Well, time has flown right by as usual!
This year we have been most fortunate to host mission teams, volunteers, and interns all contributing to the projects and work on ground. In July we hosted a mission team from Cedar Grove Baptist Church in Surrey, British Columbia. This was a youth team composed of 16 youth and 4 youth leaders. It was a fantastic experience and more details can be found on a blog posted on the Mercy Touch website.
The children are currently all enrolled in school. The end of each year tends to be quite busy as our children in secondary school are writing their final exams. During this time those in grade nine and twelve write critical exams that determine their transition to the next level. At this time we encourage and provide them with opportunities for tutoring and extra lessons in areas that they may need more support. The graduates have continued their transition into adulthood through working, gaining experience, or enrolment in their respective college programs.
Chapel continues to run on the farm every Thursday. Various pastors serving in the city are invited to share a word of encouragement as guest speakers. Chapel is also a time for the children, staff, and volunteers of Mercy Touch to be uplifted, encouraged, refocused, and unified as a family.
Our girls from the Girl Child Project have continued to partake in gatherings and weekly Bible studies, facilitated by child care workers. We have been teaching them skills, contributing to their school needs, as well as providing them with opportunities to receive mentorship and counselling.
Each of the children’s homes has ownership to a plot of land on the farm where the housemothers and children can cultivate and grow vegetables to supply some of the food needs in the house. The goal is to increase the production of vegetables and crops to contribute to self-sustainability.
The feeding program is rapidly expanding and growing in numbers. More and more children and caregivers in need are attending the program to receive nutritional and medical support. Although the high numbers are challenging at times, we are grateful to be able to meet some of the essential needs of those in the surrounding community through: Income Generating Activities, micro-loans, counselling, and the provision of food. The monthly medical clinic has proved to be a highly beneficial addition to the feeding program, as most of the attendees have no access to medical care within close proximity.
As some of you may recall, we took in a young boy by the name of Edison in early June. Edison used to attend our weekly feeding program with his grandmother who was struggling to take care of him. Since being taken in by Mercy Touch Edison has been enrolled in a nursery school where he has settled in very well. He has a big personality and loves to learn. Edison is also very inquisitive!
As Christmas is fast approaching, we are reflecting on God’s continual provision for Mercy Touch. We also reflect on the consistent amount of support we have received through prayers, donations, and words of encouragement. We are grateful to you all - our friends, partners, supporters and donors.
Each Christmas we organize a giving project to donate to less fortunate communities outside of our own. At this time we also encourage our children to give back to those who are still facing many challenges due to poverty, disease, marginalization, or other factors.
We are currently raising funds this Christmas for children’s education in order to buy books, school supplies, uniforms and pay school fees for 2016. Furthermore, due to the increased and unexpected influx of attendees to our weekly feeding program, we are also raising funds to feed more children and caregivers this Christmas.
Another exciting development is that our upcoming Mercy Touch April 2016 mission team has begun preparing for the project of building a playground on the Mercy Touch grounds. Most of the children in the community do not have access to child-friendly infrastructure that allows them to play and have fun. We are looking forward to the project and are grateful to all that have contributed to launching it! You can follow the blogs on the Mercy Touch website to keep up with developing details on this very exciting project!
Our dedicated Goodwill Ambassadors have great hearts and vision for the work of Mercy Touch. They sacrifice a lot to raise awareness, raise funds, and personally donate to the Mercy Touch. In October a team of the ambassadors as well as other upcoming team members loaded a sea container full of donated items to be distributed to those in need. They would like to send out a huge thank you to those who have donated to such a noble cause.
For updates and details on upcoming developments keep up with the website and ‘Like’ our Mercy Touch Mission International page on Facebook!
We are also happy to announce that we now take donations via PayPal for the convenience of those interested in donating online. This link can be found on our website at www.mercytouch.net under 'Donate'.
Thanks again for your support and may God bless you as we conclude the year of 2015!