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a persons most useful asset is love

Thank You – from Patrick – a Matanya’s Hope Student

Dear sponsors, donors and friends of Matanya`s Hope,

My name is Patrick. I know this might not be the first blog entry some of you are reading from me – I have written several, but this one is distinctive in that it reveals insights I could only gather after spending time serving with Matanya’s Hope. It is SPECIAL to me and I invite you to read and share with a friend. This would mean a lot to me.

Two years ago, Michelle Stark visited me at school – I was still in High school. She asked me to describe MH in three words and I said, `MH is Hope’. Honestly, I meant it…….and I still do! But if someone asked me the question again today, I would have a totally different answer. To me today, MH is ‘DOING LIFE TOGETHER’. It is being a blessing to other peoples` lives – making the world a better place to live in, not just for ourselves, but for others. It is being sensitive enough and courageous enough to raise awareness so that we can become blessings to those same others that so many in this world close their eyes to – turn their backs on – ignore – and let rot in their own hunger, homelessness and hopelessness. Matanya’s Hope is different and I am different because of Matanya’s Hope.

This photo of me was taken a few years ago.  I was a high school student sponsored by Matanya's Hope.  Without this support, I can not imagine where my life might be today.

This photo of me was taken a few years ago. I was a high school student sponsored by Matanya’s Hope. Without this support, I can not imagine where my life might be today.

I spent my December holiday (I am now a first year economics student at TUK – Technical University of Nairobi) delivering donations….food stuffs, chickens, blankets, clothes and mattresses to needy families in Kenya. It was tiring. That I won’t lie, but as days went by, I got to like the idea of giving people a reason to smile. It was amazing to see a person’s eyes sparkle for one of the few times in their lives they may have felt relief, loved or valued by others. I can’t even describe how amazing it was to watch the recipients of MH gifts receive something even more than the gift itself; love. Its awesome. I want to do this over and over again – as far as God wants me to.

Cucu (Grandmother to Matanay's Hope student Jackline Gachohie) takes care of her 8 orphaned grandchildren. When Matanya's Hope donated 2 mattresses to her several years ago, she gave them to her grandchildren while she continued to sleep on the floor.  Your donations helped us bring the blessing of a new mattress to cucu this Christmas.

Cucu (Grandmother to Matanay’s Hope student Jackline Gachohie) takes care of her 8 orphaned grandchildren. When Matanya’s Hope donated 2 mattresses to her several years ago, she gave them to her grandchildren while she continued to sleep on the floor. Your donations helped us bring the blessing of a new mattress to cucu this Christmas.

There are so many scriptural references to God instructing us to love one another. Isaiah 58:7 is a perfect example. He instructs us to feed the hungry, house the homeless, clothe the naked…to help those in need. At times, we feel like we don’t have a lot to give out. This is when we think of life in terms of material possessions. But material possessions do not define life. There is more to the human experience than just material possessions………. Someone somewhere is dying for love….all they need is someone who can smile, laugh, hug or even pray with them. Be that person. Be that blessing. Be that miracle. If someone is hungry, share what you have. That’s what I have learned. One day it could be me – or my mother – or my child. I can’t even imagine the hurt I would feel if I watched people turn their backs on my own family. But each time we turn our own backs, we are shunning someone’s child, someone’s parent, someones sister or brother…and in some ways, even ourselves. And each time we help, we are helping to heal the world.

I want to thank all of those who donated toward the Matanya’s Hope Christmas outreach. To those who donated to the chicken project, the mattress project, the blanket project and the food project, thank you for standing with us! I can`t mention all of you by name – you are so many………Michelle Stark – MY ANGEL, The entire MH family, The accounting firm: CJBS LLC, Kelly and Dave Golding, Kaitlin and Bill Bell……gosh, I want to mention every one. Thank you so much for being a blessing – a miracle.

8 orphaned children live with their one widowed grandmother.  Food has been a constant issue in their lives, but today, Matanya's Hope donors make more than a Christmas meal possible!  Thank you to Kelly and Dave Golding who made this food possible as a Christmas gift honoring their daughter Jackline!

8 orphaned children live with their one widowed grandmother. Food has been a constant issue in their lives, but today, Matanya’s Hope donors make more than a Christmas meal possible! Thank you to Kelly and Dave Golding who made this food possible as a Christmas gift honoring their daughter Jackline!

