When I was in elementary school I was invited to attend a Harlem Globetrotters game in a nearby town. I marveled at these athletes who could employ so many talents at the same time. They could dribble with both hands down the court, all while spinning a ball on their forehead, and yelling enthusiastic encouragement to the audience. It is very difficult to focus on an intensely challenging task while simultaneously focusing on the people who need something from you.
Travel has slowed and the rules have definitely changed for now. But our guides and ministry partnerships who turn your travel into a world of good have been actively engaged in vital ways to help their communities. It’s been inspiring to see how they have pivoted, kept balls in the air, and offered help to others during the pandemic. They have continue to face challenging tasks without forgetting the people they serve.
Let’s globe-trot a bit and see the GOOD they’ve been up to in their home countries during 2020. We’ve included donation links in case you want to send some Christmas cheer their way!
(p.s. all gifts are tax deductible)
Niteo Guide: Noot
With 30-40% of the country’s economy based in tourism, Thailand’s population has been hard-hit financially by the pandemic shut-downs. Noot and her team have found innovative ways (including selling food products and opening a spa) to provide jobs and to continue their holistic care for the under-served children of northern Thailand through Jasper Kids. Their leadership, stamina and vision has been impressive.
After quarantining throughout the fall, the kids have once again returned to school and to Jasper Kids. Preparations are going on right now for a grand 20th anniversary celebration of the opening of Jasper Kids that will take place on December 5th and 6th. Among many other reasons to celebrate, Jasper Kids has served 1,157,400 meals and helped 103 students graduate high school. Many of these students (65) have also gone on to attend college.
Donate to Jasper Kids Foundation
Niteo Guides: Brian and Juan
During 2020, Brian and Juan continued to dedicate themselves to NOE’s mission to “help students realize their potential and provide them with resources and training to help them reach that potential.” Prior to the pandemic, they served 1,000 students and adults through their centers on a weekly basis, providing after-school educational and recreational programs including English classes, homework help tutoring, music classes, art classes, Bible studies, basketball teams, beautician classes, parenting classes, and more.
However, students went online by government order and NOE has had to innovate quickly to reach families in their homes from a distance. One of the biggest challenges was the reality that over 50% of the population of Mexico do not have internet access. NOE is now serving about 500 students with online classes. In addition to a challenging number of Zoom meetings per week, the staff have also continued to reach needy families with food boxes, health checks, water treatments, and medicine.
Donate to NOE International
Niteo Guide: Dawn
One of the biggest challenges in Italy has been the trauma experienced from early on in this pandemic and the isolation folks are enduring while trying to process it all. Dawn has been intentionally reconnecting with neighbors and acquaintances, listening to their stories, praying for them, and doing acts of generosity to help them get through. When she arrives with a cake on their doorstep, they are surprised and touched. They thought that baking for neighbors is something Americans only do in movies!
Right now with Covid still a concern, the public transportation is basically non-existent, so Dawn and her husband have boarded bikes to travel the 48 miles to Assisi where they help a local church pastor. It takes them about 3 hours and 15 minutes both ways.
Donate to Dawn at Adventive Cross Cultural Initiatives in Italy
Niteo Guide: Byron
In Guatemala the government enforced masks and closed almost all of the public places, including shops, schools and churches. Travel to villages was also prohibited. While some of the tight restrictions have been lifted, schools are staying closed until the new year, and kids pick up their books or work online where Internet is available.
Byron has been busier than ever meeting the needs of people from coast to coast. He and his church have provided free Covid testing to those who can’t access it. They’ve even used church vans to act as an ambulance service for people in need of medical care. They are still setting up gardens, stoves, and clean water stations in the villages and feeding the hungry. With the recent back-to-back hurricanes in Guatemala, their priority has shifted to rebuilding in hard-hit villages and providing shelter for those flooded out of their homes. On quiet weeks, Byron and his wife visit the isolated and lonely families who just need someone to talk to.
Donate to Raising the Children of God
Niteo Guide: Andrej
During quarantine, Andrej’s been busy producing videos on messages of hope for the Slovene audience. Not much is offered on spiritual topics in his native language and there is now a widespread and growing audience watching online who are looking for answers in these dark days.
In addition to his own videos, he has partnered with a student organization by offering his time and skills to work on post-production for 50 different messages so far. When he’s not in the studio, Andrej has continued to be there for people in need through his pastoral role in his village and beyond.
Donate to Andrej with Adventive Cross Cultural Initiatives
The church is Vietnam is doing very well! God is especially touching the lives of those in the Mekong region. Thuy and her team hold Bible studies every day with a group of people ages fourteen through thirty. She encourages them to tell others about the hope that God gives.
Thuy and her team have also started a virtual church and are having many conversations with those who have never heard about God.
Thuy and her team have developed several products, including this most recent one, the sale of which benefits their ministry.
Donate to Faith Comes by Hearing, the organization Thuy is associated with.
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