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Screen Shot 2013-12-07 at 8.41.58 AMIt’s been almost five years in Nigeria, almost one year in our new home, and I was feeling almost happy…..

At the beginning of the year, after the holidays, I started feeling very homesick, frustrated, hopeless, and angry. I have always been the glass is half full kind of person so these negative feelings were very foreign to me. I tried to shake them but they overpowered me.

Since moving to Jos from Egbe I had more time for marketing CARE Africa and Spring of Life Egbe, which I love. I have enjoyed building partnerships with other ministries in Jos that in turn were creating new opportunities for CARE Africa in Egbe. The school we are opening in Egbe happened because of a partnership with Foundations Academy in Jos.  So much to be happy about- so why was I so discontent, frustrated and sad?

Since arriving in Jos, I have made a lot of connections, but no real relationships.  I am talking about the kind of relationship where you can be your unaltered self and know you aren’t judged. Instead of doing the work of building new relationships- I turned to books. I love books!  Books are not the problem. Disconnecting was the problem. I chose to stay detached by reading for hours and hours. I would escape to all types of wonderful places and stay there most evenings and weekends.  Disconnecting was nice – I didn’t have to think about the loneliness.

IMG_1230Thankfully God intervened. It took time and discontent, but eventually that soft, faint voice penetrated my soul and stirred my ear.  “Stop escaping, my daughter, to something that isn’t real and escape to Me”.  But my disobedience continued on for months. I didn’t realize that the escaping was making me become more and more dissatisfied with all the genuine blessings surrounding me -this led to DEPRESSION!

Unfortunately I am stubborn and I have to get hit over the head with a hammer before I listen and obey.  Remember the Foundations Academy Egbe school for our CARE Africa children?  Well, I began to experience setbacks and doors being slammed in my face. I knew God put it on the heart of both Emma and I to start this school so why all the obstacles?  I questioned God’s directive and almost walked away from it several times. “God why did you open this door if you didn’t want me to walk through it?” I got a swift answer Disobedience!  “Daughter how can I trust you with something as big as a school when I can’t trust you to be obedient in something as small as putting down your books?”  Ouch! The truth hurts! I do not enjoy pain and suffering so I surrendered my books and repented. “Sorry Daddy for not listening to you. Please forgive me. I’m listening now”.

cb2I felt like a new person. My sense of joy and contentment was restored. Doors started opening in unbelievable ways in my ministry. Not to say I still don’t have moments of homesickness and loneliness, but I have a renewed sense of peace that transcends all understanding.

I almost missed a great opportunity because of disobedience. I almost traded what is genuine, real, and true for something that wasn’t. Almost, but not quite.

Please continue in your prayers for our Foundations Academy Egbe school and if you are interested in helping us you can pray and or donate at give.icareafrica.org

God bless you this day with what is real, genuine, and true.

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2014: First set of children at local school.

When C.A.R.E. Africa started we became aware that many of our children were failing classes at their local school. We made the decision to move our children to a better private school.  Two years later we hired teachers to provide special tutoring and lessons. We even pulled some of our children out of school and provided them with one-on-one teaching.  We made the hard decision to have some of our children repeat the grade they were failing.  After all our efforts we still had children who could not read, do basic writing and were completing math at a very low level.  It became evident that we needed to start our own school where we could make certain our children receive the education they so deserve.

 

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2017: First Set of Children at C.A.R.E. Center

We are excited to announce that in September of 2018 we will open Foundations Academy Egbe.  This school will be a partnership with Foundations Academy in Jos, Nigeria.  Foundations Academy was founded by a Nigerian, Bayo Oyebade and his American wife, Mary Beth.  Their initial ministry to people living with HIV/AIDS led them to orphan care and with Mary Beth’s teaching background, she quickly realized the need for a better school for their orphans. Foundations Academy opened its doors in 2010 and with their reputation for excellence, it has grown to two locations. Our school in Egbe will become the third Foundations Academy. 