Thank you for making love happen.

Patrick Muriuki Wambui
Matanya’s Hope

what matters is how we treat each other IMAGE

Matanya’s Hope Wishes You All A Happy 2016!

Dear friends and Matanya’s Hope family,

Boarding on flight 2015 has been announced….

We hpe you have checked in only the best souvenirs from 2015 in your luggage….

The BAD and SAD moments if carried, must be thrown away in the garbage bins on arrival…..

The flight will be 12 months long.
So loosen your seat belts, jingle and mingle.

The stop-overs will be:

Health
Love
Joy
Harmony
Well-being
Peace

Refueling will be at:
Giving
Sharing
Caring

The following menu is offered and will be served during the flight…..

Cocktail of Friendship
Soup of Good Health
Seasoned with Prosperity
Mixed Bowl of Faith, Hope and Love
Salad of Honesty
Cake of Peace

All accompanied by incredible bursts of laughter…
But remember you will enjoy these meals and the journey better if you talk, share, smile and laugh together. Sitting silent will make the flight seem longer.

Wishing you and your families an enjoyable trip on board the flight.

Before flight 2015 ends,
Allow me to thank you, our beautiful and valued friends.
You impacted and blessed 2015 for Matanya’s Hope.
Your support directly helped us serve thousands of needy children and communities with love!
May you be blessed with an awesome year ahead!

Hand in Hand - our vision!

Hand in Hand – our vision!

It’s Christmas. New Year’s is Next. Does Anything Change for Him?

Photographer, Unknown.  Subject REAL.  Let's join hands and become the messengers of  hope.

Photographer, Unknown. Subject REAL. Let’s join hands and become the messengers of hope.

It is Christmas. New Year’s is fast approaching. Maybe by the time you read this, that, too, will have passed. Events change….
But What changes for him?

Water is life.
Right?

In some cases, it is also the cause of sickness and death.

Countless people are forced to walk miles in search of water.
Any water.
Like animals, they kneel down and drink.

The surrounding mud wreaks of urine….and the tell tale signs of animal presence is highlighted by the vast array of hoof, paw and footprints on the earth. This water is shared. It has to be. It’s all that there is.

Help us make a difference.
Your donation of any amount will help to provide a life saving Rainwater Storage Tank to someone in need.

"Prior to the donation of 10,000 liter rainwater storage tank, students like Naini Rarin (pictured above) had to walk great distances to collect bacteria filled river water for drinking"

“Prior to the donation of 10,000 liter rainwater storage tank, students like Naini Rarin (pictured above) had to walk great distances to collect bacteria filled river water for drinking”

This child is holding water gathered from a 10,000 liter Rainwater Storage Tank.  Irura Primary School

This child is holding water gathered from a 10,000 liter Rainwater Storage Tank. Irura Primary School

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YUP! IT’S THAT EASY!

YUP! IT’S THAT EASY!

2 minutes of your time and a few dollars can change the world for a child in need

2 minutes of your time and a few dollars can change the world for a child in need

GIVE THE GIFT OF HOPE TO A NEEDY CHILD THIS HOLIDAY SEASON

SEND YOUR TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION TO:
Matanya’s Hope
PO Box 562
Homewood, IL 60430

or donate on line right here. DONATE NOW

Nancy was just sponsored!  She is pictured above in class at Matanya Primary School. Dream big sweet girl!

Nancy was just sponsored! She is pictured above in class at Matanya Primary School.
Dream big sweet girl!

THANK YOU!

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# GIVING TUESDAY – ONE DONATION – ONE LIFE CHANGED

Pamela is in 5th grade.  She is an orphan.  Thanks to sponsors in Boca Raton, Florida, Pamela can now go to school.

Pamela is in 5th grade. She is an orphan. Thanks to sponsors in Boca Raton, Florida, Pamela can now go to school.

The philanthropic season has begun! December 1 is GIVING TUESDAY and a great opportunity for you to create change for the betterment of humanity.

Matanya’s Hope needs your help today to help more than 1,500 hungry children eat, learn and most of all, HOPE for a better future.

Your donation of any amount will help Matanya’s Hope reach thousands of hungry, orphaned, once forgotten children across the globe. This holiday season, let our message be WE CARE.

