Friday, December 24, 2010

Peace on Earth

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Encouragement and Inspiration

The 2011 LOEP Training Team will land in Liberia in less than four weeks.  Amidst the Christmas preparation, we are also getting ready for the trip and there is much to pack!  So many caring people have come forward throughout the year with thoughtful ways to help orphans in Liberia experience compassion and love.

Last Spring LOEP contacted Jade Sims of Craft Hope.  Jade's online group of crafters responded with enthusiasm to our call for instructional bean bags for Liberian classrooms.  Children and adults from more than seven nations joined Craft Hope's crafting effort! By mid-May LOEP had received hundreds of sets of bean bags from four continents for Liberian teachers to use in their classrooms.  Check out the website for pictures of crafters and their wonderful hand-crafted contributions to LOEP   http://crafthope.com/category/project-7/  It was a wonderful experience for LOEP to connect with so many around the world and raise awareness of needs of Liberia's children.

As we recovered from Bean Bag Spring, a new friend introduced herself.  Christine Dallimore of Sending Smiles got in touch with us in Summer about teacher training and, specifically, LOEP efforts to assist Hope School for the Deaf in Liberia. Christine is a blogger whose army of compassionate Moms reach out in a neighborly way to help children and families.  These moms consider the whole world their "neighborhood" and anyone in need their "neighbors". Liberian kids are well within their range so they got to work!  Drawing from considerable collective experience, they sent instructional aids for teachers at Hope School including books on sign language and lots of sets of fantastic sign language flash cards!  Supplies and hand crafted tote bags for teacher training kits were also in the Sending Smiles packages that got to LOEP just in time for the October shipment.  Those great training aids will be in Liberia for us to use with the teachers when we get there next month!  Check out Christine's website for some compassion in action inspiration.

By early Fall we had sorted and packed boxes of teacher training materials and school supplies for the October shipment to Liberia.  Then we heard from Leah Lunsford in Missouri.  Leah (also a crafter) shares a particular interest in Liberia with her close friend.  The two also share close September Birth dates and had decided to have a joint party that would feature a project to assist LOEP!  Of course, we jumped on that great idea and gratefully accepted their offer of hand crafted pillow case dresses.  The adorable little dresses are packed in our personal luggage to hand-deliver in January.  We hope to have a fashion show with pictures on the LOEP blog!  Leah continues hosting parties to craft items and raise awareness of need in West Africa, specifically Liberia, where life for orphans is so difficult.  Party Crafting for Liberia - could be a new trend.  Thanks to Leah and her crafty partying ladies!

Of course, none of these wonderful items would ever get to Liberia without LOEP donors.  Depsite economic hard times, individual LOEP donors remain steadfast with their financial contributions to put teaching supplies directly into the hands of teachers.  Teaching is a challenging profession in the best of circumstances.  In Liberia where pay checks are sporadic, classrooms are bare and books are hard to come by, teaching challenges become obstacles.  LOEP contributors help teachers overcome those obstacles by putting instructional materials and books right into Liberian classrooms.  LOEP shipments of instructional support encourage teachers and they are inspired by gifts that show confidence in them and their work. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Spirit of Giving - Jack and Emily

There is no Christmas tree here but this party really exemplifies the Spirit of the season. Even though this event took place last month, the story is a wonderful example of the Spirit of Giving and the wonder of childhood we all feel this time of year. 

Seven-year-old Emily (pictured above), and her twin brother Jack (pictured below) celebrated their birthdays last month each with their own party.   Jack and Emily know about LOEP and they have expressed some particular interest in the "orphan" aspect of LOEP work with questions about the orphans, their school, where they live, etc.  Their interest turned to concern when they learned of children who may not know their parents or their own birth date, and who have so little that the gift of a box of crayons or a new pencil is a memorable childhood event.

The twins decided their Birthday was the perfect opportunity to act on their concerns and make a difference in the lives of others.  Jack and Emily asked each of the birthday guests not to bring Birthday gifts for them but to instead bring school supplies to send to children in Liberia.  The six year old Birthday kids made this unselfish and thoughtful decision themselves because they decided they had "enough stuff already and did not need more"!  From all reports Jack and Emily had a great time planning their birthday parties and at one point Jack was asked if he was excited about the coming event. He replied, "yes, but I am really excited to see what everybody brings for the orphans!"
The Birthday parties were a great success and both Jack and Emily were excited about the gift "haul" of school supplies. LOEP was excited too and the supplies are packed in our luggage for the January training trip.  Along with the crayons and pencils we will give special greetings from Jack and Emily to their new friends in Liberia. 
Thank you, Jack and Emily for your great Birthday Idea!