Tuesday, November 29, 2016

100 Christmas Dollies: #GivingTuesday

Have you heard about #GivingTuesday? Giving Tuesday was created to unite us all in a day of generosity, to make a difference in the world any way we choose to at the start of this busy holiday season. Every year Surprised by Hope officially launches its 100 Christmas Dolly campaign on #GivingTuesday and we’d like you to join us.

What is the 100 Christmas Dolly campaign?
We identify a pastor and his or her church members who are applying what they learned from our Entrepreneurship Series in actively constructing their church. You join together with us in sponsoring unique, handmade dollies for children from that church and the surrounding community.

Notice that Pr James is slowly adding layers to his walls
in preparation for adding a roof.

This is the original PEMA church building.
Isaiah 54 in practice. THAT is faith!

On Christmas Day, we share a holiday meal with the church and community members, and we share the story of the nativity with the children. Each child receives a dolly—perhaps his or her only Christmas present—to remember the free gift we received in Jesus Christ. Finally, your giving allows you to join hands across the ocean in adding to the construction of that very church building.




What should you do?

What will Surprised by Hope do?
  • Provide a Christmas meal for PEMA Church families.
  • Share a child-sized story of the Nativity.
  • Match one dolly per child from that church.
  • Send you a picture of the child with your sponsored dolly.
  • Provide funds to PEMA Church to build a roof.
  • Post follow up stories as the construction proceeds.

  

Join us on #GivingTuesday and give a gift with lasting meaning.

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100 Christmas Dollies 2016: Building Churches

Every holiday season, Surprised by Hope launches its 100 Christmas Dollies campaign and the most commonly remembered message is that children receive dollies for Christmas. But the program is so much more than that.

Those dollies are indeed a lovely gift but, even more so, the money raised from dolly sponsorship is gifted to a church who has applied what they’ve learned from our business teachings toward building their church. The funds are used to advance their building progress—not to build a church for them—but to advance what they’ve already started for themselves.

In 2013 Mountain of Glory Church received iron bars for the windows of their church.


In 2014 Grace Abundance Church received a partial payment on the land they purchased for their church.


In 2015 Victory Christian Center received walls to sit on the foundation they’d built.


This year is no different. PEMA Church will receive a roof to set atop the walls they’ve constructed. Join together with our brothers and sisters in Christ and sponsor a dolly to add a roof to PEMA Church in Mjahareni, Kenya.



We are leaving little bits of love and legacy around East Africa by sharing our resources not with people who are waiting and expecting, but with people who are working hard and completely surprised by hope!


What should you do?

What will Surprised by Hope do?
  • Provide a Christmas meal for PEMA Church families.
  • Share a child-sized story of the Nativity.
  • Match one dolly per child from that church.
  • Send you a picture of the child with your sponsored dolly.
  • Provide funds to PEMA Church to build a roof.
  • Post follow up stories as the construction proceeds.




Read more »

Monday, November 28, 2016

100 Christmas Dollies 2016: Child Recipients

Gifting children on Christmas day is perhaps one of my favorite activities. Take a look at just a few of those happy faces and then read more about each story.








The children of Victory Christian Fellowship received 100 Christmas Dollies in 2015. They made quite a procession out of that wonderful gift giving day. Gathered under the tree, and out of the hot sun, we shared the Nativity story and reminded the children to thank Jesus for his gift.

The children of Grace Abundance Church received 100 Christmas Dollies in 2014. Only 30 or so children attended that church and so they were each sent out to bring one other child back in each hand. This Christmas gift was given across all faith systems after hearing the Nativity story and enjoying a giant Christmas dinner.

The children of Mountain of Glory Church received 100 Christmas Dollies in 2013. The children gathered for their story time and gift receiving ceremony with just a few dollies leftover who were distributed on the nearby beaches of coastal Kenya.

If you would like to sponsor a dolly:


What will Surprised by Hope do?
  • Provide a Christmas meal for PEMA Church families.
  • Share a child-sized story of the Nativity.
  • Match one dolly per child from that church.
  • Send you a picture of the child with your sponsored dolly.
  • Provide funds to PEMA Church to build a roof.
  • Post follow up stories as the construction proceeds.



Read more »

Sunday, November 27, 2016

100 Christmas Dollies 2016: Select Your Dollies

More than 100 adorable, handmade dollies are waiting to find their new home with boys and girls in Kenya. Every year the 100 Christmas Dollies program unites these dollies with new families who are associated with the selected church. This year the children of PEMA Church will receive the dollies because Pr James and the church members faithfully applied what they learned from our Entrepreneurship teaching toward building their own church. Not only will the children receive dollies, but the church will receive a financial award to push their construction to the next phase, in this case a new roof.

Here are just a few of the dollies you can chose from. To see the full selection, click here.

