitment the entire LAMb team steps up to each day, might make one wonder, 'why?'. Why do they do what they do? The days are usually very long and the problems faced can seem impossible to "fix". Yet, they continue. Not just continue, but each day renewed with energy they tackle the challenges one by one. Check them out. Are they grumpy? Are they angry? Are they discouraged? No! There seems always to be a smile and a joy in their hearts. Why? Where does that come from?
Check it out, it's in the picture. The reason for joy, the reason for hope. Once again, at this time of year we are reminded.
For those of you in the States, Canada or elsewhere, that know the Wrights and/or the Schoolers, now might be just the time to send them an e-mail of encouragement. It will only take you a few moments, but with that note you will be sharing with them your part of the burden. A quote I once heard says:" hand in hand and shoulder to shoulder". Together we are making a difference.

Friday, April 22, 2011

COOLING YOUR HEELS












If you have travelled through Moscow to Bishkek, you will know what I mean by cooling your heels. If you are coming from JFK, you can expect a ten hour wait. At the moment I'm heading to Kiev from Bishkek. The wait in Moscow is only six hours.
It gives one a bit of time to reflect.
I have attached a few pictures of faces and places. Each one has a story. We are greatly encouraged as, more and more, we are beginning to see stories of encouragment. Nevertheless there is a long road ahead. Solving problems remains a daily focus.
For example. In the picture of the little boy with the bunnies, we heard just yesterday before I left that he needs an operation for his knee. He is the second youngest in "Jessica's" family. We heard that the cost will be 4000 soms. Yes, that's soms not dollars. For your information the exchange rate is about 4,650 soms to $100 US dollars. Natasha is checking with the family and the doctor to confirm what is needed and if this cost estimate is realistic.
Ruby continues the work in Tokmok while I continue with the next few days of Leadership Training in Kiev.
A simple "thank you" never seems enough. I wish I could share with you the hugs and smiles that we receive on your behalf. Thank you!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

TIME TO RECAP






It's been faced paced here on the ground. Working on new projects and continuing the development of projects already established. We have recently read a book called When Helping Hurts. it gives such a valuable perspective on the work mission team's engage in.
The key message is one of Relief, Rehabilitation/Restoration and Development. Although there may well be a need for relief, staying focused only on that leads to a bottomless pit. Relief in and of itself has a tendency to create dependency. Something we commonly refer to as a "cash cow" mentality. The strengthening of individuals and groups through training, coaching, mentoring and teaching is the essential piece in the process of Restoration and Development. Bringing hope in tangible ways that allow participants to develop skills and abilities as well as self esteem. We call it sustainable growth.
We have had many such examples. Teaching the men at Iskra English. Having them plant their own large garden. Note that the relief piece was simply the purchase of seeds and plants. How excited they are to particpate in a new venture that promotes sustainability.
From a western point of view, we might slide into the thinking that throwing money at a problem and leaving what we think is a workable plan, is the answer. The reality is that seldom, if ever, that works. Yes, it takes some money, but moreso it takes on the ground, day to day, shoulder to shoulder, teaching and loving to bring a change. It takes time and commitment. One shot wonders simply create dependency.
We have been privileged to have many on our on the ground LAMb team. That way, when short term missions teams come, they fit right into the umbrella of ongoing projects. Their contributions are extremely valuable in strengthening the ongoing programs and projects.
At first we were asked, will you be back? We came back. Then they asked, when will you be back? No longer will, but when. Children and adults alike know we will be back. But who is "we". The answer to that is "we" are "you". All of you who have come, who have prayed, who have supported with resources, Our presence here continues even when we are physically absent.
That is only made possible by those who have caught the vision. Those who can see hope in the future. Those who know "we" are making a difference.
The weather the last week has been what we look forward to in Canada for mid July. Sunny and very warm. What a treat for mid April.
I have attached a few pictures. One of the men's English class and another of a mountain stream. The landscape with all the snow covered mountains is simply a fabulous work of art. Another class for young people is held at the gym every Sunday afternoon. No, I don't teach it. You can see from the one photo some skilled breakdancing.
If you are being nudged, now is the time to put it into action. Your support is essential.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

THE TEAM WAS AWESOME AND NOW HOME AGAIN - but really where is home?









THE TEAM THAT LEAVES SO MUCH...

Teams come and go - and every team gives so much of themself while they are here. The team with Randy and Kim - our daughter and son-in-law and their Pastor Ken and Jackie, left so much with our dear friends here in Krygyzstan. The two weeks were packed with building relationships, sharing music, laughter, tears and joy. Sorrow filled our hearts when they left.

We had a wonderful Woman's Conference, Men's Breakfast, sharing many differnt places, answering questions about our lives, our culture, and building relationships along the way.

The team learned about the importance of giving Relief when there is crisis, helping with Restoration to bring back hope and dignity to those we help and finally the importance of Development in order to ensure we do not create dependency upon us as foreign visitors in this beautiful and very poor country.

Our daughter and son-in-law have a new place in our hearts - they now hold the place of servant - true servant. We watched them serve over and over and are in awe of how they became so much more than family. What a joy to see. We know they will never be the same again - how could you be. The children, seniors, disabled and the dear friends we have here in Kyrgyzstan will be forever burned into their hearts. What a wonderful gift to Kyrgyzstan and to us they have been.

The time for them here has ended, but we just wait for their return. As it is said here again and again by the nationals when we leave. "We are waiting for you."

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Missions Trip!: A New Day!!!!! Dayspring Family Life Resource Cen...

KIM, OUR DAUGHTER IS HERE WITH US AND SHE HAS BEEN DOING A BLOG. - CHECK OUT THESE PICTURES OF THE DAYSPRING OPENING...

IT IS AWESOME...





Missions Trip!: A New Day!!!!! Dayspring Family Life Resource Cen...: "WOW!  WOW!  WOW! What more can be said about today?  We started our day with sleeping in a bit.  Randy and I calling fo..."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Journey Continues: Dayspring Grand Opening in Pictures

MORE FROM THE DAY ----- PICTURES SAY IT ALL!


The Journey Continues: Dayspring Grand Opening in Pictures: "It was with great excitement that the LAMb team gathered today to await the arrival of many guests for the Dayspring Open House.  One o..."

A GRAND - VERY GRAND - GRAND OPENING







WHAT CAN WE SAY - DAYSPRING HAD THE GRAND OPENING AND IT WAS AWESOME. We were able to share with over 50 people the vision and goals of Dayspring. We had many guests who were excited about the possibilities of Dayspring. Dayspring is a resource center - it is a pilot project to find permanent homes for children. Children who are vulnerable and living in crisis homes - coming to Dayspring where we will work with the crisis family, hoping to reunifify if possible - and if not - seek a permanent family for the child.

We will work closely with the Mayor's office for this work...finding strong families for children.

But today - the ribbon was cut by the Minister of Labor and Social Protection and the Mayor of Tokmok. We had speeches - the Minister, Mayor, President of Kyrgyz Association of Social Workers, and the Director of the Child Rights Protection League.

The LAMb Team was awesome. We had a wonderful day and the team is to be given all the credit.

DAYSPRING IS OPEN NOW FOR CHILDREN..

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