All posts by Bridget Sullivan

New faces at the Care Center

We are so thankful for all the families we serve here, as we look back at our last year.  We were able to welcome 3 new families into the center recently.  We had a set of older twin boys that have now moved onto a preschool program closer to their home and easier for their grandmother that is caring for them.  We continue to pray for Dagim and Natan in their futures here.  Their grandmother was so grateful for the time their family had with our center.  We were there for them at a crucial time and thankful for over a year to pour God’s love into them.  The other family was not able to follow the program requirements we have for each family, so we had to make the decision to open that spot up for a family that would.  It is unfortunate and we will miss that little one each day, but also know that we have to benefit the families as best as we can and that is also teaching stewardship with the resources we are providing.

The need here for programs like ours is so great, the “empty” spots open were quickly filled.  Please read about each of these new families on the website.  Pray for them, consider being a part of their family by sponsoring one of them, or share it with others that may be looking to sponsor a family.

Our center cannot exist as an island.  It is part of a bigger picture, and you, the supporters are a crucial part of this.  Please come along side us and help us fill these sponsorships.  These 3 new families, as well as a couple more, are still in need of sponsors.  If you are looking to make an end of year donation, that would be great, too! The one-time donations help tremendously for the gap we have currently between sponsored and not sponsored families so we can continue to do what we do.  A quick answer as to what sponsorship costs cover:  the running costs of the center for each family to be at the center.  This includes rent, staff (we have 20 staff), food, supplies, trainings, and medical, to name the main ones.  We do not charge the families anything to be in our program, as we are standing in the critical gap between having a baby and being able to support and keep your family together and when a child becomes school-aged.  Once they are in school, they should be able to maintain their job and skills they have learned while being with us and be able to provide for their family without our assistance.  The difference between a place like Ethiopia and a developed country is that a day’s wage, a medical issue, any one thing that may seem minor in a larger picture, is a huge life-changing factor for the families we serve.  We require our families to be working each day, maintain their homes for their children, their children to be at our center each weekday, and be a part of the trainings we provide that includes health and hygiene, economic as well as nurturing their spiritual journey.

We welcome any questions at any time and would love to hear from you.  We hope that this new year will bring blessings to you and your family.  It is our hope for the coming year to have each family sponsored.  Not only financially, but know there is another family advocating for them, praying for them.  We have seen such great success from many of our families.  It is a blessing when we can celebrate their victories with them.  Some of our families are just making it and that is a victory in itself.  I cannot imagine where those families would be without the support they have in Strong Families.  If you currently sponsor a family, please share with others!  Tell them about the family you sponsor, how special they are, how far they have come and what a difference your sponsorship makes.  Thank you all for a great 2014…we look forward to a wonderful 2015!

Our new families…

Abriham a & Tena
Abriham & Tena

Niftalem & Desalech
Niftalem & Desalech

Tesfanish & Birke
Tesfanish & Birke

 

 

 

 

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Family Care Center October 2014 Update

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Strong Hearts Family Care Center

October 2014 Update

We have been back for about 2 months now, since leaving Addis for a couple months this summer.  The center looked great when we came back!  We have great confidence in the staff here, but it is hard to not play the “what if” game in your head when you can’t see things in person!  But it was pretty much a “pop in” visit immediately when we got back in the country, to see everybody at the center.  It was awesome!  We really missed everybody.  The hugs and kisses received from everybody wiped away all evidence of being exhausted from the long trip back

yohannes and habtam laugh

We had minimal medical issues when we were gone, but a pretty serious one.  The little one Elsabet (who has Down’s Syndrome) was in the hospital a couple times while we were absent.  Things often get a bit lost in translation, but from what I understand, she also has TB of the spine like another little one here, Brihanu.  She is doing well now, on medicine, and has been fine ever since.    All the other kids are great and healthy!

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We were happy to be able to bring most of the supplies that were collected back in the states.  Anything that did not fit in our luggage (even went 2 bags over and they didn’t charge us!) will come over with the team in March.  The staff were so thrilled with new scrubs (their uniform) we brought!  Please keep that in mind, medical people—save the scrubs that you don’t like anymore but are still in good condition!  We can use them!  The kids all have a really good, warm sweatshirt now and there are enough pants to go around during the days when they are with us.  They just keep growing taller!  It gets very cold during rainy season here (can get down to 40s and there is no heat).  This is what we use the gently used clothing donations.  We were also able to distribute the last of the 4 new outfits they receive per year, from the program.  This is what we use the new clothing donations for.  I have to say, I think we could put on a fashion show for Kohls department store!  Thank you for all that donated those warm outfits.  They were so very grateful for their new outfit.