Dolly 14

Dolly 27

Dolly 54

Dolly 87

Dolly Boy 117


What should you do?


What will Surprised by Hope do?
  • Provide a Christmas meal for PEMA Church families.
  • Share a child-sized story of the Nativity.
  • Match one dolly per child from that church.
  • Send you a picture of the child with your sponsored dolly.
  • Provide funds to PEMA Church to build a roof.
  • Post follow up stories as the construction proceeds.


Read more »

Saturday, November 26, 2016

100 Christmas Dollies 2016: Dolly Makers

Every year Surprised by Hope gives 100 dollies to children in East Africa for Christmas. In the process of that giving, we share the story of Jesus’s birth with 100 children closely gathered around. The gift of these dollies to the children is very much like the gift Jesus is to all of us, and the children learn to love and thank God for that gift.

The first dolly maker—my beautiful mother—never knew her first four dollies would turn into 100 dollies every year. Engaging the help of Bible study friends, she sewed her fingers to the bone. And then another lovely woman stepped in to help, and wow are those dollies gorgeous.

2015 was the first year about half of the dollies were made by a woman in Uganda who had become a dear friend. Soon after she became a widow, I happened upon her in the market ready to make me a new dress. She was the first woman in East Africa to make such pretty dollies. While Shakira is a great dolly provider for the 100 Christmas Dollies 2015 gift which was given in Uganda, our 100 Christmas Dolly recipient this year is on coastal Kenya and so we set out to find another local dolly maker.





















I met Pastor Nathaniel in Nairobi and learned he was a tailor and a teacher of tailoring. Once we reconnected on the coast, he began making these beautiful dollies in preparation for 100 Christmas Dollies 2016. Not only did he make these dollies, but he taught two other ladies to make these dollies too. We are so excited to shift our dolly making to the local community, where it should be, and to have found a pastor-tailor who understands the importance of teaching others as well.


Here’s how it works:
  1. Read the story about the beneficiary church—the church that will receive your dolly sponsorship money to help continue construction.
  2. Select the dolly you love—dollies made by Mom, Kathy, and Pr Nathaniel and his two trainees.
  3. Sponsor your dollies for $25 each through PayPal or by writing a check to Surprised by Hope—don’t forget to tell us which dollies you chose.
  4. Watch the Christmas celebration at Pr James’s PEMA Church in Mjanaheri, usually posted Christmas evening.
  5. Expect to receive a picture of the child who received your dolly, usually posted Christmas evening.
  6. Watch PEMA Church build a new roof because of your gift, posted as progress is made.




Read more »

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

100 Christmas Dollies 2016: Beneficiary Announcement

Pastor Ephantus proudly wore his new Surprised by Hope shirt to a community meeting where he represented us well. Before the meeting began, however, Pastor James excitedly introduced himself and said, “I know that lady! I know that lady!” while pointing to the logo on Pr Ephantus’s shirt.

Pastor James attended our first ever business workshop in Watamu, Kenya almost four years ago. Though it seems those who remain closest to Surprised by Hope did not maintain contact with him as he is located a bit far from that venue. 

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Monday, November 14, 2016

A Rabbit Trail Day

I opened the kitchen cupboard to pull out a pen and saw six plastic boxes holding a variety of household items. Surely six is too many. I set about condensing those items the result of which was two Jiff jar storage containers and one storage box with a few officey things contained within. I sat down in the middle of my living room to finish sorting the Legos I’ll use for some business education activities, since the two Jiff jars are now available. Upon completion, I headed downstairs with the box of a few officey things. One of those few things was a marker and I thought it best to check its function before putting it away for keeps, but it seemed I ought to also check all the markers in the box where the markers go. And why not check the pens too, since I’m here. I put the few sheets of printer paper from that kitchen storage box away and decided that it’s resting place needed to be organized as well. Consolidate remaining business cards, business papers, and note cards into one box. Bring the dry erase markers from the marker testing exercise upstairs to bring to my other home, and see two small ketsup bottles gifted from a friend. Take those bottles to the room where my “take to Kenya” items are and see that things were becoming disorderly. I proceeded to put all the food in one pile, clothing in another, and so on. Find a dress that I am not sure I’ll really wear and bring that to the kitchen to remember to give back to my mom (sorry mom). Too many games on the counter where I wanted to put the dress and so move the games back to the game closet, which needs sorting for ages we don’t have at home anymore. Hear my phone chirp and return to my office to respond and…what was it that I needed a pen for?
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Africa and Missions


African having been raised under African Traditional Religion experience religion in terms of the Old Testament and pass those beliefs and practices along to their children and grandchildren. The New Covenant was introduced about 100 years ago when western missionaries first arrived. Shortly after realizing the abundance of resources on the continent, a very cruel colonization began. Present day African religion has yet to fully experience the New Covenant, and freedom in Christ.

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