Hope Home Mission and the People Served
On behalf of the mission team, I would like to thank you individually and collectively for your prayers, support, and encouragement. Overall the mission trip was a tremendous blessing. God gave us above and beyond success. This year we were blessed to serve almost double the people we served last year. There were 59 Laotians and 180 children in the Hope Home, compared to 33 Laotians and 60 children last year.
In addition, this year we had two teenagers on our team, the youngest was 17 years old. We are happy to report that the teenagers were enthusiastic and definitely a blessing to the Laotians and the children. They worked tirelessly the entire time. We also added two ministries and extended the time spent ministering. Specifically, as in past years, we continued ministry efforts with the women, medical, prayer/discipleship, and construction. This year we added a meal-time fellowship and the ECHO Farms agricultural ministry.
We also extended the day on site. We ate lunch and dinner with the Laotians and held classes after dinner until about 9-9:30 each night. I will provide an overview of the ministry team’s accomplishments. Please note that this is only an overview. I encourage you to speak directly to the team members to hear personal experiences and additional details.
ECHO Farms Ministry
The ECHO Farms Ministry provided five team members, two from Florida and three in-country members. The information they provided was life-saving as about 80 percent of the Laotians are farmers. ECHO farms taught the residents how to set up a proper pigsty, seed-saving, planting techniques, grafting, and ways to make Biochar. Among other benefits, Biochar helps the soil retain nutrients and water. ECHO Farms also provided cuttings and seeds of highly nutritious crops and taught the farmers how to plant, grow, produce crops and then save the seeds for an endless supply of food that will help feed families and provide extra income.
ECHO Farms also spent time teaching over 100 children how to prepare garden beds and plant vegetables. The connection with ECHO Farms is just beginning as they are located in Thailand and can continue a relationship with the Hope Home and the Laotians. As an agricultural support organization, ECHO Farm ministry workers can also visit Laos without creating a danger to the Laotians. What a GREAT Connection!
Medical Team Teaches Residents About Illness and Medications
The Medical team made a significant impact. They taught first-aid, triage techniques, how to measure blood pressure and take basic vital signs. They also spent hours explaining how to diagnose basic illness and how the Laotians can use the medications to reach their communities. Attendees were given a certificate of completion. It was a treat to see the proud looks as they received their certificates. We are very grateful for the three new members of the medical team, Dr. Brian Merritt, Dr. Melinda Rivera, and specialist Viola. The medical team worked very hard – counting and separating medicine, explaining dosage, and examining patients. Dr. Brian also kept everyone alert with hourly jumping jacks!
Construction Team Finished the Girl’s Dorm
When we arrived, the Hope Home Pastor stated that he was praying for help as the number of children in the home significantly increased and he desperately needed to finish the girl’s dorm by the end of the week. There were about 29 lockers that needed doors and other tasks to complete before the girls could move in. Unfortunately, each door was of a different size. The construction team had to make each door separately. I cannot count the number of times they visited the hardware store, but at the end of the week, they had made, stained and hung all 29 doors. They also completed the other tasks to finish the dorm!
Prayer and Discipleship Team Provided Spiritual Needs
The prayer and discipleship team provided training on love, leadership, and prayer. The Laotians took notes and many said they will teach the lessons in their churches and to the children. We were amazed at how eager they were to learn. Compared to last year, many are now attending Bible training to learn more of the word. Each day they arrived early and were very engaged in the teaching. This year the Laotians led all the worship and the women helped lead the worship service.
The women’s ministry was amazing. Dr. Melinda provided valuable information on women’s health, including pregnancy, labor, and delivery. The women were engaged and asked many questions. In addition, during the Bible teaching, the women shared their hearts, explaining the persecution they are facing. We cried and laughed together as they made crafts and studied the word. The lessons were amazing. During craft time some women said they had never made a craft before. Others said they were going to teach the lesson to the children. The women were touched by the idea of standing together with the monthly devotional calendar and the promise to pray for each other daily.
Grateful Thank You’s to Everyone
Thanks to Camille Armstrong for organizing the mealtime fellowship, it was simple but impactful. During lunch and dinner, each table was assigned a leader and a few questions. The questions encouraged communication and helped the Laotians and our team get to know each other better. By the second day, you could feel the comradery in the relationships. It was a great time of fellowship!
Overall, the team noticed a greater hunger for fellowship and to learn whatever information was being presented. Even though the days were long and we were all challenged by the number of people to be served, the team never wavered. All team members pitched in to help serve the Laotians lunch, dinner, clean up, and love on the children.
Christian and Georgia are settled in and have become a part of the Hope Home team. They facilitated the visit and were great liaisons for the team. We also took a picture and prayer request from each attendee. We will be praying for them during the year. Please see Becky and Gary if you would like to join the prayer effort. Again, this is a short overview. There are many additional details that you may want to hear firsthand from team members. Thanks again for your support and for listening.