This September we will start classes with 30 C.A.R.E. Africa primary age children.  We will open our nursery level to the community, but we want to ensure our school has a solid foundation before we open the other grade levels to the public. This means we will not have the income from school fees to help offset costs for the first year. We need to raise $7,000 for our start-up costs and $12,000 for one year of operating costs. We have a lot of work to do to get the Center ready by September. All our classrooms need repair work, paint and decor. We need books for our library, student desks, teacher desks, computers, teaching materials, whiteboards, musical instruments, art supplies, ceiling fans, lights, water, fuel for the generator, training for our teachers, a playground, and an industrial printer in addition to so much more.

Please invest in the future of these children by helping us meet our goal of $19,000.  Click on Foundations Academy Egbe to be redirected to our fundraising campaign page for the school and donate today. We believe in education and want our children to become the best they can be.  Your prayers and support are needed. We look forward to hearing from you.  

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2018: The beginning of Foundations Academy Egbe. Starting from the left Samson (F.A. Jos Consultant), Marybeth (F.A. Founder), Tofunmi (C.A.R.E. Ops Mgr), Emma (C.A.R.E. Founder and CEO), Patrice (C.A.R.E. Africa Founder and Marketting Mgr)   

 

 

DSC_0235At the beginning of 2018 we made a list of goals for C.A.R.E. Africa. One of our goals was a one-week camp for our C.A.R.E. Africa kids which would focus on their walk with the Lord and provide some vocational training. We knew it would be a huge undertaking financially and strategically. First, we would have to find experienced workers to run the camp. Then we would have to provide transportation for all the workers to and from our town of Egbe along with housing and feeding them for a week. We would also need a week’s worth of food to feed the kids along with supplies for vocational studies. Needless to say, we could not fit the camp into our 2018 budget but we kept the camp on our goals list with the hope of raising funds for it later on. Do I need to tell you that I serve an awesome God! He provided an unexpected donation and just like that our dream of a one-week camp became a reality!

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No one at C.A.R.E. Africa had any experience running a camp so we consulted with City Ministries, based in Jos, Nigeria. City Ministries is made up of several urban ministry units. One of the ministries called King’s Kids has over 300 orphan and street kids in their programs. City Ministries not only offered to run the one-week camp but also to teach us how to run our own camps for the future.

We were excited and clueless as to the amount of work that goes into hosting a one-week camp.  C.A.R.E. Africa staff in Egbe started buying large quantities of food and locating accommodations for all the City Ministries staff. Meanwhile, back in Jos, I began the search for curriculum, vocational and many other supplies we would need to make ready for transport to Egbe. Everything came together and the C.A.R.E. Africa kids had an amazing time!

DSC_0541The camp theme and camp lessons focused on Faith. We had two children, Bolu and “Big” Success come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. The vocational studies included how to make Palm Sandals and how to make Beaded Jewelry. One of our older boys, Tunde, really took to making palm sandals and we look forward to seeing what God does with that.

It was also a very special time for our C.A.R.E. Africa CEO Emma and Elisha of City Ministries. Elisha knew Emma when he was an 8 year old orphan at City Ministries. It was very rewarding for Elisha to see that Emma had used his personal experience to found and help the orphans of C.A.R.E. Africa. This camp was a great success story on so many levels.

You are part of our story as your prayers and financial support make our outreach programs such as this one-week camp possible. I hope you know the difference you are making in the lives of so many. Thank-you and God Bless you greatly.

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Hireath

Posted: April 5, 2018 by Patrice Miles in Jos Nigeria, Lenny Miles, Miles In Missions, Missionaries, Nigeria, Patrice Miles, Prayer, SIM

hiraethHiraeth: a Welsh word for homesickness (or nostalgia)

(n.) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the grief for the lost places of your past.