MATANYA’S HOPE sends more than 250 orphaned and impoverished children to school in Kenya, East Africa. Your donation will help us provide clean drinking water to families, villages, schools and medical clinics who otherwise have to depend on bacteria infected water from local rivers. Thousands of people in need will receive donations from the 3,500 pounds of blankets, shoes, clothing, school supplies, soap and medical supplies we distribute every year. Most of all, your donation will help us deliver HOPE. As the festive season begins, please DONATE to Matanya’s Hope. Help us change the future for a child in need.

Malala Yousafzai says it best: “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.”

Thousands of impoverished children across Kenya are touched by your generosity.

Thousands of impoverished children across Kenya are touched by your generosity.

DONATE TODAY

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B’nai Torah Mitzvah Day

On Sunday, November 1, B’nai Torah Congregation of Boca Raton, Florida held it’s second annual Mitzvah Day.

Matanya’s Hope joined over 45 agencies and projects representing aid to those in need both in the USA, Israel and Kenya. Over 900 volunteers contributed to making this event a huge success.

School children participated in letter writing to Pamela, a 5th grade Matanya’s Hope student in Kenya who is sponsored by B’nai Torah 3rd graders. The children wrote letters to other Matanya’s Hope students in need of sponsorship. One girl who won the hearts of many is Naishorwua: a young student whose tribal customs are known to promote the marriage of girls at the tender age of 9 or 10. Naishorwua is 10 and desperately needs a sponsor to remain in school. Her parents are in full support of Naishorwua remaining in school.

Naishorwua holding a thank you sign for B'nai Torah during the 2015 mission.

Naishorwua holding a thank you sign for B’nai Torah during the 2015 mission.

Sponsorship is currently being discussed for Linzy, one of Matanya’s Hope’s university age students, wanting desperately to become a nurse. Linzy herself is a victim of abuse and is frequently threatened by her step father who denies her an education. Linzy’s motivation is her younger 5-year-old sister who suffers from a brain tumor. “I want to help my sister”, Linzy states, “and I want to be able to help other children like her.”

Though beaten down by cruelty, Linzy carries hope in her heart that she will become a nurse and help those in need.

Though beaten down by cruelty, Linzy carries hope in her heart that she will become a nurse and help those in need.

We offer much thanks to Jewel Prince and all volunteer knitters who joined hands to make lovable dolls for the sick and needy. We are elated to be the recipients of 30 dolls for our children in Kenya…and look forward to bringing photos of our children with dolls in hand – back to you!

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We thank B’nai Torah Mitzvah Day participants for the more than 50 pounds of donations you made possible for our students including: bed sheets, shoes, book bags, school supplies, dental hygiene supplies, socks, fleece jackets and winter coats.

Here, my sweet friend Sammie wears his coat one last time before sending it to Kenya where it will help a boy in need.

Here, my sweet friend Sammie wears his coat one last time before sending it to Kenya where it will help a boy in need.

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It is easy to appreciate the sheer delight on our student’s faces when they receive gifts you make possible. Sophie and her sister Madison were moved to tears after viewing photos from this year’s mission of orphaned children receiving donations of clothing and much needed underwear – all which Sophie and Madison contributed to Matanya’s Hope during B’nai Torah’s Mitzvah Day last year. As a part of her own Mitzvah Project, Sophie is determined to raise enough money for (sponsored student) Pamela’s family to have a safe latrine (outdoor toilet). This is the only toilet this family of orphaned girls and 2 elderly grandparents will have. Currently, their latrine is made of rotted, unstable wood and must be filled in. As it is, it presents a potentially lethal risk of falling through to the rotting feces below.

We thank Summer Faerman for her pure dedication to this event and Hands on Tzedakah’s Ron and Meryl Gallatin for making it possible for organizations like Matanya’s Hope to make this world a better place. HOT helped Matanya’s Hope fund four 10,000-liter rainwater storage tanks and three porridge programs for children in desperate need of food.

Ron and Meryl Gallatin enjoy viewing photos of their donations in the hands of those in need.

Ron and Meryl Gallatin enjoy viewing photos of their donations in the hands of those in need.