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We have confirmed now that we will not be graduating our first group of families this year.  I have to admit I was really looking forward to new babies, but am really happy it turned out this way.  Last year, we had the understanding that the children that turned 3 this year would be moving onto pre-school at Strong Academy.  Rules have changed with requirements, and that group of children will be with us another year!  We are so happy to pour more into those children and their parents/grandparents, for the next year.  A year just didn’t seem long enough.

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We are in the middle of conducting update interviews for each family this week.  Checking in with each parent to see how things are at home, needs they may have and all they have accomplished.  We will also ask each caregiver to assess the children in their rooms and how they are doing on a daily basis.  Even our super shy children are opening up with their peers and even me!  It is such a privilege to watch them grow in their confidence and person God has created them to be.

biruk, senayt and abriham

As I look into each one of their eyes, and see them running around, I can’t help but be so very in awe that we get to be a part of this journey.  The power and dignity that has being instilled into these families’ hearts is just beyond words.  These kids are developing physically as they should!  They have room to run around and get those muscles moving versus being on their moms backs while they try to work.  The parents have the opportunity now to earn a better living to support their families.  It is still a VERY tough life for them here.  So please do not think that they have it easy now because they are with us.  Most of them still remain in a 4×6 foot house with mud walls and a tin roof.  They are still drinking water that gives them giardia because it is not clean.  But so much HAS improved.  We still have much education to do and more love and respect to give.  This journey to a better way of living and being able to be secure in the family that God has blessed them with…is more than words or pictures can explain.   Much of our work here, we can see transformations happening.  But there is so much that are little mustard seeds.  We hope that passing along the love of Jesus to them will make a difference someday and hopefully eternally when we are all together again after our life here on earth.

eyuel & senait kiss

Those that sponsor a family, updates will come soon.  Those that are on-going supporters for the center or one-time givers, please feel free to contact us ANY time and ask questions.  We love to hear from you and would love to share more!  Please pass the word to others that you know about us.  We still need to fill up the rest of the sponsorships and know that the one-time gifts are vital to filling in that gap between our budget and sponsorships not yet being filled.  Not to mention the ever increasing costs and unexpected things that occur.

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Thank you from the bottom of our hearts—for giving us the ability to do what we are doing here!

-Bridget & Mark Sullivan

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Brihanu starts his 2 month hospital stay

Brihanu at the HospitalThank you for continuing to pray for Brihanu!  This is a picture of him all tucked in his new bed at the local TB hospital.  Mom will stay with him for the next 2 months of treatment. He will receive daily injections and nutritional supplement on this road to a healthier little boy.  He has little toys, books and fresh clean clothes and diaper for his time there.  Dad was so excited (with a big huge smile) when we told him he could come with us to check them in on Monday.  Of course it took us all day to check them in, when we thought it was going to maybe take an hour.  Just how things go here, most times!  We will visit them and bring dad to visit, as well.  Please continue to keep them in your prayers.  Thank you so much for your support!!

 

 

 

 

 

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A brief update on Brihanu

photoI wanted to give a brief update on Brihanu.  Since my last update, we have been to the specialized TB hospital twice, the largest hospital in Addis twice, one clinic and one medium size hospital.  All of this in the past 2 days.  I have a special tan going on my left arm from all the driving.  Anybody that has been in Addis can appreciate the traffic here.  If you are not familiar, just imagine Chicago or any major sity traffic, only there are no specific lanes or rules, necessarily, while dodging people, animals and potholes.  Brihanu thinks the rides are fun…and so that keeps it more fun.   Once again, the patience here is unbelievable.  Most of the time, my white skin is usually more of a burden.  But I have been able to use it to our advantage to often get to the front of the line.  While of course I feel bad for the others that are waiting, I just look at Brihanu and Almaz’s (mom) sweet faces and I can justify going to put my paper first.