I don’t recall where I saw this picture but I saved it on Pinterest.  Lately, I have been feeling Hiraeth as most missionaries do. I sometimes wish I lived like the missionaries of the 40’s . They didn’t have Facebook, email or international calling plans. Seeing pictures of family get togethers on Facebook, receiving emails from friends about their life back home and navigating the six hour difference to talk to your family on the phone – it is always exciting, but it is also depressing.

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I wonder if missionaries of the 40’s missed their passport country as much as I seem too? They never knew if someone was sick or died or if there was a birth in the family until long after it happened. Is it better to immediately see and hear what you are missing out on or to not know at all?  

I feel like you can’t truly connect with your host country unless you completely disconnect with your passport country. But it can feel like you are turning your back on everyone you love and care about. Where is the middle ground?

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 9.46.24 AM.pngLately, I have been going through old pictures online trying to categorize them.  I stumbled across a file that had pictures of the annual Polsgrove family trip to Gatlinburg. I remember how every trip resulted in a Polsgrove male breaking or wrecking something or offending someone. There were pictures of the five Christmas’s or the five hundred birthdays we attended every year due to our big, happy, dysfunctional family. I remember how Lenny and I complained about the stress it created and we couldn’t wait to get away from all the busyness and family whalla (problems).  

Now as I look at each picture I wish I could have those annoying times back.  I crave the family get together where someone offends someone else.  I miss the chaos of attending three different birthday parties in one weekend.  It feels strange to look at pictures of a life and a home that no longer exist and could never be the same if we ever returned- and it grieves me.

Screen Shot 2018-04-05 at 9.38.56 AM.pngI grieve the loss of relationship with nieces and nephews that will not know who I am. I grieve not being there to pray with a friend and hug them when they are going through tough times. I miss those deep relationships where a friend knows when you are not being your true self. 

So what do I do? I wish I could say I have the answer but I don’t.  I DO know God has called me to serve in Nigeria.  However, when times get tough, when I feel lonely or when I long for the easier life …. my thoughts turn toward my old home and I grieve. I know that grieving is normal.  I ask God to help me remember that I am his daughter in Nigeria and I am not missing out, but it is one thing to say it and another thing to really feel and believe it!  Pray for God to help me not just say that I believe in His purposes for my life but that I believe and feel it with my entire being!  I am sure my feelings are no different than some of you reading this email who have families living miles apart or SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAmaybe your families ties have been broken and you miss those better times.  I hope this blog encourages you to know you are not alone and that your fellow sister in Christ completely understands. Our feelings don’t mean we are weak or incapable but that we are human.  We are also daughters and sons of the Most High and He is our one true home! 

Isaiah 43:18-19 Forget the former things; do not dwell in the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.  (NIV)

Airport Angel

Posted: March 29, 2018 by Patrice Miles in Miles In Missions, Missionaries, Nigeria, Patrice Miles, SIM

IMG_0133Last fall, when taking my mother to the Abuja airport, I found I could not accompany her to the departure area. I was told to go talk to the front desk. What started out as an obstacle became a gift from God –  I call him my “Airport Angel.”  I found him at the front desk.  He took me to see his Oga (boss) to get permission.  The young man spoke to his Oga quickly who waved us on. I guess that was our approval?!

It is at this point that I knew I had found an “Airport  Angel”.  This young man took over and physically navigated my mom and I through airport protocol which included signing in a book, answering customs officers questions, weighing of baggage, completing custom and immigrations forms, checking in at the airline carrier, and he walked us to my mom’s gate!  My “Airport  Angel” told me to stay with my mom as long as I wanted and he would check back on me. When it was time to leave he told me if I ever needed this service for any of my arriving or departing visitors that I could call him directly. 

The next week I had an inbound visitor so I called my “Airport  Angel”.  He met my guest at the immigration window with a cart for her baggage and personally escorted her through customs and out to the parking lot. I continue to call upon my “Airport  Angel” who greets my guests with a smile no matter what time of day or night. 