I personally extend my heartfelt thanks to my incredible parents, Andrea and Arthur Stark, who introduced Matanya’s Hope to all of you at B’nai Torah.
Michelle

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Patrick Speaks Out

Dear Friends and supporters of Matanya`s Hope,

It’s now two weeks since she left……the distance….the isolation….the love…..I am missing the love, the talks, the laughs and so much more…..it makes me want to write this. I miss the work we did together….Loving the kids, inspiring them, giving out donations…..it’s part of my life I will live to remember…..yearn for – for as long as I live. To be very honest with you, she is the friend I have been so close to…..The one I have loved with all of my heart. I REALLY miss you Michelle.

Michelle and I at Jamii Children's Center - a home for orphaned children we've come to love!

Michelle and I at Jamii Children’s Center – a home for orphaned children we’ve come to love!

I can’t and I should never forget to thank Ann Thomson, Jonah Blumenthal (jonah fish), Quincy Mcknown(Wambui), Beldina Nyatich(Beltowel), Michael Mutua and Christine Muthoni for finding time to be in this year`s mission. Walking with us in this journey to make the world a better place for all of us. Michelle, what can I say about you!!! You are incredible. The partner I never had. I love you. YES I DO.

Christine blowing bubbles for the students at Kagaani Primary School

Christine blowing bubbles for the students at Kagaani Primary School

Ann, you are an angel. You discovered Obadiah – God used you to transform the young life. May God always bless you!

Me inspiriting Obadiah before we sent him for his first day of school.

Me inspiriting Obadiah before we sent him for his first day of school.

Quincy, you are a miracle. Think of Nancy. Think of her life now and before she met you. It`s full hope and revived dreams. Your coming to Kenya was for Nancy and for us. You blessed us. You are amazing.

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Jonah, no word can best describe the place you occupied in my heart. You are a friend – a brother…….I miss you. I am thinking of you. Thank you for being my partner in the mission. Thank you for loving the kids with a lot of enthusiasm. You touched Lawrence`s life. You made an impact. I am looking forward to seeing you soon – Sharing more time with you.

Beldina, you are another miracle. You are a beautiful soul – full of love and integrity. You have been blessed with a heart that is open to love everyone. This is a virtue in you that really blessed the MH.

Beldina brings Wangechi close to her heart during a mission outing in Matanya.

Beldina brings Wangechi close to her heart during a mission outing in Matanya.

Michael, Thank you for being a driver and a tour guide – all in one. I admire the fact that you know almost every cool place in Kenya.

To all the donors, I can`t mention all of you by name. I really want to mention those I can`t remember but I won`t. I know – for sure- that whether you name was repeated in the donations a thousand times or just once, you all gave fro0m from your heart. You all sacrificed what you had for someone else. Thank you.

We acknowledge your participation in this year`s mission. It was of the best mission Michelle has for years. I want to assure you that we did our best in honoring the integrity of MH. We made sure that every single gift – however small – wet to the person who needed it most even moral support has been a great blessing. I remember a day that Michelle insisted we drive for 5 hours on a dusty, bumpy (you may have no idea what a bumpy road is until you have been here!) road to deliver 3 exercise books to a student. The books had been donated by the student`s sponsor. When I asked her why, this is what she had to say, ‘’Patrick, it is my responsibility to ensure that every single gift and donation reaches those it was meant for. I know that it cost us fuel and time but I have to protect the integrity of MH.’’

In addition to her sponsor gifts, Linet receives 3 revision books she requested to aid her in her studies.

In addition to her sponsor gifts, Linet receives 3 revision books she requested to aid her in her studies.

When I saw the smile on the recipients face, I also understood. I remembered the times Michelle came to deliver “my gifts”. How far did she travel to do so? Did I ever know? This reminded me of the joy that comes with seeing Michelle visit you at school. Given the chance, I want to do this over and over again. I want to see these smiles on more faces. I want to be a God`s vessel – that Her can use me to give hope to the hopeless (I can`t give hope but He can work through me to speak hope to others – just like he used –and is still using- Michelle Stark, Tom and Karen Aldrich, Bob Selent and others to shine hope in my life. To assure me of a better future.