The best news I have from all of this running around is that the neurosurgeon consult (which they told us we had to have before getting medication) said no surgery.  Whew.  I was praying for that.  A little tiny guy like him—draining this fluid from the absess on his spine—just didn’t want to have to go that route unless somebody said we really had to!  So to make a long story short…daily injections must be given for the first 2 months of treatment.  The clinics that can give these injections in our area are currently out of stock.  Mind you, this just happens here, I have been told.  So, the other option is for Brihanu to stay at the TB hospital for these 2 months.  So we will try this on Monday morning.  It is not like the states, where you get 24 hr care.  A family member needs to stay with the child.  But services and food are only provided to the child.  So mom has to go out (this place is about an hour give or take from her home) and get her own food.  And of course there is the issue of the dad.  He will be at home this entire time.  He is blind.  So Almaz told us that she will ask the neighbors to help him while they are gone.  So we will bring him to visit when we go to see them at the hospital.  A generous friend of the center will be donating the funds so mom can go out and buy food for herself for the next 2 months and we will pack up extra clothes, toys and diapers from the center to go along with them on Monday.  Not quite sure where mom sleeps there, since all I saw were toddler/baby beds.  So it will be interesting to find these things out on Monday.

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Brihanu does not usually like anybody but his mom to carry him, but she gets so worn out carrying him, we try to help out.  He is most comfortable with Masresha.  I think we may have the most patient, caring social worker here!  Very blessed.  Please continue to pray for the entire family.  We are surely on our way to great treatment here.

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Please keep Brihanu in your prayers

BrihanuWe are asking for prayers for our newest family in our care center.  His name is Brihanu.  He is 1 yr and 3 months old.  He came into our program a bit over a month ago.  He certainly looks smaller than his age and we knew he needed to be “plumped up”, but so many do.  He also appeared to be behind on some developmental milestones, having some poor coordination and weak muscles.  Again, nothing terribly alarming to us, since his mother carries him around, and he was brought with his parents everywhere since they are beggars.  She uses a walking cane since she has one leg that is longer than the other.  Her husband is blind.  How difficult that must be to keep track of a little one and even harder if they start crawling around or walking?    So it is reasonable to think this was a reason for some of his poor muscles.   He never had the opportunity to use them.   And extreme poverty affects nutrition.  Fast forward from all of this “getting to know you” process, to over a week ago, when we were told that he was having back problems and the “massage therapist” told the mom that this was a more serious problem and they could no longer help.  She needed to take him to a doctor.  We were never told of this pre-existing back issue.  So we get the story now that he fell off a bed (only 2 inches off the floor) and injured his back.  2 months ago.  Hmmmm.  Ok.  So he gets back x-rays and it looks like there is a compression fracture between L3 and L4.  Not good, but nothing is broken and according to many medical people that were consulted, these things normally heal on their own.  So I thought it was done.  The child would heal and we would work on strengthening and putting pounds on.

Brihanu's Home

Our manager was insistent (thank God!) that we follow the recommendations and go and get an MRI done.  Wow, am I thankful for God providing this wisdom.  Went to a wonderful MRI diagnostic place that is brand new and still under construction for parts of the clinic.  I have never been so impressed with a place.  Well, honestly at first I was not.  They told the mom that she needed to put him to sleep and then they would have him sleep for 15 minutes on the table for a good MRI.  Huh?  No drugs?  You expect this little one to stay completely still?  So, not to my dismay, this strategy did not work.  They even put mom next to him on the table, breastfeeding him, to keep him still.  Still no go.  I had another appointment, so I had to leave.  When I was updated later that day, it was reported that 3 hours after I left, the child fell asleep and stayed asleep for the entire MRI!  Miracle?  Super calm Ethiopian baby?  Whatever it was, I was shocked and thankful they could get a good reading.

The next day we picked up the results and it seems as if all evidence is pointing towards Pott’s disease (TB in the spine).  So we went for further consultation and labwork today.  We will go to a private hospital this week that specializes in TB treatment to see where to go from here, more than likely a long regiment of medication should clear things up.

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Looking through pictures that I have taken of him, he has gotten more weak and possibly lost weight.  We weighed him at 8.4 kilos a month ago and today he weighed 7 kilos.  We could be off a bit on either end, since the scales are different, but still, the kilos decreased.  He is over 1 years old and only 14 pounds!  I took a picture of him when he first came and he was sitting up.  He can no longer do that.  He was absent from us for a week and home with mom when she was getting the xrays done.  Last week, we were figuring things out still, so it is easy to miss some of these things since he is always in somebody’s arms.  He is not walking yet.  Never did.

