Saturday, August 9, 2008

Gateway Beginnings - Newsletter Aug. 2008

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Greetings in HIS Name! Though time has passed, and things have changed in our lives, there is the still nagging sense of questioning our position here seeing as we have yet to find children to come and live together with us here at Gateway. There are many things happening, but at the same time, there is a sense that it is not enough and that we can do so much more.

Youth Outreach

The weekly Bible study at the local church we attend and the daily Bible study at Gateway have been temporarily stopped partly because it is difficult to find time blocks in which students are available due to their school schedule but also – largely – because of their lack of interest in learning.

At this very early stage of our ministry, we cannot spare the time blocks we use for English teaching and use them for Bible teaching. We strongly feel the need of developing more personal relationships with the youths in the community before starting substantial teaching of the Bible. On way to making such relationships deepen and ripen, we have begun several programs for the youth to attend.

Now Gateway has started a youth program both on Sat and Sun, which is consisted of a series

of activities:

1. Teaching English worship songs: Christina has been blessed to use her musical gift. Though it has a core attendance of about 8 students, we are still praying for direction as to how this may turn into an actual singing group.

2. Sharing biblical messages: We try to incorporate short but profound spiritual messages before they get into the sports/games – We won’t let them go home without having them hear about His truth! We do our best, but ultimately whether or not they give serious thought to the teachings is left to each individual AND of course the work of the Spirit of the Lord. They are usually attentive to listen (as long as it is short in duration!). Please pray that these “pearls of wisdom” will become seeds of the gospel planted firmly in their hearts

3. Playing sports and games: This has been widely and enthusiastically received with the numbers at times surpassing 50! We have a variety of things for them to choose from and we try to have everyone play one game all together (like Capture the Flag or Ultimate Frisbee).

4. Agape Supper: We have Agape Supper every Sunday after all those activities above, the latest of which had 40 students attend.

Gateway Boarding House

As you know, we are not strictly an “orphanage” in the sense of the word since we are aiming to help disadvantaged children (who may or may not have one or both parents).

We still believe that parents and children - a family - should live together and not to be separated. However, under the circumstances where Gateway is placed, it would be very difficult for us to support such families outside Gateway property. When people get to know that they might be able to receive help, some come to us with varieties of stories which make us cry in order to secure our support. However, those stories are often exaggerated if not outright lies. Sadly this is what we often experience here.

As we want to make sure all the funds which are entrusted to us will be used correctly as they are initially intended, we have to ask the children to live at Gateway.

Another group of disadvantaged people are the poor widows with children who have little or no opportunity to care for their children’s basic needs and send them to school on their own efforts. In this way Gateway’s “gate” has opened wider.

Opened just a WEE bit wider:

While Gateway Boarding House accommodates widows and their children in cases where they have no home of their own, there are those who have their own home, yet are still unable to send their children to school or feed them sufficiently. Therefore, we have decided to open our door more widely to encompass poor widows and their children who currently live outside Gateway property on condition that they are incapable of working due to illness or disability in an attempt to minimize a possible risk of Gateway being manipulated.

Reaching Further Out:

Our English program is primarily for youths and children, and the Boarding House is for children and widows in need. However, there are people whose needs our existing programs do not meet. For this reason, we would love to receive short term medical teams from time to time. A medical ministry will definitely help us reach out to those we are currently unable to reach and to expand the range of people Gateway could serve. Please join us in prayer.

Upcoming events:

1) - Another difficulty we have been facing over the last several months is that we have learnt that there are orphans or children whose relatives or parents are unable to send them to school. But many of those relatives or parents do not understand their children need an education. “We cannot afford to send our children to school, but they do not need it.,” is a common response. While they do not understand why their children need to receive an education, we as a mere NGO cannot do anything directly about this frustrating situation. It seems that we are led to the river but not allowed to drink.

This is why we are now planning to meet with each of the 12 village leaders and the commune leader to more articulately explain the people whom Gateway would like to serve in terms of accommodating people here at Gateway.

2) - We are praying about and will begin canvassing the area to see if people would be welcome to us opening a day care center for the pre-school children. We are praying about the format and schedule for such a day care center.

3) - The Church that we attend is having a youth retreat Aug 13-15 and we will be joining them in support and to continue building relationships with the youth.

Prayer Request:

1- God will lead us to orphans/disadvantaged children and widows with children or lead them to us.

2- For continued wisdom and discernment with the youth ministry

3- For new projects to serve our community better, that they would be met with enthusiasm and that we would be good stewards of the land that God has given to us (opening it up for a Day Center)

4- God will send volunteer(s) to serve alongside with us

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

Many blessings,

Taka & Christina