I want all of you to know that every coin, school supply, shoe, blanket, toothbrush, clothing and the rest that you donated was highly appreciated by the MH and the kids that received them.
Please know that every single item you donate reaches the needy. Thank you for helping us love these kids. I know it’s a huge SACRIFICE that you are making in your own lives. Please Know it in your heart that you are transforming someone`s life, who very well may have felt hopeless without you. Together, you and I can make the world a better place.

Patrick Muriuki
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drought pic matanya

The Gift of Water

We drove five hours from Embu to Materi Girls High School today to visit Jackline and Linet, two of our high school students.

It did not take longer than a minute to begin to feel our blood and skin searing through the windowpane as a result of the piercing equatorial sun.

The black tarmac quickly turned to a less than organized collection of dirt, rocks and dust. If someone told me I was now in Sudan, I would have to believe that to be true.

My head started to pound. Intuition told me I needed water – that this was heat related and and I had to hydrate. When the plastic rim of my bottle touched my lips, cool maji (water) poured into my mouth. What a treasure on earth! I eagerly took in the life force, feeling as if there would never been an end to the need I felt inside of me.

All the while, the sun’s relentless rays worked on me. Dust sputtered into our car through every opening possible. My black leggings were now sporting multiple brown layers of dust everywhere opened to the elements. My recently washed hair lost any sign of cleanliness or shine – and in fact, it felt horribly dry and dirty to the touch. My head itched from the barrage of dust attacking us. We persisted on.

“Samahani” we asked the one and only man on the road “Is this the way to Materi Girls?” “Yes” he replied. “Straight ahead”. The road had no markers. It’s loose dirt road split in two. Rocks protected one from making the mistake of falling down the huge drop off to our right. So it was straight we stayed. After 10 minutes we felt as if we were no father into the middle of nowhere as we were before. “Is this the way to Materi Girls” we asked a woman near the roadside. “yes, straight ahead.” she replied. Again, we moved forward leaving what looked like a disappearing road in a cloud of dust behind us.

Why do we travel so far?

We are going to visit two girls – both of whom we officially have gifts for but only one whose gifts we will be delivering today. It doesn’t make sense, really. I mean traveling all this way – while gifts for the other girl remain stuck at port… now entertaining their 7th week late – in the container… but we don’t know when they are coming and we must deliver the gift we have. 3 books to be exact. That’s what we have. 3 books. 5 hours. Dust. Heat. But that’s our promise. Every year sponsors send us with packages of hope for their students. Packages to encourage them and help them survive and thrive throughout the year. We will do everything possible to see your child and to deliver the gifts you send with us. Rest assured.

Eventually our tires sputtered through a metal gate where the guard for Materi Girls first interrogated us and then welcomed us to park at the school.

We coerced our overheated bodies out of the vehicle and onto the dusty plain. The first step assured the elements a new home in our socks and shoes. It felt great would be a lie.

Our first stop was the principles office. To our surprise, he was so nice and even offered us soda and lunch. (In all of my 10 years traveling to Kenya for Matanya’s Hope, this is only the second time this has ever happened!).

Soon we found ourselves with Jackline and Linet. I don’t know if our smiles filled the room or my heart more! I think all were bursting with joy!

Jackline receiving pencils from your generous donations!

Jackline receiving pencils from your generous donations!

We gave Linet her gifts and made sure to share the few general donations we’d been able to preserve with Jackline too.
We let the school know that we had also brought some supplies to donate to about 50 girls in need and soon found ourselves handing out pencils, sharpeners, rulers and folders to a beautiful green uniformed population of grateful students. I can’t write more without thanking you, our donors, for making it possible to bless the needy.

In addition to her sponsor gifts, Linet receives 3 revision books she requested to aid her in her studies.

In addition to her sponsor gifts, Linet receives 3 revision books she requested to aid her in her studies.

Time was pressing us and we were clear our visit had to end. After sweet goodbyes, we entered the vehicle with a huge gift. The school gave us 2 bottles of water to carry. I sit here now, not drinking it, but instead, I have placed the small plastic bottle behind my neck. Can I tell you the relief as the 70 degree bottle is actually cooling my sun beaten body.