The patience that mom and dad have had throughout this process is inspiring.  As well as our social worker, Masresha.  I am almost in a panic thinking about the possible outcomes and what is to come. And it seems like they are ok with waiting for answers, going to the next waiting room, waiting while a baby is fussy and tired and tired of being poked at.  Me?  I am looking at my phone, looking at the time and wondering why we have not been seen yet!  Mind you—the wait at these places have not been long.  Quicker than the pediatrician office for my own kids at times!  But I feel this urgency to get this little one “fixed”.  I know we have to rely on the Lord.  Yet another faith lesson for me.  Mom just loved sitting next to me in the waiting room and look at my pictures on my phone.   I loved that she was so comfortable with me…not understanding half of what she was telling me, but a big smile on her face when she would see her son, or my own kids.  Then she would rest her arm on me or her head on my shoulder.  She is really just a child herself.  She is only 19 years old.  She grew up an orphan on the streets.

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People want to know how the center and our mission help the families here.  All I can think is that we are helping not only a little 1 year old that probably would not have had the means to this medical care, but also helping this very young mom that needs guidance, love and support.  They look like they have some great neighbors.  Dad is always around (which you do not always see here) and available to come with us.  They all wanted to hop in my van when I picked her up this morning.  But we told them it was ok—and we took just one older woman.  They all help her carry the baby since she uses a walker and it is difficult to carry him around herself.  Now this is the community we fell in love with when we first visited.  I could go on and on.  Mark said 2 paragraphs.  But I just had to share more.  I hope people still read it!  Please pray for Brihanu and his parents Almaz and Abebe.

 

P.S. For all the sponsors—this is yet another reason why the updates are not complete yet!  I promise they are coming!

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Family Care Center Sponsorships

Women at the centerIt is hard to believe that we have been up and running now for almost 2 months!  The first couple weeks were a bit hectic with little ones away from their moms or grandmas for the first time.  But after a week or two, they were fine!  Still some tears at drop off, but enjoying their time with their new friends and caregivers.  We have some wonderful staff.  They are so patient, never seem to be tired or annoyed when it is a long day, kids are fussy or we don’t have running water.  Some of the children even cry when their parents pick them up because they are having so much fun!  The majority of the parents are able to work now that they have the freedom to search for a job.  We are looking forward to a small team of women coming from the states that have offered to train our women in handicrafts on Monday!  Love how God weaves people together.  The family that moved into the unit that we were in temporarily when we first moved here, we have gotten to know a bit.  They are a really nice missionary family and they offered to help Strong Families any way they could!  Not as if they do not have their own mission, but they want to help us with our program.  I got a text message offering this training to our mothers and grandmothers.  So we have a 3 day training scheduled for 28 of our beneficiaries!  We are all excited about the things we can learn.  The women will have additional skills and avenues to create more income for their families.  We will post more after this training.

Women lined up at the gate

Since the beginning of the program, we have had 4 families that had to be asked to leave.  One of the the families did not show up on a regular basis and did not have a valid excuse for why they were not coming each day (this was in the first 2 weeks of program).  Another family we discovered that she had more income than what was first reported in the interview process.  She needed assistance, and will have her child enrolled in Strong Academy in a matter of months, but the services that we offer are abundant and are meant for the poorest of the poor.  Another 2 families had infants, and staff believed that they were using their children for begging purposes.  They also could not come up with valid proof as to why they were absent from the program for a length of time, so they were asked to leave.  You will soon be able to view the criteria for being in the program.  One of the rules is that they cannot beg as a job.  This is difficult since this is what a large number of the families did as a source of income.  But we feel strongly that their dignity needs to be restored and this is one way this will happen.  There are many things here that we (as Americans) may view as laid back compared to what we are accustom to, but it is very encouraging to know that we (SF staff) are committed in running a program that demands women to be on time for drop off, pick up, as well as following the rules that have been carefully designed to help the families we are serving.  We have had women come to our gate asking to be in our program, as well as families on the waiting list, so it has not taken us long to fill the slots that were empty.  It is hard to not just invite all of them in, but we know there are many times, several stories that need to be validated before finding out what the true needs of each family are here.

Water DeliveryWe are so thankful for how smoothly things are running at the center.  The children are happy, we are fully staffed, and have some wonderful long term volunteers that help each day.  The biggest challenge has been running water.  Again, I do not know how they do it, but the center is clean, as well as the babies with very little water.  On the days (which in the last 2-3 weeks has been nearly every day) that there is no running water, they come with a horse drawn cart with containers and fill them up at our house (when we have running water) and use that water for the washing clothes, diapers, tushies, floors, dishes, bottles, cook—everything.  Again, amazing staff that strive for the best regardless of circumstances.  We are thankful for donations for a much needed water tank that will be installed on Monday!  So now when the city water is turned on, it will store in this new tank to use for the center.  And if the city water is not working, we will have the option of paying for water to be delivered to fill the tanks.  Not the ideal situation, but better than containers being filled!

