Saturday, January 30, 2010

Great news to share

I've got great news to share with you this week. Last week I wrote about a resident mom who heard that family members in Haiti were safe, but she was still waiting to hear from others. This week she received more great news that all her family members' lives were spared. Since they all lived in Port au Prince, it's really a miracle that among the estimated 200,000 dead that her family is alive!

A couple of weeks ago, I shared great news with you of a young mother and her child who graduated from our residential program after a year and a half of hard work, dedication, and determination. We've heard from her several times since she moved out and she and her young daughter are doing very well. We'll reunite with them in a week to celebrate her graduation!

Six of our resident mothers started classes at Frederick Community College this week. Three moms received full scholarships! For two moms, their financial aid was in question, but it came through at the last minute and they were able to head off to classes the first day with everyone else.

Also this week, five of our resident children received awards at school. One child received a Character Counts award for respect. Boy, was his mom beaming with pride! This child, his sibling, and three other resident children received attendance awards! One of these children missed 21 days of school in one year before coming to Hope Alive with her mom.

We are so very proud of all their accomplishments and mostly grateful to God for the dramatic changes He brings to each life. In the midst of this great news though, several moms and children have been sick, so keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Until next week ...

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Monday, January 18, 2010

God answers prayer

Our attention this last week - like the entire nation – has been focused on the devastation from the Haitian earthquake. This tragedy hit close to home as one of our resident moms was born in Haiti and has family still living there. Soon after the earthquake, she got word that an aunt in Port au Prince was safe, but no word came about other family and friends. She waited for days trying to remain calm, checking available online websites for updates on survivors, and praying for her unaccounted family members.

The news reports are grim with tens of thousands missing and the dead unidentified and buried in mass unmarked graves. Her hope diminished with each passing day. As we and the country prayed with her, she tried to remain strong placing her trust in the Lord. Then finally last Friday, she was able to make contact – her uncle, aunt and 3 cousins are all fine! She still waits for word from other family members, but her hope is strengthened. Praise the Lord for answered prayers and the lives that have been spared!

Please continue to pray for her as she waits for word from others and processes this devastation to her homeland and the people she loves. Pray her Hope Alive family provides the support she and her children need through this traumatic experience. And pray God brings good out of this tragedy as His word promises and that relief will quickly come to those who are suffering.

Let us remember that we have a God who loves us more than we can ever imagine and hears our prayers. May we place our complete trust in Him and take every care and petition to the throne of grace! Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director

Friday, January 8, 2010

Not good-bye but see you later

When a resident family has been at Hope Alive for a year or more, it’s so hard to say good-bye. The resident moms and children, staff and volunteers become a family and when one moves out – for whatever reason – it leaves a gaping hole and an empty place in our hearts.

This week, we experienced these emotions as a young mother and her 2 year-old graduated from the Hope Alive residential program. She’s excited to be moving out on her own for the very first time while at the same time she struggles with wanting to unpack and move back in where she feels comfortable, loved, and accepted. But we all agree this move is the right step for them.

This young family has accomplished so much in their year and a half at Hope Alive. Mom completed a year of college courses and is ready to start her third semester. She’s maintained long-term employment. She’s managing her money well and has learned the difference between wants and needs. She’s a loving and caring mother. She’s completed her counseling. Her daughter has grown into a happy and social little preschooler who makes us all laugh. And most importantly, mom not only feels loved, but has learned to love and trust others.

As we said our tearful good-byes this week, she said she couldn’t adequately express the difference Hope Alive has made in their lives. She said it’s not about the house or the services they received, but it's about the love and care they've experienced. She left knowing they have a family here and caring hearts that are always available – we are just a phone call (or text message) away. They will continue in our after care phase and receive case management and resources (as needed) for the coming year.

As she reminded us before leaving, it’s not really "good-bye", but “see you later”. We won’t experience their smiles and laughter that brighten our days, but they are always in our hearts, minds, and prayers and she’s already planning their first “visit” to Hope Alive. We couldn't be more proud!

Until next week …

Sue Oehmig
Founder and Executive Director