Lawrence and I in Nairobi Kenya

Homelessness and College by Jonah Blumenthal

Hello, my name is Jonah Blumenthal, and for the second time in two weeks, I have come face to face with a story that has hit me hard. I met Lawrence Mutugi on my second day of this mission. At the time, all I knew of Lawrence was that he was a smiley Matanya’s Hope sponsored student. We exchanged pleasantries, and compared and contrasted college life in the United States with that of a Kenyan University student. I discovered truly how blessed I have been throughout my life. I have been given every opportunity, courtesy of my family, and have been coddled by my school system. Lawrence has had a difficult family history, and has managed to find success despite a harsh, unfair, school system. He is someone who is constantly positive and a kind soul. Lawrence is the type of guy you have a conversation with and just feel good afterwards. He is just a good person. He left me thinking, “man that guy was awesome, if he went to school with me, I would be best friends with him.” Quincy is in agreement.

Lawrence has a passion for computer science, and has done everything in his power to attain his goals of becoming a network administrator for a large organization. When Lawrence discusses his schoolwork, it is not just something he is required to do, but something he loves. He is someone who is never satisfied with the knowledge he holds but searches and continuously explores his passion. After a few hours of pleasant conversation with Lawrence, we parted ways. I assumed that this was the last time I would see Lawrence Mutugi.

Fourteen days later, I was back in Nairobi. I had hoped to see Lawrence again, and was fortunate that he didn’t have class. We got together, and again began discussing life. It was only after a considerably long, lovely conversation that I learned of Lawrence’s difficulties.

“My father was someone who was willing to help me achieve my dreams. So luckily for me I was smart and I worked hard to achieve the vision I had. My father, and friends who knew my reputation (based on my exam scores) were willing to lend me a hand. They helped me pay my room and board while in University. Additionally, Matanya’s Hope and my sponsor Doug contributed to my fees. Without these contributions, I wouldn’t be able to attend University and finish up my degree.”

“Unfortunately, this year my father passed away from illness. He had been married three times. After he was buried there were disputes between his three wives. Unluckily for me, since my mother comes from a different tribe, we inherited nothing. At this point, the other two wives claimed the money that was going towards my room and board. Now I had no way to pay the $95 a month to stay in school. Additionally, I have another brother in University, and one back home with my mother. Shortly after my father’s death, my mother was very depressed and suffered from high blood pressure. All the money that she has been able to make has had to go towards her medical bills and taking care of my youngest brother. Thus I have been left with no way to pay for my living expenses. I was faced with the option of either leaving university and going home, or becoming a homeless university student. I sought help from Michael, a friend, and the driver for Matanya’s Hope’s Missions. He was able to accommodate me for several months. Unfortunately, once he married and his wife needed to move in I was no longer able to stay. At this point again I sought refuge in a friend. He has been able to house me for roughly three months. I have turned to every friend, every family member. I am completely out of options. People just do not have the means to support me. I understand that. Now I have no idea where I will be living and have nowhere else to turn. At this point it looks like I will be truly homeless.“

As if getting a degree wasn’t hard enough by itself, Lawrence has been able to maintain extremely high marks despite being “homeless” and suffering a major loss. I admire his courage and determination. As a university student myself, his story has kept me up at night. I have pondered what it would be like to go through Lawrence’s experiences. I decided that I would do whatever I could to help him come up with his room and board. He has 11 months of school left. At $95 a month this is a very possible goal. Please, if you are able, help keep Lawrence in school. He has come so far. I know that if I was suffering the same difficulties, I would feel lost. Help give Lawrence a home, and keep his dream alive.

Carrie, Cheyenne, Savannah, Brooklynn and Ardean after returning lost documents to Matanya's Hope.

A MISSION AT HOME

Carrie, Cheyenne, Savannah, Brooklynn and Ardean after returning lost documents to Matanya's Hope.

Carrie, Cheyenne, Savannah, Brooklynn and Ardean after returning lost documents to Matanya’s Hope.

Well, let’s just say, this post is straight from my heart.
No pretense.
No formalities.
Just the re-telling of a story for the world to hear.

PREVIOUSLY:
I decided to take the typhoid oral vaccine – though for those who know me,
you know my thoughts.
Figured, it’s better to just do it.

Lucky for me, I got every side effect but one.
Rash… headache…
you can read the insert if you want to know the rest.
Wasn’t pretty.
I kinda look like the human version of a dog with fleas the way I am scratching!