Thank you so much for your continued prayers and support.  Now it is time to start sharing with all your friends and families about our sponsorships!  Please look at the families, and pray for them.  Even though some of the pictures may appear that they are not happy—I so wish you could see these kids “for real”.  They are the happiest, funniest kids ever!  It is so much fun getting to know them.  Although there is still a one year old that does not care for me at all and pretty much starts crying if I look at her!  When visitors come (any white person, that is) the kids still are leary of them…some of them crying, most just being very silent!  This is so funny to me of course, since I know some of them are crazy 2 year olds that are full of energy!

Blessings to you all as you help us spread the word!

Sponsor a child

 

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Strong Families Opening Day

Strong Families Opening DayWell…the day we have been waiting for has happened!  The Strong Families Care Center is officially open!  Whoah!  We had months of preparing, hiring staff, screened almost 200 families for 40 open slots and now we have started!  So how was the first day?   That may be what people are wondering.  Well, not how I had it in my head, exactly, because well, I’m American.  So therefore, everything should have been in perfect order, nicely organized and just tears of joy, right?  Actually, when I walked inside the gates of the compound Monday morning, I really did have to fight back tears.  Here were all the families we had been praying about for months.  I was so humbled that we are even here doing this.  So I choked back the tears and went directly to the check list in my head—did the bottles make it here and were they clean?   I can run through a whole list of things in my head that I wanted to make sure was in order, but I will spare you those details.  It was a hectic morning, all day, really.  Figuring out who went where, trying to get the right names on the right kids.  And geesh, there a lot of crying!  It was loud.

The Sullivan kids and Mark came about an hour after the moms came.  They walked up the stairs and kind of looked at me with a “wow—this is chaotic and loud!”  and they might have even said that, frankly, but I didn’t really hear them.  They all helped where they could.  Even the little boys wanted to play with the kids, but quickly found out that these kids were not really in a playing mood at the moment, so they had a great time when it was tea time and they got cookies.  It’s all about embracing the culture, right?   The Sullivan girls however, are really great helpers and have a gift with the little ones!  The kids woke up Monday morning super early like it was Christmas morning…anxious to get to see the kids at the center!  I helped out where I could, getting new clothes for kids that needed it, dug into different bins for various things, greeted moms that came during lunch time to feed their babies, and had my fill of cuddling babies.  Mark even held babies (that loved him, by the way!) but was more the main photographer, errand guy and transporter of our own kids.  Even though these kids were upset since they had probably not spent much time off their mother’s backs…they were so cute!  One little boy in the baby room makes these cute, manly grunting noises with his big smile that cracks us all up.  Another little boy just bounced around on the mattresses (that are really for taking naps), as others in his room were crying up a storm.  A sweet baby girl would softly lay her head on my chest, just wanting to be cuddled…and I was happy to oblige!  The moms, dads, and sisters came even before 4:30 pick up time to get their babies.  Yes…there are more than just moms.  Mostly moms, mind you, but we have some dads that pick up and drop off their little ones, as well as some older (maybe 10 years old?) sisters that must be caring for these little ones.

We have had only 2 days open, and the second day went smoother than the first.  We expect it to continue to get smoother with our experience, in how things will run at the center.  For now, we know that we have some awesome staff. There is one baby that still had to be medically cleared from having TB, so we had to keep him separated from the other children.  Our fantastic guard took a turn with this little one, as well as various caregivers.  At the end of one day, a caregiver was finishing up washing the diapers by hand, as some of us hung them out to dry.  The cook was in charge of feeding some little ones a snack on the front step outside.  Everybody just pitches in where they are needed and what is best for the kids, regardless of the position they were hired.  The staff already work really well as a team.  They amaze me in their patience and laid back attitude in the midst of what most of us would perceive as chaos.   The caregivers do not seem frustrated by any of it, but just add another child to their lap, tie a baby onto their back, so they have a free hand to deal with another one, or any such variation!  Amazing.