Recently my “Airport  Angel” discovered I was a missionary.  It was then that he shared his story of being orphaned at age 10 and how missionaries (Rita Ashwerzenbager, Terisita and Edith) in Kaduna took him in and made sure he received an education.  My  “Airport  Angel” says he was able to get a good job at the airport because missionaries invested in him.  He then said “If you ever need anything please do not hesitate to call me! I am excited to know that I am able to help a missionary and pay back just a little of what was given to me.”

Isn’t God good!  This story encouraged me to know that the little things we do for others has an impact though we may never actually get to see it.  If you ever grow weary or exhausted from serving – just think of my “Airport  Angel” and know that the good you do for others is never wasted. 

Prayers Needed

Posted: March 22, 2018 by Patrice Miles in Lenny Miles, Miles In Missions, Nigeria, Patrice Miles, Prayer, SIM

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The Miles Family currently has 209 prayer partners who receive our prayer requests each week. Our family cannot express how grateful we are for the many responses we get back each time we send out prayer requests. We are blessed by your words of encouragement and honored to receive your requests for prayer. So many urgent prayer requests have gone out and we watched as God showed up and showed off by answering those prayers from our prayer partners. We could not have survived in Nigeria as long as we have without this group.

Please consider joining us as a prayer partner and commit to pray for our family as we serve in Nigeria. We also would love to hear from you so our family can pray for your family. No matter where we serve the Lord in this world (Nigeria or Main Street USA) we all need prayer and He hears all of our requests.

The Miles Family needs as many Prayer Warriors as we can get! If you are not already a prayer partner you can become one by clicking on the following link to sign up http://eepurl.com/DZf_D.

“Nothing is well done without prayer for the simple reason it leaves God out of the account” – E.M. Bounds.

outreachWe are excited to announce that our C.A.R.E. Sports Outreach program started last month!  What you may not realize is that before co-founding C.A.R.E Africa, Emma was in sports ministry full time and became known in Egbe as “Coachi”. The Sports Outreach program has been a dream of Emma’s since starting C.A.R.E. Africa in 2014. One of our 2018 goals was to start going into the community to find the voiceless and exhausted instead of waiting for them to come to us. We felt that a Sports Outreach program would be a way we could accomplish this.

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The Vessels

The C.A.R.E. Sports Outreach program is both local and national. Every Monday and Friday we have football practice with our Egbe team called “The Vessels”. After practice we have time for discipleship and encouragement with materials such as “Heart of the Champion”. We have also partnered with a local pastor in Egbe who will follow up with any of our youth who decide to accept Christ as their Savior. In addition to our sports program in Egbe, C.A.R.E. Africa will partner with churches in outlying towns such as Kabba, Mopa, Isanlu, Ayetoro, Odo Ere, Idofin and Ikole to conduct the Sports Outreach program. The Egbe team will then travel to play against a C.A.R.E. Africa Sports Outreach team in one of these towns. After each sporting event C.A.R.E. Africa will have a time of evangelism with the youth of that town. Depending on the location, we may be able to show a film and the Egbe team may stay overnight. The pastor of the local church we partner with in each of these towns will help disciple any new believers.

outreach6Each quarter we also plan to host a competition between our Egbe team “The Vessels” and a team outside of and within Egbe that is not connected with the C.A.R.E. Africa Sports Outreach program. The Egbe community really loves sporting events and everyone in the town comes out to watch the game and the presentation of awards. C.A.R.E. Africa will use this time to share the gospel among those that have come to the competition.

We are really excited to see what God is going to do with the C.A.R.E. Africa Sports Outreach program. We do need help as the cost to run the program is about $3,000 a year (or $250 a month). This will cover equipment and transportation costs in addition to evangelism materials. Please consider sponsoring our Sports Outreach program by clicking http://bit.ly/sportsoutreach.

Thank-you for walking alongside us and being a part of the ministry of C.A.R.E. Africa.

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