I just had too much to do to let any of that stop me.
With the mission days away,
I ran to the bank. Made my deposit.
Thank you sponsors and donors for every hard earned coin you are dedicating to our mission programs and kids.
2nd stop: PO Box. 2 envelops. Head pounding.

I had to go to Jewel.
My fridge is empty and my mom is coming.
Heavy storms expected tonight. No choice.

I push myself through Jewel. Collect the necessities and heck out as soon as I can… I just want to get home. My head really hurt.

I don’t even know what to do first.
I put the groceries away.
Then, I force myself to go to the computer to continue working on mission documents.
An hour passes.
Have not heard from mom. Hmm.
Two hours.
This doesn’t make sense.
I am getting worried.
2 1/2 hours…. now I am really worried. Why hasn’t she called yet?

My gosh!
My phone is in my purse!
I race to get it.
She’s called TWICE!

I immediately listen and learn that I missed the lunch I was invited to by mom and her friend.
I was so sad. I never want to give up a precious moment with my mom.

But I’m glad she’s safe.

I push “call” to return her call. She sounds unusually close.
It was pretty hilarious actually.
Mom is at my front door!

After a beautiful reunion,
we go into my house.
Within moments, I notice that I am missing important documents.
I haaaaaaad them.
I can picture them.
Manila envelop.
2 long white envelops sticking out.
Papers folded inside.
Where is it.
I go through my steps, one by one.
I can see it so clearly.
PLEASE SURFACE (I’m begging God).
PLEASE.
I can’t do this.
NOT NOW.

It’s no where.
I go through my car.
Through my papers.
In every room I’ve entered…and rooms I didn’t enter.
My mom checks.
My son checks.
HE goes through my car.

I am so stressed.
Let’s just say these papers are critical.
And my tithe money is in there too… money I am saving to send a girl to school.
My heart is breaking.
I talk to God…. maybe someone was supposed to find it? Maybe they need it more than Linzy? I don’t know what to think. God, I really need these documents. Please Lord, please… ”

Mom and I get into the car and retrace my steps.
Jewel doesn’t have it.
I drive around in the parking lot. It’s not in any shopping carts.
I go to the post office. They don’t have it.

I have not been anywhere else.
I know the money is gone.
My head is about to burst from the headache and the added stress.

We get home.
I want to cry – but I need to maintain calm… for me….for my mom…
I open a book looking for solace.
“For we brought nothing into the world and we take nothing out of it.” it says.

Somehow, those words melted the stress away from me like heat to butter.
I let go.
“It’s not mine”, I thought. “It’s money and paper. All can be replaced. It’s not worth the stress I have been putting on myself.” I let it go.
Wow.
I checked in with myself… really?
That simple?
Yeah I really let it go.

That night I tried to sleep, but the stress kept me awake until 4:39 am.
Sometimes there is just no escape.
I was going to have to call…
and in the mean time, pray
that these papers appear.

I still had to do the hardest thing.
Deep breath.
I picked up the phone…
and…
I called one of the people who’s letter I thought I lost.

I had to.
I can’t tell you that Lying did not cross my mind.
It felt like such a tempting option…
but
I could not do it.
I don’t want to lie.

VM
Oh thank God!
I left an honest message…integrity and calm.
RELIEF.

I kissed the remaining idea of that money good bye.
Have to believe that whoever found it would need it more than I or Linzy.

The cycle of preparations continued like a whirlwind.

The relief was great, but a sense of urgency was quick to fill the gap. Documents, entries on the computer, phone calls, conversations with members of the board… my brain was quickly becoming fried. I was exhausted.

I mean exhausted. When my phone rang, I could hardly look.
It’s an unrecognized number…
It almost hurt to expend the energy, but something inside of me said “get it”.
I took the call.
“Is this Michelle Stark”, they asked.
“Yes it is”, I replied.
“Hi, my name is Adean. My sister found your envelop.”
“Oh my gosh! Really!
Thank you! Thank you!” I could hardly believe what I was hearing!

We met at Starbucks… hugged, exchanged stories…shared coffee…got my envelop back…
and my mom and I celebrated a family of angels, right here in the USA.

The gift of honesty is so profound.
You don’t have to travel far from home to do missions.
Just be kind to others.
Live right….
And the world is a better place.

To Arlean, Carrie and 3 beautiful, amazing children…
Thank you so much