Then when it is tea time, the staff somehow make the time to take a moment, have their hot tea and not spill it on a baby that is crawling around.   I finally had to concede and have tea (2 times!) on Tuesday.  Just relax and enjoy my tea for a moment.  Oh how much I am trying to embrace and learn here!  I just can’t wait to get things done and organized sometimes.  However, I am learning how things will get done (maybe not the way I would like it) and truly, it is the friendships that we build with one another that matter in the long run.  I may be rushing up the stairs on my way to get something, but if somebody just enters the building, I must take the time to greet them and not just wave “selam” and scurry past.    It is one thing to read the books like “Foreign to Familiar” and be here for a week or two and realize yes, this is how this culture really is here.  But when trying to actually run a program and live here….it is taken to a whole different level!  There are definitely things on both sides of our cultures that we can both benefit from.  It is that balance between them that we are still figuring out.  Not sure that we ever will, really!  It is hard to be raised with one way and then switch to another, automatically.  We are thankful for our eyes being opened to this new way of living, and building relationships, even when it seems so unnatural to us.   I can’t wait to see the families on Monday.  We cannot wait to start to get to know them. For now, I see their kind faces, some big smiles and some shy, but so many are saying “amaseganalah” (thank you) as we tell them “ciao ciao” to get them to leave and assure them their babies will be ok.   Again, just so thankful that we are here doing this.  Families like these have got to stay together.  They want to stay together, but they are in difficult circumstances that make life very difficult to get by and provide for their family with the resources they currently have.

We hope to soon have profiles and pictures up on the website so you can sponsor a family.  This is the means that we are using to keep the program funded and running.  All of the money that you put towards the sponsorship go directly to the services that help families.  The Sullivan family is supported separately by Christ Church.  Of course there are always going to be needs (especially right now, as we start up and see what we really could use and did not budget for!) that come up for the center, so one-time donations are great as well!  We will keep our donation list updated so you can donate money towards an item, or purchase items to get to Ethiopia.  Donations can always be dropped off or shipped to Christ Church and they will coordinate getting things over here.  Or, if you are travelling over to Ethiopia—we would love to meet you, show you what we are doing here, bring supplies, or give us a hand with the kids!    You can always contact us through our facebook page, or email us directly.

Thank you so much for your continued support and encouragement!

 

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Almost ready to launch!

Care Center BuildingIt is hard to give updates when it isn’t quite complete!  But wanted to let you know the progress of things here so far, because I think we will be even MORE busy soon!  We already have our lead positions filled (social worker, lead caregiver, manager and accountant).  We are interviewing for the nurse.  We have hired 5 caregivers, still needing 3 more caregivers to complete our number of caregivers.  We are interviewing applicants tomorrow.  We are also in the process of hiring the cleaners and cooks.  Almost complete for our staff, so we can start training them all next week and/or the next.  Purchasing of the supplies and furniture is happening as I type here!  The process is not very easy.  I wish we could just pull into a super store and purchase it all, hope that they have price matching and hand in our receipt.  Yes…not that simple.  So we came up with our list of supplies that are needed and they are widdling it down to what we absolutely need now, based on our budget!  Kind of like a family budget!

Almost 200 families have applied to be in this program.  The need is so very great here, but only 40 slots are open.  We are being very conscious of helping those that truly need to be helped and not starting a welfare system of dependence.  Part of this process is after some screening, those families that seem to be a better fit have home visits from our staff.  Since this is an extension of Strong Hearts ministries, we would like to also continue to support the families that we already know and are assisting.  But we must be fair to all families that apply, so we will see who God has in mind for us, soon!

The supplies that are coming in or are already here are just so vital to us here.  I know it may seem like we have a large budget, or why can’t we buy this or that here, but the thing is, items here like clothing or dishes or bottles or even cloth diapers are hard to come by and when you do come by them, they are not great quality and so very expensive!  As we go through our lists, all I can think in my head is the ability for people to shop clearance at Kohls, Target, Old Navy—you name it and it is so easy!  So thank you all so much for saving us so much money and head ache here when you so generously fill up those pieces of luggage to get over here!  A special thank you to all of those “mule” friends of ours that haul it all over for us—some dear friends that we have known for a long while, and some are new generous friends that we have through adoption or missions!  This community of people we are all a part of, is so special and certainly God-orchestrated.  Thank you—and hope we can report soon about the grand opening!  We are a bit baby crazy here and can’t wait to help out!  And when I say all of us, I mean, everybody!  Ok, maybe not Mark, he will be happy to make our shelves and make a great website with family profiles!  But for the rest of us, I think the Sullivan children can probably man the center on their own!  Blessings to you all.

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